Malcolm Estate Heritage Conservation Area | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Malcolm Estate Heritage Conservation Area

Item details

Name of item: Malcolm Estate Heritage Conservation Area
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Urban Area
Category: Other - Urban Area
Primary address: , Erskineville ( Refer To Map), NSW 2043
Parish: Alexandria
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney


Railway Pde, the northern boundary of No. 2 Sydney St, Ada Ln, the western boundary of No. 54 Swanson St, Swanson St, Binning St, Ashmore St (inclduing Nos. 1-55) and Bridge St (including nos. 23-31).
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
 Erskineville ( Refer To Map)SydneyAlexandriaCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The Malcolm Estate Heritage Conservation Area has historic significance as a substantially intact subdivision developed as a working class residential community in the late Victorian period. It contains a mix of mid to late Victorian and Federation terraces, semi-detached and freestanding houses, and a few shop buildings, of one and two storey scale (with few exceptions) and differing construction materials (rendered brick, face brick, the occasional weatherboard). The Victorian subdivision pattern is notable for the Erskineville area in possessing both rear lanes and generously wide streets. The area possesses a cohesive scale and character of high amenity that demonstrates the subdivision and working class development of residential estates in the Victorian Period, and includes within it heritage listed distinctive rows of grand Victorian Italianate terraces.
Date significance updated: 05 Jul 18
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Construction years: 1880-1930
Physical description: The Malcolm Estate Heritage Conservation Area comprises one and two-storey Victorian terraces and semi-detached houses, one storey Federation terraces, a few 2 storey Federation/Victorian transitional terraces, former corner shop buildings (such as at the corners of Ashmore & Bridge Streets, and Swanson & Sydney Streets ), and public/institutional buildings (Erskineville Public School and the St Mary's Primary School, Church and Rectory in Swanson Street). Housing in the area is constructed of varying materials predominantly rendered brick and brick, and are overwhelmingly contributory to the area, with few exceptions.

The area features rear lanes and some larger lots than other terrace housing subdivisions in Erskineville. The area's proximity to Erskineville Station and the School clearly led to higher quality terrace housing development. Notable are the grand Victorian Italianate terrace rows at 1-5 and 7-10 Bridge Street, 41-45 Malcolm Street, and 6-18 Malcolm Street (heritage items) and the grand pair of terraces at 15 and 15A Swanson Street. A large group of early Federation semi detached houses in Ashmore Street dominate the eastern end of the street.

Some of the Federation terraces (mostly single storey), in particular, have lost some of their of heritage features which should be recovered, such as removal of paint frorm face brick work, and reinstatement of original roofing materials, original verandah detailing including original verandah roof profiles, and front fences.


Ashmore Street
Wide street with jacaranda street tree plantings which flower impressively in November, characterised by one and two storey Victorian and Federation era terrace housing, with a predominance of single storey Federation Queen Anne style semis, many altered. There should be encouragement to restore details of Federation housing in particular, including the reinstatement of missing detail and roofing to original patterns and materials, the removal of paint from face brick using non-abrasive methods, and the painting of existing cement rendered (originally face brick) walls in a brick colour to try and recover the original colour schemes of this type of housing. No dormers should be permitted to the street elevation of Federation single storey terraces. Street Rating: A

Binning Lane
Narrow, typical terrace housing area service lane with no street planting. Softened by overhanging plantings in terrace house backyards. Street Rating: A

Binning Street - west side only
Wide north-south street rising to Swanson Street in the north, with substantial street tree planting (brush box). The street is the boundary of the heritage conservation area and only the west side is included in this heritage conservation area (east side, occupied by low scale 1930s public housing, is part of the Erskineville Oval Heritage Conservation Area). The west side is characterised by a mix of one and two storey Victorian and Federation terraces. Street Rating: A

Bridge Street
The street is characterised by the railway on the west side and intact 2 storey largely intact Victorian terraces on the east side. Some of the terraces (heritage items at 1-5 and 7-10 Bridge St) are very grand. Substantial street tree planting including London Plane trees. Street Rating: A

Equity Lane
A short, typical, narrow, angled terrace housing laneway partly fronting a park between the lane and Swanson St. No street trees. Only one new infill residence (No. 1 Equity Lane) fronts the lane. Street Rating: B

Malcolm Lane
Long narrow north-south typical terrace housing laneway. No street trees, however softened by overhanging plantings from terrace backyards. Street Rating: A

Malcolm Street
Wide north-south street with substantial street trees (paperbarks), rising to Swanson Street. The west side is dominated by the heritage listed Erskineville Public School, and one and 2 storey Victorian and Federation era terrace housing. The east side is a mix of one and two storey predominantly Victorian terrace housing with some Federation terraces in the mix, and a single, heritage listed, grand 3 storey terrace house at No. 50 Malcolm Street. Street Rating: A

Railway Parade
The street is characterised by the railway on the west side and intact 2 storey Victorian terraces on the east side. On the west (railway side), sheoaks are planted in the footpath, medium sized native plantings on the east side. Street Rating: A

Swanson Lane
An east-west narrow lane running between Malcolm Street and Binning Street. The lane is dominated at the eastern end by the rear of St. Mary's Church the architecture of the rear elevation being well resolved and built to the laneway alignment. There are no street trees. On the southern side the lane runs along the side boundaries of residential properties. Street Rating: A

Swanson Street
Wide street with medium sized street trees, characterised by 1 and 2 storey Victorian terraces and Victorian corner shops on the north side and large, architecturally impressive public/institutional buildings (Erskineville Public School, St Mary'sPrimary School, Church and Rectory) on the south side. St. Mary's Church belltower is a landmark. Street rating: A

Sydney Lane
A narrow, typical terrace housing laneway, considerably softened by overhanding vegetation. Narrow footpaths each side of the lane. The lane is cut-off at Swanson Street. No. street tree plantings. Street Rating: A

Sydney Street
A wide street with angle parking on one side, cut off at the Swanson Street end with a small park. Characterised by one and two storey Victorian terraces, predominantly 2 storeys on the east side. Substantial street trees. Street rating: A
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
In fair to good condition with a high degree of original fabric remaining with high potential for restoration.
Date condition updated:24 Jun 04
Modifications and dates: Varying extents of additions and alterations throughout the area which generally still allow the original scale and building forms to be interpreted.
Further information: The conservation area was previously listed under South Sydney LEP 1998, Amendment No 3 gazetted on 28/7/2000. (CA33).

Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are constantly updated by the City as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.


Historical notes: The Conservation Area forms part of the land of the Gadigal people, the traditional custodians of land within the City of Sydney council boundaries. For information about the Aboriginal history of the local area see the City’s Barani website:

In 1794 Acting Governor Grose granted 120 acres to Nicholas Devine, Superintendent of Convicts, who received a further grant of 90 acres from Governor Hunter in 1799 which comprise the body of the suburb of Erskineville. The Conservation Area lies within the latter grant. Devine built his home in the area in the vicinity of the present corner of George Street and Erskineville Road. After Devine's death in 1830 the estate was cut up and sold by Bernard Rochford. The Reverend George Erskine, Superintendent of the Wesleyan Mission in the Colony was a purchaser. The present Church of England Rectory of Holy Trinity was known as Erskine Villa, giving the Municipality its name. In 1852 Mr John Devine, a relative of Nicholas Devine claimed title to the whole of Devine's 210 acres. A protracted legal battle ensued, known as the Newtown Ejectment Case. Kezia Iredale, Iron Monger, was a defendant in the Newtown Ejectment Case. Devine was unsuccessful but the holders of the property established a fund and paid him compensation, thereby retaining title to the land.

A portion of the Devine farm, 30 acres, in the area of east of Bridge Road was owned John Malcolm at the time of his death in 1842. The land was held subsequently by the trustees of the estate, but the entailment was problematic and it was not until August 1887 when the Supreme Court granted consent to sell. Prior to this, the estate, known as Malcolm's Estate at Macdonaldtown, had been subdivided in 1881 into 448 building lots within ten sections.

By the 1887 much of section G (being Bridge, Malcolm and Ashmore Streets) in Malcolm's Estate had been purchased by the Imperial Land, Building and Deposit Company, who reoffered the land for sale at various times through 1887 culminating in a major sale in September 1887.

Malcolm Street is named after Captain Malcolm who built a house for his mother where the Public School now stands. Bridge Street was formerly known as Burren Street until 1890. .

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. (none)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal (none)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Living in the City-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Development-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The area has historic significance as it dates from the key period of development of Erskineville and the subdivison of residential estates associated with provision of working class housing on Devine’s Grant.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The area is associated with the development of working class settlement, corner store communities on Devine’s Estate which is demonstrated by the small scale houses, terraces, former shops and hotel buildings.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The area possesses a coherent domestic late Victorian streetscape character (c. 1880s), through its harmonious scale, set backs, terrace form and late 19th Century detailing. The street trees enhance the amenity of the area.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The area demonstrates working class housing lifestyles from the late Victorian and Federation periods.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The area has limited archealogical potential.
SHR Criteria f)
The area is not rare.
SHR Criteria g)
The area is a representative example of a Victorian residential subdivsion and working class housing found within the inner suburbs of Sydney.
Integrity/Intactness: High
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS 1.Protection of Significance (a) Subdivision -Retain Victorian subdivision pattern - Do not allow amalgamation of sites (b) Key Period Significant (Contributory) Development: - Retain one storey Victorian / Federation terraces - Retain two storey Victorian/Federation terraces - Retain Victorian / Federation/Inter-war Public/Instituitonal Buildings - Retain Victorian former shops (including the former shop at 29 Asmore Street and corner shops at Ashmore & Bridge Streets, and Swanson & Sydney Streets) - Retain small scale of early development - Maintain building alignments - Retain form,, including roof forms, where original - Retain finishes a details where original - Encourage removal of paint from face brick walls of Federation terraces and semis using non-abrasive methods. Where originally face brick walls of Federation terraces and semis have been cement rendered, encourage painting of rendered walls in brick colour and reinstatement of original detail and colour schemes to these houses. - Reinstate verandahs, balconies, front cast iron palisade or picket front fences, lost detail - where there is no evidence for original front fences, the introduction of low timber picket front fences with flat-topped picket profiles is generally favoured, particularly for Federation era housing. - Protect intact rear lanes - Additions to rear not to exceed ridge height and retain original roof form - No dormers should be permitted to the street elevations of Federation era single storey terraces - Discourage front dormers to Victorian era terraces and semis except where already present in a terrace row or group - Encourage reinstatement of roofing materials and roofing detail lost in 1999 Sydney hailstorm 2. Redevelopment of Non Contributing Sites - encourage interpretation of Victorian subdivision pattern - respect scale and form of contributory development - respect building line of contributory development - encourage rendered unpainted finishes, except where development is adjacent to Federation era buildings, where use of brick to blend with existing face brick Federation era buildings is encouraged - encourage contemporary detail (rather than Victorian pastiche) - provide landscape screening/softening - Recognise the collective precedent and impact of the proposal - Develop approach for sympathetic new development to enhance existing heritage character and level of detail - Respect scale and form of contributory development - Avoid flat reflective monotonous glazed façades - Avoid visual clutter 3. Enhance Significance of conservation area: - Maintain and enhance street planting to unify streetscape - Encourage appropriate and sympathetic redevelopment of detracting sites - Encourage render/paint finishes to detracting developments - Interpret Victorian street pattern and subdivision - Provide landscape screening/softening to detracting sites - Remove/Discourage reproduction of Victorian detail in contemporary development 4. Car Parking - Do not allow car parking access from the street - Generally allow parking access from rear lanes or side lanes. - Reduce impact of existing car parking access from street 5. Landscaping - Encourage trees at the end of streets to reinforce landscape vistas and frame views - Encourage trees to screen detracting development 6. View Protection - Reinforce street end vistas with street trees - Retain views up and down Swanson St to landmark bell tower of St Mary's church - Encourage and develop appropriate distant vistas 7. Boundary Adjustment Retain existing boundary of the heritage conservation area 8. Heritage Items - Protect Heritage Items within the heritage conservation area


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012C2414 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
South Sydney Heritage Study1993 Tropman & Tropman Architects  Yes
South Sydney Conservation Areas2003 Architectural Projects P/L  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City View detail

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

rez rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2421487
File number: S047440

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.