Waterloo Heritage Conservation Area | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Waterloo Heritage Conservation Area

Item details

Name of item: Waterloo Heritage Conservation Area
Type of item: Conservation Area
Group/Collection: Urban Area
Category: Townscape
Primary address: Refer To Map, Waterloo, NSW 2017
Local govt. area: Sydney


Phillip St, Morehead St, McEvoy St and Pitt St
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Refer To MapWaterlooSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The area has significance as early residential subdivisions of the Mount Lachlan Estate, which developed incrementally from the 1850s through to the early twentieth century. The area provided housing for workers at the industrial establishments to the east and south east. The area has provided a community focus since the 1850s and incorporates the civic and commercial heart of Waterloo with former Town Hall, Mount Carmel and Elizabeth Street shops.
Date significance updated: 11 Jul 03
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.


Designer/Maker: Various
Builder/Maker: Various
Construction years: 1850-1915
Physical description: The area includes several subdivisions of the mid-late Victorian period set on steeply sloping ground, the largest being the Victoria Town Subdivision between Phillip Street, Morehead Street, Wellington Street and Elizabeth Street, which retains highly intact groups of terrace house development c.1880s. Recent infill and redevelopment for public housing affects the integrity of the area particularly in the north and west of the area. Elizabeth Street forms the spine through the area and incorporates the commercial strip and civic / landmark buildings including Mount Carmel, the Uniting Church and former Town Hall.

McEvoy Street: Small group terraces west of Kensington Lane, else detracting Rating C
Wellington Street: 1 and 2 storey terrace and townhouse, Victorian and contemporary factories, intact at east end. Mixed. Rating B
Moorehead Street:Very intact group 2 storey Victorian terraces, detracting development at south end. Rating A
Walker Street: 1 and 2 storey Victorian terraces, large scale, 3 storey contemporary residences Rating C
Elizabeth Street: 1 and 2 storey Victorian terrace and shops, contemporary terrace, library, Melaleuca Street Planting Rating A/B
Raglan Street: 1 and 2 storey terraces, Victorian and contemporary, Uniting Church, Brushbox street planting Rating A
Lenton Parade: 2 storey terrace development, Victorian and contemporary infill, harmonious Rating B
Pitt Street: Mix Victorian and contemporary terrace development between Philip and Raglan Streets. Large scale detracting development Rating B/C
Kellick Street: Road closed, 2 storey terraces Rating C
Kensington Lane:1.5 storey Victorian terrace, intact rear lane, 2 and 3 storey Victorian and contemporary residential varied harmonious character Rating B
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:

Some on redeveloped sites.
Date condition updated:11 Jul 03
Modifications and dates: Industrial / Commercial Warehouse development c. 1900-1940.
Public Housing Projects on infill and consolidated sites.

Large later redevelopment sites on east side Pitt St, between Raglan St and Kellick St, and the large site at No 2 Kensington St were included within the conservation area in the SSLEP1998.
Further information: 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.
Current use: Residential, Civic, Institutional, Commercial
Former use: Residential, Civic, Institutional, Commercial


Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora. There is no written record of the name of the language spoken and currently there are debates as whether the coastal peoples spoke a separate language "Eora" or whether this was actually a dialect of the Dharug language. Remnant bushland in places like Blackwattle Bay retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters.

With the European invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today. All cities include many immigrants in their population. Aboriginal people from across the state have been attracted to suburbs such as Pyrmont, Balmain, Rozelle, Glebe and Redfern since the 1930s. Changes in government legislation in the 1960s provided freedom of movement enabling more Aboriginal people to choose to live in Sydney.

(Information sourced from Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/barani )

The Conservation Area was part of the Mount Lachlan Estate, 185 acres granted to J.T. Campbell in 1825. John Campbell was appointed Colonial Secretary in 1815. He was Magistrate of the Sydney District and was Provost Marshall in 1819. He was a founder of the Bank of NSW and was nominated to the Colonial council and then to the Land Board in 1826. He was granted the land at Waterloo by Governor Brisbane in 1825. The Mount Lachlan Estate was purchased by Daniel Cooper the elder and William Hutchinson in 1829 for £1,000.

The Estate adjoined the Waterloo swamp to the south. Early use of area included tanneries and wool preparation - forced out of the city by the Noxious Trades Act 1848, and reliant on water. The Waterloo Swamp was confined by the construction of a series of dams. Waterloo Dam was to the south west, in the area now occupied by Waterloo Park and the Great Waterloo Dam south of Portman Street followed, allowing the use of land for manufacturing and the development of the Zetland Lodge.

From 1829 to 1853 Daniel Cooper sold a few acres of Campbell’s grant to various persons. The Cooper family retained most of their land until the late nineteenth century and any early development generally occurred on rented or leasehold property. This and the watertable contributed to the sparse development of the area until the late nineteenth century.

Daniel Cooper died in 1853 and the estate passed to his great nephew Daniel Cooper, managed by Mr Gerard Phillips.

Cooper’s nephew, Daniel, dedicated land for public facilities including over an acre around Mt Lachlan including land for the Catholic Church in 1858. The Mount Carmel Church, School and public park at Elizabeth and McEvoy Streets dates from the 1880s.

Allotments in the block bound by Phillips, Morehead, Wellington and Elizabeth Streets were subdivided and advertised for sale in 1879 as ‘Victoria Town Estate’. Waterloo Town Hall was built in 1881.

By 1871, the population of Waterloo had grown to almost 3,000. Population grew to 5,762 in 1881 and reached 8,700 by the 1890s.

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. Worker's Dwellings-
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 Community facilities-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
A Victorian residential subdivision of the Mount Lachlan Estate providing workers housing for the local industries, and a Community Centre. Waterloo Town Hall was built in 1881, reflecting the growing population in Waterloo which peaked at the end of the nineteenth century.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Working class settlement, corner store communities associated with the establishment of the local industries.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Streetscape qualities, landmark buildings (Mt Carmel Convent, Uniting Church and Waterloo Town Hall.
Small scale working class community. Built form responding to the steep topography.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
A local residential focus and continued community focus since the 1850s.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Archaeological potential on redeveloped sites.
Predominantly on redeveloped sites of former industries.
SHR Criteria g)
Representative of Victorian working class development.
Integrity/Intactness: The integrity of the area has been reduced by recent large scale public housing developments.
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:

1.Protection of Significance (a) Subdivision- Retain Victorian subdivision - Do not allow amalgamation of sites (b)Key Period Significant (Contributory) Development: - Retain 1-2 Storey Victorian / Federation terraces and cottages - Retain Victorian Public Buildings and shops - Retain Scale - Maintain building alignment - Retain form - Retain finishes and details - Reinstate verandahs, front fences, lost detail - Protect intact rear lane - Additions to rear not to exceed ridge height and retain original roof form - Discourage front dormers - Promote public buildings - Promote retail strip (c)Other Significant Development: - Retain Federation shops and public buildings 2.Redevelopment of Non Contributing Sites - Encourage reinterpretation of Victorian Subdivision - Respect scale and form of significant development - Respect building line of significant development - Encourage rendered and painted finishes - Encourage contemporary detail - Provide landscape screening - Limit carparking access from street - Do not allow carparking forward of building line - Prepare policy for new Public Housing within the Conservation Area. 3.Enhance Significance of Area - Establish/maintain and enhance street planting to unify streetscape - Encourage render/paint finishes to detracting developments - Remove / Discourage reproduction of Victorian detail in contemporary development - Interpret Victorian park and township - Enhance vistas to south - Prepare Conservation Management Plan for Park - Reinforce Pitt Street boundary of Park with planting - Provide landscape screening to detracting sites 4.FSR and Height Controls Controls to reflect desired future character of area. - Revise height controls to reflect scale of significant development - Encourage retention of significant development ie 6 metres within Conservation Area - FSR controls appropriate - Height controls to adjoining areas on MacLeod Street not to exceed 9 metres 5.Boundary Adjustment - Adjust Conservation Area boundary to exclude areas which do not contribute to an understanding of the significance of the Conservation Area. 6. Other Recommendations - Contributory buildings should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement should be prepared for contributory buildings prior to any major works being undertaken. There shall be no vertical additions to such buildings and no alterations to the façade of the building other than to reinstate original features. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the rear in areas of less significance, should not be visibly prominent and shall be in accordance with the relevant planning controls. - Neutral and detracting buildings should where possible be enhanced. Replacement of such buildings should be in accordance with the infill provisions of the relevant planning controls.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan Sydney LEP 2012C7014 Dec 12   
Local Environmental Plan - LapsedAmendment No 3 SSLEP1998CA5128 Jul 00   
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

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

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2421505

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