Terrace Group "Vermont Terrace" including interiors | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Terrace Group "Vermont Terrace" including interiors

Item details

Name of item: Terrace Group "Vermont Terrace" including interiors
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Terrace
Location: Lat: -33.8587264117021 Long: 151.205204997879
Primary address: 63-65 Lower Fort Street, Dawes Point, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
63-65 Lower Fort StreetDawes PointSydney  Primary Address
63-65 Lower Fort StreetMillers PointSydney  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

Vermont Terrace is a fine, intact and locally rare example of a pair of Federation Queen Anne style dwellings, demonstrating key elements of the style including steeply pitched trussed timber and slate gabled roofs and a face brick façade embellished with polychrome brick decoration. The terrace is a prominent element in the streetscape. It was constructed in 1891 as an investment by the notable Flavelle Family, early entrepreneurs as opticians, watchmakers and jewellers later becoming vice regal jewellers by appointment . Built to be tenanted, the building was in private ownership until 1900 and then owned by the Sydney Harbour Trust and it successors, who managed the property. This changed when the NSW Government made the decision to sell the terraces on freehold title in 2014.
Date significance updated: 05 Aug 16
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.


Physical description: The terrace pair at 63-65 Lower Fort Street fronts Lower Fort Street, and the rear of the lots extend to Downshire Street, whilst the north- western boundary of No 63 adjoins Downshire Place.

The subject building comprises a pair of four storey early Federation Queen- Anne style terraces which includes both an attic and basement level (below the street with open lightwell). The terrace pair features a steeply pitched timber detailed and slate gabled roof, with tall brick corbelled chimneys. The face brick façade is embellished with tuck-pointing and polychrome brick decoration around the door and window fenestration. The façades also feature decorative stone sills on the ground floor windows and cast iron decorative lace balustrades and wrought iron spear fence to the light well.

Internally significant features include the original room layout, the main stairs, timber joinery, fireplace breasts, surviving lath and plaster ceilings and plaster ceiling roses.
Further information: Was a heritage item in 1989, and remains so since that time.

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
Former use: Residential


Historical notes: Historical Overview ( Based on URBIS 2015)
This site 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: http://www.sydneybarani.com.au/

Following the 1851 subdivision of Davis’ land, the land that now comprises No. 63-65 Lower Fort Street was purchased by Marmaduke Constable in 1854. It was later sold on to John Flavelle in 1862.

Historical records and mapping show that the subject site remained vacant for the next 30 years. The Trigonometrical Survey of 1865 indicates a terrace pair footprint on the subject site suggesting that the construction of terraces at 63-65 Fort Street was intended at the time of the drawing of the plans. The adjoining terraces at 67-73 Lower Fort Street are also indicated on the plan but they were not completed and occupied until 1877.

By 1880 Downside Street had been renamed Downshire Street..

The Holtermann Panorama Photo shows the rear elevation of Lower Fort Street in 1875 and the partial construction of Eagleton Terrace adjacent to the Whalers Arms. The subject site between Flavelle’s Townhouse and Eagleton Terrace is still shown as being vacant.

In 1891 John Flavelle invested in the construction of a pair of stylish Federation Queen Anne style houses in polychrome brickwork on the subject site. Like his Regency style terraces of a previous generation and located to the north of the subject site, these new houses were in a strikingly contemporary style and of high quality but, in keeping with changes to the area, they were much more modest in size than the townhouses of earlier days.

Although the architect of No. 63-65 is not definitively known, the architects Morell & Kemp had built new business premises for the Flavelle family in 1888 and it is possible that 63-65 Lower Fort Street were also their work. The terraces at 63-65 Lower Fort Street, now known collectively as ‘Vermont Terrace’, remained under the ownership of the Flavelle family, who rented them out to various tenants, until the resumptions in 1901.

The building footprint of the new terraces were recorded on the 1895 Metropolitan Detail Series plan with separate laundries and outhouses in the rear yard. This plan also shows the allotments are larger than those of the adjoining ‘Eagleton’ Terrace to the south, but did not extend all the way to Downshire Street (or Short Street). The Assessment Book entry for 1895 records the site as being owned by R. Flavelle. A Maritime Services Board Photograph shows the rear elevation of the 63-65 Lower Fort Street as it was in 1914, and clearly shows partially enclosed verandahs to the ground and first floors.

The subject site in its entirety was resumed by the Sydney Harbour Trust in 1901. At this time ‘Vermont Terrace’ was leased as residential dwellings under the ownership of the NSW State Government. It continued to be occupied by various tenants through this time. While wholesale demolition was taking place in Millers Point as part of the resumption, most of the substantial buildings on Lower Fort Street, including Vermont Terrace, were retained.

To the rear of Lower Fort Street, the whole of the old waterfront was removed and the sandstone foreshore excavated to form Hickson Road and Pottinger Street servicing the new wharves and their two-tier store sheds at Walsh Bay. Between 1916 and 1918 the backyards of many of the houses along Lower Fort Street, including Nos. 63-65, were substantially truncated and the outbuildings and rear wings removed as the land was excavated to build Hickson Road and Pottinger Street, as well as a huge retaining wall along the new cliff face.

Parbury’s Bond Store was partially constructed on the previous Downshire Street and a completely new Downshire Street was formed. This new street, essentially a rear access lane, ran close along the west wall of the rear wings of the Flavelle townhouses and removed the original detached outhouses of many of the street’s buildings. 63-65 Lower Fort Street lost approximately half of the rear yard or about a third of the original block. As the owner of these properties, the Sydney Harbour Trust rearranged their back yards and provided modern sanitary conveniences.

Little is known of ‘Vermont Terrace’s’ tenants after the Sydney Harbour Trust acquired the property from John Flavelle. His tenant Joseph Holdsworth continued to live in No. 63 until the World War I years when he was replaced by several other long term residents. 65 Lower Fort Street was occupied by a number of short term and long term tenancies. It is likely that both terraces were used as boarding houses at times. Available records indicate that at the time 63 Lower Fort Street was transferred to the Housing Commission, the property was not a recognised Boarding House; however, in more recent times the City of Sydney Council has sought to inspect the property on the basis that it understands it to be a Boarding House. At the time No 63 was vacated in 2013 it was operating as a single residence.

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-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site provides evidence of the urban development of Millers Point in the late nineteenth century, and particularly of upper class housing. Built to be tenanted, the building was in private ownership until 1900 and then owned by the Sydney Harbour Trust and it successors, who managed the property. This changed when the NSW Government made the decision to sell the terraces on freehold title in 2014.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The subject site is associated with William Davis and the Flavelle brothers, both well-known early entrepreneurs as opticians, watchmakers and jewellers later becoming vice regal jewellers by appointment as well as local property owners. The Flavelle Family owned and constructed a number of terraces in the Millers Point area including the neighbouring terrace group in which they resided at Nos 57-61 Lower Fort Street.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Vermont Terrace is a fine, intact and locally rare example of a pair of Federation Queen Anne style dwellings, demonstrating key lements of the style including steeply pitched trussed timber and slate gabled roofs and a a face brick front façade embellished with polychrome brick decoration. The building is a prominent element in the streetscape.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The terrace, as part of predominantly 19th century housing along Lower Fort Street, is held in high esteem by the local Miller Point Community as well as the wider NSW community.
SHR Criteria f)
A locally rare example of pair of high quality Federation Queen Anne style terraces.
SHR Criteria g)
The terrace pair is representative of the residential development that took place in Millers Point in the late 19th century.
Integrity/Intactness: Moderate to 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:

The building should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement, should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken. All works to the building should be in accordance with CMPs for the two terraces, endorsed by the NSW Heritage Council. There are to be no alterations to the façade of the building other than to reinstate original features. The principal room layout and planning configuration as well as significant internal original features including ceilings, cornices, joinery, flooring and fireplaces should be retained and conserved. The face brickwork is not to be rendered, painted or coated.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I56214 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Conservation Management Guidelines NSW Dept of Housing Properties Millers Point2004 NSW Department of Housing  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City View detail
WrittenUrbis2015Conservation Management Plan, 63 Lower Fort Street, Dawes Point

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

(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: 2423632

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