Millers Point Heritage Conservation Area | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Millers Point Heritage Conservation Area

Item details

Name of item: Millers Point Heritage Conservation Area
Other name/s: Goodye Leightons Point,jack Millers Point, Dawes Point, Tar-ra, Parish St Philip
Primary address: , Millers Point, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney

Boundary:

The area is bounded on the north by waters of Sydney Harbour, on the north-east by the existing Sydney Harbour Bridge, on the east by the Bradfield Highway, on the south by the existing high-rise apartment buildings, on the west by Hickson Road and on the north-west by the cliff edges of Old Millers Point.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
 Millers PointSydney  Primary Address
 Dawes PointSydney  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

Millers Point Heritage Conservation Area is a substantially intact residential and commercial precinct of outstanding State and National significance. It contains buildings and civic spaces dating from the 1830s and is an important example of nineteenth and early twentieth century adaptation of the landscape. Millers Point has changed little since the 1930s.

The natural rocky terrain, despite much alteration, remains the dominant physical element in this significant urban cultural landscape in which land and water, nature and culture are intimately connected historically, socially, visually and functionally.

The close connections between local Aboriginal clans and the place remain evident in the historical records and the geographical place names of the area, as well as the continuing esteem of Sydney’s Aboriginal communities for the place.

Much (but not all) of the colonial-era development was removed in the mass resumptions and demolitions following the bubonic plague outbreak of 1900, but remains substantially represented in the diverse archaeology of the place, its associated historical records, the local place name patterns, some of the remaining merchants villas and terraces, and the walking-scale, low-rise, village-like character of the place with its central ‘green’ in Argyle Place, and its vistas and glimpses of the harbour along its streets and over rooftops and views from the harbour to the area.

The post-colonial phase is well represented by the early 20th century public housing built for waterside workers and their families, the technologically innovative warehousing, the landmark Harbour Bridge approaches on the heights, the parklands marking the edges of the precinct, and the connections to the wharves and docklands still evident in the street patterns, the mixing of houses, shops and pubs, and social and family histories of the local residents.

The Millers Point Heritage Conservation Area has evolved in response to both the physical characteristics of its peninsular location, and to the broader historical patterns and processes that have shaped the development of New South Wales since the 1780s, including the British occupation of the continent; cross-cultural relations; convictism; the defence of Sydney; the spread of maritime industries such as fishing and boat building; transporting and storing goods for export and import; immigration and emigration; astronomical and scientific achievements; small scale manufacturing; wind and gas generated energy production; the growth of controlled and market economies; contested waterfront work practises; the growth of trade unionism; the development of the state’s oldest local government authority the City of Sydney; the development of public health, town planning and heritage conservation as roles for colonial and state government; the provision of religious and spiritual guidance; as inspiration for creative and artistic endeavour; and the evolution and regeneration of locally-distinctive and self-sustaining communities.

The area contains numerous original and characterful views to and from the harbour that are formed by a combination of dramatic topography and long physical evolution. It is the extent, the expansiveness, the change of view of individual buildings as the viewer moves around the water that gives the place distinction and significance. The variety, complexity and scale of views from the wharfs, observatory hill, from roadways, edges of escarpments and walls are significant in defining the character of the area. The area is significant, as aside from the southern edge of the precinct, it is not overpowered by city scale development. The area contains numerous streets and lanes of historical and aesthetic significance. The area contains numerous features such as steps, fences, rock cuttings of historical and aesthetic interest.

The whole place remains a living cultural landscape greatly valued by both its local residents and the people of New South Wales. The value of the area is further enhanced by its separation from the Rocks precinct, which is predominantly commercial in use with Millers Point retaining its residential character, in particular worker housing. This is a rare continuing use. The character of the area is almost defined on a street by street basis rather than a broad precinct basis, but the most striking element is the homogeneity of the whole. With very few exceptions every element of the precinct contributes to the whole in a significant way.

The relative intactness (or interpretation in cases of redevelopment) of the area is representative of measures taken to protect the heritage values of individual buildings and the precinct as a whole since the 1950s by the local community and Heritage/Historic Groups. This led to the listing of Millers Point Heritage Conservation Area and individual listings for items in the area. Within planning control documents.

The Millers Point area is of State and National Significance as a rare urban residential area remnant of early port of Sydney dating from the early 1800s which remains relatively unchanged since the 1930s; exhibits a range of fine buildings and spaces from the 1830s-1920s with high individual integrity, important collection of Government housing (built for port workers) and community maritime associations from European settlement to 20th century. The area has changed little since the 1930s, the high degree of integrity and authenticity area and of individual buildings

The National Trust Centre and associated structures are significant as fine examples of mid-nineteenth century buildings constructed in the Victorian Free Classical and Victorian Regency styles. The buildings have a prominent position and an important visual and contextual relationship with the former Military Hospital building. These buildings have significance as part of the largest national school to be established in the colony during the mid 1850's. They have had a lengthy association with a variety of historically important persons and organisations and are significant as a design of the colony's first Schools Architect, Henry Robertson. The buildings have social significance for their association with the change from denominational to government schooling and for their association with community functions since their construction. The buildings have scientific significance for demonstrating the sequential development of an educational institution.

An important feature of this precinct is the circular stone excavation for the Cahill Expressway that separated the school grounds from observatory hill and from the National Trust Centre (former school buildings) as it marks a phase of development of the city where the whole of the Millers Point area was at considerable risk of loss through new planning policies and development.

The Observatory Hill Park is of outstanding historical significance and a major component of the Observatory Hill precinct. The park commands panoramic views to the north, west and south.
The Observatory is of exceptional significance in terms of European culture. Its dominant location beside and above the port town and, later, City of Sydney made it the site for a range of changing uses, all of which were important to, and reflected, stages in the development of the colony. These uses included: milling (the first windmill); defence (the first, and still extant, fort fabric); communications (the flagstaffs, first semaphore and first electric telegraph connection); astronomy, meteorology and time keeping.

The surviving structures of the Observatory Hill precinct, both above and below ground, are themselves physical documentary evidence of 195 years changes of use, technical development and ways of living. As such they are a continuing resource for investigation and public interpretation.
Observatory Hill has an association with an extensive array of historical figures most of whom have helped shape its fabric. These include: colonial Governors Hunter, Bligh, Macquarie & Denison; military officers and engineers Barrallier; Bellasis and Minchin; convicts: the as yet unnamed constructors of the mill and fort; architects: Greenway (also a convict), Lewis, Blacket, Weaver, Dawson and Barnet; signallers and telegraphists such as Jones and the family Moffitt; astronomers: particularly PP King, Scott, Smalley, Russell, Cooke and Wood.

The elevation of the site, with its harbour and city views and vistas framed by mature Moreton Bay fig (Ficus macrophylla) trees of the surrounding park, make it one of the most pleasant and spectacular locations in Sydney.

The picturesque Italianate character and stylistic interest of the Observatory and residence building, together with the high level of competence of the masonry (brick and stone) of all major structures on the site, combine to create a precinct of unusual quality.

Finally, the continued use of the observatory for astronomical observations and the survival of astronomical instruments, equipment and some early furniture although temporarily dispersed, and the retention of most interior spaces, joinery, plasterwork, fireplaces, and supports ensure that the observatory can remain the most intact and longest serving early scientific building in the State (Kerr 1991: 39). The site is also of significance for relationship of Commonwealth and State powers. It is the site of the first intercolonial conference on meterology and astronomy. (Pearson et al 1999)
The building is an excellent example of a Colonial building erected for scientific purposes and continuing to perform its function at the present time. The structure makes an imposing composition atop the historic hill originally known as Flagstaff Hill and occupies the historic Fort Phillip site (1804-45). It was designed by the colonial architect Alexander Dawson and built in 1858.
Date significance updated: 11 Jan 12
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.

Description

Designer/Maker: Various
Builder/Maker: Various
Construction years: 1788-
Physical description: Character
There is no single or distinctive character to Millers Point. It is made up of: contrasts; juxtaposition of often disparate elements such as the stark edge of cliff or wall against the softer park or walkway, redefined and rebuilt wharf structures with new gentle uses that belie their history and stylistically defined periods of housing development that follows a well established pattern of small lot housing now contrasted with modern apartment/warehouse style dwellings.

Perhaps the starkest contrast is the Victorian terraces fronting the massive scale of the Harbour Bridge with an ease that hardly causes interest, yet in contemporary terms the Bridge would be considered to be detracting and hostile within the setting of terrace housing. This theme was explored when the bridge was constructed with a number of local artists illustrating this juxtaposition.

Important in understanding the character is understanding that most of the housing was integrally linked to the wharf activity providing housing for workers between 1912 and the 1970’s. This occurred until recent years with the closure of the wharves and sale of public land. Prior to public housing the proliferation of pubs provided accommodation for the transient population arising out of their location near the wharfs, terrace shops provided services to the area whilst in Lower Fort Street wealthier people built terraces that had association with the wharves. It has been an integrated community of residential, supporting commercial and industrial development with strong links between the port and residential areas seen in the numerous walkways and broad steps that provided access not only for local residents but also for more distant workers who would have frequented the numerous pubs of the locality.

The value of the area is further enhanced by its separation from the Rocks precinct that has existed historically but which was reinforced following the construction of the Harbour Bridge. This separation is a functional one with the Rocks now predominantly commercial in use with Millers Point retaining its residential character, in particular worker housing. This is a rare continuing use that is generally under threat within the close inner city area.

The character is almost defined on a street by street basis rather than a broad precinct basis, but the most striking element is the homogeneity of the whole. With very few exceptions every element of the precinct contributes to the whole in an important way. Even the accommodation of buses on the edge of Argyle Square, dating from 1901, adds an element to the precinct of interest and value. In fact the greatest risk to the character of the area is the possible removal of all of the “undesirable” aspects of development and the gradual gentrification and softening of the traditionally hard edge of the area. While the area has had a range of development phases which have included gentrification and the establishment of substantial townhouses in prominent locations much of the area has had more modest worker housing and industry as its focus.

The gradual loss over time of port activity within the area, but also in adjacent areas to the west, has been a threat to the heritage value and character of the precinct as adaptation and re-use have seen significant structures change and in some cases removed. Introduced urban improvements to public lands are another potential threat to the heritage character of the area. New public realm works need to be carefully considered in terms of their fit into the character of the area so that they are clearly layered and where possible minimised to reduce the clutter that can arise from layers of signs and works. Other intrusions into the character are the proliferation of signs, meters, line markings etc that subtly and incrementally change character. Retention of all of the minor features such as kerbs and gutters, fencing, stonework, pavement types an hard surfaces assist in retaining the setting. Overuse of elements such as planting, street trees, pavement improvements, while in themselves attractive, and needed to maintain the environment, change the historic character of the area. These new elements should be used with care looking to follow patterns of planting and use of finishes that have historic precedent.

Interestingly only two streets feature residential development on either side of the road so that there is an enclosed residential character, most streets face either parks, the port or port related warehousing. This creates a diverse and interesting setting for the residential buildings. A network of lanes and accessways also remains, dating from early and later development. Some of these were for night cart access, others provided the pedestrian network that weaves through the area. Millers Point possesses an array of roadway types and forms such as adjacent roadways separated vertically, bridges, cuttings, ramps, which forms a three-dimensional or vertical layer of street patterns. For example there is the Argyle Cut, Harbour Bridge over Argyle, High Street adjacent to Hickson Road but metres higher, bridges over Hickson road and ramps such as Pottinger Street and Walsh Road and very few rectilinear street intersections. There are streets that mostly intersect at acute angles.
Many corners of blocks feature key buildings that are defining elements of the area’s character. These include the Garrison Church, various hotels, shops and the post office. The rows of port housing from c1912 also feature strong end buildings to create complete and designed streetscapes using asymmetrical massing, roof elements on key buildings and careful massing and modulation to mark the development and provide scale to the long streetscapes.

Perhaps the centre of the precinct is Argyle Place with its rare and distinctive central park area. This is a very fine urban space that is now somewhat marred by parking, particularly taxi stands.
Observatory Hill is another rare urban space that has remained in its open form with the Observatory located at its heart. The elevated setting, the open grassland with mature trees, the few built features such as the bandstand and the enclosed observatory garden provide a place of exceptional value. Paths, walks, stairs and links to and through this space link it to Millers Point, the Rocks and the city.

An important feature of the precinct but not a highly visible one is the circular stone excavation for the Cahill Expressway that separated the school grounds from Observatory Hill and from the National Trust Centre (former school buildings). Again this is a construction that would not now take place (tunnelling would be used in preference) and it marks a phase of development of the city where the whole of the Millers Point area was at considerable risk of loss through new planning policies and development. It is noted that plans have been proposed to cover the cut in the past to reinstate the park area.

A key characteristic of the area is the extensive use of street tree plantings that flank most streetscapes. These are attractive and provide a distinct soft character to the area. This contrasts with the historic character that for many streets was stark as evidenced in early photographs.

Another important characteristic of the area is the network of lanes, pedestrian ways, stairs and small public spaces. Figure 4.1 and 4.2 illustrate the stairs, retaining walls and palisade fences, which are important characteristic of the area. Figure 4.3 illustrates some of the pedestrian network that operates apart from the footpath network related to streets. This network has been created through the changes of level, the need to move workers from the wharves to the residential and commercial areas and from the network of rear lanes and accessways some of which have public access. These routes provide an interesting way of moving through the area offering views both to the Harbour but also to rears of buildings and generally unseen aspects of an area. Broad views are common within the area and often with a backdrop of the harbour.

Of interest in Millers Point is the integration of some of the earlier building stock and development into the massive reconstruction of the wharf precinct under the new Ports Authority and the way in which the design of roads boldly incorporated these elements.

A detail of interest is the change seen in the design of street features such as kerbing and edging from the more widely used stone kerb and gutter to the use of concrete and steel edging in high traffic areas to resist the impact of vehicles mounting kerbs. This is seen throughout this area where bridges and new and old roads intersect.

Streetscapes
All streets within the area are regarded as having a “Street Rating A: meaning Highly intact streetscapes of the key period (or periods) of significance for the heritage conservation area.”
Kent Street:

The part of Kent Street that falls within the precinct retains the most intact Victorian streetscape with terrace rows and individual buildings on east and west. The only significant detracting development is the more recent hotel on the corner of High Street with its uncharacteristic scale and form (even though designed to articulate in an attempt to fit into the streetscape). The northern end of the street is marked by early twentieth century buildings in the post office and fine retail building at No 21 that links the group to the 1912 port development. Points of interest are the Agar Steps with the small group of ascending houses creating one of the most interesting and scenic housing groups in the city, the adjacent tennis court and quarry face behind and the relocated Richmond Villa in slightly truncated form. Kent Street is one of three streets, which feature historic residential development on both sides. It has a strong enclosed street character and acts as a channel or buffer between the city and Millers Point. Prior to the construction of the Hickson Road and the related excavation of the escarpment, Kent Street continued north of Windmill Street, descending steeply to the harbour shore, east of Towns Wharf.
The southern end of the area demonstrates changing road levels over time where the stone cut in front of Nos 119 -130 leaves those buildings elevated well above the roadway with a rock cut to the street edge.

The public housing infill buildings at No 64 are neutral and fit into the character of the street.
While the quarry face to the east encloses the area, only glimpses of it are available behind the housing. Limited views out to the harbour are available through High Street and the several lanes.

High Street:
High Street was created after 1900 as part of the reconstruction of the port under the new Sydney Harbour Trust. Hickson Road was cut out of the cliff face, the land raised above and levelled and the new streetscape containing the purpose built worker housing that steps down the slope to the central park area/Lance Kindergarten provided to compensate for the lack of backyards and open space related to each unit. The low point at the centre of the street provided bridge access to the former wharf buildings beyond, similarly to the present Walsh Bay access to the upper level of the wharfs.
The area features intact housing that extends around the corner to link with Kent Street and the very fine retail buildings that mark the edge of the area fronting Argyle Street. The area also features the high rock cut and retaining wall with its striking palisade fencing.
One of the most striking attributes of the streetscape as it is now found is the dramatic sense of height and space providing it with expansive and open views to the Harbour, views up to the rear of Kent Street, down to Hickson Road and across the southwest/west to Balmain. This contrasts with its built form where the roof forms of the warehouse buildings fronting Hickson Road would have intruded into the viewscape.
High Street is unique due to the symmetry of its incline from both the North and South ends to the central low point (at Lance Kindergarten), an aspect that has been reinforced by the symmetrical design of the public housing either side of the Kindergarten.

Argyle Street and Argyle Place:
The Argyle Square area is the core of the Millers Point precinct. Its unique form with the central park flanked by early houses and the church, the Argyle cut and the landscape of Observatory Hill provide one of the iconic heritage sites in the city. It is contained at the west end by the Millers Point Post Office and other corner buildings. Presently the area is dominated by parking, public transport and traffic as it provides access to the Rocks, to the city to Observatory Hill and Hickson Road as well as accommodating civic events in particular the steady stream of weddings centred around the Garrison Church and Observatory Hill.
Views are both contained within the Square and extend out through the cut to the Rocks and along the connecting streets. The landscape is a key feature of the location.

Merriman Street and Rhodens Lane:
Merriman Street and Rhodens Lane together with connecting passageways (navigated) is a remnant streetscape of early Victorian buildings from the earliest stages of development of the area. Located on the top of the Millers Point promontory the hill has been cut away on all sides leaving this group and the Dalgety and Munn Street buildings isolated from their traditional links into the area and sitting elevated above the wharfs and road system below. The Merriman Street group now has an outstanding outlook over the wharf areas below that contrasts with the modesty and diminutive scale of the buildings. The outlook and setting are key elements of the character of this isolated group of buildings.

The street has a small park at each end that is the remnant of the earlier hilltop and which is a pleasant but unrelated element to the Victorian setting. The buildings fall into mostly terrace groups of various styles, all modest and several free standing cottages to the north, the end cottage with an unusual oblique wall. The Ports Authority control tower is located in the street extending from the port below to well above roof tops.

Dalgety Street:
Dalgety Street was created as one of the major road links between Hickson Road and the lower level of wharfage to the upper level streets accessing the warehousing on the wharfs. It is a broad sweeping street with a gentle gradient to allow easy movement of vehicles. The street formation is characterised by stone retaining walls and rock cut extending from the cut in Hickson Road to the curved rock faced stone retaining walls flanking the western edge of the street. The street then extends over one of the concrete arched road bridges linking it to Argyle Street.

The street formation and elements are of high significance and contrast starkly with the earlier narrow road configurations that features throughout this area and the Rocks precinct. In combination with streets such as High Street, Windmill Street and Hickson Street a clear planned overlay of heavy vehicle movement can be seen in the area.

Dalgety Street also provides clear demonstration of the changing of levels in the area with the small group of remaining Victorian terraces now set above the retaining wall with a pedestrian walkway for access in place of the original narrow winding road.
Of interest is the integration of some of the earlier building stock and development into the massive reconstruction of the wharf precinct under the new Ports Authority and the way in which the design of roads boldly incorporated these elements.
A detail of interest is the change seen in the design of street features such as kerbing and edging from the more widely used stone kerb and gutter to the use of concrete and steel edging in high traffic areas to resist the impact of vehicles mounting kerbs. This is seen throughout this area where bridges and new and old roads intersect.

Bettington Street:
Bettington Street is one of the small streets on the former Millers Point headland that now links the 1912 road construction to the remaining streets and lanes. It contains several buildings including the hotel on the corner which provides one of the strong and important character features of this area and marks the 1912 port development period with its fine Federation architecture. Adjacent to this are the rear of a terrace row (one now demolished) also from the 1912 port development. Attached to the rear of the Merriman Street housing are several early Victorian terraces and some modest infill housing that is neutral in its contribution to the area.
The street extends to Dalgety Street which dominates the locality with its broad sweep into Argyle Street.
The street is otherwise modest in its contribution to the area.

Munn Street:
Munn Street is now a remnant piece of road that has been heavily modified removing its functional role of a wide carriageway providing easy access for vehicles into the bond stores to which it connects. The street features a concrete arched road bridge over Hickson Road and a change of level with the hotel and terrace row to the north set well above the street atop a rock faced stone retaining wall. The use of changes of level to provide access also saw the construction of often complex and well-detailed stairs as is seen at the corner of the hotel where a complex stair is a key feature of the area.
The current parkland built over the road surface and around the end of the terrace row is of no significance or particular value even though it provides pleasant open space. Key elements identified in the description of Dalgety Street in terms of kerbs and walls are also seen in this location.

Windmill Street:
Windmill Street together with Lower Fort Street, Kent Street and Argyle Street is one of the earliest streets constructed in Millers Point and so named as it provided access to the Windmill.
Windmill Street is one of the most mixed streets in the area, comprising a long row of attached apartments built in 1912 as part of the port development fronting warehousing and access to the upper level of the Walsh Bay wharfs, terminating at one end with one of the group of three bridges built over Hickson Road in the 1912 work and at the other end at the junction with Lower Fort street with a group of early residences that link to the buildings and Victorian character of Lower Fort Street rather than the predominant Federation character of Windmill Street.

The corner buildings on Lower Fort Street ( 82-92 Windmill Street) are both of outstanding significance and are some of the earliest remaining buildings in the area having been constructed in the 1850s. No 84 was constructed as a shop and residence in 1855 and was operated by the Musgraves until 1897. These buildings are important streetscape and character elements in the Heritage Conservation Area.

The topographical form of the street is unusual as it is largely created by a benched cut of the steep hillside that is level for most of its length only rising to the east to align with the early housing. This results in a stone cut at the rear of the 1912 residences that forms their back and a change in level to the earlier terraces above. On the Walsh Bay side the cut was on the edge of the road alignment with the warehousing extending down to the Hickson Road alignment. The buildings on this side address Windmill Street with pedestrian and vehicular entrances.
Several new infill buildings have been inserted between Windmill and Hickson Roads with success as they follow established patterns of height and scale.

Lower Fort Street and Trinity Avenue:
This area encompasses a range of building types from the grand terrace and townhouses at the northern end of the street to modest terracing against the bridge to substantial Federation terrace housing built in relation to the church and the port development to early (and later) hotels and corner shops. The mix provides one of the most interesting and strongest housing precincts in the city strengthened by its continuing use for residential purposes. Lower Fort Street is one of the earliest streets constructed. The residences at Nos. 37 (1828), 43 and 79 (1842) were constructed by the 1840s and are some of the earliest remaining in the area and the two corner pubs, Hero of Waterloo and the former Young Princess date from the 1830s.

The street character has been slightly altered by the demolition of three buildings (Dawes Point Battery offices and residences) on the eastern side of the street for construction of the Harbour Bridge, but despite the scale and dominance of the bridge, the open space under it allows the residential character and quality of the street to remain. Overall the construction of the Harbour Bridge had minimal impact on the streetscape (relative to the impact on Cumberland Street). The character of the street has also survived despite the excavation of the port land behind many of the houses that sets them well above surrounding development with commanding views to the harbour and as prominent landmark features when viewed from the harbour and the headlands beyond. The network of lanes and accessways that connect to the rear of properties and to the Hickson Road area add interest, provide slot views and create a dense network of pedestrian access that reflects the early stages of development of the area.

The street has added interest through the change of direction at midpoint that closes long views. Views are further contained by the mature street tree planting that restricts views to the buildings. The incorporation of cut rock faces (end of Trinity Road) and the view of the bridge abutments behind much of the housing further defines and encloses the streetscape. The street terminates at Argyle Square and the Garrison church which is one of the core character areas of the Conservation Area. At the northern end as the viewscape expands towards and then under the bridge with views opening up of the Harbour there is a strong contrast with the open views available from other streets such as High Street and Merriman Street.
Features such as the stairs connecting to Hickson Road, palisade fencing, stone walls defining parks and the connecting road to the last overbridge to the wharf are all key elements of the character of this diverse streetscape.


Observatory Hill Area:
Observatory Hill or the area defined by the rock cut and retaining walls that separates the top of the hill from the residential area below. This area largely retains its original landform near the crown of the hill although probably somewhat modified over time with fill behind the various stone retaining walls to create a gentler slope. This area features the observatory complex with its contained garden and fine group of buildings, the rotunda and the mature fig plantings in the park as well as Meteorological Building, Sydney Observatory Messengers Cottage, Messenger’s Cottage for Fort Phillip Signal Station, the early school buildings, now the National Trust Centre, and the more recent school buildings set on the circular piece of land left after the excavation for the Cahill Expressway. The two school complexes were connected by footbridges that now form part of the pedestrian access network from the bridge to the city.

The parklands offer expansive and elevated harbour views and are visible from many points in the area and are set with the Harbour Bridge as a backdrop which is an iconic location in Sydney.

Views
A key attribute of the Millers Point area is views to the area and views from various parts of the locality. The views and vistas range from broad panoramic outlooks from elevated locations to streetscapes, slot views down and up stairs and lanes, views to the Harbour Bridge from a number of locations and views under the bridge to the Opera House.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Much of Millers Point retains high archaeological potential, as demonstrated in reports by Higginbotham et al, notably Observatory Hill, Fort Street School and its immediate environment, and under all c.1900 buildings, external spaces and asphalted areas. Millers Point is notable for the presence of the earliest known above-ground archaeological structures relating to Fort Phillip. Archaeological significance and potential to reveal items of historical merit is considerably higher than elsewhere in the Sydney CBD. Its potential archaeological integrity has been protected through the lack of extensive redevelopment of the Millers Point area during the twentieth century. The building stock of Millers Point is in varying condition, from excellent to fair, and is representative of building styles, intact through the resumption process, dating from each decade from the 1820s to the 1930s. Occasional exceptions are newer facilities introduced in the later twentieth century, such as the Baby Health Centre
Date condition updated:02 Dec 11
Modifications and dates: 1790s - government windmills built on the high land; construction of Dawes Point fort and observatory. 1804 - construction of Fort Phillip on the heights of the peninsula ridge. 1820s-80s spread of urban development across whole precinct.
1850s - adaptation of Fort Phillip site for Observatory and parklands 1900s - post plague demolitions and rebuildings throughout the precinct, less so in Dawes Point. 1910s-20s - construction of Walsh Bay wharves.
1920s - construction of Sydney Harbour Bridge and approaches on the heights of the peninsula ridge. 1970s-80s - construction of Darling Habour wharves, moving the western shoreline c200 metres westwards. Several phases of development are evident across the Millers Point landscape, governed by periods of prosperity and social change:
1788-1820: Early European alterations to the natural environment including the establishment of quarries and early roadway infrastructure.
c.1820-1850: Significant modification of the original Millers Point landscape occurred during the establishment phase of maritime industries, with wharves, commercial/warehouse premises and residential quarters constructed to fill local demand, together with local features such as the Argyle Cut. c.1850-1890s: A steady progression of larger-scale commercial housing edged out the smaller structures, and a changing economic climate resulted in housing adapted from large single buildings to boarding houses and temporary accommodation. Also 1870s-1880s boom and better transport allowed managers/owners to relocate to more salubrious areas (Potts Point etc)
c.1890s-1900s: A further phase of modification of the area occurred in the late nineteenth century with Council street re-alignment and modernisation, with a subsequent mass resumption in the early twentieth century, with the plague epidemic serving as grounds for political expedience. 1905-1918: Following redevelopment or reconstruction of wharves/worker housing in the early twentieth century, only sporadic modification has been carried out on the Millers Point landscape, so that it provides intact examples of nineteenth and twentieth century industry and community. 1932: Construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge altered the visual qualities, streetscape and social isolation of Millers Point, from that of The Rocks and the city proper, as well as reinforcing the ‘village’ community and perceptions.
C.1950-1990s Limited modifications to the landscape
Further information: All individual listings for Millers Point are an integral part of the whole precinct and are of the same level of State significance as the precinct. The area is generally in State Government ownership and most individual items are identified in s170 registers of owning authorities (mainly Department of Housing). All items sold to private ownership are protected by SHR listings; however, recent practice has been to retain State ownership and sell leasehold only.

The Millers Point Conservation Area as defined in the City of Sydney LEP 2011 does not include the Walsh Bay Precinct which is covered by an REP. The Walsh Bay Precinct is integral to the Millers Point Conservation Area and should be incorporated as part of the area when new planning instrurments are drafted.

The Millers Point context is strengthened by the contribution of the local community, which is firmly committed to the preservation of the suburb’s unique character and sponsored the heritage listing nomination to ensure the protection of Millers Point. The area is held in deep affection by the residents, many of whom have family connections that can be traced through preceding generations of the Millers Point population, and/or have links to maritime industries. The historic, social and physical fabric of Millers Point cannot therefore be considered as separate components, but rather as interwoven traits making up the precinct so that an unusually high and rare degree of social significance can be ascribed to this area.

History

Historical notes: Development Phases

1788-1810-Settling at Sydney Cove
European settlement of Australia with the arrival of the First Fleet and establishment of the penal colony at Sydney Cove and the banks of the Tank Stream. The high ground of the promontory on the west side of the Cove used for defence (battery), communication (flagstaff) and exploration (observatory). In this era the promontory is notable for the number of early events associated with the European settlement of Australia - first observatory at Dawes Point (1788), first flag station on Observatory Hill (1788), the first windmill (1797) and the fort on Observatory Hill (1804). The natural topography of the promontory however deterred permanent settlement with access from Sydney Cove limited owing to the rock outcrops.

1810-1830s-Moving to Millers Point
The beginning of the transformation of Sydney from a penal outpost to trading port and the development of private enterprise to feed, clothe and shelter the population and the influx of free settlers as business opportunities opened. The building of the first generation of wharves and store houses in the 1820s principally engaged in the whale and seal trade. The area also supported quarrymen and tradesmen engaged in maritime activities. The first streets were laid out leading to the windmills erected by Nathanial Lucas and Jack Leighton (1810s probably). In the 1830s wharf building activity increased considerably as the colony’s economy entered into a boom driven by exports of pastoral products namely wool. Around Millers Point the likes of Henry Moore and J.B. Bettington and James Munn and up trading wharves as did T.G. Pittman, John Lamb and William Brown, and William Walker along Walsh Bay. The higher ground which offered views of the wharves and harbour surrounds and enjoyed beneficial cooling breezes and fresh air was utilised for building residences (freestanding dwellings and terraces) for the merchants, and a military hospital (1815). Houses for the working class were also erected.

1840s-Forming the Village
By the late 1830s a distinct street layout had emerged in Millers Point, but one which did not connect with the town centre to the east. Over the 1840s the village was connected to the town in extending Kent Street as quarrying of Observatory Hill progressed and the Argyle Cut was slowly put through from 1843 to extend Argyle Street and form Argyle Place. Other new streets were formed to service the wharf areas. The genesis of the village was formalised in the construction of the Holy Trinty Church and St. Brigid’s Chapel. Following the cessation of convict transportation to New South Wales in 1841, the colony faced a new and uncertain future with a severe economic downturn following the collapse of the pastoral boom. Associated with the birth of this new era came the town’s first municipal council established in 1842 and the provision of rudimentary services such as reticulated water and public works in street forming such as the Argyle Cut.

1850s-Gold Rush
Discovery of gold in New South Wales and the onset of the Gold Rush brought a massive influx of migrants and capital which transformed colonial society. Representative government in New South Wales came in 1856, while expansion of the town of Sydney in the new suburban areas encouraged a drift of the middle classes away from the older settled areas. Changes in the education system and emerging interest in the sciences heralded the opening of the Fort Street Model School in the refurbished Military Hospital in 1850 and the construction of the Observatory, utilising the hexagonal walls of the former Fort Phillip, in 1859.

1860s-1870s-Commercial Expansion
The influx of capital generated through the expansion of the economy with the ongoing gold rush and emerging technologies such as steam powered machinery and ships, and ever larger traditional sailing vessels, led to a new wave of wharf expansion with new purpose built jetties and warehouses. The handling of goods became increasingly specialised with an emphasis on wool exports replacing more general cargoes. Around Millers Point there was an influx of workers to meet the demand for labour on the wharves, and a gradual withdrawal of the middle classes from the increasingly commercialised and industrialised harbour front.

1880s-1890s-A City in crisis
The dominance of wharf labourers in Millers Point with their seasonal, intermittent and poorly paid unskilled work became more pronounced and conflict mounted with the stevedoring companies over pay and conditions. The long simmering tensions resulted in the unsuccessful three month long Great Maritime Strike of 1890. The subsequent blacklisting of union members combined with the economic downturn of the early 1890s resulted in large scale unemployment and hardship in the area. A symptom of this social crisis of the time was the advent of the Push or gangs of larrikins terrorising residents and visitors. In the wider picture, the great building boom of the 1880s had placed enormous strains on government infrastructure in transport, water, sewerage and drainage, education, health services, etc. The port of Sydney which had evolved with little government oversight over the nineteenth century needed radical replanning to face the new century as the commercial wharf operators faced new challenges to meet the demands of the technological advances in overseas shipping.

1900-1940s- A Company Town
On the outbreak of bubonic plague in 1900 the government’s initial response was in passing the Darling Harbour Wharves Resumption Act to resume the wharf areas. The government then moved to manage and rebuild the port facilities in appointing the Sydney Harbour Trust, and the City Improvement Advisory Board to consider the future of the Rocks Resumption Area. With federation in 1901 and the end of the drought that had depressed pastoral exports the finances of the government of New South Wales improved dramatically and many of the infrastructure problems of the late nineteenth century were remedied over first decades of the new century. The construction of Hickson Road and large modern finger wharfs at the newly named Walsh and razing of older residential and commercial building stock was achieved over 1906-1922. In 1901 an electric tram service to Argyle Place broke the sense of isolation from the city and may have helped diminish the debilitating effects of the local Push. Two world wars and the depression years however abated the rate of reform achieved earlier in the century, but the long held dream of a bridge over Sydney Harbour came to fruition in 1932. On the social front, the outbreak of war in the Pacific in 1941 placed great demands on the wharves and indirectly led to wide ranging labour reforms on the waterfront.

1950s-1970s- A Different Age
The post war boom of the early 1960s resulted in major development pressures in the city with the coming of high rise buildings. Some of the earliest high rise buildings were erected fronting the southern and eastern frontages of Circular Quay and southern fringe of Millers Point. In 1963 there was an initial government proposal to redevelop The Rocks with high rise buildings, which was revised in 1968 and the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority established to oversee the development. While continuing under the administration of the Maritime Services Board, a similar move on Millers Point was widely anticipated. Concurrently, the Maritime Services Board embarked on a ten year plan in 1966 to remodel the Darling Harbour wharfs and build Port Botany to handle container and roll-on-roll-off shipping traffic. The Walsh Bay wharves having become increasingly ill suited to modern shipping requirements and largely obsolete for commercial shipping. The threat imposed by development on heritage buildings was abated through the Wran (Labour) Government introduced the NSW Heritage Act which culminating years of public agitation to protect sites of heritage significance from development.

1980s-2000- A Different Outlook
In confronting a depressed financial outlook in the early 1980s, the government instigated in 1983 the Efficiency Audit Division of the Public Service Board which resulted in Maritime Services Board being divested of all non-port related land and the public housing in Millers Point was transferred to the Housing Commission. Faced with redundant wharves at Walsh Bay, Pyrmont and Woolloomooloo the Maritime Services Board sought private investment to provide alternative uses. With development pressures afoot again measures were taken to protect the heritage values of individual buildings and the precinct as a Heritage Conservation Area in 1988. New residential apartments were also built in Millers Point for the first time since the 1910s albeit for a different client base.

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. Residential-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The area was occupied by the Cadigal, Wangal, Borogegal and Gameragal clans. The Precinct retains some of these clans place names and is illustrated by several early colonial artists and cartographers in its pre-colonial landform and vegetation, sometimes with Aboriginal people in view, making it one of the oldest places on the continent so depicted. There is evidence that there were Aboriginal people using Millers Point until at least the 1840s.• Millers Point & Walsh Bay Special Area is of state significance for its ability to demonstrate, in its physical forms and associated documentary evidence, over 200 years of European settlement – making it one of a few sites in Australia to display the oldest such continuum of evidence on one site since the beginning of British colonisation in 1788.

The elevated height, abundance of sandstone and long shoreline of Aboriginal middens along Darling Harbour was important in encouraging industrial, commercial and defence activities in the area.

British settlement in the area began with the first colonial fortifications, then the development of wharves and dock facilities and their associated housing. The outbreak of the Plague in 1900 and the consequent mass-resumption of the area and its large-scale rebuilding during the early 20th century was a significant period. It was followed with the development of waterside trade, underlain by a continuing separation from the rest of the City of Sydney by topography and social differentiations to the present day. All of these historical phases remain evident in the area.

The area is of state and national significance due to its unique characteristics, composition, architectural diversity and its continuity of nineteenth and twentieth century residential and maritime elements. It is a living community with clearly discernible links to the maritime industries that formed the village’s core from the early part of the nineteenth century, and one that has long-term memories of the precinct’s fabric and relevance. Its architecture is representative of each decade from the 1820s to the 1930s, with many structures of excellent aesthetic, technical or rare value.

The street pattern of this suburb demonstrates both early nineteenth century transport routes, early haphazard development and replanning and urban design in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Further, it provides evidence of early twentieth century government policy, with large portions of the landscape re-shaped in response to the bubonic plague health crisis and through resumption by the State government. It features, virtually intact, residential areas, port and stevedoring works created by the Sydney Harbour Trust, 1900 1930, in response to the Sydney plague and the requirements of maritime trade at that time

Millers Point contains dwellings, shops, businesses, warehouses,, churches, schools, institutions and related maritime structures that remain closely affiliated to the community today in a meaningful fashion. The area contains both private and government controlled components that merge seamlessly into a cohesive whole.

An important feature of the area is the circular stone excavation for the Cahill Expressway that separated the school grounds from observatory hill and from the National Trust Centre (former school buildings) as it marks a phase of development of the city where the whole of the Millers Point area was at considerable risk of loss through new planning policies and development.

The National Trust Centre (and associated buildings) are significant as part of the first 'model school' of the Board of Education, established in Sydney during the mid 1850s and also as a remnant of the first military hospital. The buildings have had a lengthy association with a variety of historically important persons and organisations and are significant as a design of the colony's first Schools Architect, Henry Robertson. The buildings are a remnant of the first Military Hospital. They have historic significance at a State level.

The Observatory's dominant location beside and above the port town, and later, city of Sydney, made it the site for a range of changing uses. All of these were important to, and reflected changes in the development of the colony.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Millers Point is of State significance for its many associations with many women and men significant in the history of NSW.

Indigenous
Cadigal people of the area; Colbee, a Cadigal ‘leading man’ in the 1790s;

Non Indigenous
Jack ‘the miller’ Leighton, wind mill owner;
William Walker, merchant;
Henry Moore, merchant;
Robert Towns, merchant;
Sisters of St Joseph, Catholic nuns at St Brigit’s;
the ‘Millers Point Push’, gangsters of the Point;
Ted Brady, wharf labourer, ALP and Communist Part stalwart;
Arthur Payne, first sufferer of the Plague in 1900;
William Morris Hughes, union leader and later prime minister;
Waterside Workers Federation (WWF), union established in 1902;
• Jim Healy, general secretary WWF 1937-1961;
Harry Jensen, Lord Mayor of Sydney 1957-1965;
‘Pointer’ families that give the Precinct its distinctive social character;
Colonial merchant class, represented by ownership of Bligh House (43 Lower Fort St) know also as ‘Clydebank’ by the Campbell family which Robert Crawford, Principal Clerk to Alexander Macleay lived in;
Later merchant class who invested in major warehouses (Towns and Parbury);
Prominent Sydney citizens of the mid nineteenth century such as John Fairfax of the Sydney Morning Herald who enjoyed the proximity to the town. (The relatively modest scale of the houses at Miller's Point, and the relative importance of its pre 1870 inhabitants reflects the economic circumstances and the aspirations of the citizens of the town of Sydney);
1880s property investors who built substantial rows of terrace houses of which 1-19 Lower Fort Street is the finest in Miller's Point, and the grandest surviving terrace in New South Wales;
• Publicans, as key civic figures, for example, the Armstrong family of the Palisade Hotel; the Irish community, as a major social group,
Significant architects and their work: H. Ginn & E. Blacket : Holy Trinity Church; W. L. Vernon : Post Office; A. Dawson : Observatory; J. Watts and M. Lewis : Fort Street School (also H. Robertson); M. Lewis : Richmond Villa, Kent Street (moved from Domain c.1975); J. Verge : 39 41 Lower Fort Street; G. McRae : 1910s workers' housing; V. Parkes : proposals c.1910 to Sydney Redevelopment Advisory Board for new hygienic tenaments between Argyle Place and Windmill Street; W. Wardell : Grafton Bond Store,

Members of the Sydney Harbour Trust Board: RRP Hickson, chairman Sydney Harbour Trust

Artists, and the discovery of the pictorial qualities of Australia including urban squalor, waterfront incident and the harbour bridge: Prout and Rae 1840s in Sydney Illustrated; S. Elyard 1860s; Lindsay family c.1900; W. Hardy Wilson c.1910;Cazneaux c.1920; Dorrit Black c.1930.

The Observatory has an association with an extensive array of historical figures, most of whom have helped shape its fabric. These include colonial governors, military officers and enginers, convicts, architects and astronomers (Kerr 1991: 39)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
MillersPoint is of state significance for its landmark qualities as a terraced sandstone peninsula providing an eastern ‘wall’ to the inner harbour and supporting the fortress-like southern approaches to the Sydney Harbour Bridge; for its aesthetic distinctiveness as a walking-scale, low-rise, village-like harbourside district with its central ‘green’ in Argyle Place, and its vistas and glimpses of the harbour along its streets and from escarpments, as well as for the technical innovations evident in the remoulding of the natural peninsular landform from the hand-picked Argyle Cut to the ongoing levelling and terracing of the western slopes..

The area contains numerous original and characterful views to and from the harbour that are formed by a combination of dramatic topography and long physical evolution. It is the extent, the expansiveness, the change of view of individual buildings as the viewer moves around the water that gives the place distinction and significance.

The area is distinctive in that the escarpment edge is sharply defined by rock faces, concrete walls and vertical barriers that separate it from the waterfront.

The area is distinctive in that it has no single character but is made up of contrasts; juxtapositions of often disparate elements such as the stark edge of cliff or wall against the softer park or walkway; redefined and rebuilt wharf structures with new gently uses that belie their history, stylistically defined period of housing development that follows a well established pattern of small lot housing now contrasted with modern apartment/warehouse style dwellings.

The variety, complexity and scale of views from the wharfs, observatory hill, from roadways, edges of escarpments and walls are significant in defining the character of the area. The area is significant as aside from the southern edge of the precinct it is not overpowered by city scale development. The area contains numerous streets and lanes of historical and aesthetic interest. The area contains numerous features such as steps, fences, rock cuttings of historical and aesthetic interest.

The value of the area is further enhanced by its separation from the Rocks precinct which is predominantly commercial in use with Millers Point retaining its residential character, in particular worker housing. This is a rare continuing use. The character of the area is almost defined on a street by street basis rather than a broad precinct basis. With very few exceptions every element of the precinct contributes to the whole in a significant way.

The area has long been a source of creative inspiration, being imaginatively depicted by painters such as Joseph Fowles, James Taylor, Frederick Gosling, Eugene Delessert, Rebecca Hall, Samuel Elyard and John Rae in the mid-19th century and Lionel Lindsay, Sydney Long and Harold Greenhill in the early to mid-20th century; by photographers such as Johann Degotardi and Bernard Holtermann in the 1870s, John Harvey and Melvin Vaniman in the early 20th century, and Harold Cazneaux and Sam Hood in the 1930s; as well as being cartographically rendered by colonial map makers such as Dawes (1788), Lesueur (1802), Meehan (1807) and Harper (1823) and later engravers such as those working for Gibbs Shallard (1878) and the Illustrated Sydney News (1888).

The area has a range of architectural styles that are both intact and excellent examples of their type, many of which are rare surviving shops and dwellings, with specific importance attributed to the Observatory, Fort Street School, Holy Trinity Church and Millers Point Post Office, as well as colonial housing, hotels, and commercial amenities. It demonstrates characteristic dramatic harbourside topography that has been modified for human purposes, and is regarded as a complete and cohesive area due to contributory materials, form and scale, with clear definition brought about through the location of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bradfield Highway, Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour.

It demonstrates technical and creative excellence of the period 1820 to 1930, including, warehousing, civic facilities and landscaping, the observatory, hotels, public housing and its support facilities, colonial housing and the Garrison Church buildings. This is contrasted with modern apartment/warehouse style dwellings and the redeveloped wharves.

The National Trust Centre (and associated buildings) are significant for their sequential development initially as a Military Hospital and then as an educational institution throughout the last half of the nineteenth century. They have aesthetic significance at a State and local level.

The elevation of the Observatory site with its harbour and city views and vistas framed by the mature fig trees of the surrounding park, make it one of the most pleasant and spectacular locations.
• The Observatory picturesque Italianate character and stylistic interest of the observatory and residence building, together with the high level of competence of the masonry (both stone and brick) of all major structures on the site, combine to create a precinct of unusual quality. (Kerr 1991: 39)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Millers Point is of state significance for its potential to yield information from its archaeological resources not readily available elsewhere including oviform drains, early kerb and guttering, woodblock or other features that remain extant in Millers Point.

The changing domestic life of the residents has been documented in several excavations of residential sites;

The area contains examples of buildings demonstrating each stage and every major component in the history of the suburb, the only exception being for the period 1788-1820.

The building and archaeological fabric of the place has remained intact through community opposition to redevelopment, resulting in a large number of sites within the locale that remain comparatively or minimally undisturbed.

The physical evidence of the area’s history is complemented by the wealth of oral history contained within the existing resident population, which is a rare resource that allows a greater opportunity to understand the historic role of Millers Point and its social frameworks.

The Sydney Observatory continues a tradition of astronomical research that began with the first observatory on Dawes Point in 1788. The changing defences of Sydney are also evident in the areas archaeological resources, notably at the site of Fort Phillip. Underlying this diverse potential for researching changing human occupation is also the potential for the peninsular landform itself, constantly shaped and re-shaped by human agency, to yield information on the abilities of the people of NSW to continue to craft cultural landscapes of strong aesthetic appeal. The surviving structures, both above and below ground, are themselves physical documentary evidence of 195 years of changes of use, technical development and ways of living. As such they are a continuing resource for investigation and public interpretation. (Kerr 1991:39)

Millers Point layered fabric, both in terms of structures and archaeology, has had relatively little disturbance since intervention by the Sydney Harbour Trust and has the potential to provide valuable evidence about the place and its community.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Evidence from an archaeological excavation at Moore’s Wharf when it was moved showed continuing indigenous occupation at least until the 1830s and it is possible other such sites exist.

Millers Point is of state significance for its potential to yield information from its archaeological resources not readily available elsewhere including oviform drains, early kerb and guttering, woodblock or other features that remain extant in Millers Point.

The changing domestic life of the residents has been documented in several excavations of residential sites;

The area contains examples of buildings demonstrating each stage and every major component in the history of the suburb, the only exception being for the period 1788-1820.

The building and archaeological fabric of the place has remained intact through community opposition to redevelopment, resulting in a large number of sites within the locale that remain comparatively or minimally undisturbed.

The physical evidence of the area’s history is complemented by the wealth of oral history contained within the existing resident population, which is a rare resource that allows a greater opportunity to understand the historic role of Millers Point and its social frameworks.

The Sydney Observatory continues a tradition of astronomical research that began with the first observatory on Dawes Point in 1788. The changing defences of Sydney are also evident in the areas archaeological resources, notably at the site of Fort Phillip. Underlying this diverse potential for researching changing human occupation is also the potential for the peninsular landform itself, constantly shaped and re-shaped by human agency, to yield information on the abilities of the people of NSW to continue to craft cultural landscapes of strong aesthetic appeal. The surviving structures, both above and below ground, are themselves physical documentary evidence of 195 years of changes of use, technical development and ways of living. As such they are a continuing resource for investigation and public interpretation. (Kerr 1991:39)

Millers Point and Walsh Bay layered fabric, both in terms of structures and archaeology, has had relatively little disturbance since intervention by the Sydney Harbour Trust and has the potential to provide valuable evidence about the place and its community.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Natural Heritage
Millers Point is an important area in the Sydney City LGA, and its prominence is emphasised by its strong topography, particularly as viewed from the Harbour.

Non indigenous
Millers Point is of state significance as a rare, if not the only, example of a maritime harbourside precinct that contains evidence of over 200 years of human settlement and activity that spans all historical phases in Australia since 1788. While there are other historical maritime precincts in Australia that might show a comparable mix of historical and contemporary values, none are as old or so intimately associated with the spectrum of historical, social, aesthetic, technological and research values that have shaped Australian society since 1788.

The area is one of a few unique sites in Australia because of a strong sense of cohesion facilitated by a range of complementary architectural, structural, physical and social elements. The maintenance of both original fabric in a more or less intact state, and the successive generations of Millers Point residents, allows for a degree of rarity and authenticity.

Millers Point has significant structures, and has in close proximity a range of shipping and wharf structures that are believed to be of international significance.

The area has a range of early buildings with specific functions that are rare within the Australian context, such as the Lord Nelson Hotel and the Observatory.

Its unity, authenticity of fabric and community, and complexity of significant activities and events make it a significant historic urban place in Australia.

The National Trust Centre (and associated buildings) are rare surviving example of modifications to an Old Colonial Georgian hospital building for use as a mid-nineteenth century school.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Millers Pont is of state significance for its ability to demonstrate the principle characteristics of 19th and 20th century Australian maritime harbourside or dockland precincts, such as a close proximity between workplace and work residence; the development of new methods for moving produce and passengers between land and water; interaction between natural elements such as water and wind and cultural elements such as wharves, boatyards and warehouses; and the constant remaking of the shoreline and its hinterland in response to changing economic, social, political and environmental factors in order for it to remain viable as a living, working place.

The area typifies the nineteenth and twentieth century residential and maritime environments through the retention of a range of architectural styles and buildings. It contains good examples of both domestic and commercial Australian building forms, including a clearly discernible staged evolution of housing progression of housing from the Ark on Kent Street to early twentieth century Australian Edwardian terrace houses.

The social and public nature of neighbourhood hotels and corner shops can be identified as typical of nineteenth century social spaces. The retention of such structures are demonstrative of the earlier ‘everyday’ environment of Millers Point, with the combination of formerly commonplace buildings within a distinct space making the representative nature of Millers Point of extremely high standard.

The National Trust Centre (and associated buildings) are representative as fine examples of the Victorian Regency and Victorian Free Classical styles as used in public school buildings in the mid-nineteenth century
Integrity/Intactness: Millers Point is a remnant of the government port of Sydney and is remarkable as a collection of buildings of high integrity, resulting in an important historic residential precinct in very good condition. The area retains a strong ability to demonstrate its significance.
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) The objectives for the management of this conservation area: (a) to ensure that any new development respects the adjoining development and maintains the predominantly two storey residential character of the residential areas and the predominant and large scale form and character of the wharf areas, (b) to conserve and reinfore its heritage significane and historic character, (c) to ensure that any new building respects the adjoining buildings in siting, scale, form and use of materials, (d) to limit the amount and type of non-residential uses, to ensure the social and cultural mix of Millers Pont is maintained, (e) to maintain significant existing views and vistas into and out of the precinct to the water and Harbour Bridge north and to the city south, and Observatory Park, (f) to ensure that the social and cultural mix of Millers Point is maintained, (g) to conserve the continuity of Millers Point and adapt to meet the continuing needs of the significant uses (2) All owners are enocruaged to prepare cyclical maintenance plans for their buildings to ensure long-term conservation and proper asset management. (3) Retain major viewscapes from the precinct to the harbour, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and headlands beyond. The major viewscapes include: - the broad viewscape from Observatory Hill to the west over Kent Street to the harbour and the foreshore beyond - the broad view from Observatory Hill to the north over Argyle Street, Walsh Bay wharves to the harbour and the northern headlands and shore - the expansive view from Merriman Street and the attached park areas over the wharves to the harbour and headlands beyond - slot views between buildings, along streets, down stairways and lane ways that provide a range of views to lower streets, to buildings and in some locations to the water Development within the viewshed of the Observatory Hill park area should not interrupt or remove views to the harbour when looking north to the harbour (the whole of the Harbour view should be retained from this location) and west across Darling Harbour to Pyrmont, Balmain and White Bay (while development is proposed along the waterfront, views to parts of the water and headlands beyond should be retained). This affects major future development (mostly outside the current study area) which could have an impact on current identified significant broad views. The intent of the recommendation is to conserve the existing view to the north and to ensure that views to the water and the headlands beyond are retained to the west. It is acknowledged that there will be some change in the view to the west with future development however retention of water views and consideration of how the views from Observatory Hill are retained with their significant links will be an important aspect of potential development. Identified and mapped significant views within the area identitied in the Millers Point Heritage Study mshould be retained in future development or public realm projects. (4) Any new infill building within the area should not detract from or adversely impact on any identified significant views or vistas. (5) Any new or replacement building within the Conservation Areais not to adversely impact on established views either to, around or over that building. This will affect height controls, siting of new buildings and the design approach so that generally new work will need to provide a contextual fit into the area. (6) The Walsh Bay Precinct is integral to the Millers Point Conservation Area and should be incorporated as part of it when the opportunity arises when new planning instrurments are drafted.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012C3514 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Millers Point & Walsh Bay Heritage Review2006 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenFitzgerald, Shirley & Keating, Christopher1991Millers Point: the urban village
WrittenHigginbotham, E., Kass, T., & Walker, M1991The Rocks and Millers Point Archaeological Management Plan, Vol 1 and 2
WrittenJames Kerr2002Sydney Observatory : a conservation plan for the site and its structures, 1991, updated 2002
WrittenNSW Department of Commerce and Godden Mackay Logan for NSW Department of Housing2004 Conservation Management Guidelines for Housing NSW Properties at Millers Point

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: 2426306


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