Pleasant Avenue Heritage Conservation Area | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Pleasant Avenue Heritage Conservation Area

Item details

Name of item: Pleasant Avenue Heritage Conservation Area
Type of item: Conservation Area
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: Pleasant Avenue and Surrounds, Erskineville, NSW 2043
Local govt. area: Sydney


Bounded by the eastern side of Rochford Street, backing onto Parkers Lane, including the whole of Pleasant Avenue, the western side of Smiths Lane between Victoria Street to the north and Macdonald Street to the south, as well as a small section on the southern side of Victoria Street ( Nos 1-19 Victoria Street and 141 George Street )
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Pleasant Avenue and SurroundsErskinevilleSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The Pleasant Avenue Heritage Conservation Area has historic significance as a substantially intact subdivision developed from 1905 as a Federation era resubdivision of an area predominantly subdivided in the late Victorian Period. It contains a mix of Federation Queen Anne style single storey terraces, semi-detached and detached houses, originally face brick with hipped and gabled terracotta tile roofs, with a few mid to late Victorian terraces and shop buildings in Rochford and Victoria Streets. The area possesses a cohesive scale and consistency of character that demonstrates the subdivision and development of the Togo Estate from 1905. Pleasant Avenue, 66 feet in width and with mature street tree plantings, demonstrates the Federation era fashion for generous wide streets, while Parkers Lane and Smiths Lane demonstrates the lingering effect of the previous Victorian era subdivision of the area.
Date significance updated: 02 Apr 07
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: 1908-1910
Physical description: The area is bounded by the eastern side of Rochford Street, backing onto Parkers Lane, including the whole of Pleasant Avenue, the western side of Smiths Lane between Victoria Street to the north and Macdonald Street to the south, as well as a small section on the southern side of Victoria Street ( Nos 1-19 Victoria Street and 141 George Street ).

The Pleasant Avenue Heritage Conservation Area is predominantly early Federation terraces, semi detached and detached houses.

There are also a few Victorian terraces on Rochford and Victoria Streets. Houses are predominantly face brick (except where later painted or rendered), with hipped and gabled terracotta tile roofs (except where later reroofed in other materials). Setbacks are small, and small front gardens and low front fences are features. Pleasant Avenue is a distinctive wide street for the Erskineville area, reflecting its later subdivision period, and features large street trees planted within the road verge. Pleasant Avenue is cut off from traffic at the southern, Macdonald Street end.

Street Ratings

Parkers Lane:
Typical relatively wide terrace housing lane with no street planting, characterised by rear fences, roller doors and 1 storey garages. Street rating: B

Pleasant Avenue:
Wide, short, heavily vegetated street which is closed off to vehicular traffic at the southern, Macdonald Street end. Street trees are planted in planting areas in the road carriageway. Dominated by single storey Federation Queen Anne style terraces and freestanding brick houses. Nose to kerb parking. Street rating: A

Rochford Street between Macdonald St and Victoria Street - east side only:
A narrow street with Federation era terraces, with mixed, medium height street tree plantings. Street Rating: A

Smiths Lane - west side only
A relatively wide terrace housing lane, with no street planting (typical of service lanes to terraces), now dominated by modern 2 storey residential development at Nos. 2-14 Smiths Lane on the eastern side, with rear fences and single storey garages to terraces on the western side. Street rating: C

Victoria Street - south side between George Street and Smiths Lane

A relatively wide street with a Victorian one storey dwellings with former corner shop at No 141 George Street. Substantial street tree planting. Enclosed vista terminated by the railway underpass to the east. Street Rating: A
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Generally good.
Date condition updated:02 Apr 07
Modifications and dates: Some originally face brick Federation Queen Anne style freestanding houses, terraces and semi-detached houses have been rendered or painted.
Further information: The Pleasant Avenue Conservation Area was part of a larger conservation area, the Former Macdonaldtown Conservation Area (CA 22) under the previous instrument, South Sydney LEP 1998. With LEP 2012 it is has been made into a separate conservation area as it is largely a separate and distinctive subdivision that developed later than the rest of the area, with the exception of properties fronting Victoria Street and some in Rochford Street.

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: Resdiential and corner shops


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 )

Nicholas Devine, a superintendent of convicts arriving in Sydney in 1790 was granted 120 acres at Bulnaming (near Newtown) in 1794 and an adjoining 90 acres in 1979. Devine’s Estate was subdivided from 1828 when Erskineville road, Wilson Street and Cooks River Road were the only roads in the area. The northern part of the Estate was subdivided into lots of 7-13 acres, with the early purchases of land in Erskineville being predominantly middle class professionals building villas on large grounds.

Erskineville was named after Reverend George Erskine, an early Wesleyan minister who bought up part of Devine’s Estate and built a residence named "Erskine Villa". Upon Erskine’s death, the property was bought by Robert Henderson, followed by William Toogood, a Sydney Inn Keeper. Toogood left the land to the Church of England and the house was used as a rectory for the Holy Trinity Church Macdonaldtown.

Early development in Macdonaldtown concentrated in the south of Devine’s Grant in the vicinity of Rochford Street, near Cooks River Road. Allotments in this area were advertised in 1846.

Macdonaldtown Municipality was incorporated in 1872, and the name changed to Erskineville in 1894. Macdonaldtown Railway Station opened in 1878. Erskineville Public School was established in 1881 and Macdonaldtown Park (Erskineville Oval) was proclaimed 28 July 1885. Subdivision of the villa estates began in the 1880s, prompted by the expansion of the Railway. Erskineville Station was opened on the Sydenham (Illawarra) line in 1884. With the expansion of the railway the residential focus of the municipality moved north. The name Macdonaldtown also moved north from its original location to the railway line.

In 1893 part of Macdonaldtown became a new suburb known as Erskineville, via the Borough of Erskineville Naming Act. In 1894 the boundary and name was changed to Erskineville, while in 1909, Electric trams ran to Erskineville. The site of Erskineville Station was altered in 1912.

Most of the area covered by this heritage conservation area was re- subdivided in 1905 and marketed as The Togo Estate (DP 4525), with its principal street, Pleasant Avenue, being 66 feet in width (nearly twice the width of the Victorian era streets in the vicinity). Houses were built on the re- subdivided allotments from 1908 to 1910, however on Rochford and Victoria Streets there are a few Victorian houses from the earlier subdivision period.

In 1949 small municipalities were amalgamated and became part of the City of Sydney Council, and then in 1968, South Sydney Municipal Council was created in which Erskineville was situated.

In 1982 South Sydney Council was amalgamated but then again in 1988 reformed. In 2004 the South Sydney Council was once again amalgamated with the City of Sydney and the suburb of Erskineville is now again within the jurisdiction of the City.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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]
Historically significant as evidence of later, Federation era resubdivision within a Victorian era subdivision.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The conservation area is of aesthetic significance as a distinctly Federation period housing area within a previous Victorian subdivision. Pleasant Avenue, 66 feet wide with mature street tree plantings, illustrates the Federation fashion for wide leafy streets, however the area also illustrates the Victorian era subdivision pattern of narrow rear lanes.
SHR Criteria f)
Ir is a relatively rare Federation era subdivision within the City of Sydney.
SHR Criteria g)
It is representative of a Federation era subdivison with largely intact modest housing that dates predominantly from that period.
Integrity/Intactness: Largely intact with few intrusions and some use of inappropriate finishes (eg. render and paint to face brick walls, new roofing materials).
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:

GENERAL Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement This should be should be prepared for heritage items, major works to contributory buildings including demolition. Heritage Items and Contributory buildings 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 Neutral and detracting buildings should where possible be enhanced. Any replacement of such buildings should be in accordance with the infill provisions of the relevant planning controls. POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS - DETAILED 1.Protection of Significance (a) Subdivision -Retain Victorian/Federation subdivision - Do not allow amalgamation of sites (b) Key Period Significant (Contributory) Development: - Retain one storey Victorian / Federation terraces, semis and cottages - Retain Victorian / Federati corner shops -maintain and respect building alignmen including retaining side setbacks - Retain form - Retain one storey height and scale - Retain finishes and details Reinstate roofing materials, original face brick wall finishes, sympathetic front fences, , lost detail - Protect intact rear lanes - Additions to rear not to exceed ridge height and reta original roof form - Any two storey rear addiiton is to read as a separate pavilion setback behind the main part of the terrace/house - No changes to the front elevation other than to reinstate original features - Any two storey rear addition is to be a separate pavilion setback behind the main part of the house subject to amenity considerations; - Front dormers not to be permitted to Federation era terraces, semi-detached and detached houses - Encourage reinstatement of roofing materials and roofing detail lost in 1999 Sydney hailstorm c) Retail Development/Corner shops: - Protect and reveal the retail history the area through retention of Victorian era corner shops - Reveal original face brickwork, remove non original features, particularly if they conceal original detail. - Restore detail to evidence - Reconstruct new shopfronts modelled on surviving original shopfronts and derived from on-site evidence. In particular retain or reinstate original splayed recessed entrances. - Avoid loss of original significant shopfronts 2. Redevelopment of Non Contributing Sites Encourage interpretatio of Victorian /Federation subdivision pattern Respect scale and form of contributory development Respct building line and setbacks of contributory development Encouge facebrick finishes Encourage contemporary detail Provide landscape screening/softening - Recognise the collective precedent and impact of the proposal - Develop approach for sympathetic new development to enhance existing heritage character and level of detail - Respect scale and form of contributory development - Avoid flat reflective monotonous glazed façades - Avoid visual cluttair conditiioning units shou not be visbile from the public domain , signs 3. Enhance Significance of heritage conservation area: - Maintain and enhance street planting to unify streetscapes - Encourage redevelopment of detracting sites - Encourage render/paint finishes to detracting development - Encourage use of sympathetic roofing materials (unglazed terracotta marseilles tiles) - Interp Victorian /Federation street pattern and subdivision - Provide landscape screening/softening to detracting sites - Reme /discourage reproduction Victorian or Federation detail in contemporary development 4. Car Parking - Do not allow carparking access from the street - Generally allow parking access from rear lanes. - Reduce impact of existing carparking access from street 5. Landscaping - Encourage trees at the end of streets to reinforce landscape vistas and frame views - Encourage trees to screen detracting development 6. View Protection - Reinforce street end vistas with street trees - Encourage and develop appropriate distant vistas


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012C2514 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
South Sydney Heritage Study1993 Tropman & Tropman Architects  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenLeonie Masson2006Historical Research on Former Macdonaldtown Heritage Conservation Area, Erskineville

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

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2431158

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

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