"Interbane" House | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


"Interbane" House

Item details

Name of item: "Interbane" House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 8 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Stanwell Park, NSW 2508
Local govt. area: Wollongong City
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
8 Lawrence Hargrave DriveStanwell ParkWollongong City  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

"Interbane", the house at 8 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, is of significance for the local area for historical and aesthetic reasons, and as a representative example of fine and aesthetically distinguished residences created in the local area in the Federation period (c.1917). The house, one of the oldest surviving in Stanwell Park, presents as having a very high degree of integrity when viewed externally, and makes a very important contribution to the character and identity of Stanwell Park. Its status as a local landmark is augmented by visually prominent location and local anecdotes of its history.
Date significance updated: 06 Apr 17
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Construction years: 1917-
Physical description: Single storey residence with aesthetically distinguished features of the Federation period, important in the local townscape. The house has a complex form with hipped roof with tower and gables, and elongated verandahs. It has brick walls and it is unclear whether original roofing was slate. House was subjected to a series of alterations and its architecture warrants a detailed research of its original features.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Architectural quality, marred by brick wall, "decramastic" roof tiles, otherwise in good condition. 1989
Date condition updated:14 Feb 00
Current use: Residential
Former use: Resdential


Historical notes: (Helensburgh and District Historical Society webpage on “Interbane”): Thankfully, we have a number of special houses in our district and Interbane is one of them. In fact, it is a house with a rather notorious history. Above all, it stands as one of the best of our former guest houses, but it is its connections with Tilly Devine, Sydney's brothel queen in the '30s to '50s, fast cars and criminal connections, and even a resident ghost, along with a real-life appearance by actor Peter Finch, that makes the home rather special. Around Bald Hill, towering above Stanwell Park, there was once a little village, a number of houses and humpies, a shop and later a service station. In the middle of the village was a rather special home. Interbane was built in 1917, for about £3,000, by the businessman Walter Goodman. He was in the leather trade and built the home as a holiday getaway. As a veteran of the Boer War, he knew a little Zulu and gave the home the Zulu name "Interbane", meaning "top of the hill." The home, as we well know, has no external square walls and that goes for most of the inside rooms as well. Being Victorian in design, it had a tall tower, although this reduced in height as the years went by. The position of the building meant it was open to the elements and so roof repairs were a constant fact of life. In the final years of the First World War, locals suspected that the tower may have been used to contact German submarines. Mr Goodman had a Japanese servant named Fakuda and so it was felt that he may well have been a German spy, even though Japan was on our side. The home soon moved into its most famous period. It was the depression years and so the Goodman's turned the home into a guest house run by their housekeeper and chauffeur, Gertrude and Gordon Fleming. In the NSW Tourist Guide of 1932, Interbane is listed as "an ideal accommodation house for a complete rest". The tariff was 10 shillings and sixpence a day, or 50 shillings a week. To help run the guest house, the Flemings enlisted the help of a local, Florence "Tootie" Harvey. She was living rough on Bald Hill after the breakup of her marriage. She had trained as a nurse and was the first nurse to serve at the Coledale Cottage Hospital. Her children, Heather, Isobel, Betty and Alan, would soon join her and help with running the home. The guest house continued through to the Second World War and was renowned for its weekend parties, parties that were at times, risque to say the least. Locals even claim that the actor Peter Finch once attended one such party in 1942. Interbane had become an "in" venue for the "in" crew. In the next stage of the home's history, following the War, Interbane became a Tea Room and Tootie moved to Coalcliff. The Flemmings were growing weaker with age and so the Tea Rooms were closed. After Gordon's death, Tootie constantly visited Mrs Fleming to help her with her fading health. In 1956, after her death, the Goodman's, who still owned the home, offered to sell it to Tootie for the amazing figure of £1700. It was sold with "all faults", given that the home was now showing its age. It was in the homes' next stage that Interbane gained its most celebrated reputation. The criminal link came about through some of Tootie's children who had became involved with Sydney underworld figures. Tootie's son, Alan Carrick, known affectionately as "Katingal" around the Burgh, often spoke of his early escapades with the law. Alan claimed that Interbane was raided some 21 times during the '50s. It was the regular weekend visits of Tilly Devine and her girls that turned heads. Pretty Dulcie, known as the Angel of Death due to the fact that 8 of her boyfriends had met an untimely death, was also a regular visitor with Tilly. Although certain activities were assumed, there were few people who had a bad word for Tootie. In her later years she was known for her constant kindness and care toward others. Harry Jardine, Helensburgh's police sergeant, 1951-58, claimed that "Tootie was a perfect lady" and that Interbane's reputation was never proved. Tootie sold Interbane in 1972 for $16,000. Purchased now as a private home, restoration work was commenced. The house has passes hands several times since.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The item has landmark value, architectural and aesthetic value.
SHR Criteria g)
The item has representative value.
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:

Retain in use as residence and conserve surviving early features. There is a limited potential for additions which should maintain visual prominence of the house when viewed from publicly accessible areas. Any fabric repairs should follow original details in form, material and finish. A CMP and full research of floor plan evolution is recommended prior to any major changes.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanInterbane634626 Feb 10 2010-76 
Local Environmental Plan  07 Jan 00 1/200069
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
City of Wollongong Heritage Study1991B4-NMcDonald McPhee Rogers Conacher FullartonBrian McDonald No
Review of heritage items in Wollongong LGA20136346Zoran PopovicZoran Popovic Yes

References, internet links & images


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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2700481

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