House "Rondanella" | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


House "Rondanella"

Item details

Name of item: House "Rondanella"
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 23 Rondanella Drive, Kanahooka, NSW 2530
Local govt. area: Wollongong City
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
23 Rondanella DriveKanahookaWollongong City  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The house Rondanella is of significance for the Wollongong area for historical, aesthetic, and reasons of rarity and representativeness. The house is one of the oldest surviving historical houses in the Kanahooka area, an example of fine Victorian period architecture representative and rare in the local area context. It is associated with the significant local personality A.C. Hoskins, a pioneer of the steel industry in the Illawarra. The house is an architecturally significant building of an uncommonly large scale. with a high level of integrity. The house was described as blending the features of Federation Bungalow with Victorian architectural styles. The house fabric, both internally and externally, is capable of interpreting historical themes, particularly the NSW themes of settlement and creative achievement.
Date significance updated: 03 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: 1890-1912
Physical description: The site comprises a notable Federation period homestead with pyramidal roof and encircling verandah, an extended connection to a row of brick-built stables and other auxiliary buildings. The house has wide verandahs, painted brickwork walls and a grey slate roof. It also has attic windows with interesting side light.
Current use: Residential
Former use: Residential


Historical notes: The following has been abridged from Conservation Management Plan prepared by Mayne Wilson & Associated (2001):
The land on which Ronadella sites was likely part of Henry Brook's original 600 acre land grant in 1833. A part of the Ronadella title was also linked to the extensive amount of land purchased by Henry Osbourne of Marshall Mount in the mid 19th Century. For most of the 19th century the land was used for grazing animals, mostly dairy cows. On 10 July 1895 the Camden Syndicate Limited acquired 500 acres of Henry Brooks original land grant. On 21 January 1896 they sold 300 acres to the Smelting Company of Australia, which was established at the same time, and retained 300 acres. Although the Camden Syndicate was legally wound up, the Company transferred ownership of those acres to the Camden Exploration Company, the directors of which remained the same as the Syndicate.

One of the directors of the Smelting Works was George Inglis who was also one fo the mortgagees in 1901 on the 200 acres of land on which Ronadella now stands and who was named in the land title deed as transferring the land to Denis Manion, an insurance inspector of Sydney. Manion only held it for three years but when he sold it he subdivided the 200 acres, selling 125 acres on 18 May 1914 to Ormond Charles Smith, said to be associated with the Howard Smith Shipping Company. The configuration of Manion's subdivision is unusual in that the 125 acre block fan shape is consistent with the provision of a generous road access to a house on the knoll at the centre of the block and a desire to provide maximum possible frontage to Mullet Creek and maintain the best visual catchment of it. If this interpretation is correct it would suggest that the house had already been built on the block by 1914.

However it is possible that such a distinctively shaped subdivision was requested by the incoming owner Mr Smith so that he could have a house built on the knoll and have good access to it. Some local sources believe that it is indeed Smith who had the house built. Smith was described in the tile deeds as a "Gentleman" of both Strathfield and Wahroonga where subdivisions were being undertaken and houses built in similar styles. However Smith's ownership corresponded with the period of the Great War which would make the construction of a large mansion with several outbuildings less likely.

Owners of Ronadella up to about 1920 so not appear to have interacted much with the local community. Manion possibly remained in Sydney. Smith is equally unreported in local newspapers of the time and it seems unlikely that if smith built the house and lived in it for any length of time it would have gone unreported.

Smith sold his 125 acres in July 1918 to William James and Annie Johnson farmers of Dapto for $5000. They farmed the property, concentrating on cattle and horses used for racing. They also kept poultry but did not engage in horticulture, keeping only a rudimentary garden and a scatter of trees, mainly coral trees, camphor laurels and cypresses. It seems at one stage about the time of the Great Depression they let the property to Mr AS Hoskins. In 1935 the Johnson's had the property subdivided. Selling R W A Pudsey-Dawson, navel engineer 10 acres on the 29th May 1936. This was the lot that contained the house Rondanella (although it was not shown on any land title documents). Within three weeks the balance of the 125 acres originally sold to William James Walker, a dairy farmer of Dunmore were acquired by the Pudsey-Dawsons. The Pudsey-Dawsons kept fine horses and earned the respect of the local community. In 1951 they sold the property to Eleanor Campbell of Quirindi. In 1963 it was acquired by lakeside Memorial Park Ltd. After using the mansion as their administrative headquarters they sold it to Allan Primmer on 6 May 1982. He owned the property until 1998 when it was sold and subdivided in 2000 into three lots. The property was again subdivided in 2002.

The house was described as an "eclectic version of the Federation Bungalow idiom" (R Irving, 20th Century architecture in Wollongong).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Developing steel works-
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. Industry Residences in the Illawarra-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Local - Ronadella has historical significance as a company house built in the first decade of the 20th century, most likely to accommodate a senior executive of the Smelting Works of Australia. The Works were the first major metal processing plant in the area before the establishment of those at Port Kembla.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Local -
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The item has architectural and aesthetic value. It is an unusual example in the Illawarra region of an architectural style that is a blend of federation, classical and bungalow styles with arts and crafts elements. It was clearly built to express the wealth and status of the person who commissioned it. Its aesthetic significance also derives from it sitting on a prominent knoll to which the large pyramidal hipped roof contributes extra height and a commanding presence. Its setting placed above the surrounding flood plain with extensive visual catchments from the south east to the north west also reinforces its aesthetic significance.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Local - Example of a near intact well tempered residence achieved before advent of mechanical ventilation by the careful manipulation of cross ventilation and convection. This innovative air circulation system has parallels with those seen in Courthouses of the same period in Wagga Wagga and Bourke.
SHR Criteria f)
The item has rarity.
SHR Criteria g)
The item has representative value.
Integrity/Intactness: The item has integrity. It is remarkably intact, fabric and detailing have been substantially respected by its succession of owners.
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 and conserve. Given the specific, highest quality design, a detailed CMP is recommended and any changes should be restricted to the necessary minimum.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanWollongong LEP 2009643026 Feb 10 2010-76 
Local Environmental Plan  07 Jan 00 1/200069
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
City of Wollongong Heritage Study1991B11-SWMcDonald McPhee Rogers Conacher FullartonRob Gansi No
Review of heritage items in Wollongong LGA20136430Zoran 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: 2700556

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