Trahlee - house, garden, pine trees | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Trahlee - house, garden, pine trees

Item details

Name of item: Trahlee - house, garden, pine trees
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 9 Ginahgulla Road, Bellevue Hill, NSW 2023
Local govt. area: Woollahra
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
9 Ginahgulla RoadBellevue HillWoollahra  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Trahlee, a two storey sandstone residence in Georgian Revival style is situated on a small portion of the original land with frontages to Ginnagulla and Kambala Roads. The building which dates from c1860 has historic significance as one of the earliest houses to be built in this area of Bellevue Hill. The building has social significance as the home of James Reading Fairfax of the Sydney Morning Herald Fairfax family, and as one of the large homes to be built in the immediate area by this family, the others being Ginnagulla and Caerleon. Other important persons to inhabit the residence include Colonel Charles Roberts, Lady Martin, and Sir Mark Sheldon. The building, although severely compromised by the rendered additions to the eastern side, has aesthetic significance as one of the early stone residences in the immediate area, and the original portion of the building is a fine example of the simplicity of the Georgian Revival style.

Statement of significance - trees

These two Araucarias, located in an elevated position along the ridgeline, are of high visual prominence, both east and west of this ridge and from the harbour. These two species continue a general theme throughout the Woollahra-Double Bay-Bellevue Hill area and indeed most of the Municipality. Dominant vertical elements in their own right, these pines moreover are of significance as part of a major historic grouping and association of native Australian pines growing in the vicinity of this central dividing ridgeline of the Municipality. Both pines occur within the grounds of the classified c.1860 residence of "Trahlee" and would likely date to this period of development.

The Ginahgulla Road grouping of Auracarias, Agathis and Fig species define this ridgeline as a series of vertical emergent elements in the landscape and delineate the grand historic estates of this location. This area notably has retained, albeit in modified form, much of the original landscapes of these former estates. The absence of high-rise development and its associated remnant landscapes is a further important factor in this areas relative importance in this survey.

The dramatic scale, dark green foliage and symmetrical formal character of these native Araucarias created a strong dominating quality in the landscape, appropriate for avenues and expansive gardens on large estates such as "Trahlee". Bunya Pines are native to the rain forests of the Bunya Mountains in south-eastern Queensland. They were highly prized specimen trees by the mid to late 19th century and even today are somewhat less common in the Municipality than other dominant Araucarias, such as the Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) and Hoop Pine (A. cunninghamii). Bunya Pines rarely reach the same stature as these other Araucarias in this locality Although both trees are likely to be of similar age the Norfolk Island Pine totally dominates this property. This is a magnificent specimen with an unusually large spreading canopy.
Date significance updated: 10 Mar 95
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: Unknown
Builder/Maker: Unknown
Construction years: 1860-
Physical description: The two storey smooth faced sandstone and render building has a low pitched slate covered hipped roof. The building has undergone a number of additions, the most obvious being a rendered pavillion on the eastern side which extends the original house towards Kambala Road and projects to the front with a stone face, and also to the rear. This pavillion is slightly different in style to the original building as it features a bracketed roof over the front entry door and paired brackets at eaves line. Chimney stacks similar to the originals break through the roof on the eastern wall. The facade of the building as shown in the 1934 subdivision plan, had a slight breakfront with a projecting timber bay to the ground floor which is now enclosed in a two storey timber verandah on the northern and western sides and featuring Ionic columns and scroll saw timber balusters in a timber railing on both levels. The northern facade features timber frame french doors to both levels with timber shutters at ground level. The verandah at first floor is now enclosed at the eastern end. The grounds are entered through a pair of heavy timber posts with timber detailed caps and balls and heavy timber cross braced gates. A red gravel circular drive gives access to a five car garage on the western boundary, and the garden contains a number of mature trees including a Norfolk Island Pine, Jacaranda, and palms. Style: Georgian Revival External Materials: Sandstone, rendered brick, timber doors, french doors, double hung windows, shutters, and verandah detailing, slate roof with galvanised ridge capping, galvanised gutter and downpipes, cast iron Ionic columns, sheet metal roofing. Internal Materials: Unseen

Summary of Listed Trees located within this Property Description:
1 No. Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
1 No. Bunya Pine (Araucaria bidwillii)

Botanical Name: Araucaria heterophylla
Common Name: Norfolk Island Pine
Significance Attributes: Single Specimen, Historic, Visual Dominance (Harbour/ District Local)
Origin: Ornamental/ Cultivation
Location: Pine is located in the front garden adjacent to the property boundary and the corner of Kambala Road.
Height: 27 metres
Canopy Spread: 18 metres
Trunk Diameter: 1.0 metre (@ 1.0 metre above ground level)
Estimated Age: 120+ years
Condition/ Health: Pine in excellent condition and health with a very dense and broadly spreading crown.

Botanical Name: Araucaria bidwillii
Common Name: Bunya Pine
Significance Attributes: Single Specimen, Historic, Visual Dominance (Harbour/ District/ Local) Origin: Ornamental/ Cultivated
Location: Pine is located in the elevated north-western corner of the property.
Height: 18 metres
Canopy Spread: 8 metres
Trunk Diameter: 700 mm (@ 1.0 metre above ground level)
Estimated Age: 120+ years
Condition/ Health: This Pine is in good health and co
Modifications and dates: 1958: brick garage, 1962: built in verandah, 1969: two above ground oil storage tanks, 1983: air conditioning, 1993: reconstruction of first floor balcony and opening up of enclosed verandah sections.


Historical notes: The original lease for the land on which Trahlee stands was taken out by Lancelot Threlkeld in 1859. At this time the land was bordered by Ginnagulla, Kambala, Fairfax and Trahlee Roads. From 1866 to 1878 it was leased by James Reading Fairfax. The house appears to have been built by J.R.Fairfax in c1860, and was located on the north eastern portion of the block at the junction of Kambala and Ginnagulla Roads. Between 1875 and 1878 the property was purchased by Joseph Thompson who lived there until 1895 when he leased the property to Colonel Charles Roberts. From 1896 to 1903 the house was leased from Joseph Thompson by Lady Martin, and in 1904 the ownership changed to John Thompson Brown. In 1905 the property was purchased by (Sir) Mark Sheldon who was still in residence in 1934 when the property was subdivided. The house is said to have the gateposts originally placed at the lodge entrance to Woollahra House.

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. Emergence of building styles-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. A place to live-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Cultural and social life-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Historically representative at a State level.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Aesthetically representative at a State level.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Socially representative at a Local level.
SHR Criteria g)
Socially representative at a Local level. Aesthetically representative at a State level. Historically representative at a State level.
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:

A Heritage Report required prior to any proposals for alterations or additions to the exterior or interior of the building, or any outbuildings to the grounds. As the building is one of the earliest in this area, it is strongly recomended that there be no new developments which would in any way alter or modify the scale, form, detailing, or materials of the building. As the the building has already undergone extensive modifications internally, proposals for alterations to the interior could be considered, but should take into consideration the composition and planning of the building and should keep original walls, details, and finishes. There should be no new work which alters the skyline or risers above the existing roofline.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanWoollahraLEP 199510 Mar 95 28 
Local Environmental PlanWoollahra Local Environmental Plan 20143223 May 15   
Heritage studyWoollahra    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Woollahra Heritage Study 19951995411.0470Schwager BrooksSchwager Brooks No
Register of Significant Trees1991 Landarc Landscape Architects  No

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: 2710074

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