House, outbuildings, front garden, Norfolk island Pine | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


House, outbuildings, front garden, Norfolk island Pine

Item details

Name of item: House, outbuildings, front garden, Norfolk island Pine
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 629 New South Head Road, Rose Bay, NSW 2029
Local govt. area: Woollahra
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
629 New South Head RoadRose BayWoollahra  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The site was part of the original grant to Daniel Cooper and Solomon Levey in 1830. The building at 629 New South Head Road, Rose Bay was constructed in 1904 for Francis Tessert and has aesthetic significance for its style and detailing even though the building appears to have been modified with a roof extension. The building retains relatively intact with the timber detailing of the two storey verandahs at the front elevation. The building also has aesthetic significance for the contribution it makes to the character of the immediate area. The building has social significance for its association with the Tessert family for a number of years.

Statement of significance - tree

This Norfolk Island Pine, located beside New South Head Road, is of great visual prominence and importance, particularly from the Rose Bay area and the harbour. The dramatic scale, dark green foliage and symmetrical formal character of these Araucarias creates a strong dominating quality in the landscape. This pine is associated with two pines of similar age, growing on the street verge on the Balfour Road side of this property and as such forms an important visual group. Together these pines are very significant as integral components of the cultural and historic planting of this area since the early 19fth century. Moreover these pines continue to define the landscape character of this harbourside suburb, visually linking with the large group of Norfolk Island Pines in Lyne Park and Vickerey Avenue. (Refer to Listings: Significant Trees in Public Parks and Significant Street Trees). Photographs from the early 20th century show a large group of these pines around the Rose Bay Lodge estate and unfortunately these have now disappeared however these plantings continue this historic theme.
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.


Construction years: 1904-
Physical description: Two storey rendered brick house in the Federation Queen Anne style. Gabled hip roof, with terra cotta tiles and decorative ridge cappings. Colorbond guttering. There is a dormer window to the east. Dormer and gable ends have exposed timber post construction with pebble dash rendered masonry infill and multi-paned windows. timber lined eaves supported on decorative timber brackets. Pebble dash rendered strip and string course to top of walls. Stone chimneys, with pebble dash rendered tops and carved stone caps. Generally rendered brick walls, however the eastern and southern walls are lined to imitate stonework. Generally timber double hung windows, with segmental arched heads, rendered masonry sills and operable timber shutters. There is a two storey verandah to the northern facade. The verandah has a terra cotta tile roof with timber lining below, decorative carved timber posts, brackets frieze and balustrade. Timber floor boards at first floor level, with exposed joists underneath. Mosaic tile porch. The house has a symetrical facade. A central door at ground level has top and side lights and segmental arched head. A bay window on either side has french doors to the front. The segmental arches on masonry wall behind indicate bays were a later addition. A central door at first floor level has top light and segmental arched head. Single double hung windows on either side. Boundary fence to New South Head Road has rendered masonry base, timber infill. Wrought iron gate. Mature trees to front garden. Style: Federation Queen Anne External Materials: Rendered brick walls. Terra cotta tile roof and decorative ridge cappings. Some pebble dash rendered sections. Timber posted verandah to front. Timber framed double hung windows and doors. Rendered masonry and timber fence. Internal Materials: Unseen

Summary of Listed Trees located within this Property Description:
1 No. Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
Botanical Name: Araucaria heterophylla
Common Name: Norfolk Island Pine
Significance Attributes: Component of Informal Group, Historic, Visual Dominance (Harbour/ District/ Local)
Origin: Ornamental/ Cultivation
Location: Pine is located in the north-western corner of the front garden, adjacent to the property boundary and New South Head Road.
Height: 25 metres
Canopy Spread: 12 metres
Trunk Diameter: 600 mm (@ 1.0 metre above ground level)
Estimated Age: 80+ years
Condition/ Health:Pine is in reasonably good condition and health.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
House is generally in good condition, appears well maintained. Floor boards to verandah appear to be near original. Segmental arches to rendered brick wall behind bay windows indicate bays are non-original.
Date condition updated:19 Apr 04
Former use: Residence


Historical notes: The site forms part of the original grant to Daniel Cooper and Solomon Levey in 1830. The first record of the house is in 1904, 'Land and Improvements' for restauranteur Francis Tessert. Completed in 1904, and built by Englebert Schuller. In 1907 the name 'Versailles' is first noted for the house, which is occupied by Nellie Webb. Occupied by Mrs. Anne Webb from 1907 and by Fred W. Cape from 1911. Ownership passed into the Estate of F. Tessert in 1915, and then to Mrs. Pauline Tessert in 1917. Mrs. Tessert occupied Versailles until 1922, however Mrs. Atoinette Paul is noted in occupation in 1918. Ownership passed to Mrs. Sophia Mary Dowse c.1922, and then into her Estate upon her death in 1935. Occupied by Mrs. Dowse and Col. Richard Dowse, soldier and public servant, from 1922.

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 Local level.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Aesthetically representative at a Local 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 Local level. Historically representative at a Local 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 new work. As the facades of the building have remained relatively intact, there should be no proposals allowed which alter the early detailing or fabric. All proposals for new work should consider the retention of all remaining original detailing both externally and internally. All materials which were originally painted may be repainted in complimentary colours. All existing window and door openings should not be enlarged or filled in, and the form and massing of the building should not be compromised.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanWoollahraLEP 199510 Mar 95 28 
Local Environmental PlanWoollahra LEP 201432123 May 15   
Heritage studyWoollahra    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Woollahra Heritage Study 19971997 Graham Brooks and Associates Pty LtdGBA 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: 2710108

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.

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