Kainga - House, excluding the freestanding garage, cabana, pool, spa, gateposts | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Kainga - House, excluding the freestanding garage, cabana, pool, spa, gateposts

Item details

Name of item: Kainga - House, excluding the freestanding garage, cabana, pool, spa, gateposts
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 20B New South Head Road, Vaucluse, NSW 2030
Local govt. area: Woollahra
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
20B New South Head RoadVaucluseWoollahra  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The site was part of the original grant to Fitzwilliam Wentworth in 1898. The building at 20b New South Head Road, Vaucluse has historic and social significance for its association with local identities Edward Duncan Gray, a ship's chandler and dental surgeon Ormond Joseph McDerrmott. It was also the home to Sydney Lord Mayor, Sir Emmet McDermott. The building has aesthetic significance as a largely intact mansion which is indicative of the quality of residence constructed in the area in the late nineteenth century. Although the house is situated out of view at the end of a sweeping driveway and therefore makes little contribution to the character of the streetscape it is of such a quality in its style and detailing that it is considered to be of aesthetic significance.
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.


Physical description: Located on the ridge overlooking Sydney Harbour, the house is located on a battleaxe shape block, with access to the property via a long sweeping driveway. The house is obscurred from the road by tall trees. A two storey rendered masonry residence. Roof consists of a series of hips and gables, slate tiles and terra cotta ridge cappings. There is a skylight to the east, and a single chimney to the west with terra cotta chimney pots. Walls are rendered masonry featuring stone details including, string courses, sills and lintels in rough cut sandstone. Generally casement windows. A two storey gable corner has oriel window supported by timber brackets, and stone arches at ground level, with stone keystone detail. A two story verandah wraps around canted bays on the northern and western facades. The verandah features decorative timber posts, brackets and balustrade. A double garage in the north eastern corner has painted brick walls, and a gable roof featuring decorative terra cotta ridge cappings. Style: Federation Queen Anne External Materials: Slate tiles ad erra cotta ridge cappings to roof. Rendered masonry walls, some section pebble dash rendered. Stone detail to walls, including string courses and arches. Casement windows, stone sills and lintels. Timber posted verandah. Internal Materials: Unseen. Pressed metal ceilings, central gallery has a domed ceiling.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Appears generally in good condition.
Date condition updated:19 Apr 04
Modifications and dates: Alterations include, a new garage and swimming pool in 1981, and internal alterations associated with the conversion from a boarding house to a single residence. Further internal alterations were undertaken, and new external openings created in 1989.
Current use: Residence
Former use: Residence


Historical notes: The site formed part of the original grant to Fitzwilliam Wentworth in 1898. It would appear the house was constructed in 1906 for ship's chandler Edward Duncan Gray, who chose the site for the views offered of the Harbour. Much of the property was subdivided in 1923, and in 1925 it passed to dental surgeon Ormond Joseph McDerrmott. 'Kainga,' known as 'Ormond Hall' in 1930, was once the home to Sydney Lord Mayor, Sir Emmet McDermott. The present site was formed after subdivision in 1951. It appears Kainga was used as a boarding house until 1981, and internal alterations undertaken in this year were associated with the conversion back to a single residence.

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 rare at a Local level. Aesthetically representative at a Local level.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Socially representative at a Local level.
SHR Criteria f)
Aesthetically rare 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 external original fabric, detailing or character. All proposals for new work should consider the retention of all original or early detailing both externally and internally. There should be no painting of stonework or materials which did not originally have a paint finish however, 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 by additions which break through the roofline.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanWoollahraLEP 199510 Mar 95 28 
Local Environmental PlanWoollahra LEP 201436723 May 15   
Heritage studyWoollahra    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Woollahra Heritage Study 19971997524.3350Graham Brooks and Associates Pty LtdGBA 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: 2710109

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