House, retaining walls | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


House, retaining walls

Item details

Name of item: House, retaining walls
Other name/s: Formerly Buyuma
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 4 Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill, NSW 2023
Local govt. area: Woollahra
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
4 Victoria RoadBellevue HillWoollahra  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The site was part of the original grant to John Piper in 1820. The building at 4 Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill was originally named 'Buyuma,' and was constructed for solicitor Herbert Allen in c.1904. The building has rare aesthetic significance as a relatively intact external example of the Federation Queen Anne style which follows the American stylistic tendencies in regard to the use of shingles and dominant corner towers. The building has social significance for its association with a number of local identities including Henry Elmer Messenger who subdivided the site in the 1950s and remained in an adjoining cottage. The house converted to flats c.1945 but these modifications have not had any noticeable impact on the aesthetic significance of the front facades of the building.
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
Construction years: 1904-
Physical description: A two storey brick residence in the Federation Queen Anne style with American stylistic tendencies. The house features a two storey dominant circular bay to the north eastern corner, with timber shingles to roof, exposed timber rafters and decorative terra cotta top. Main roof comprises a series of hips and gables of terra cotta tiles. A gable to the north has timber and rendered masonry infill construction to the gable end. A terra cotta tile awning at the base of the gable is supported by carved timber brackets. Walls have red face brick construction, with painted timber shingled infill panels under many windows. A fixed awning at ground level wraps around the northern facade and bay. The awning has exposed timber eaves and timber shingles. A similar timber shingled awning at first floor level is supported by carvedtimber brackets. Sandstone trim includes rock cut stone base to bay, and walls at ground level. The main entrance to the west has a suspended timber framed over-hang. Window are generallt timber framed, some are awning. A steep sloping driveway sweeps around the western side of the house. A terraced garden to the street has stone retaining walls. Style: Federation Queen Anne External Materials: Red face brick walls, sandstone trim and timber shingled infill panels and awnings. Dome bay has timber shingles to roof and walls, exposed rafters and terra cotta top. Terra cotta tiles to main roof. Terraces garden, stone retaining walls. Internal Materials: Unseen
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The building appears generally in good condition and well maintained.
Date condition updated:19 Feb 04
Modifications and dates: Modifications in 1945 to to the interior of the building to subdivide it into flats. At this time additions appear to have been made to the rear elevations. [GBA] BA 77/1941 by Cyril C Ruwald FRIBA, FRAIA for H E Messenger for alterations and additions for the conversion of the residence into two flats including garages. Verandahs were infilled and a central stair etc added.[Maher]
Current use: Residential flat building
Former use: Residence


Historical notes: The site formed part of the original grant to John Piper in 1820. Originally named 'Buyuma,' it appears the house was constucted for solicitor Herbert Allen and his wife Hilda Ann c.1904. Ownership of the property had passed to Allen in 1902. The house was leased by Pope Park from 1913-15, and then by Mrs. M. G. Garvin from 1915-1919. Ownership passed to Richard Henry Meanes in 1918, who resided here until 1941 when it passed to Henry Elmer Messenger. From the ratebooks it appears the property was subdivided and the house converted to flats c.1945. At this time ownership of 'Buyuma' passed to Thomas Fletcher Birrell and his wife Alice. A cottage was built for Henry Messenger c.1950 on the subdivided property. The present site was formed after a second subdivision c.1952.

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 envelope or materials particularly the circular tower element and the face brick and timber shingle fabric. All proposals for new work should consider the retention of all original or early fabric and detailing both externally and internally. There should be no painting of stonework or materials which did not originally have a paint finish, but those materials which were originally painted may be repainted in compolimentary colours. Window and door openings should not be enlarged or filled in, and the form and massing of the building should not be compromised by alterations or changes to the roofline. Alterations to the modified fabric of the interior could be considered.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanWoollahraLEP 199510 Mar 95 28 
Local Environmental PlanWoollahra LEP 20146223 May 15   
Heritage studyWoollahraBH-32   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Woollahra Heritage Study 19971997788.0920Graham 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: 2710152

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