House and grounds | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


House and grounds

Item details

Name of item: House and grounds
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 10 Fairfax Road, Bellevue Hill, NSW 2023
Local govt. area: Woollahra
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
10 Fairfax RoadBellevue HillWoollahra  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The residence at 10 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill is of local significance by virtue of its aesthetic form, being a good example of the Inter-war Mediterranean style residence designed by Sydney architect Herbert Wardell of Wardell & Denning. The building is one of the remaining residences from the inter-war period of development within Fairfax Road. The residence is a well-designed and detailed demonstration of the forms and styles employed by socially established members of Sydney’s working professions who undertook construction within the subdivided lands of the initial residences constructed in Fairfax Road in the later 19th and early 20th centuries. The residence was constructed as the later home of Frank. J. Bethune, a noted barrister born in England and educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Bethune was admitted as a King’s Counsel in 1922. The residence is notable both for its well-detailed exterior and substantial remaining interiors demonstrating the skill and quality of construction of the period. External landscaping is largely of later establishment but highly supportive of the residence and setting of 12 Fairfax Road, providing an effective link to the remnant stone wall and terrace balustrade of the residence Linclunden within the former gardens and tennis court of which the residence is situated. Both the residence and later carport situated to the south are highly responsive to the setting and aesthetic significance of the terraced wall remaining to the north-western side of Lincluden.
Date significance updated: 05 May 06
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: Wardell & Denning
Builder/Maker: Unknown
Physical description: The residence is constructed of rendered brick with a hipped terra cotta Marseille tile roof rising to a massive central chimney again of rendered brick with simple projecting stringer course. A lower hipped roof extends to the rear over a single bedroom at first floor whilst a similar hipped roof covers an enclosed balcony and basement level to the northern elevation. The residence, designed in the Inter-war Mediterranean style, displays well controlled proportions further highlighted by broad projecting eaves and a projecting stringer course to first floor window sill level. Windows are of four pane double hung sashes set within timber shutters.

Within the glazed enclosure of the former verandah are arched French doors leading to the principle living areas. Attached Tuscan order pilasters, frieze and projecting cornice frame the main entry, located to the north facing side elevation. Walls have been finished in soft pastel colours of yellow and eau de nil.

Interiors retain extensive original detailing including strip timber flooring, floating ceilings, door and skirting joinery and a tight return staircase to the entry lobby featuring turned timber spindle balusters and a skilfully moulded curved baluster rail.

Externally detailed sandstone retaining walls steps and paving combine with wrought iron railings and highly sympathetic recent landscaping set in stepped terraces down the slope from the arrival court. A recent double carport of open form comprising a hipped Marseille tile roof supported by Tuscan Order columns is located to the eastern side of the arrival court accessed by narrow drive from Fairfax Road. This structure is highly sympathetic to the residence and the nearby stone terracing formerly at the mid point of the lower grounds to Lincluden (No.12 Fairfax Road.)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The building is in good condition with much original detailing remaining externally and internally.
Date condition updated:01 Jun 03
Modifications and dates: Major alterations include:
1988 - Carport
1993 Alterations and Additions - Construction of dormer to north western roof.
1998 Alterations and Additions - Modification of bathroom areas and basement.
Further information: The residence is one of the most intact in the Fairfax Road residential group having cohesive forms and related historical association with consolidation of the location in the first half of the 20th century. Alterations have largely been supportive of the original design and limited to areas of minimal visual intrusion upon the aesthetic qualities of the residence. The residence bears close comparison with that at 5 Fairfax Road which sits to the opposite side of the study area. Of the residences in the study area, 10 Fairfax Road compares closely with 6 Fairfax Road in the degree of original detailing remaining to the interior. The two are related both in this respect in period of construction and in the scale of interior spaces.
Current use: Residence
Former use: Residence


Historical notes: The site of 10 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill is located on the northern slope of a ridgeline identified as Ghinigulla by the indigenous Wangal clan prior to European settlement. The ridgeline takes the name Bellevue Hill from the naming of a lookout point to the southern end as Belle–Vue by Governor Macquarie in 1820. The site was part of 190 acres granted to Capt. John Piper by Governor Macquarie in 1820. Piper’s near 1500 acre estate was conveyed to Solomon Levey and Daniel Cooper in 1826 following Piper’s insolvency.

Establishment of gentlemen’s villas in the area commenced along the route of the South Head Road in the 1840’s (notably Waverley House). With completion of the New South Head Road in the early 1840’s and the survey of cross routes to Old South Head Road in 1846, villas were constructed along the northern slopes of Bellevue Hill during the late 1850’s, beginning with James Fairfax’s Ginagulla in 1858 and Edwin Tooth’s Cranbrook. In 1847 Daniel Cooper became sole owner of the Cooper Estate. Daniel Cooper willed his estate to a nephew Daniel Cooper, a resident of London with little interest in development. Cooper in turn left the still largely undeveloped lands to his sons Daniel and William. The proviso that the lands be held until the sons turned twenty-one, saw large areas released on 99-year leases at low rental.

Under Daniel Cooper III’s instructions, sales of his Bellevue Hill holdings commenced in 1883. Sales did not accelerate until the Bellevue Hill tram service of the 1890’s facilitated regular commuting. The first residences in the immediate vicinity of the current site were John Fairfax’s Ghinagulla, constructed to the south east of the current site, and Colebrook, constructed in the 1860’s for William Augustine Duncan and previously incorporating the current site of 2 Fairfax Road within its grounds.
Fairfax Road was established after 1893. The first residence, Lincluden, at 12 Fairfax Road, was designed by Harry Chambers Kent in 1896 and constructed as for Professor Anderson Stuart. Kent, a well known architect and president of the Institute of Architects, had in 1886 designed the nearby residence Caerleon in association with the English architect Maurice B Adams, noted for his Arts & Crafts style residences.

Lincluden was set within extensive grounds, extending down to New South Head Road and incorporating terraced gardens and a lawn tennis court overlooking Double Bay. These became the site of later subdivision. Lincluden provided the first residential development in Fairfax Road. It was followed by residences constructed at the beginning of the 20th century to the upper side of the road and in a group of three to the east near the junction with Trahlee Road. These residences are St Kieran’s (later Chislehurst and now 22 Fairfax Rd), Wamba (26 Fairfax Road, now demolished) and Winburn now demolished. These properties and residences to the northern side of Fairfax Road exhibited distinctive Federation Arts & Crafts styling.

Following Professor Anderson Stuart ‘s death, a progressive pattern of subdivision occurred about the early residences within Fairfax Road. In 1920, Lady Stuart had Lincluden converted to two residential flats, the work being carried out by the architectural practice of Halligan & Wilton. Maurice Bernard Halligan designed and resided at Winburn to the east of Lincluden. Other subdivisions soon followed. By 1923 lands to the east and west of Lincluden were subdivided, those to the east forming four sites within Fossberg’s Bellevue Hill Estate and those to the west forming nine sites within the grounds of the former villa Colebrook, the villa remaining on one site.

In 1926 a battleaxe subdivision was formed to the northwestern corner of Lincluden enabling construction of a new Inter-war Mediterranean style residence designed by architects Wardell & Dennis. Herbert Wardell, the son of the notable Melbourne and Sydney architect William Wardell (1823-1899), took over supervision of St Mary’s Cathedral on William Wardell’s death in 1899.
The residence was constructed for noted barrister Francis John Bethune K.C. Bethune born in London on 23 December 1860 and was the son of Admiral C.R.D. Bethune of Fife. F.J.Bethune was educated at Harrow and Trinity College Cambridge (M.A.). In 1887 Bethune was admitted to the Bar at the Inner Temple and in 1922 in Australia was appointed King’s Counsel. Prior to living at Bellevue Hill, Bethune was resident at Windyriggs, Moss Vale. Bethune is listed as resident until the late 1920’s. The residence remains in its original setting and form with later alterations recorded as the construction of a carport in 1988. Other alterations to the residence in 1993 and 1998 provided a dormer window to an attic, revisions of internal bathrooms and kitchen and adaptation of the former basement to living areas. Further subdivision around the site occurred in 1937 when the eastern side of the grounds to Lincluden was developed as a three storey residential flat building to the design of Eric C Pitt. Two further sites were subdivided to the New South Head Road frontage.

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. Housing - Suburban Expansion-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Creative endeavour-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site of 10 Fairfax Road records the historical subdivision pattern of grounds to large residences established within the Cooper Estate lands to the northern end of Bellevue Hill from the 1850’s to the early 20th century.

Arts & Crafts Style residences constructed on these sites in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were an outcome of improved tram services to the eastern suburbs facilitating progressive subdivision of lands about earlier large residences. New residences were associated with established wealthy professionals, reflecting the identification of the area as a location of choice for elevated members of Sydney society at the beginning of the 20th century. Later subdivision of the sites resulted in construction of residences generally of lesser size set in close proximity to the original residences and responding to the architectural character of the residences and the picturesque nature of the setting by adapting Inter-war Revival styles.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The site at 10 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill has some association with the early members of colonial society, including Captain John Piper and the Cooper family and later with the original leaseholder Professor Anderson Stuart and the initial owner, F.J Bethune.

The residence at 10 Fairfax Road has historical association with the architect Herbert Wardell. The son of the notable Melbourne and Sydney Architect William Wardell (1823-1899), Herbert Wardell took over supervision of St Mary’s Cathedral on William Wardell’s death in 1899.

These associations are general in the case of Piper, the Coopers and Professor Anderson Stuart but of some significance in the case of Bethune and Wardell who were noted members of eastern Sydney society of the time. Historical association with Bethune and Wardell fulfils this criterion of significance.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The site at 10 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill contains a residence demonstrating the aesthetic preferences of the Inter-War Revival Styles in particular the Inter-war Mediterranean style. The later was a favoured style of substantial residences constructed overlooking the harbour between the wars and is closely associated with the influential works of architect Professor Leslie Wilkinson. The residence is an exemplary example of the style by architect Herbert Wardell. Whilst exhibiting later external and internal alterations and additions the residence retains much of the core form and style of its original design both externally and internally. The site also retains elements of the original terraced gardens, which gave rise to the title Lincluden Gardens and reflected English precedent in the treatment of landscaped grounds to Arts & Crafts residences overlooking spectacular scenery.

The site and building are of aesthetic significance as an example of the Inter-war Mediterranean style, including internal detailing and landscaping associated with the style.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The residence at 10 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill is not associated with a particular community or cultural group within Woollahra for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The site at 10 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill, whilst demonstrating the maintenance of high standards of technical skill in construction of inter-war housing in the Bellevue Hill area, remains a typical rather than a bench mark or reference site of technical and research significance.
SHR Criteria f)
The residence at 10 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill and its associated residential group represented a type of limited incidence in Sydney due to cost and size.
SHR Criteria g)
The residence at 10 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill demonstrates the principal characteristics of smaller freestanding residences constructed in the Inter-war Mediterranean style within Sydney’s eastern harbour side suburbs between the First and Second World Wars and set within close proximity to larger established residence.
Integrity/Intactness: Despite alteration and construction of new works within the immediate curtilage, the residence at 10 Fairfax Road retains the core form and aesthetic composition of an Inter-war Mediterranean style residence typifying development of Bellevue Hill and adjacent Harbour side suburbs between the World Wars. Limited additions have been carried out in forms and materials sympathetic to the original construction and have maintained the external integrity of the residence. Interiors remain largely of the initial period of construction with alterations being sympathetic both in form and detail.
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:

The residence is recommended for inclusion within Woollahra Local Environmental Plan 1995 as an item of local heritage significance. The building is considered of contributory significance to the proposed Fairfax Road Heritage Conservation Area. Conservation policy In order to maintain significance of the building and its contributing setting all original fabric and finishes external to the building are to be considered important and should be retained in the original relationship to the building. Maintenance should be limited to conservation of existing original fabric and finishes and of sympathetic supporting fabric of later addition. Alterations should be limited to removal of unsympathetic additions and modifications, and construction of works highly sympathetic to the form, design and detail of the original residence and its landscape setting. This approach should extend to the grounds and include the long term replacement of unsympathetic elements. No works should be carried out which obscure or reduce the visual relationship of the building to its setting, the vista to the north west, or the view of the building from New South Head Road. The curtilage is recommended to be the site of the building together with the common driveway shared with 12 Fairfax Road.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanWoollahraLEP 199505 May 06 55 
Local Environmental PlanWoollahra LEP 20142423 May 15   
Heritage studyTanner 2B Zone for Bellevue Hill 01 Jan 98   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
 2003 Colin Brady Architecture + Planning  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenLibby Maher2004Amendments
WrittenRosemary Broomham2002Bellevue Hill Thematic History
WrittenSands Directories1885The Sand's Sydney Directories
WrittenWardell & Denning1926BA 56/26

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2711069

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