Chislehurst - residential flat building and grounds | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Chislehurst - residential flat building and grounds

Item details

Name of item: Chislehurst - residential flat building and grounds
Other name/s: St Kierans
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 22 Fairfax Road, Bellevue Hill, NSW 2023
Local govt. area: Woollahra
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
22 Fairfax RoadBellevue HillWoollahra  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The residence St Kierans / Chislehurst at 22 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill remains as part of a group of early 20th century residences, which originally defined the lower side of Fairfax Road at its most prominent point.

The residence is of local significance retaining historic and aesthetic significance as a good example of Federation Art & Crafts Style residence attributed to architect M.B. Halligan, incorporating influences of the American East Coast Shingle Style. The residence retains its landmark value set on a steep slope overlooking Double Bay and retains the character of its original setting viewed in conjunction with other early 20th century residences. The building's form of intersecting gabled roofs emerging from a rectangular base plan is distinctive to the works of architect M.B Halligan. As one of the few remaining residences from the first phase of development within Fairfax Road, the residence is a rare demonstration of the forms and styles employed by socially established members of Sydney’s working professions who took up residence at Bellevue Hill in the early 20th century.

The extent of alteration externally is balanced by the sympathetic forms and materials employed in the alterations. Internal alterations and conversion to residential flats has reduced the interpretive value of the site and residence but has had limited impact upon the external aesthetic value of the site. Similarly, later construction of an additional residence and garage within the former yard of the residence have impacted upon the immediate curtilage of the residence, but has retained the core aesthetic form and site relationship.
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: Attributed to Maurice Bernard Halligan
Builder/Maker: Unknown
Construction years: 1904-1905
Physical description: The residence is of face brick and timber shingle exterior with high pitched gable roof forms incorporating oriole and inset window forms. A principal transverse ridgeline provides the springing point for high and low level gables and a hipped dormer to the northwestern elevation overlooking Double Bay. Paired gables to the southeastern or street elevation are differentiated by variation in the treatment of gable infill and attic windows. Casement windows remain in evidence; with later replacements being broad, fixed glazed panels. Timber shingle cladding employed within gable ends is belled above the ground floor and around an oriole to the main northwestern gable end with a steep pitched awning roof protecting a canted bay to the floor beneath.

The roof forms are currently clad with green glazed concrete pan tiles, which provide a sympathetic response to the dark timber and white painted gable ends.

The American East Coast Shingle Style influences the detailing of the building, with the overall composition engendering the Scottish baronial overtones seen in the early works of M.B. Halligan. The building compares with Halligan’s designs for Royal Sydney Golf Club of 1908, his design of maltings buildings at Mittagong and photographic records of his nearby residence Winburn, now demolished, and formerly at 28 Fairfax Road to the east of No.22.

The building is set within established landscaped grounds of limited extent due to later construction and subdivision of the former grounds.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The building is in good condition with some original external fabric sympathetically replaced. Interiors have not been inspected.
Date condition updated:01 May 03
Modifications and dates: Major alterations have been identified as those pertaining to the conversion in 1927 of the residence to two residential flats. ( ref BA 134/27)
Further information: The residence forms part of an identifiable group of early 20th century and inter-war houses on the lower side of Fairfax Road which have cohesive forms.

Comparative assessment
No direct attribution of the residence to the works of M. B. Halligan has been located to date. Comparison of the residence to Halligan’s works, particularly his design for Royal Sydney Golf Club provides strong supportive evidence that Chislehurst is an example of his work. Halligan displayed a preference for pyramidal forms set above rectangular base forms. This is evident in his golf course works, his maltings building at Mittagong and in photographs of his own residence Winburn, previously constructed to the east of Chislehurst. It is also thought that Halligan was the designer of Rhondanella, a large residence at Dapto on the NSW South Coast. in c.1912. Rhondanella epitomises this approach to design form.
Current use: Residence
Former use: Residence


Historical notes: The residence at 22 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill is located on the northern slope of a ridgeline identified as Ghinigulla by indigenous Wangal clan prior to European settlement. The ridgeline takes the name Bellevue Hill from naming of a lookout point to its southern end as Belle–Vue by Governor Macquarie in 1820. The site is part of an 190 acre grant to Capt. John Piper by Governor Macquarie in 1820. The grant became part of lands passed to Pipers creditors Daniel Cooper and Solomon Levey in 1826 and subsequently leasehold land owned by Cooper’s nephew Daniel Cooper III.

Establishment of gentlemen’s villas in the area began 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 by Major Mitchell, these forming the later routes of Victoria and Bellevue Roads. The first residences in the immediate vicinity were John Fairfax’s Ghinagulla to the east of the site and Colebrook constructed near the later junction of Fairfax Road and Bellevue Road in the 1860's for William Augustine Duncan.

Under Daniel Cooper III’s instructions sales of his Bellevue Hill holdings commenced in 1883. An 1887 plan of the area showing leaseholds within the Cooper Estate shows the site to be within lands leased by Sir Patrick Jennings. Sales did not accelerate until the Bellevue Hill tram service of the early 1900’s facilitated regular commuting. Fairfax Road was established after 1893, the first residence being Professor Anderson Stuart’s Lincluden designed by Harry Chambers Kent in 1896.

A subdivision plan dated 1902 shows a narrow parcel of lands to the east of Lincluden belonging to A Sheridan with the immediately adjacent site belonging to B. Halligan (Maurice Bernard Halligan architect.) In Sand’s listings for 1903 Lincluden remains the only residence in Fairfax Road. However, by 1904 Sands Directory records Halligan residing at Winburn in Fairfax Road. By 1905, Sand’s identifies additional residences including St Kieran’s home of barrister John G. Sheridan and Frene, home to barrister William D. Merewether. To the southern side of the road are also recorded the residences of A.H. Russell, Muhuru and of Captain Selwyn Smith, Lilawang. By 1907 Sand’s also lists the residence Wamba to the east of St Kieran’s. Wamba was constructed for Chief Magistrate G.C. Addison owner of land in Fairfax Road described as land 98 ft and half share of 7ft right of way –the right of way shared with Maurice B Halligan, owner and occupant of Winburn. These residences are seen in photographic records of the early 20th century as being characterised by forms and detailing of the Federation Arts & Crafts style and being highly prominent along the hillside route of Fairfax Road.

St Kieran’s remained the residence of J.G. Sheridan until 1918. In 1919 the residence was listed as the home of Mrs Crochet and its name changed to Chislehurst. Crochet’s occupation was short. An October 1923 auction notice for Fossberg’s Bellevue Hill Estate, comprising the lands remaining between Lincluden Gardens and Chislehurst, identifies Mrs Trout as the occupant of Chislehurst.

Subdivision of the surrounding lands continued with G.C. Addison, in 1924 constructing a new residence (No.24 Fairfax Road) designed by architects Prevost Synnot and Ruwald and located on the lower portion of his land. In 1927 Chislehurst was converted to two residential flats, a configuration which` has been maintained to the time of this assessment.

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 at 22 Fairfax Road retains historical significance as part of the initial subdivision of the Cooper Estate established in Fairfax Road which led to consolidation of the open lands about the isolated gentlemen’s villas established on the northern end of Bellevue Hill during the early 20th century and inter-war periods.

The subdivisions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries producing the pattern of Arts & Crafts style residences along the route of Fairfax Road were an outcome of improved tram services to the eastern suburbs. The tram service facilitated progressive subdivision of the 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.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The site at 22 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill has general association with the initial leaseholder of the site, Sir Patrick Jennings. The residence, St Kieran’s/Chislehurst, has specific association with barrister John G. Sheridan, the original owner of the residence. The residence is also thought to be an example of the works of architect Maurice Bernard Halligan who previously resided at Winburn (28 Fairfax Road) and was a prolific designer of notable residences and larger buildings in NSW in the years prior to and immediately after World War One. Whilst association with Jennings and Sheridan has limited relationship with the history of Woollahra, links with the architect MB Halligan provide significance in this criterion. Halligan’s works provide a notable contribution to the early 20th century built environment of Woollahra.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The site at 22 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill is of aesthetic significance containing a residence demonstrating the aesthetic preferences of the Federation Arts & Crafts style incorporating influences of the American East Coast Shingle style. The residence retains its landmark value set on a steep slope overlooking Double Bay and retains the character of its original setting viewed in conjunction with other early 20th century residences. The buildings form of intersecting gabled roofs emerging from a rectangular base plan is distinctive to the works of Architect MB Halligan, known to have been a former resident of Fairfax Road and the designer of a similar nearby residence. On the basis of these aesthetic characteristics the residence is considered to satisfy this criterion.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The site at 22 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill has not been identified as having strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group in Woollahra for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The site at 22 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill, whilst partially reclad externally, demonstrates the high level of technical skill achieved in joinery, render and brick work during the Federation period common to residences within Bellevue Hill remaining from the period. The technical and research significance of the site is therefore typical to the period rather than a benchmark or reference site.
SHR Criteria f)
The residence at 22 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill and its associated residential group represented a type always of limited incidence in Sydney due to cost and size.
SHR Criteria g)
The residence St Kieran’s/Chislehurst at 22 Fairfax Road Bellevue Hill is a fine example of the large Federation Arts & Crafts style residence incorporating elements of the American East Coast Shingle style.

Its representative value is further increased by its location within a group of residences illustrating the principle characteristics of the style. The building both in its own form and by association with nearby residences satisfies the criterion of representativeness.
Integrity/Intactness: Despite alteration and construction of new works within the immediate curtilage, the residence at 22 Fairfax Road retains the core form and aesthetic composition of a substantial Arts & Crafts styled residence typifying development of Bellevue Hill in the early 20th century. Additions carried out in forms and materials sympathetic to the original construction have maintained the external integrity of the residence. Interiors are of later periods and have limited interpretive value.
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:

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 and from Fairfax Road. The curtilage is recommended to be the original site of the building together with the common driveway shared with 20 Fairfax Road.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanWoollahraLEP 199505 May 06 55 
Local Environmental PlanWoollahra LEP 20142623 May 15   
Heritage studyTanner 01 Jan 98   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
 2003 Colin Brady Architecture + Planning  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenLibby Maher2004Amendments to Heritage Inventory Sheet
WrittenRosemary Broomham2002Bellevue Hill Thematic History
WrittenSands Directories1890The Sand's Sydney Directories

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

rez rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2711432

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.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.