Gwelo - former house and grounds | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Gwelo - former house and grounds

Item details

Name of item: Gwelo - former house and grounds
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Block of Flats
Primary address: 36a Mona Road, Darling Point, NSW 2027
Local govt. area: Woollahra
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
36a Mona RoadDarling PointWoollahra  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The subdivision and the building demonstrate a major historical phase in the development of Darling Point as a residential suburb in the early part of the 20th century. This phase saw the breaking up of the early large land grants and estates, in this case the Mona Estate, and the closer subdivision and development of the peninsular for good quality upper middle class housing. The building demonstrates the nature of housing built in the area at the time and the trend in the area to higher residential densities commencing in the 1920s with the widespread conversion of houses to duplexes and flats.

Built c.1913/14, the building is a good representative example of a good quality upper middle class Federation Queen Anne house designed in the ‘Olde English’ style, and provides evidence of the aesthetic tastes of the period. The building demonstrates many of the key characteristics of the style and a range of characteristic formal and decorative elements and finishes in its picturesque asymmetrical composition drawing on English rural vernacular forms, materials and detailing. These include the combination of red brick walls on the main level over rusticated sandstone foundation and basement walls with roughcast stucco and half timbering on the upper floor, gable ends and chimney, projecting square and facetted bays, some supported on decorative timber brackets, and the diamond grid pattern leadlights in white painted timber framed casements, some arch headed.

Because of its striking appearance, the building is a landmark building in a group of buildings in Mona Road of similar scale, form and character built within the early years of the 20th century. In combination, the winding alignment of Mona Road, the large ficus hillii street trees and the group of buildings form a distinctive streetscape characteristic of Mona Road.
Date significance updated: 22 Jul 05
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.

Description

Designer/Maker: George and Son
Builder/Maker: George and Son
Construction years: 1913-1914
Physical description: Substantial freestanding two storey residence built c.1913/14 and converted to a duplex in 1922. The allotment is an amalgamation of Lot 58 with parts of the adjoining lots (see Historical Notes, below) to create a site with a wide frontage to Mona Road and a gentle fall from the street frontage but increasing in steepness at the rear. The house sits well forward on the allotment, and it and the house partially wrap around ‘Mona’, on its northern side, leaving it with a very restricted curtilage.

The house is designed in the Federation Queen Anne style, with large areas of distinctive ‘Olde English’ half timbering picked out in black against white painted roughcast stucco. The rest of the exterior is in red brick over rusticated sandstone foundation and basement walls, and the roof is clad with slate. Other prominent timber elements such as the barge boards are also painted black, and contrast with white painted window frames, projecting rafter ends and timber boarding under the eaves. The roof form is generally hipped, with a projecting gables facing the street on the main building and on the garage wing. The latter is a conversion of the original stable with lofts above on the northern boundary of the site. The stair to the upper flat, which is now behind the garage wing, appears to have been relocated from the original stair hall in the centre of the main street façade as part of the conversion to a duplex. The entrance to both flats is via a projecting porch to the south of the garage wing which appears to be part of the original design. A large ‘ficus hillii’in the street outside the house partly obscures views of it but adds to its landmark quality. The Mona Road frontage of the property is completed by a sympathetic white painted paling fence over a red brick dwarf wall, with two matching picket gates. Windows to the street façade are white painted timber framed casements with leadlights in a diamond grid pattern. There are a number of projecting square and facetted bays, some supported on decorative timber brackets, and arch headed windows. A central chimney is finished in white painted roughcast stucco with brick decorative detailing and has multiple terra cotta pots. The gable end behind the garage wing is finished in plain roughcast stucco with an arch headed timber ventilator, but there is no evidence that it is an addition.

A wide two storey verandah with a projecting central bay, facetted on the ground floor, extends across most of the rear of the building. This appears to be mostly an original construction, with half timbering matching the front of the house in the spandrel and the gable end over the projecting bay, but the southern bay has been enclosed. The balustrades on both levels appear to be recent modifications. Sets of French doors to the verandah were replaced with sliding aluminium doors in the mid 1960s and a number of internal alterations carried out.

The house sits in a well developed garden setting with mature camellias and other species
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good condition.
Modifications and dates: 1922 - Converted to duplex. Architects – Burcham Clamp and Mackellar
1963 - Replacement of balcony windows with aluminium sliding doors; Internal alterations. Architects and Lukaos & Gergely.
1974 - Alterations and additions.
Further information: Forms part of group of buildings in Mona Road of similar scale, form and character all built early in the 20th century and later converted to flats, but retaining much of their early forms. In combination, the winding alignment of Mona Road, the large ficus hillii street trees and the group of buildings form a distinctive streetscape characteristic of Mona Road. Because of its size, closeness to the road, style and finishes, No 36a is a ‘standout’ landmark within the group.
Current use: Residential
Former use: Residential

History

Historical notes: The site is part of a 15 acre grant by Governor Brisbane to his astronomer, James Dunlop in the mid 1830s. Dunlop did not build on the land. In 1841 he sold it to Thomas Ware Smart who, a year later, built the house known as ‘Mona’ which still exists at 38 Mona Road. The Mona Estate was subdivided in the 1880s, with Mona Road providing access from Darling Point Road, and lots on its eastern side offered for sale. This subdivision did not proceed. The land was resubdivided in 1904 with Mona Road taking a substantially different alignment and connecting with New South Head Road.

The subject allotment is a wide allotment created by amalgamation of Lot 58 created in this subdivision with part of lot 59 to the south and part of Lot 57 to the north, the site of ‘Mona’, leaving the latter with a very restricted curtilage.

The house was built c.1913/14 as a residence for Mr and Mrs I Himmelhock, who owned ‘Mona’ at the time and converted it into flats.

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. Street patterns and subdivision-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The subdivision and the building demonstrate a major historical phase in the development of Darling Point as a residential suburb in the early part of the 20th century. This phase saw the breaking up of the early large land grants and estates, in this case the Mona Estate, and the closer subdivision and development of the peninsular for good quality upper middle class housing. The building demonstrates the nature of housing built in the area at the time and the trend in the area to higher residential densities commencing in the 1920s with the widespread conversion of houses to duplexes and flats.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Does not meet the inclusion guidelines for this criterion.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The building is a good example of a good quality upper middle class house Federation Queen Anne house designed in the ‘Olde English’ style, and provides evidence of the aesthetic tastes of the period. The building demonstrates many of the key characteristics of the style and a range of characteristic formal and decorative elements and finishes in its picturesque asymmetrical composition drawing on English rural vernacular forms, materials and detailing. These include the combination of red brick walls on the main level over rusticated sandstone foundation and basement walls with roughcast stucco and half timbering on the upper floor, gable ends and chimney, projecting square and facetted bays, some supported on decorative timber brackets, and the diamond grid pattern leadlights in white painted timber framed casements, some arch headed.

Because of its striking appearance, the building is the landmark building in a group of buildings in Mona Road of similar scale, form and character built within the early years of the 20th century. In combination, the winding alignment of Mona Road, the large ficus hillii street trees and the group of buildings form a distinctive streetscape characteristic of Mona Road.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Does not meet the inclusion guidelines for this criterion.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Does not meet the inclusion guidelines for this criterion.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Does not meet the inclusion guidelines for this criterion.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The building is a fine representative example of a substantial pre WWI Federation Queen Anne residence designed in the ‘Olde English’ style.
Integrity/Intactness: Although converted to a duplex and altered at the rear, the building retains the essential integrity of its original design, construction and setting.
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.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanWoollahraLEP 199522 Jul 05 52 
Local Environmental PlanWoollahra Local Environmental Plan 201416723 May 15   
Within a conservation area on an LEPMona Road HCALEP 199527 Feb 04 46 
Heritage studyTanner 01 Jan 97   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenRate books/BA records  
WrittenRosemary Broomham2001Darling Point: Thematic History
WrittenTanner & Associates1997Prelimiary Heritage Item Investigation - Darling Point

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: 2711525


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