House - 20 Cyrus Avenue, Wahroonga | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


House - 20 Cyrus Avenue, Wahroonga

Item details

Name of item: House - 20 Cyrus Avenue, Wahroonga
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 20 Cyrus Avenue, Wahroonga, NSW 2076
Local govt. area: Ku-Ring-Gai
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
20 Cyrus AvenueWahroongaKu-Ring-Gai  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Roads and Maritime ServicesState Government 

Statement of significance:

The house and fruit tree specimens on the property are locally significant as reflections of the historical period of orcharding which was widespread in the Ku-Ring-Gai local area from the 1850s to the turn of the 20th century. The land is associated with John Brown, a prominent local timbergetter, orchardist, and merchant.
Date significance updated: 06 Oct 04
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: Form: Bungalow or workers cottage with pyramidal roof.
Style/Period: Edwardian
Storeys: 1
Roof: Painted corrugated iron.
Walls: Weatherboard - feather edged.
Fenestration: Timber casements and French doors.
Alterations: Carport added to verandah.
Site Landscaping: A number of fruit trees on the property indicate that the site could have been an orchard.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:06 Aug 04
Modifications and dates: Early 20th century
Current use: Unused
Former use: Residence


Historical notes: The house is situated on land originally granted to Thomas Hyndes in 1838. In 1854, John Brown bought a 640-acre block with frontage to Lane Cove Road, running from Pearce’s Corner to beyond Fox Valley Road in one direction, and towards the Lane Cove River beyond the present day 7th Day Adventist Hospital in the other. Brown was a successful timber-getter, supplying the timber for large projects such as the Pyrmont and Glebe Island Bridges. Once land was cleared, Brown planted orchards, and one Ernest Brown is listed in the Sands Directory as a fruitgrower on the southern side of Fox Valley Road as late as 1920.
John Brown died in 1884 and in July 1896, his children John Thomas Brown, William Henry Brown, Sophia Laing and Charlotte Mary Ann Brown, subdivided the land. Richardson And Wrench advertised the sale of lots in Brown’s Estate in 1896. In December 1896, Lucy Catherine Elizabeth Bullock, wife of surveyor, Charles Cyrus Bullock and another daughter of John Brown acquired 12 lots over five sections. Several of the later street names in this area were named after the descendants of John Brown.
Although there are no listings to provide documentary evidence for the occupants of the northern side of Fox Valley Road in the Sands Directory until 1903, stylistically the house dates to the 1890s and it is likely that the dwelling was constructed by the Bullocks after acquiring the land in 1896 and possibly leased to an orchardist, as orcharding activity is evidenced by remnant trees at the site.
In 1917 Howard Bullock, surgeon, inherited the land, measuring over 3 acres extending from Fox Valley Road up to and including the site of the present 20 Cyrus Avenue. Cyrus Avenue first appears as a road off Fox Valley Road in the 1920s.
Howard Bullock subdivided the land into 12 lots and sold them off between 1918 and 1928. All lots had a covenant added to the transaction requiring any buildings to be erected on the site to not be of lesser value than 500 pounds. Lot 12, containing the subject house, was purchased by Robert James Cooke, a fireman from Wahroonga, in 1923. In addition to the stylistic evidence pointing to the 1890s, the house is too modest to have a value greater than 500 pounds, and it is concluded that the house already existed on the land prior to the sale in 1923.
The house remained with members of the Cooke family until the 1990s.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The house is an early dwelling for the locality and demonstrates the period when orcharding was a primary industry in the Ku-Ring-Gai Council area.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The land is associated with John Brown, a prominent 19th century timber-getter, orchardist, and merchant. It is part of Brown's square mile of landholdings, where he probably cleared the timber and established orchards. Brown's descendants were responsible for subdividing the land, and a number of streets in the immediate area are named after members of the Brown family.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The house is a pleasant example of a modest timber worker's cottage of the Edwardian period retaining much original joinery.
SHR Criteria f)
Dwellings associated with the orcharding period of Ku-Ring-Gai's history are rare in the area.
Integrity/Intactness: High
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:

List on RTA s170 Heritage and Conservation Register.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
RTA Review: Heritage and Conservation Register Warringah Sub-Region2004 City Plan  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Land Titles and Subdivision Plans
Written  John Sands Sydney Suburban and Alphabetical Directories
Written  Richardson and Wrench Auction Notice for Brown’s Estate
WrittenIan A. Ramage1991Wahroonga - Our Home
WrittenIan A. Ramage and Percy Bergan2003We Still Call Wahroonga Our Home
WrittenKu-Ring-Gai Historical Society1996Focus on Ku-Ring-Gai

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

rez 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: State Government
Database number: 4305622

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.