Mays Hill Gatehouse | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Mays Hill Gatehouse

Item details

Name of item: Mays Hill Gatehouse
Other name/s: Southern Domain Gatehouse; Gatekeepers' Lodge
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Parks, Gardens and Trees
Category: Gatehouse
Primary address: Great Western Highway, Parramatta, NSW 2150
Parish: St John
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Parramatta
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Great Western HighwayParramattaParramattaSt JohnCumberlandPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Parramatta Park TrustState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Mays Hill gatehouse derives its significance from its prominent location on the Park's southern boundary, it association with the Park and its function as a gate keeper's lodge for the Southern Domain. Unlike the Macquarie and George Street Gatehouses, it is of a humble, domestic type construction. The site of the gatehouse is associated with Macquarie's toll bar, as well as the original park entranceway from the south. As a group, the Parramatta Park gatehouses are of state significance for their archaeological, architectural, social and landscape values.
Date significance updated: 07 Jul 03
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.


Construction years: 1880-
Physical description: Symmetrical plan with protruding central bay and surrounding verandah. Ornate fretted barge boards on north and south gables; timber finials at each of 3 gables. These domestic Gothic touches and the louvred roof ventilator in the east elevation gable end although of different detailed design, are stylistically related to the Ranger's Cottage. The Mays Hill Gate House is a simple four room plan with intersecting gable roofs having decorated fretted barge boards and finials on the gables. A deep verandah wraps around the projecting front bay on the eastern side. The detailing is otherwise very simple and much of the internal plaster and timber joinery work has been destroyed. Enough still remains to indicate the cornice, architrave and skirting profiles. At the rear of the house is a concrete slab on a brick footing wall. On the west elevation the paint layers show the profile of a lean-to addition, which on the evidence of the concrete floor and the type of brick in the footings is 20th century. The rear door openings are the same as the internal door openings and are not symmetrically arranged in plan. The west elevation as it now appears in relation to the rest of the building appears as if a significant element of the original design has been removed, i.e., a rear verandah or enclosed structure for utility rooms balancing the front verandah and predating the construction of the existing concrete slab. The functions of the remaining spaces can only be guessed; the projecting front room would have been a sitting room; the central rear room could have been a dining room; the two flanking rear rooms with fire places would probably have served as bedrooms; and the utility rooms would have been located in spaces located on the west side of the house. (McDonald 1987: 48f) The building is now in an open mesh wire enclosure.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
In an advanced state of disrepair. Interiors gutted; windows and doors boarded up. The building is well fenced, windows and doors are supported with frames and the guttering is well maintained, and down pipes drain well away from foundations.
Date condition updated:07 Jul 03
Current use: vacant awaiting conservation work
Former use: Gatehouse, entranceway, tollway.


Historical notes: The Mays Hill Gate House is located at the extreme southern limit of the Park adjacent to the Great Western Highway. The Great Western Road appears in this location as early as 1793 and a toll bar was located almost directly opposite the present location of the Gate House by 1822. The cottage does not appear in the Surveyor General's plan of 1858, prepared as a preliminary survey of the then newly declared Park. It appears in Ebsworth's plan of 1887. Exact date of construction is not known although it is similar in style and building materials to the Rangers cottage and may be of a similar date (1870s early 1880s). The gatehouse marks what was once an important entranceway into the Government domain before the railway split the Park in 1860. There is a reference to the Mays Hill Gate House in Rivett suggesting that the building was constructed after the Toll House was demolished in 1860, although there is no evidence to show how soon after 1860 it was built (McDonald).

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. (none)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site is historically significant as it was associated with the early road networks leading to and from Government House. The site is also indicative of the importance of this entry to the park and Old Government House which was lost with the construction of the railway.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
This gatehouse is located in a prominent position on the Great Western Highway. It is a simple dwelling structure which forms part of an assemblage of gatehouses.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
There may be archaeological remains associated with the gatehouse including remains of a toll way etc.
SHR Criteria g)
The gatehouse is part of a collection of gatehouses in the park.
Integrity/Intactness: The gatehouse is in poor condition but substantially intact.
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:

Objective: The Mays Hill Gatehouse will be managed as a key entry point to the Park. The small residential scale of the building will be retained through continuous use as a residence or through adaptive reuse for an appropriate small scale commercial purpose. Actions: To this end the Parramatta Park Trust will: commission a Conservation Management Plan for the Gatehouse and undertake the necessary work to restore it to a usafe, useable condition; prepare a detailed Landscape Plan; undertake repair and maintenance as required. (Parramatta Park Master Landscape Plan 2002, p.47)


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     
Archaeological zoning plan 25   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Parramatta Park Historic Buildings & Monuments1986 McDonald, B  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenVarman, R.V.J.1997Archaeological Zoning Plan for Parramatta Park

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: State Government
Database number: 4681025

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