Babworth House | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Babworth House

Item details

Name of item: Babworth House
Other name/s: Mount Adelaide (site of)(demolished)
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -33.8720148513 Long: 151.2388767410
Primary address: 103 Darling Point Road, Darling Point, NSW 2027
Parish: Alexandria
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Woollahra
Local Aboriginal Land Council: La Perouse
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP270253
LOT10 DP270253
LOT11 DP270253
LOT12 DP270253
LOT13 DP270253
LOT14 DP270253
LOT15 DP270253
LOT16 DP270253
LOT17 DP270253
LOT4 DP270253
LOT5 DP270253
LOT6 DP270253
LOT7 DP270253
LOT1-5 CP/SP70612
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
103 Darling Point RoadDarling PointWoollahraAlexandriaCumberlandPrimary Address
Mount Adelaide RoadDarling PointWoollahra  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 Private 
Babworth HousePrivate 

Statement of significance:

Babworth House is one of the largest, finest and most intact examples of an early twentieth century grand house in Australia. It is of national significance both historically and aesthetically. Babworth House is an excellent and rare example of the Federation Arts and Crafts style in grand domestic architecture in Australia. The quality and uniqueness of the exterior and interior detailing, incorporating both Art Nouveau and neoclassical motifs and forms is of a standard and scale rarely seen in domestic architecture. The workmanship and detailing of the external cement render work is of national significance technically.

Babworth's garden is an integral part of the design for the whole estate and, although the estate is reduced in size, the gardens and grounds provide a substantially intact and highly appropriate setting to the grand mansion. The built garden elements such as stairs, balustrades, grottoes and faux-rockwork amplify the scale of the mansion and demonstrate high technical accomplishment by using the same high standard of construction as the house.

The Babworth estate, including house, garden and outbuildings, is representative of the large villa estate established by the wealthy elite of Darling Point during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It demonstrates an affluence and lifestyle which could only be supported by a very large range of live-in servants and which was rare following the First World War.

Babworth House was built as the home of Sir Samuel Hordern, a fourth generation member of the notable Sydney Commercial family who founded the famous Anthony Hordern's stores. Sir Samuel was a well-known and influential member of Sydney society. Babworth represents the continuing association of the Hordern family with Darling Point from 1864 through to 1956.

The garden is a major extant private collection of plants dating from the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It also contains various plants which are rare or otherwise uncommon in cultivation in Sydney as well as rare indigenous species that have persisted since before site development. (Babworth House Conservation Management Plan, Design 5 Architects, p. 50)
Date significance updated: 07 Jun 99
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: Morrow and De Putron
Builder/Maker: Messrs W Gawne and Son
Construction years: 1912-1915
Physical description: Grounds:
One of Anthony Hordern's sons was Samuel Hordern (1849-1909). His eldest son, (Sir) Samuel Hordern (1879-1956) acquired Mount Adelaide on the Darling Point ridge and created a vast new residence and landscaped setting in an Arts and Crafts style (c.1912): formal stairways descended from the porte cochere to sunken gardens and grottoes distinguished by an important botanic collection. Known as Babworth House (or Hall), this great estate was designed by architects Morrow and De Putron, who also designed nearby Hopewood House (1914) on the point for his brother Lebbeus. Sir Samuel also resided at Retford Park, Bowral; Lady (Charlotte) Hordern took a keen interest in both gardens. The site was graded to form a series of garden platforms and enclosures descending to a rose garden, herbaceous border, and oak glade under-planted with bluebells (Tanner, Howard & Britton, Geoffrey, 'Hordern family' entry, in Aitken, R. & Looker, M. (ed.s), 'The Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens', 2002, Oxford University Press in association with the Australian Garden History Society, 310).

As with the house the garden also displays a certain stylistic eclecticism: Italianate garden terrace balustrading and cypress-lined walks; highly sculptured faux rockwork walls and grottoes clad in an array of succulents and rock garden plants; the use of palms and clumps of umbrella tree (Schefflera sp.) and bird-of-paradise flower (Strelitzia sp.) to give an exuberant and tropical character to parts of the garden; the retention of areas with a strong nineteenth sombreness and richly varies plant list throughout the estate. (Babworth House Conservation Management Plan, Design 5 Architects, 1998)

House:
Babworth House is sited on the highest point of the Darling Point peninsula. The house is two storey with walls finished in finely worked, unpainted, cement render with beautifully detailed Art Nouveau-inspired decorations around openings and chimneys. A series of very crisp and precise indented lines surround the house, adding strength and balance to the numerous and varied openings, balconies and other architectural elements. The house asymmetrical with broad gabled areas juxtaposed with bold projecting covered balconies, some with bowed or circular fronts. The east, north and west elevations are each different but use the same architectural language and decoration.

The joinery is all timber with french doors generally containing tapered glass panels. The windows are usually double hung with single panes to the lower sash and six panes to the upper sash. The eaves are broad with ventilated soffits supported on tapered timber brackets or joists. The roof is broken into many parts and covered with slate, mostly with terracotta ridges and occasionally copper. The guttering, rainwater heads and downpipes are all in copper and of consistent detail designed especially for the house.

Internally the house displays a variety of architectural styles, from Edwardian, Classical Revival to Art Nouveau and early Art Deco. The ground floor principal rooms comprise entry hall, stair hall, dining room, drawing room, ballroom/billiard room with attached bays and attached library/smoking room. All of these, with the exception of the drawing room, are heavily paneled in English oak and Queensland maple with finely detailed door cases and beamed ceilings. The plaster ceiling panels between the beams show bold Art Nouveau decoration and in the main rooms the ceilings show a subtle curve down towards the wall around the perimeter.

The drawing room is entirely painted, even though it contains extensive areas of carved timber. Walls are paneled in a Classical Revival manner, reminiscent of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries with carved door cases and a strongly articulated dado. The alcove to the fireplace is entered through a large columned opening and contains a fine white and green serpentine marble chimneypiece.

The stair is heavily carved in the Art Nouveau style with large newel posts at each change of direction. The lower posts now support modern white ball light fittings.

The other ground-floor rooms display varying degrees of lesser decoration down to the minimal work in the south-west servants' wing.

The principal bedroom and dressing room are finished in a similar but simpler manner to the drawing room and without the wall paneling. The other rooms show clear differentiation between family/guest use and servants' use in their scale and detail. The hospital use has introduced a lift adjacent to the ballroom and an upgraded dumb waiter adjacent to the kitchen. The joinery, including door and window hardware has been moved around in many instances (Babworth House Conservation Management Plan, Design 5 Architects, 1998).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physcial condition is excellent.

Archaeological Potential:
(from 1999 Casey & Lowe Archaeological Assessment of 4 & 6 Wiston Gardens, a subdivision off the Babworth/then the Mt.Adelaide) estate to its east and downhill)(also in Tanner & Associates, Heritage Impact Assessment, 4 & 6 Wiston Gardens, 2001, revised 5/2003):

Although in the 1830s Macdonald did not build a house on the site he was responsible for a considerable amount of landscaping including the planting of a vineyard on the site of what is now Wiston Gardens, including No. 4. The vineyard was reputedly designed by Thomas Shepherd, the first nurseryman and landscape designer in the colony. The Mount Adelaide Estate was extensively sub-divided between the time Macdonald departed for England in 1837 and the turn of the century.

The site has identified archaeological potential for relics associated with the significant 1830s vineyard of the Mount Adelaide Estate located on this site prior to its subdivision and construction of the subject house.
These potential relics have been assessed as significant for the following reasons:

- For their association with Thomas Shepherd, the first nurseryman, the first early writer and teacher on landscape design in NSW, first nuseryman and one of the main proponents of vine cultivation in this period.
- For their association with William Macdonald, an ex-convict who became a wealthy entrepreneur.

- For their association with contemporary theories of aesthetics in landscaping and picturesque design.
- For their ability to demonstrate aspects of the cultivation of the vine and the design, layout and construction of a vineyard of the 1830s.

The potential for substantive is remains is limited as a result of the major changes to the site of the vineyard (through subdivision and housing construction)(Sources: as above)
Date condition updated:01 Jul 99
Modifications and dates: 1833 - 13 acres 3 rods to McDonald
1830s - vineyard terracing on eastern side of Mt.Adelaide Estate for McDonald, possibly by Thomas Shepherd (the only documented landscape design of Shepherd's)
1837+ Mortimer Lewis house with bay window on the northern-most edge of the estate
by 1857 house had been enlarged, finished and changes had been made to its outbuildings
1858+ substantial additions by E.T.Blacket for Mort

1893-1910 grounds reduced by subdivision
1912-15 old house pulled down and large new mansion built by Morrow & de Putron for Samuel Hordern II
Current use: Accommodation for staff of St Vincent's Hospital
Former use: Residence, school

History

Historical notes: Originally known by its Aboriginal name Yarranabbee, this suburb on the south side of Sydney harbour was called Mrs Darling's Point in honour of his wife by Governor Ralph Darling, the colony's often criticised governor of 1825-31. At that time the area was heavily timbered, but after New South Head Road was built in 1831 timber cutters felled many of the trees, and the land was subdivided. Most of the plots, covering 9 to 15 acres in this area, were taken up between 1833 and 1838. The 'Mrs' was lost from the name and the suburb and point became Darling Point (Pollen, 1988, 79).

In 1833 'Villa allotments' were advertised for sale at 'Mrs Darling's Point'. The land was auctioned on 11 October and the largest allotment No. 10, 13 acres 3 rods won the eastern side of the point was purchased by William Macdonald, an emancipist (transported for life for forgery) turned successful businessman and entrepreneur, dealing in general hardware. Macdonald named his purchase Mount Adelaide and spent considerable amounts of money on it, although no residence had been built by the time he put it up for sale in 1837.

In the 1830s (1833-7) Macdonald was responsible for a considerable amount of landscaping including the planting of a vineyard on the Mt.Adelaide estate (, part of which is the site of what is now Wiston Gardens, including No.s 4 & 6). The vineyard was reputedly designed by Thomas Shepherd, the first nurseryman and landscape designer in the colony. The Mount Adelaide Estate was extensively sub-divided between the time Macdonald departed for England in 1837 and the turn of the century.

Thomas Shepherd (c.1779-1835) landscape gardener and nursery proprieter was NSW's first nurseryman, the first early writer and teacher on landscape design in the colony and one of the main proponents of vine cultivation in this period.
His father was Principal Gardener to the Earl of Crawford and Lindesay at his property Struthers, where the young Thomas received his earliest horticultural education. He then trained in all aspects of landscape gardening and worked for the practice of Thomas White before setting himself up as a practising landscape gardener in both Scotland and England. In his English work he came in contact with Humphry Repton (noted landscape gardener) and in his writing criticised some of Repton's methods. Shepherd eventually established a nursery at Hackney (London) to support his business. WIdowed (c.1821-2) and then remarried (1823) and faced with an unprofitable landscape and nursery business in the period after 1815 at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, he took a position with the New Zealand Company. As Principal Superintendent he was charged with establishment of a colony on Stewart Island, New Zealand, with the intention of cultivating flax (Phormium tenax).

With a band of colonists, mainly Scots, he sailed in 1825 with his new wife Jane Sarah (nee Henderson) and young family for the South Pacific. Unsuccessful in finding a suitable place for a settlement either in Stewart Island or the rest of New Zealand, they arrived in Sydney in early 1827. With encouragement from Governor Darling, he established the first commercial nursery garden in Australia near Grose Farm (1827)(today's suburb of Chippendale/Darlington, and adjacent to what is now Sydney University and Victoria Park). He named his nursery the Darling Nursery in honour of his patron. Progress was difficult because of the unprepared nature of the land allocated and he began with a vegetable garden. This was gradually expanded into the Darling Nursery with help of stock from Sydney Botanic Gardens, as well as from Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay at Elizabeth Bay House and his son William Macarthur at Camden Park. Little is known of his landscaping work but, having established himself in the colony, Shepherd gave two sets of lectures at Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts during 1834-5, for which (in their published form) he is now chiefly remembered.

Shepherd's first published writings were on viticulture (1831) and he was an early supporter of James Busby (viticultural promoter, educator, and patron). Shepherd's 'Lectures on the Horticulture of New South Wales' (1835) addressed practical matters, such as the growing of vegetables in a colony with a different climate and soils to those of Britain and complete turnabout of the seasons. The vital need for water in hot Sydney summers was also stressed in this, Australia's first garden book. 'Lectures on Landscape Gardening in Australia (1836) of which only the first was able to be delivered due to Shepherd's death, was the first Australian book to address garden design, and preceded by five years the first major North American text on landscape gardening (by Andrew Jackson Downing). At first sight conservative in their aesthetics, the lectures drew rhetorically on the (Capability) Brownian tradition of the English landscape garden, albeit tempered by local circumstance and contemporary thought. Shepherd deplored the indiscriminate destruction of timber and instead advocated selective thinning and tasteful arrangement and disposition of exotic trrees to create 'pleasing effects (and) ...improved scenery'. He addressed a range of garden styles - Sublime, Picturesque, and Beautiful - an inclusive approach in a colony of only modest population. His advice on education for young gardeners had strong overtones of (publisher and writer) John Claudius Loudon, and many of the later lectures borrowed from his writings.

William McDonald's Mount Adelaide estate (1833-7) is the only known landscape design that can confidently be attributed to Thomas Shepherd - a terraced vineyard overlooking an ornamental fishpond with Sydney Harbour (Double Bay) as a backdrop (Crittendon, in Aitken & Looker, 2002, 548-50).

The site has identified archaeological potential for relics associated with the significant 1830s vineyard prior to its subdivision and construction of both Lewis' 1838+ house and subsequent additions, its demolition and construction of Babworth House between 1912-15. The estate (and its subdivisions, such as 4 & 6 Wiston Gardens to the east and downhill) are significant for their association with Shepherd and thorugh hims with contemporary theories of aesthetics in landscaping and picturesque design and to demonstrate aspects of the cultivation of the vine and the design, layout and construction of a vineyard of the 1830s. The potential for substantive is remains is limited as a result of the major changes to the site of the vineyard (through subdivision and housing construction (Sources: 1999 Casey & Lowe Archaeological Assessment of 4 & 6 Wiston Gardens, a subdivision off the Babworth/then the Mt.Adelaide) estate to its east and downhill)(also in Tanner & Associates, Heritage Impact Assessment, 4 & 6 Wiston Gardens, 2001, revised 5/2003). Building and garden making by Lewis and later Hordern family may have removed much of the potential archaeological remains of Mt.Adelaide's landscaping (e.g.vineyard terraces and fishpond) from the 1830s (Stuart Read, pers.comm., 12/8/09).

A major purchaser of Macdonald's land was Mortimer William Lewis, the Colonial Architect. Lewis constructed a house on the northern most edge of the Mount Adelaide estate taking advantage of views of the harbour. The main feature of Lewis' simple but elegant design was the semicircular bay window of the drawing room, a feature of Lewis' other work at Fernhill, Mulgoa and Richmond Villa. Burdened with mortgage commitments in the difficult financial conditions of the depression of 1840s, Lewis filed his Insolvency Schedule in November 1849.

In 1849, John Croft, a businessman and partner with T W Smith in the firm of Smith, Croft & Co. purchased Mount Adelaide.

By 1857 when the house was again up for sale, it had not only been finished but apparently enlarged and changes made to the outbuildings.

Henry Mort purchased Mount Adelaide in 1858. After years of living in Mount Adelaide House and coping with its limited facilities, it was only as his family was diminishing in size that Henry decided to make substantial additions to the house. These were designed by E T Blacket (now in practice with his son Cyril as Blacket & Son) who had first made the house habitable after it had been left unfinished by Mortimer Lewis.

Due to financial problems in September 1893 Mort transferred his Mount Adelaide property to his daughter Eliza and his eldest son the Reverend Henry Wallace Mort. From 1893 to 1910 Mount Adelaide house was let and the grounds were gradually reduced by subdivision.

In 1910 Samuel Hordern II purchased Mount Adelaide. When he purchased it, Samuel had been married to Charlotte (daughter of shipping magnate and later Premier of New South Wales, Sir John See), and he and his wife had three children.

As Samuel Hordern II already enjoyed the benefits of a modern home at Strathfield, it is unlikely that the house was the reason for his purchase of the Mount Adelaide property. Mount Adelaide House was an old house in a modern age, lacking domestic convenience, modern plumbing and sanitation and in an architectural style with which his grandparents would have been more familiar. It was scarcely a suitable residence for the successful modern businessman. It did however have a wonderful position, views and large grounds. Moreover it was here in the neighbourhood of Darling Point, that a new generation of prosperous merchants and businessmen were building their twentieth century houses much as a previous generation had done before them. Mount Adelaide would be demolished and a new home built for Samuel and his family.

The Horderns favoured the work done by the architectural firm Morrow and De Putron and a new residence was designed at Mount Adelaide in 1912.

In 1912 the old house had been pulled down and plans prepared for the new residence. A brief description in the Sydney Morning Herald gave some idea about the character of the new house: 'The building, which will contain about 40 rooms including a magnificent billiard room will be finished with the most up-to-date appointments and all the latest labour saving devices. The furnishings throughout will be of the richest character. The joiner's work will be in English oak, cedar and Queensland maple, highly polished. The plaster enrichments will be on a lavish scale and everything will be worked pout in special details. The design throughout will be in modern Renaissance, and when complete the building should be one of the finest residences in Sydney.'

The estimated cost of the work was from 30,000 to 40,000 pounds. The house was on a grand scale with high quality finishes and it appears that it was not until 1915 that Samuel Hordern and his family took up residence in their new home, called Babworth House. Its style and location were sure marks of a class of commercial entrepreneurs which had established itself as part of the Sydney social elite.

One of Anthony Hordern's sons was Samuel Hordern (1849-1909). His eldest son, (Sir) Samuel Hordern (1879-1956) acquired Mount Adelaide on the Darling Point ridge and created a vast new residence and landscaped setting in an Arts and Crafts style (c.1912): formal stairways descended from the porte cochere to sunken gardens and grottoes distinguished by an important botanic collection. Known as Babworth House (or Hall), this great estate was designed by architects Morrow and De Putron, who also designed nearby Hopewood House (1914) on the point for his brother Lebbeus. Sir Samuel also resided at Retford Park, Bowral; Lady (Charlotte) Hordern took a keen interest in both gardens. The site was graded to form a series of garden platforms and enclosures descending to a rose garden, herbaceous border, and oak glade under-planted with bluebells (Tanner, Howard & Britton, Geoffrey, 'Hordern family' entry, in Aitken, R. & Looker, M. (ed.s), 'The Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens', 2002, Oxford University Press in association with the Australian Garden History Society, 310).

For just over 40 years Babworth House was Samuel Hordern's family home. Built on exactly the same spot as the earlier Mount Adelaide and replicating its orientation, the main aspect of the house faced north-east towards Double Bay.

The furnishings of Babworth House, like the house itself, reflected an eclectic choice of style and period but of high quality, a mixture of antique and reproduction furniture and ornaments, much of it purchased overseas.

From the onset of his father's last illness in 1906 until 1926 when the company was sold to private investors, Samuel II was the governing director of Anthony Hordern and Sons. Despite his many commitments to the family business and associated boards and organisations, he was also active in recreational and sporting pursuits, agricultural interests and philanthropic causes.

Following Sir Samuel Hordern's death in 1956 the contents of Babworth House were sold by the auctioneers, Lawson's. Major Rubin purchased Babworth House with the mind for using it as a private hospital and a Remembrance Trust was established.

Woollahra Council refused permission for the use of the site for a hospital on the basis that it was a proclaimed residential area. The matter went to the Land and Valuation Court where a compromise was reached whereby one and a half acres of land was subdivided for residential purposes but the hospital was allowed to use Babworth House for a convalescent hospital.

The first stage of works for the conversion of Babworth House for use as a convalescent hospital was drafted by the Government Architect's Branch of public Works in 1959 and provided accommodation for 30 patients. From 1961 until 1980 Babworth House was used as an after-care unit of St Vincent's Hospital.

In 1979 the State Government announced a radical rationalisation of hospital accommodation resulting in the closure of Babworth House as an after-care unit. Following the closure a range of options was considered for the use of Babworth House and from 1981 until 1985 the house remained essentially unoccupied. During this period the site was used as a location for two films, Kitty and the Bagman and Careful He Might Hear You.

In 1985 the Trustees of St Vincent's agreed that Babworth House would be made available for the relocation of the Sacred Heart Hospice during the estimated three year period in which a new hospice was built in Darlinghurst. The hospice moved patients into Babworth house in July 1986.

When it vacated the site plans were drawn up in December 1989 for the conversion of Babworth house into nurses' accommodation. It continues to serve this function at the present time (Babworth House Conservation Management Plan, Design 5 Architects, 1998).

The Hordern family, descendents of Anthony (1788-1869) and Ann Hordern, who established a Sydney retailing dynasty exemplified by Anthony Hordern and Son's Palace Emporium, created many celebrated gardens around their residences.

One of Anthony Hordern's sons was Samuel Hordern (1849-1909). His eldest son, (Sir) Samuel Hordern (1879-1956) acquired Mount Adelaide on the Darling Point ridge and created a vast new residence and landscaped setting in an Arts and Crafts style (c.1912): formal stairways descended from the porte cochere to sunken gardens and grottoes distinguished by an important botanic collection. Known as Babworth House, this great estate was designed by architects Morrow and De Putron, who also designed nearby Hopewood House (1914) for his brother Lebbeus. Sir Samuel also resided at Retford Park, Bowral; Lady Hordern took a keen interest in both gardens. The site was graded to form a series of garden platforms and enclosures descending to a rose garden, herbaceous border, and oak glade under-planted with bluebells (Tanner, Howard & Britton, Geoffrey, 'Hordern family' entry, in Aitken, R. & Looker, M. (ed.s), The Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens, 2002, Oxford University Press in association with the Australian Garden History Society, 310).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Selling Furniture-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes and gardens of domestic accommodation-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Significant tree(s) providing urban amenity-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes and parklands of distinctive styles-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Health-Activities associated with preparing and providing medical assistance and/or promoting or maintaining the well being of humans (none)-
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)-
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 the prosperous - mansions in town and country-
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. Gentlemens Mansions-
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 famous families-
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 professional people-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Sub-division of large estates-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
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 Urban landscapes inspiring creative responses-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing in an exemplary architectural style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing landscapes in an exemplary style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Building in response to natural landscape features.-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - colonial period-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - 20th century interwar-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - Victorian gardenesque style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - Federation period-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - Interwar Streamline Moderne-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Interior design styles and periods - Art Nouveau-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Interior design styles and periods - Art Nouveau-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in a new house-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Kitchens and servants-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Enjoying public parks and gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gardening-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups (none)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Edmund Blacket, Government Architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Mortimer Lewis, Colonial Architect, 1796-1879-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Croft, businessman of Smith and Croft P/L-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Rev. Henry Wallace Mort, clergyman-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Morrow and de Putron, architects-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Sir Samuel Hordern II, retailer, horse and cattle breeder-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with William McDonald, emancipist and businessman-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Henry Mort-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Thomas Shepherd, colonial nurseryman and landscape gardener,-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The place is historically significant as the site of the nineteenth century house Mt Adelaide, reported by several to have been one of the finest houses in Sydney at the time, as well as the site of Babworth house, probably the finest house built in Sydney during the twentieth century. Babworth House was built as the home of Sir Samuel Hordern, a fourth generation member of the notable Sydney Commercial family who founded the famous Anthony Hordern's stores. Sir Samuel was a well-known and influential member of Sydney society. Babworth represents the continuing association of the Hordern family with Darling Point from 1864 through to 1956. The Mt Adelaide and babworth estates have associations with significant architects of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Their is historic
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The quality and uniqueness of the exterior and interior detailing, incorporating both Art Nouveau and neoclassical motifs and forms is of a standard and scale rarely seen in domestic architecture. The workmanship and detailing of the external cement render work is of national significance technically. Babworth's garden is an integral part of the design for the whole estate and, although the estate is reduced in size, the gardens and grounds provide a substantially intact and highly appropriate setting to the grand mansion. The built garden elements such as stairs, balustrades, grottoes and faux-rockwork amplify the scale of the mansion and demonstrate high technical accomplishment by using the same high standard of construction as the house.(Babworth House Conservation Management Plan, Design 5 Architects, p. 50)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Babworth estate, including house, garden and outbuildings, is representative of the large villa estate established by the wealthy elite of Darling Point during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It demonstrates an affluence and lifestyle which could only be supported by a very large range of live-in servants and which was rare following the First World War.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The garden is a major extant private collection of plants dating from the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It also contains various plants which are rare or otherwise uncommon in cultivation in Sydney as well as rare indigenous species that have persisted since before site development.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Babworth House is an excellent and rare example of the Federation Arts and Crafts style in grand domestic architecture in Australia.
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:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementCMP by Connybeare Morrison CMP endorsed by Heritage Council 21 November 2000 for a period of five years, expires 21 November 2005. Nov 21 2000
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0130013 Aug 99 925797
Heritage Act - s.130 Order - Lapsed  03 Jul 92 834676
Heritage Act - s.130 Order - Lapsed  03 Jul 93 83 
Local Environmental Plan 199510 Mar 95 281351
National Trust of Australia register   05 Apr 76   
Register of the National Estate  21 Oct 80   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Woollahra Heritage Study1995 Schwager Brooks  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenBritton, Geoffrey; Design 5 Architects; Dr. Rosemary Annable; Allen, Jack & Cottier1998Conservation Management Plan for Babworth House, Darling Point
WrittenCasey & Lowe Associates2000Archaeological assessment: Babworth House, 103 Darling Point Road, Darling Point
WrittenCasey & Lowe Associates1999 Archaeological Assessment of 4 & 6 Wiston Gardens
WrittenCrittendon, Victor, in Aitken, R. & Looker, M. (ed.s)2002Thomas Shepherd entry, in 'The Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens'
WrittenPollen, F. (ed.) & Healy, G.1988Darling Point, in "The Book of Sydney Suburbs"
WrittenTanner & Associates Architects2003Heritage Impact Assessment - 4 & 6 Wiston Gardens, Double Bay
WrittenTanner, Howard & Britton, Geoffrey, in Aitken, R. & Looker, M. (ed.s),2002‘Hordern family’ entry, in 'The Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens'
WrittenTrish Croaker2004"Such manors" (in Sydney Morning Herald, Domain, 3-4/1/04)

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: Heritage Office
Database number: 5044995
File number: 10/14924; S90/02936


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