Mount Wilga House | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Mount Wilga House

Item details

Name of item: Mount Wilga House
Other name/s: Mt Wilga
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Mansion
Location: Lat: -33.6926182577 Long: 151.0935929760
Primary address: 2A Manor Road (Rosamond Street), Hornsby, NSW 2077
Parish: South Colah
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Hornsby
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT100 DP1166007
LOT101 DP1166007
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
2A Manor Road (Rosamond Street)HornsbyHornsbySouth ColahCumberlandPrimary Address
Manor RoadHornsbyHornsbySouth ColahCumberlandAlternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Soka Gakkai Intern. AustraliaPrivate19 Mar 99

Statement of significance:

Outstanding late Federation Queen Anne Style mansion. Impressive multi-level roof with highly decorated gables. Unusual verandah detailing. Generally in good condition. Many interior features of note. Owned by Marcus Clark leading Sydney retailer of the time. (LEP). Grounds: Remnant garden layout surrounding notable mansion. Mature period trees dated from Federation period. Of regional significance (LEP).
Date significance updated: 18 Sep 14
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: H. Marcus Clark (attributed)
Construction years: 1913-1914
Physical description: Site:
Federation mansion and garden prominently sited in large grounds (LEP, 1994) on the apex of a long ridge with commanding views of the surrounding countryside, including across the valley to 'neighbouring' mansion Mount Errington.

Garden:
The original garden planned by Clark reflected an aesthetic of defining the property boundary and main access route as well as concealing the house from direct view and then revealing the house at journey's end. A formal area of the garden was laid out to the north of the house and open paddocks and orchard to the west of the house. To the south and south east was a service area. Despite subdivision and loss of land to the north and east, a generous area of garden surrounds the house to the east and south. This retains the core of the eastern garden, driveway and a good part of the former service area, including the tennis court, bowling green and site of the former chicken house. Subdivision and redevelopment of the hospital to the north and west has greatly altered much of the estate's land there and encroaches fairly close to the carriage loop and western boundary of Mt.Wilga.

Period elements remaining on the site include border planting around the perimeter of the house.

A grand drive sweeps south-west from Manor Road leading up to a fine circular carriage drive in front (north) of the house (formerly gravel, now bitumen) with central planting plot and dominant Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis) to 14m high. (This possibly dates from c1920s as it is not evident in a 1917 photograph).
The original long drive sandstone castellated gate arch structure no longer exists - it has been replaced with a modest brick pillar modern steel gates in the hospital era) but an eastern pedestrian entrance constructed of sandstone remains. This eastern entrance is covered by climbing fig (Ficus pumila var.pumila) and retains an intact wrought iron period gate.

Mt Wilga's grounds include large sloping lawn areas to the house's east and south, a tennis court to its east, a bowling green to its south-east and some shrubbery (seemingly reduced in quantity).

Large mature trees including Bunya Bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii), Port Jackson or rusty fig (Ficus rubiginosa) and Monterey pines (Pinus radiata) to 20 metres (probably from c1910) camphor laurels (Cinnammomum camphora) and brush box (Lophostemon confertus) to a 16m evergreen /southern magnolia / bull bay (Magnolia grandiflora) and crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica). Along the southern boundary there is a row of turpentine trees (Syncarpia glomulifera) to 15m high which have grown since the 1950s and, further to the south-west adjoining the former service driveway to the former garage, a Himalayan cedar (Cedrus deodara), book leaf cypress/arborvitae (Platycladus orientalis) and brush box trees (now outside the boundary to the west near the former service drive).

Also mature trees on site include two sweet gums (Liquidambar styraciflua), two frangipani (Plumeria rubra) flanking the front steps to the house, a rare jambos/ rose apple (Syzygium jambos) tree on the eastern boundary near the entrance drive, an ironbark tree west of the house (Eucalyptus sp., possibly E.crebra), a NZ flax bush south of the drawing room (Phormium tenax) and a large Chinese wisteria (W.sinensis) on the wire mesh fence of the tennis court.

Younger tree plantings on the eastern lawn include tupelo or sour gum (Nyssa sylvatica), Camellia sasanqua, a mature Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) and native cheese tree (Glochidion ferdinandii).(Stuart Read, 9/3/2012 visit). The garden also includes a wilga tree (Geijera parviflora) an arid zone evergreen native tree that Marcus Clark much-admired for its resilience (Tanner, 1985).

Note: A weld-mesh boundary fence is modern (dating from the hospital era)(S.Read, pers.comm.) and inappropriate to the style of the grounds (LEP).

Residence:
Federation mansion with face brick walls, complex steep pitched terracotta tiled roof, tall roughcast chimneys, shingled and half-timbered gables, sandstone veranda piers with simple scalloped timber valences. Unusual cylindrical polished granite colonettes support the timber veranda posts.

The residence is a single storey with a basement and three-storey tower at the roof apex. Original casement windows include projecting bays with leadlight and sculpted sandstone sills. Original doors and other joinery remains. Much of the original interior survives. The residence is prominently sited in large grounds with a number of large trees and a stone gateway (LEP).
Date condition updated:18 Sep 14
Modifications and dates: 2007-8: 88 units with basement parking: repairs and maintenance work to preserve the fabric of the building, including the:
- removal of glazing to the tower reinstate the lookout at the summit o the tower;
- replication of stolen items from the house (using documentary evidence) will improve the presentation of the house and allow an understanding of its decoration. This replication will restore significance that has been lessened by the theft of joinery items and lighting fixtures.
- reconstruction of the stone gate will ensure its survival, restore its significance, enable an understanding of is significance as part of Marcus Clark's pedestrian link to Hornsby across the gully, enhance its appearance and ensure public safety;
- relaying original tiles on a new slab will prevent subsidence and protect the tiles from substrate collapse.; and
- rebuilding the north-west corner of the front veranda will ensure the survival, while using the existing timber and stone elements (Branch report, 2008).
Current use: office/admin to a private hospital, residence (proposed)
Former use: residence, rehabilitation hospital, Buddhist cultural centre

History

Historical notes: The North Shore railway line terminates at Hornsby, where it connects with the Northern Line going to Brooklyn, Gosford, Newcastle and eventually the North Coast and Brisbane. The Northern Line was extended from Strathfield to the Hawkesbury in 1886, passing through the present suburb of Hornsby. The station was over two miles from the village of Hornsby (modern day Normanhurst), so in 1895 the station was called Hornsby Junction to avoid confusion. In 1900 the word Junction was dropped and the area around the station became known as Hornsby; Old Hornsby was the name adopted for the present Normanhurst (Pollen & Healy, 1988, 125).

Mt Wilga Estate dates from an initial purchase in 1907 of 49 acres at Hornsby by Georgina Clark, wife of the successful Sydney Draper and Retailer, Henry Marcus Clark. Additional purchases of 26.75 acres and 45 acres were made between 1907 and 1908.

In 1908 Clark built a 520 foot long suspension bridge over the deep gully which lies between Mt Wilga and Hornsby Railway Station to facilitate the arrival of guests to the property from Sydney.

Prior to Mt. Wilga, Clark had resided in 'Sefton Hall' in Marrickville Road, Dulwich Hill, which was named after a property in England.

Mt. Wilga was reputedly designed by the owner and planned along similar lines to his summer home 'Sefton Hall' at Mount Wilson in the Northern Blue Mountains. It was intended to be Marcus Clark's winter home. The original garden as planned by Clark reflected an aesthetic of defining the property boundary and main access route as well as concealing the house from direct view and then revealing the house at journey's end. A formal area of the garden was laid out to the north of the house and open paddocks and orchard to the west of the house. To the south and south east was a service area.

However, Clark died in 1913 during the construction of the large single storey Queen Anne style house. It was completed in 1914 by his widow, Georgina Clark. The Clark family resided at Mt Wilga until 1919. Henry's son, Les Clark built a very similar house 'Dulcidene Homestead' in Dubbo.

In 1926 Mrs Georgina M Clark sold the house and a portion of its land to Miss Jessie Hamilton Scott of Hornsby who subdivided the land creating Manor Road. In 1928 the subdivision of Mt Wilga into 67 residential allotments was initiated. The large allotment containing Mt Wilga house remained in private hands until its sale in 1952 to the Commonwealth of Australia for use as a rehabilitation hospital.

In 1948 the property was owned by a Dr Smallpage. The Mt Wilga Rehabilitation Hospital operated between1952 and 1987. During the 35 year period the estate and house were altered to accommodate the functions and facilities of a rehabilitation hospital. Several large buildings were constructed on site.

In 1985 Howard Tanner & Associates (HT&A) prepared'"Mt Wilga, Hornsby NSW: Conservation Management Plan for the Administration Building' for the Commonwealth Dept. of Housing & Construction.

In January, 1987, Howard Tanner wrote to the then Heritage & Conservation Branch advising of the impending sale of the property by the Commonwealth Government. In March, 1987, HT&A wrote to the Heritage & Conservation Branch making recommendations for a site curtilage based on historic and contemporary conditions.

Concern over the future of the site led to the placement of a Permanent Conservation Order (PCO) #535 over the house and some of the curtilage on 4 September,1987. This is understood to have taken place prior to the sale of the property.

In late 1987 (post PCO listing) Alpha Pacific purchased the site for use as a private rehabilitation hospital, and in July, 1988, sought to subdivide the site. The Heritage Council refused the application which sought to reduce the curtilage around Mt Wilga. A modified proposal to subdivide the site into two large allotments was subsequently approved by the Heritage Council. Consequently, Lot 2 DP 792198 was sold in 1990 to the Japan-based Buddhist sect, the Nichiren Shoshu Sokagakkai Australia and run as a Buddhist Cultural Centre (until 1999: Austral Archaeology, 2014, i). The northern Lot 1 DP 792198 continued to operate as a private hospital.

The original garden as planned by Marcus Clark reflected an aesthetic of defining the property boundary and main access route as well as concealing the house from direct view and then revealing the house at journey's end. The formal area of the garden which existed to the north of the house and open paddocks and orchard to the west of the house were lost during the development of the hospital. The extant grounds to the south and south east of the house were formerly the service area of the property. In their present state the grounds reflect the reduction of the gardens and expansion of open lawn areas, the gradual attrition and simplification of planting and the removal of the majority of the trees, associated with the institutional management of the site.

In August 1991 a Conservation Management Plan was prepared by Robertson & Hindmarsh Pty Ltd for Soka Gakkai International Australia, a Buddhist group who made a number of small modifications to the house and outbuildings. These included repainting the interior and exterior of the house, recarpeting, refurbishing a former minor building into a Womens' temple and various services were partially separated from the hospital to the north. Although the group planned further extensions to the temple facilities, they moved from the site in 1999 and these modifications were never initiated (Austral Archaeology, 2014, 12).

The site was sold to a consortium wanting to construct a SEPP5 aged care facility (Branch report, 2008).

From 1999 the stite has been vacant, or served once again as a private residence (Austral Archaeology, 2014, i).

In August 1999 Scott Robertson of Robertson & Hindmarsh Pty Ltd was engaged by Mirrabeema Project Management on behalf of the Mt Wilga Village Consortium to prepare 'Conservation Management Plan of Mt Wilga, 2a Manor Road, Hornsby'. At its meeting of 20 January, 2000, the Heritage Council provided its general terms of approval to an amended integrated development application.

On 9 June, 2000, delegated conditional approval was granted to the subsequent section 63 application. On 6 October, 2000, delegated conditional approval was granted to a further section 63 application under the Heritage Act.

Since 2006 one residential allotment facing Manor Road (known as Lot 2 in DP 1181742), outside the NSW State Heritage Register curtilage boundary, has been subdivided off the property. This lot was previously occupied by a cottage on the Mount Wilga estate, which was demolished c.2000 (NBRS & Partners, 2014, 15).

The site was sold in 2008 to Austcorp Project No. 1 Pty Ltd. (Heritage Branch Report, 2008). Between 1999 and 2010 a series of unsuccessful attempts by several owners were made to adapt the site for medium-high density retirement living. During this time, many buildings with little heritage significance were demolished and many conservation works to the house were completed (NBRS &Partners, 2014, 13).

Additions to the hospital were approved in 2011. The current owners bought the homestead site in 2011. A 4 lot subdivision (3 small lots on the southern boundary, one large lot for the house) was withdrawn and later a 2 lot subdivision was approved (for the current owners) in 2012.

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 Operating market and retail complexes-
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 Landscapes of institutions - productive and ornamental-
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 Health-Activities associated with preparing and providing medical assistance and/or promoting or maintaining the well being of humans Operating private and religious hospitals-
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 Converting Premises for Rest and Recreation purposes-
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 Operating convalescent and rehabilitation hospitals-
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 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 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. Federation Style residential development-
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 Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Resuming private lands for public purposes-
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 Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Creating landmark structures and places in regional settings-
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. Architectural styles and periods - Federation Arts and Crafts-
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. Interior design styles and periods - Edwardian-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Holidaying in hill stations and mountain retreats-
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 suburbia-
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 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 Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gardening-
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 Activities associated with relaxation and recreation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Playing tennis-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Henry Marcus Clark, draper and retailer-

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):

(1) The maintenance of any item on the site meaning the continuous protective care of existing materials;

(2) Routine garden maintenance including cultivation, pruning and weed control, the repair and maintenance of existing fences, gates and garden walls, new minor planting, tree surgery but not extensive lopping.
Sep 4 1987
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
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for commentMount Wilga and Grounds - Conservation Management Plan prepared by Godden Mackay Logan Aug 3 2016

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0053502 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0053504 Sep 87 1405086
Local Environmental PlanHornsby LEP 2013: Mt.Wilga and Grounds    
National Trust of Australia register Mount Wilga    
Royal Australian Institute of Architects registerMount Wilga    
Art Deco Society registerMount Wilga    
Register of the National EstateMount Wilga    
Register of the National Estate - InterimMount Wilga16255   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Hornsby Shire Heritage Study1993 Perumal Murphy WuVM No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAustral Archaeology P/L2014Historical Archaeological Assessment, Statement of Heritage Impact and Research Design - Mount Wilga and Grounds, 2A Manor Road, Hornsby, NSW
WrittenGodden Mackay Logan; in association with Robertson Hindmarsh Architects2006Mount Wilga and grounds 2a Manor Road, Hornsby : conservation management plan
WrittenGodden Mackay Logan; in association with Robertson Hindmarsh Architects2006Mount Wilga and grounds, 2a Manor Road, Hornsby : Heritage Impact Statement
WrittenHoward Tanner & Associates (HT&A)1984Mt Wilga, Hornsby NSW: Conservation Management Plan for the Administration Building
WrittenNoel Bell Ridley Smith & Partners Architects2014Addendum to the 2006 Conservation Management Plan for Mount Wilga
WrittenNoel Bell Ridley Smith and Partners2014Statement of Heritage Impact - Mt.Wilga, 2A Manor Road, Hornsby
WrittenPollen, Francis & Healy, Gerald1988"Hornsby" section, in The Book of Sydney Suburbs
WrittenRobertson Hindmarsh Architects P/L1999Conservation Management Plan of Mt.Wilga, 2a Manor Road, Hornsby

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: 5044998
File number: EF14/4751;S91/00356; HC 870251


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