Old Sugarmill | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Old Sugarmill

Item details

Name of item: Old Sugarmill
Other name/s: Canterbury Sugar Works, J.C.Hutton Premises, Australian Sugar Company Mill, Canterbury Bacon Factory, ASC Sugar Mill buildings, Australasian Sugar Company
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Manufacturing and Processing
Category: Sugar Mill
Location: Lat: -33.9138065386 Long: 151.1216294270
Primary address: Sugar House Road, Canterbury, NSW 2193
Parish: Petersham
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Canterbury
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
CROWN LAND    
   CP/SP70958
PART LOT642 DP728440
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Sugar House RoadCanterburyCanterburyPetershamCumberlandPrimary Address
2-4 Sugar Mill RoadCanterburyCanterbury  Alternate Address
79 - 96 Church StreetCanterburyCanterburyPetershamCumberlandAlternate Address

Statement of significance:

The Old Sugarmill at Canterbury is of State significance for its involvment in the development of the sugar industry and CSR in Australia, and for its role in the industrial development of the locality of Canterbury - both in its original use as a sugar mill and for its later uses as a foundry, a butter factory and in the manufacture of processed foods. A five-storey sandstone building erected beside the Cooks River in 1841, it is believed to be the oldest surviving industrial building in the Sydney region. Statewide it is a rare example of a pre-1850s industrial building which has retained much of its external form. It is also of State aesthetic significance for its landmark appearance on the river and its symmetrical Georgian styling. It has scientific significance for the site's archaeological potential to reveal information about early industry in New South Wales. Although the Old Sugarmill was a ruin for many years and was further damaged by fire in 1996, it has been recently restored and adapted into a new use as an apartment block within a new residential complex.
Date significance updated: 27 Mar 07
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: Woodhouse Danks
Construction years: 1839-1841
Physical description: Mill building and annexe:
Industrial five-storey mill in Georgian style architecture with a three-storey annex to the eastern side. Roofed with a large single hipped corrugated iron roof. There is a small pediment marked 'A.S.C. 1841' marking the original ownership of the building (Jack & Little 1979).

Apartment Block & Town Houses:
Since being adaptively restored within a residential complex of 39 units in 2003, the Old Sugarmill is neighboured by another apartment block and a row of townhouses.

Landscaping:
Trees adjacent to the site, in the riverside park and within the site include: river (she) oak (Casuarina cunninghamiana), weeping fig (Ficus benjamina), Eumundi quandong, (Eleaocarpus eumundi), five-veined paperbark (Melaleuca quinquernervia) and evergreen ash (Fraxinus griffithi).
Hedges in the complex and understorey shrub planting includes sweet box (Murraya paniculata) bushes (Stuart Read, pers.comm., 8/6/2018).
Date condition updated:27 Mar 07
Modifications and dates: 1803 - Purchase of Canterbury Estate by Robert Campbell
1839 - Formation of Australian Sugar Company (ASC) in London
1840 - Arrival of ASC directors, operatives and others in Sydney
1841 - Mill building substantially complete
1842 - Production of sugar at the Mill commences

1854 - Dissolution of the Australian Sugar Company
1855 - Colonial Sugar Refining Company (CSR) formed and works at Canterbury closed

c1908 - tall chimney demolished
1908-1919 - caretakers cottage, killing shed and engine room (smokestack) built. Original four floors reduced to two and basement used as cold storage rooms.

1985. Permanent Conservation Order made on Old Sugarmill (transformed into listing on State Heritage Register when Heritage Act amended in 1999).
1996. Ruin of Old Sugarmill is further damaged by fire.

2003. Old Sugarmill adaptively restored into apartment block within residential complex of 39 units.
Current use: apartment complex
Former use: Aboriginal land, farm, Sugar mill

History

Historical notes: Aboriginal land

Colonisation
European exploration of the Cooks River commenced with the colonisation of Sydney in 1788, when "officers of the First Fleet of 1788 negotiated the Cooks River as far as the districts of present-day Canterbury and Campsie. The officers noted the low and marshy aspect of the countryside and observed Aborigines fishing on the river" (Howard & Lumby, 2003, 1)

The earliest European settlement in the area took place when the Rev. Richard Johnson was granted 100 acres, known as 'Canterbury Vale' on 28 May 1793. Canterbury Vale was consolidated by a grant of 50 acres on 15 September 1796 and a further grant of 260 cares on 5 October 1799. This was known as Sheep Pasture Plains. Johnson applied for leave to return to England for health reasons in 1798 and before his departure in October 1800 sold the farm to Lieutenant William Cox.

Cox was a lieutenant in the new South Wales Corps but in 1803 was suspended from office due to overstraining his credit. Cox had purchased additional properties surrounding Canterbury Vale. In 1803 Robert Campbell procured 830 acres of Cox's land consolidating a grant of land which he already held.

Robert Campbell was known as the 'father of the mercantile community' in the colony of New South Wales. The main purpose of the purchase at Canterbury seems to have been for the accommodation of the overflow of imported cattle rejected by the government which he apparently purchased.

During the latter part of the 1830s the colony was enjoying an economic boom with much English capital flowing into the country. A London based company promoter, Francis Kemble, who had some previous experience in the sugar industry, persuaded William Knox Child, Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Kent and also inspector and director of the London and County Joint stock Bank to provide the capital for the establishment of a sugar works in Australia. In 1839 the Australian Sugar Company was formed in London, purchase made of machinery and equipment after the sale of Child's assets, and on 11 March 1840 the directors of A.S.C. and their families and forty operatives departed for Sydney, arriving on 12 July 1840.

Because of the need for plentiful water and fuel supplies to expedite the manufacturer of sugar, a site on the Cooks River was chosen on part of Robert Campbell's Canterbury estate. As well, a dam had been erected near the site to prevent salt water reaching the upper portion of the stream - town supply was limited and this was the nearest available location close to Sydney. Some 60 acres were chosen with a value of 1200 pounds and the transaction was carried out by the exchange of 50 pound shares in the company.

Work commenced on erecting the main building beside the Cooks River. Scottish stonemasons quarried sandstone on the site, to erect the building. Ironbark was obtained from across the river. By September 1841 the Mill was sufficiently complete to warrant a detailed description in The Australian. As a result of disputes between Kemble and Childs , a slump in trade caused the dissolution of the company and the subsequent formation of the Australasian Sugar Company.

Before the Mill began production, sugar was imported into Sydney from Java, Mauritius and the Philippines. The raw material to the Mill was imported from the Philippines. Apart from the cane which arrived in Sydney with the First Fleet, pioneering efforts production of cane was undertaken by T.A. Scott who settled in Australia in 1819 and spent several years growing sugar cane at Port Macquarie. In 1829 he went to Point Clare where he had received a grant of land, and continued to grow cane on a very small scale. It was not until the late 1860s that commercially viable crops were grown in the northern part of new South Wales. It was in the 1860s that cultivation of cane became viable in Queensland. Because of these circumstances the Mill at Canterbury processed imported material.

The Australasian Sugar Company and Robert Campbell subdivided their land in 1841 and auctioned it. The nucleus of the Village of Canterbury thus formed on this land subdivided in 1841. The reason for the subdivision was to accommodate Mill workers and secondly to raise finances for the operation of the Mill.

From 1843 to 1846 the Australasian Sugar Company was managed by Edward Knox, a close friend of Campbell. After 1846 he remained a director of the Company until 1854 when disagreements amongst the shareholders caused the dissolution of the concern. On 1 January 1855 the Colonial Sugar Refining Company was formed with Knox as manager and one of the directors. A decision was made to close the works and transfer them to a property in George Street West later that year.

The Mill remained vacant and unused for many years. In 1880 the Sugar Mill was purchased by Frederick Clissold, who in turn sold it to Blacket and Co., Engineer in 1884. Blacket and Co. hoped to benefit from being located next to the promised suburban railway line. However the line was slow to arrive and the company was bankrupted before the line was built (Kass and Walker 1988)

It was used as a butter factory by Foley Bros and from 1900 until 1908 by Denham Bros as the Canterbury Bacon Factory. Towards the end of this time the tall chimney, once such a prominent and unique feature of the Sugar Mill was demolished.

In 1980 the former Sugar Mill was purchased by the firm J.C. Hutton and Co. The firm used the sugar works for the manufacture of smallgoods. In 1950 the killing licence had expired.

In 1983 Hutton sold the property to its present owner, Nick Scali and Co. Pty Ltd. (Howard 4-14:1995). In 1985 the complex was made subject to a Permanent Conservation Order under the Heritage Act, converting into State Heritage Register listing in 1999.

In 1996 the complex was further damaged by fire.

In 2003 the Old Sugarmill was adaptively restored into an apartment block within a residential complex of 39 units.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. River flats-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Topography: How did the environment, topography and the River influence early settlement? Is there a strong relationship-Peopling the Continent Contact
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
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 Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
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 industrial production-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Reusing and relocating industrial plant and equipment-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Manufacturing foodstuffs-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Processing meat-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Milling flour, corn and other grains-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Factories-
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. Building settlements, towns and cities-National Theme 4
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. Adapted heritage building or structure-
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. A Picturesque Residential Suburb-
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 Developing suburbia-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in factories-
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. Industrial buildings-
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 - Victorian (early)-
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. Applying architectural design to utlilitarian structures-
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 - Victorian Georgian-
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 near factories and industrial complexes-
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. Living in, adapting and renovating homes for changing conditions-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting heritage places-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Places of informal community gatherings-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with William Knox Child, Deputy Lieutenant of County of Kent, UK and bank inspector and director-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Edward Knox, Colonial Sugar Company director-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Frederick Clissold, wool merchant-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Robert Campbell, merchant, shipping agent, landowner, grazier-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Old Sugarmill at Canterbury is of State historic significance because of its associations with the development of the sugar industry in Australia, especially with the nationally important company of CSR, and because of its important role in the development of the locality of Canterbury, both in its original use and because of its other uses as a foundry, butter factory and then processed food. It has additional historical significance as the oldest building in Canterbury and its role in the early subdivision and settlement in the locality.(Howard 53:1995)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Old Sugarmill at Canterbury is of State aesthetic significance as a five-storey sandstone building with symmetrical Georgian styling in a landmark setting beside the Cooks River.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
It has scientific significance because the site demonstrates great archaeological potential to reveal information about early occupation and industry in New South Wales and in this locality. Intact equipment and purpose-designed structures from the occupation of J.C. Hutton and Co - demonstrate past techniques relating to food processing and its associated technology. (Howard 54:1995)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Old Sugarmill at Canterbur yis iof State significance for its rarity, believed to be the oldest surviving industrial building in the Sydney region. Statewide it is a rare example of a pre-1850s industrial building which has retained much of its external form.
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 ManagementReview 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
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 0029002 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0029018 Oct 85 1435451
Heritage Act - s.130 Order - Lapsed  27 Aug 82   
Local Environmental Plan  18 Nov 94   
National Trust of Australia register   25 Jun 79   
Register of the National Estate  18 Apr 89   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismAttraction Homepage2007ASC Sugar Mill Buildings (Former) View detail
WrittenRod Howard1995Conservation Management Plan - Former ASC Sugar Mill
WrittenRod Howard and Roy Lumby2003The Australasian Sugar Company Canterbury
WrittenSybil Jack and B Little1979National Trust Classification Card - ASC Building - Former Sugar Mill
WrittenTerry Kass and Meredith Walker1988Australian Sugar Company's Works Canterbury - An Expanded Inventory Form for the Canterbury Heritage Study

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

rez rez rez rez rez rez
rez rez 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: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045010
File number: EF10/14815;S90/2268/1; HC32866


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.