St. Cloud and Site | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


St. Cloud and Site

Item details

Name of item: St. Cloud and Site
Other name/s: St Cloud and site
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Mansion
Location: Lat: -33.8861687423 Long: 151.1015092010
Primary address: 223 Burwood Road, Burwood, NSW 2134
Parish: Concord
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Burwood
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT3 DP17349
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
223 Burwood RoadBurwoodBurwoodConcordCumberlandPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 Private25 Mar 99


Builder/Maker: George Hoskins
Physical description: Grounds:
Facing Burwood Road is a low sandstone fence with Art Nouveau details on its pillars and two cast iron gates leading to a semi-circular entry drive. The garden is dense today with a number of mature trees and shrubs buffering it from busy Burwood Road. These include: firewheel tree (Stenocarpus sinuatus), Grevillea spp., fiddlewood (Citharexylum sp.), Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis), camphor laurels (Cinnamomum camphora), a large lemon-scented gum on the northern boundary (Corymbia citriodora), crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), tree ferns (Cyathea australis). (Read S., pers.comm., 17/5/2008).

A 1892/3 two storey Victorian mansion with a slate roof, elaborate mouldings, cast iron lacework and bay windows. The street facade is dominated by a three storey tower with a copper clad dome. Attractive mature planting and stone fence enhance its setting. St. Cloud has 9 main rooms, 3 downstairs. A billiards room was added in 1910. Later it became the administrative block for St. Joseph's Convent. In 1978 it returned to being a private residence. The tower has a copper clad dome and the spacious garden has a stone fence and mature planting. (LEP).

A very interesting and well maintained house which has successfully combined several architectural styles. Extremely fine joinery and plaster work. Pleasing proportion of exterior and interior, set in ample and spacious grounds, St Cloud remains a notable landmark in Burwood.

A large two storey house of brick and stucco with tiled roof, three storey square tower topped by copper clad dome, all in high Victorian manner. Nine main rooms, three downstairs, six above, kitchen and servants quarters attached, billiards room added 1910. Two storey verandah with ornate lace balustrade to north facade and north of tower. Richly carved entry door surrounded by fine stained glass. Fine pedimented cedar doorways internally, boldly carved ceiling plasterwork, carved cedar staircase, fine stained glass. House thought to be built 1892-93 (RNE, 1978).
Modifications and dates: 1910 a billiards room was added.
Later it became the administrative block for St. Joseph's Convent.
1978 it returned to being a private residence.


Historical notes: Burwood:
Parramatta Road was first created in 1791, a vital land (cf water) artery between Sydney Cove and Rose Hill's settlement and crops. Liverpool Road opened in 1814 as Governor Macquarie's Great South Road. Its winding route reflects pre-existing land grant boundaries. To Burwood's north over Parramatta Rd. was Longbottom Government Farm, staffed by convicts. This grew to over 700 acres on heavily timbered flat, sloping to swamps on Hen & Chicken Bay. Commissioner Bigge recorded how valuable timber (ironbark) was cut and sawn on the spot, conveyed to Sydney in boats by the river. 'Charcoal for the forges and foundries is likewise prepared here' he noted.

2 grants were critical on Burwood's clay: Captain Thomas Rowley's Burwood Farm estate and William Faithful's 1000 acre grant to its south in Enfield covered most of modern Burwood. Rowley, adjutant of the NSW Corps, named it after the farm he'd lived on in Cornwall. 1799 and subsequent grants brought it to 750 acres but he continued to live at Kingston Farm in Newtown until his death in 1806. He'd bought some of the first Spanish merinos brought from the Cape Colony in 1797, others being sold to Macarthur, Marsden & Cox. The southern boundary of his farm was approximately Woodside Avenue & Fitzroy Street.

Under Rowley's will the estate passed to his 3 underage children- executors Dr Harris & Major Johnstone were both involved in the 1808 Bligh rebellion and returned to England for the court martial. Governor Macquarie appointed Thomas Moore as guardian and executor. In 1812 he wrongfully auctioned the estate. It was bought by Sydney businessman Alexander Riley. He's believed to have built Burwood Villa in 1814 (perhaps on older (1797) foundations of Rowley's shepherd's cottage) and lived here until departing for England in 1817. In 1824 Joseph Lycett described the estate. 500 acres had been cleared for pasture. Lycett in Views of Australia described 'a garden of 4 acres in full cultivation, containing upwards of three hundred Trees, bearing the following choice fruits, viz. The Orange, Citron, Lemon, Pomegranate, Loquat, Guava, Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots, Apples, Pears, the Cherry, Plums, Figs, Chestnuts, Almonds, Medlars, Quinces; with abundance of Raspberries, Strawberries, and the finest Melons. &c'.

Until the 1830s Burwood consisted of a few inns along the highways and 2 or 3 huge, undeveloped estates within the next 20 years these began to break up, attracting settlers and encouraging the growth of embryo villages at Burwood & Enfield. Riley died in 1833 and Rowley's children, now of age, started legal proceedings and regained possession of the 750 acre estate. It was divided between Thomas jnr., John, John Lucas* and Henry Biggs. Almost at once they subdivided into lots of 4-20 acres for country homes and small farms. In 1834 Burwood estate was held by John Lucas, husband of Thomas's daughter Mary Rowley), who divided 113 of his 213 acres into small allotments for sale. Streets such as Webb, Lucas Rd., Wentworth Rd. & Strathfield's The Boulevarde reflect the boundaries of these subdivisions/estates.

To the south (including the land later the Appian Way) was William Faithful's grant of 1000 acres (1808) at 'Liberty Plains'. Faithful was a private in the NSW Corps: discharged in 1799 he became Captain Foveaux's farm manager, and this connection got him the grant. Apart from 15 acres of Sarah Nelson's on Malvern Hill (Croydon), Faithful's Farm extended from Rowley's farm to Cooks River and west to Punchbowl Rd. The government retained a right to build a road through it (doing so in 1815: Liverpool or the Great South Road), and to cut 'such timber as may be deemed fit for naval purposes' - the area was thick with tall ironbark. Faithful exchanged it in 1815. Alexander Riley bought his 200 acres north of the new road incorporating it into his Burwood estate. This was jointly owned by the Rowley family after 1833 and had no streets across it, only a few tracks.

Despite opening up of the Rowley estate there was little settlement in Burwood between the 2 highways before 1860. Sydney Railway Company opened the first rail to Parramatta in 1855. Burwood 'station' (just west of Ashfield station, one of the first stations) was a wooden platform near a level crossing over the grassy track that was Neich's Lane* (later Burwood Rd). This was beside 'the newly laid out township of Cheltenham'. Speedy transport meant subdivision and consolidation followed, filling out the area. Burwood's biggest growth spurt was between 1874 & 1900 (Burwood's population was, respectively: 1200-7400, an increase not matched since. *1835 maps show this as the only track between Parramatta / Liverpool Roads in Burwood.

Burwood's first public school was c.1838. In 1843 land on Burwood Rd. was granted to the Anglican Church for a school. St. Mary's Catholic Church opened in 1846, a Presbyterian Church in 1857 and St. Paul's Anglican in 1871. Mansions of the 1870s+ such as The Priory were due to a firm belief in its health-giving climate, compared to the smog and crowding of the city suburbs. They were built as quasi-ancestral estates, perhaps in blissful ignorance of how quickly suburbs can evolve. Living was primitive: no street lighting (1883+), home lighting by candle or lamp (oil, kerosene after 1860), no gas (1882+), no piped water (1886+), home wells/tanks, few bathrooms, no indoor toilets, with pans (1880+) replacing outdoor cess pits.

The 1880s+ was the era of the debates that led to Australia's fractious states combining into a single Federation, declared at Sydney's Centennial Park, in 1901. Skilled tradesmen and materials were plentiful and comparatively cheap, and combined with the improvement in building techniques associated with cavity walls, damp-courses and terracotta tiled rooves, provided the means for an era of intense building activity. Unlike the Victorian era's large commercial and Government building, the main thrust of the Federation era was constructing new suburbs around Sydney harbour with shops for the middle classes.

Between 1889 and 1918 Australia's population swelled from 3 to 5 million triggering an urgent need for housing. Suburban spread was greatly assisted by expansion of the public transport system of trams, ferries and trams, which formed a well-integrated pre-car transport system. Rapid suburban growth brought increased interest in town planning and the British concept (Ebenezer Howard's 'Garden City') of the Garden Suburb, spurred on by the Federal Capital Competition of 1912. 1913's arrival from North America of winners, Walter Burley & Marion Mahony Griffin, saw formation of the Town Planning Association of NSW, with architect John Sulman as president. Founding members Sulman and J.P.Fitzgerald were among witnesses at the 1900 Royal Commission into the Improvement of the City of Sydney and suburbs. This made the first attempt at a comprehensive review of Sydney's problems, gathering many reform ideas. It recognised the relationship between planning and local government and advocated introduction of a town planning bill along the lines of John Burns' 1900 English Bill. Some recommendations, such as introducing building regulations for the whole metropolitan area 'to prevent the straggling of suburbs and to ensure development along harmonious lines' went into 1919's Local Government Act.

The 'Garden Suburb' came to mean a suburb with special areas zoned for different uses, e.g.: residential and commercial; an absence of attached terraces with free-standing houses, wide tree-lined streets, 'nature strips' on footpaths, parks reserves and gardens. Much-derided rear lanes and rights-of-way became redundant with sewerage and the provision of side access between houses. Verandas and bay windows were means of integrating house & garden.

Tree-lined streets such as Burwood Rd., The Appian Way or The Boulevard in Strathfield were in marked contrast to most development in Australian cities of the late 19th century. (Fraser, Hugh, in Heritage Council of NSW, 1981-4, amended and added to by Stuart Read, 17/5/2008 with excerpts from Eric Dunlop (1975)).

St.Cloud was built by industrialist George Hoskins, remembered for his work establishing the steel industry (Australian Iron & Steel Company) in Lithgow and Port Kembla with his brother Charles and for his Appian Way subdivision adjoining St.Cloud - the Hoskins estate (1904+). George & his brother were involved in constructing the open aqueducts carrying Sydney's Nepean Water supply to its suburbs (from 1886) and were well aware of the benefits of reticulated waters supply on suburbs such as Burwood, Croydon, Concord. A water main was laid down Liverpool Road (nearby to the south of St.Cloud), down Burwood Road (past St.Cloud) and to Parramatta Road.

George and his brother Charles moved to Burwood in 1893, George building and moving into St. Cloud and Charles to Illyria (now Hollyrood), a mansion on The Boulevarde to the west (today part of Santa Sabina Convent, Strathfield).

St. Cloud was used as an administration block for St. Joseph's Convent.

In 1978, it has returned to be used as a private residence (LEP, modified Read, S., 17/5/2008; Dunlop, 1975).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. (none)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with George Hoskins, industrialist in steel industry-

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act Building & garden maintenance

Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) The maintenance of any building or item on the site where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing material; and
(2) Garden maintenance including cultivation, pruning, tree surgery, weed control and the repair and maintenance of existing fences, gates and garden walls.
May 16 1986
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act Building & Garden Maintenance
Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) The maintenance of any building or item on the site where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing material.
(2) Garden maintenance including cultivation, pruning, weed control, the repair and maintenance of existing fences, gates, garden walls and tree surgery but not extensive lopping;
Apr 22 1988
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
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.

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


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0056402 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0056422 Apr 88 772360
National Trust of Australia register  9818   
Register of the National Estate 335321 Mar 78   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenEric Dunlop1975Harvest of the Years - the history of Burwood 1874-1975
WrittenHugh Fraser, Phillip Clements & Helen Powell, for the Heritage Council of NSW1984Conservation of the Federation House, a series of one-day seminars, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984

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

rez 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: 5045017
File number: S91/02216 & KCHC 86.0941

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.