Hy Brasil | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Hy Brasil

Item details

Name of item: Hy Brasil
Other name/s: The Gem, Hi Brasil
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -33.6340915551 Long: 151.3165394070
Primary address: 62 Chisholm Road, Clareville, NSW 2107
Parish: Narrabeen
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Pittwater
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP1104192
LOT2 DP1104192
LOT10 DP25969
LOT10A DP25969
LOT12 DP25969
LOT14 DP25969
LOT6 DP25969
LOT1 DP34633
LOT2 DP34633
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
62 Chisholm RoadClarevillePittwaterNarrabeenCumberlandPrimary Address
62 Chisholm AvenueClarevillePittwaterNarrabeenCumberlandAlternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 Private16 Mar 99

Statement of significance:

Hy Brasil is of State significance as one of three 'organic' houses designed by Alexander Stewart Jolly in Avalon. Hy Brasil with its simple construction of stone and timber and set in its native bushland setting represents Jolly's architecture and phillosophy regarding the built form and its relationship to the natural Australian landscape. (Heritage Office)
Date significance updated: 29 Oct 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.


Designer/Maker: Alexander Stewart Jolly
Construction years: 1936-1936
Physical description: Hy-Brasil originally comprised a main living space with verandahs to the west and eastfacades and bedroom and kitchen to the south faade. Constructed of local rock faced sandstone. The house has been planned around a large central stone fieplace and the use of natural materials of stone and timber represents a distinct 'organic' design philosophy. Particular interest existis with the fireplace structure as the mantel consists of a three metre long stone slab.

The house has a contemporary style in its design influenced by Californian Bungalow and Organic architectural movements with the use of large picture windows, exposed internal stained timber rafters and beams coupled with a low pitched horizontal roof.

Hy-Brasil which derives its name from the mythical Isle location of the Garden of Eden, has magnificant views of the pacific Ocean to the east and Pittwater to the west. Pedestrain access to the house via a narrow winding pathway up a steep slop through large sandtsone boulders.

Native trees have been retained around the house and supplemented by plantings of ornamental exotics, notably sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), pampas grass (Cortaderia sp.), fruit salad plant (Monstera deliciosa), tree ferns (Cyathea sp.), giant bird-of-paradise flower (Strelitzia nicolai) and azaleas (Rhododendron indicum cv.s).

Cover use has been made of the local sandstone which has been cut to provide steps, garden seats, retaining walls, pools and a barbeque.

The area to the west of the house contains terraced lawns leading down to a sandstone cliff which forms a well-defined boundary to the property. Below the cliff, natural bushalnd extends down to the properties below.

The overall impression of Hy-Brasil's setting is one of blending of the house into natural bushland. (Heritage Council Branch Managers Report No.300/80 24 October 1980) (plant names added by Stuart Read, 20/8/08).
Current use: House
Former use: Weekend retreat


Historical notes: The land on which Hy-Brasil is located was originally part of 1200 acres of land granted to John Joseph Therry on 31 August 1833. It was subdivided as part of the Pittwater Estate, a subdivision for villa sites. The first owners of the land (Lot 8A of the Pittwater estate subdivision - main part of the site where Hy-Brasil stands now) were Joseph Dalton and Daniel Claney who transferred the land to George Holland in December 1882. Holland held the possession of the land until July 1927 when he sold it to Redway Thomas Pawley and Arthur George Potter. The ownership of the land passed on to Albert Travers Black after just two months and a year later Kathleen Wilhelmina Jolly wife of the Alexander Stewart Jolly purchased it from Albert Travers Black in 1923. She became the registered proprietor of the land on 4 March 1931

Mrs Jolly transferred the land, which was still undeveloped together with its surrounding neighbouring allotments, to the Australian Land Development & Investment Company limited on 15 April of the same year. Eventually the land was purchased by Arthur Wilson on 24 June 1935 and shortly after he commissed Alexander S. Jolly to design a weekend retreat on the property and called it 'The Gem'.

'The Gem', a stone and timber cabin now known as Hy-Brasil was built in 1936. Another change in ownership occurred in February 1949 and Rachel Jane Donaldson became the registered proprieor of the property. She held the ownership of the house until when it was bought by Ted Herman in 1958. The name Hy Brasil, which means Irish folk law for Island containing Garden of Eden was given at this stage. (CityPlan Heritage January 2006)

Hy Brasil was nominated for a Permanent Conservation Order in 1980 by the Herman family. The Order was placed on 31 July 1981 and was transferred to the State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 Creating landmark structures and places in regional settings-
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-
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 Alexander Stuart Jolly, architect-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Hy Brasil is of State significance as an excellent example of twentieth century 'organic' architecture and is one of three listed works by Alexander Stewart Jolly. The unique bushland setting of the building, large itie and stone terracing form an integral part of the design philosophy. This distinctive style influenced the later 'Sydney School' architectural movement of the mid sixties. (Heritage Council Branch Managers Report No.300/80 24 October 1980)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The ridge-top siting of Hy Brasil is prominent from the surrounding area and takes advantage of superb panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Pittwater. Native bushland has been retained and enhanced by the well chosen exotic ornamental planting to provide a setting which complements the natural qualities of the house. (Heritage Council Branch Managers Report No.300/80 24 October 1980)
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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
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 0007902 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0007931 Jul 81 108 
Local Environmental Plan 199304 Feb 94 0310534

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenCityPlan Heritage2006Heritage Impact Statement
WrittenHeritage Council Branch Managers Report No.300/80 24 October 19801980 

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: 5045021
File number: S90/03213 & HC 32386

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.

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