Oddfellows Arms Inn | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Oddfellows Arms Inn

Item details

Name of item: Oddfellows Arms Inn
Other name/s: Fairview House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Inn/Tavern
Location: Lat: -33.7993964768 Long: 151.0031936780
Primary address: 541 Church Street, Parramatta, NSW 2150
Parish: Field of Mars
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Parramatta
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Deerubbin
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT44 DP1026766
LOT33 DP230898
CP1 SP67447
CP10 SP67447
CP2 SP67447
CP3 SP67447
CP4 SP67447
CP5 SP67447
CP6 SP67447
CP7 SP67447
CP8 SP67447
CP9 SP67447
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
541 Church StreetParramattaParramattaField of MarsCumberlandPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Younis & Co Pty Ltd and H. QuinanPrivate26 Mar 99

Statement of significance:

The building originally known as the 'Odd Fellows Arms', 541 Church Street, North Parramatta, is a rare example of a mid-nineteenth century inn and dwelling. Its State significance lies in the condition and integrity of the Inn. The study of this building and its grounds contribute to an understanding or early urban development in Parramatta. The changing uses of the building demonstrates the commercial role Parramatta in the nineteenth century. This building and its historical functions demonstrate the early network that linked Sydney with the rural outposts, such as Windsor and Toongabbie.
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: unknown
Builder/Maker: unknown
Construction years: 1842-
Physical description: The Odd Fellows Arms Inn is a two-storey Victorian Georgian sandstone structure facing directly onto Church Street Parramatta. From the front the Odd Fellows Arms Inn presents to be of single storey appearance with a lower ground level accessible from the rear [Form, 1997, pp 2].

The eastern (front) yard measures 4.50 m x 18 m in area and its Eastern boundary of the property is defined by the old front wall of the former hotel [Form, 1997, pp 32]. The front area also consists of garden beds and a verandah with two steps that runs parallel with the front wall of the building [Form, 1997, pp 32]. The front wall of the building consists of dressed sandstone blocks bonded with shell lime and cement mortar, which suggests it is the original wall while the verandah and steps suggest they were built during the first half of the twentieth century. The sandstone walls are in generally good condition, although the lower western (rear) walls have experienced some deterioration [Form, 1997, pp 32].

The roof of terracotta tiles with matching chimney pots are a recent modification. The roof line has been altered at the rear with the addition of unsympathetic dormer windows. The front verandah of the building is made of concrete columns [Form, 1997, pp 36, 40].

The interior of the building consists of two stories and an attic area. Most of the rooms found within the Odd Fellows Arms experienced various alterations of varying degrees over the approximate one hundred and fifty years of its life span, with the attic and ground floor surviving with next to no alteration. No significant alteration to the building has been undertaken from its construction, its configuration and character of the original building is still evident [Form, 1997, pp 2].
Former use: Inn, residence, florist (?), boarding house


Historical notes: Parramatta was the first European settlement outside Sydney and was established in 1788. Initially known as the Crescent settlement, Parramatta was originally laid out as the town of Rose Hill in 1790 [Form, 1997, pp 7]. Called Parramatta when Governor Phillip used a corruption of an Aboriginal name on the second of June 1791 [Form, 1997, pp 7]. Formed primarily to disperse the colonies inadequate food procedure by cultivating forms in the surrounding district it became known as an agricultural town by 1789 [Form, 1997, pp 7]. Of these, the convict operated farm that covered the areas of Parramatta and Toongabbie was the most prominent, with free grant holders circling outward.
Settlement clusters included Prospect to the West, the Ponds to the North East, and the Northern Boundary. The Northern Boundary was considered closer to civilization due to its proximity to the town of Parramatta, and was proclaimed a district in 1802 [Form, 1997, pp 7, 8]. Church Street linked the Northern District to the town via a bridge. Governor Macquarie restructured the town in 1810 by adding new streets and realigning the old. The road to Windsor made the use of Church Street more frequent as it became the land route to Windsor Road, replacing George Street as the major through fare of the district [Form, 1997, pp 8].
Governor Macquarie, in a bid to improve the tone of Parramatta, offered to convert leases into a grants for any blocks with substantial brick or stone buildings worth a thousand pounds or more. Town leases were made available from the 1790's, but most were with verbal permission [Form, 1997, pp 12]. Although it is north of the river, the site of the Odd Fellow Arms is within the town boundaries marked by the Macquarie tollgates. West of Windsor road and away from the town's centre, its position suggests that it was one of the inferior allotments permitted to the lower classes. The urban land north of the river was rendered more desirable in the late 1820's by the scarcity of more central allotments [Form, 1997, pp 14].
A part of the later stage of this Northern development, the Odd Fellows Arms was built on one of the land releases issued after 1823 [Form, 1997, pp 14]. The land was a town lease to Patrick Darcy, promised by Governor Brisbane and confirmed by Darling. Possession changed several times over the next few years until James MacRoberts purchased the property, although without any proof of purchase a chain of possession had to be established in the court of claims [Form, 1997, pp 14]. Having settled this, MacRoberts was issued with the deed on the 27th of July 1842 for Allotment 44 in Section 26 of Parramatta, his land was bounded on the South East by a Samuel Hills allotment [Form, 1997, pp 15]. MacRoberts received his first publican's license on the 31st of March 1843; the address on the license was given as Church Street Parramatta. MacRoberts link to the Odd Fellows cannot be established and no reason for his choice of name can be determined. Despite being an isolated part of town, the Odd Fellows Arms would have profited from the gaol built a block away and there would have been regular passing trade from the orchards to the markets in town, as well as those passing northwards through Parramatta - all of which would have allowed the Inn to survive in its isolated location [Form, 1997, pp 15].
Even in 1841, where more than half of the buildings were made of timber, the Odd Fellows Arms was of superior quality, constructed of stone and well finished, it seems to have been purpose built as an inn [Form, 1997, pp 18]. With a cottage like exterior, the Odd Fellows Arms was more elegant than many of the competing pubs outside of Parramatta, and was close enough to the river for patrons to catch a steamer to Sydney [Form, 1997, pp 18]. Official records of the Inn's license do not place exactly when it went out of business, but it was still going in 1851 when the gold rush to Bathurst boosted Parramatta's economy, but it probably closed around 1855 when the railway was built in the opposite end of town, stimulating development and leading traffic away from the Odd Fellows Arms [Form, 1997, pp 18, 19].

MacRoberts eventually went bankrupt in 1860 and sold the Inn to a Benjamin Lee. At some stage in its history the Inn was renamed the Fruit Growers Hotel, as indicated by faded signs on the building, although it is not clear when this occurred [Form, 1997, pp 19]. Lee senior and junior leased the building until 1879 when it was put up for auction, with no mention of being a hotel. The auction does not seem to have gone through as the property was sold from Lee's estate in 1884 to surgeon William Poulton Lee as a residence. The land had previously been subdivided, but Lee's purchase brought the parcels back together and he renamed the property Fairview House.

Fairview House achieved the status of a gentleman's villa surrounded by residences and businesses. On William Lee's death the property passed into the hands of Benjamin Lee, who leased it to Mrs Harriet Atkins. Atkins operated a boarding house until 1907 when it was sold to florist Johannes Christian Johannsen and renamed Johannsen Court [Form, 1997, pp 23, 26]. For the remaining years the property acquired different owners and was largely used as a private residency, or rented out to tenants [Form, 1997, pp 30].

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 Innkeeping-
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 townsfolk - terraces and cottages-
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. Accommodating workers in hostels-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to the pub-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Odd Fellows Inn is of State significance as a reflection of the function of Parramatta as a major regional centre as well as being part of the pattern of development along Church Street beyond the town centre (Form 1997, p.79).
SHR Criteria f)
The Odd Fellows Inn is of State significance as a rare pre-1850s commercial building, particularly given its condition and integrity.
SHR Criteria g)
The Odd Fellows Inn is of State signficance for the buildings integrity and condition. Apart from some minor alterations the original proportions and openings have been retained (Form 1997, p79).
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 workHeritage Act Maintenance of gardens and building

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 and tree surgery (but not extensive lopping), weed control and the repair and maintenance of existing fences , gates and garden walls.
Jan 30 1987
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementConservation Plan Apr 24 1997
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 0027602 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0027602 Dec 83 1675449
Local Environmental Plan 96/227 Feb 97  888

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenForm Architects1997Conservation Plan for The Odd Fellows Arms Inn, 541 Church Street, North Parramatta

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: 5045131
File number: S90/04140 & HC 32544

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