Terrace | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage



Item details

Name of item: Terrace
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Terrace
Location: Lat: -33.8574880229 Long: 151.2057469830
Primary address: 86, 88 Windmill Street, Millers Point, NSW 2000
Parish: St Philip
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT100 DP1175054
PART LOT101 DP1175054
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
86, 88 Windmill StreetMillers PointSydneySt PhilipCumberlandPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Department of HousingState Government21 Oct 98

Statement of significance:

This is one of a pair of Georgian style Victorian townhouses, having high streetscape value.

It is part of the Millers Point Conservation Area, an intact residential and maritime precinct. It contains residential buildings and civic spaces dating from the 1830's and is an important example of C19th adaptation of the landscape.

The pair of houses at Nos 86-88 Windmill Street, part of a larger group built by the Musgrave family, is of State significance as a rare surviving example of a modest group containing a shop and residences dating from the late 1850s, and are an integral part of the Millers Point and Dawes Point Village Precinct Conservation Area.

This pair of houses forms part of a group of buildings constructed in stages by the Musgrave family from circa 1856 until 1861, containing their business premises (No. 84), family residences and additional residences that could be let. The Musgrave family's move to the lower North Shore indicates not only their increasing wealth, but also the tendency in the 1870s and 1880s of the middle classes to move to the suburbs, retaining their town properties simply as an investment.

This pair of houses forms an integral part of the small commercial area at the eastern end of Windmill Street that developed to serve the local area, as well as sailors and ferry goers. As individual buildings, they are highly significant as rare surviving examples of the modest Colonial Georgian houses, demonstrating the effect of the Sydney and London Building Acts which sought to control the spread of fire by controlling the materials and design of town houses in tight urban environments. The buildings show the transition from English Georgian to Colonial Georgian styles, employing decorative metal work imported from England in forms modified to suit the Australian climate.

The surviving original architectural elements of the three buildings built by the Musgraves are an important record of modest Colonial Georgian architecture, including the cedar joinery, fanlights and cast iron. The surviving cast iron work is a typical early nineteenth century pattern, which can still be found in London and elsewhere in Millers Point.

The configuration of the passage to the rear lane, with its staircase, is unusual and no other similar examples have been identified; most passages occur at street level (as can be seen in Kent Street).

This pair of houses forms an integral part of the Colonial Georgian townscape of Millers Point, one of the most intact surviving colonial townscapes in Australia. The housing in the block between Argyle Place and Windmill Street is of a higher density than most of the other surviving early townscapes.

This group, at the eastern end of Windmill Street, including the early public houses and the shop at No. 67 Windmill Street, is very important as an example of a Colonial Georgian townscape. The individual buildings are important as they retain original details.

This pair of houses exemplifies the adaptive re-use of the Colonial Georgian housing stock inherited by the Department of Housing from the MSB in the 1980s, with modern rear wings attached to the back of houses that were originally planned without internal bathrooms.

The pair of houses is an excellent indication of the standard of buildings retained by the Sydney Harbour Trust following the resumption of the area in the early twentieth century.
Date significance updated: 23 Nov 00
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.


Physical description: Georgian style Victorian two storey townhouse with four bedrooms, ground floor verandah, attic and basement. Shutters to all windows, cast iron panels to verandah balustrading. Storeys: 2 Construction: Painted rendered masonry, slate roof. Painted timber joinery. Iron lace balustrade. Style: Victorian Georgian

Nos 86-88 Windmill Street are two of a terrace of three Georgian terrace houses modelled on the masonry terrace houses of British cities and closely following the planning, size, faade design and construction of the standard urban housing in Britain. The three houses in the terrace (Nos 84, 86 and 88) appear to be part of a larger terrace including the two houses at either end (Nos 82 and 90) . However, the documentary evidence and closer inspection on site demonstrates that the three townhouses at Nos. 84-88 were constructed first as a stand-alone terrace and that Nos. 82 and 90 were constructed after. Nos. 82 and 90 are both freestanding houses sharing no walls with the original houses at Nos 84-86. The unified design of the five houses probably indicates a high degree of cooperation between the three owners of the five houses and the general level of skill of builders and tradesmen.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
External: Good
Current use: Residence
Former use: Residence


Historical notes: Millers Point is one of the earliest areas of European settlement in Australia, and a focus for maritime activities. One of two Georgian style terraces constructed circa 1860.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Evidence of the small commercial area that developed at the eastern end of Windmill Street, containing shops and public houses which catered to the local residents, sailors and ferrygoers.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Associated with the commercial activities of the Musgrave family, containing their business premises, residences and houses intended to be rented. The family were associated with the area for over half a century.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Although three separate buildings, the group at Nos 82-90 Windmill Street appears as one building, indicating that the form and details were in common usage in the 1850s.

The high standard of construction resulted in the retention of the larger houses following the Darling Harbour Resumption. The demolition of the smaller houses at the rear provides an indication of the cut off point between retention and demolition.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The long-term residents have a strong attachment to the place and its townscape, as demonstrated by their involvement with the Green Bans. One of the first areas to be recognised (and included in a planning scheme) as being significant for its townscape.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
There is considerable research potential relating to the development of the building group and the development of the commercial area at the eastern end of Windmill Street as a whole, as well as the commercial activities of the Musgrave family.
SHR Criteria f)
A building form once common throughout Sydney by 1850, this group of late Georgian style terrace houses are among the very few to survive; the main concentration of the type are within the area resumed in 1900. These houses have been in public
ownership for over a century, and have undergone few alterations externally (with the exception of the rear wings).
SHR Criteria g)
This scale and character of building once characterised the inner ring of suburbs (Woolloomooloo, Surry Hills Chippendale, Pyrmont and Ultimo), however a large proportion of the 1850s building stock has been demolished.

A representative example of the urban renewal projects undertaken by the Department of Housing in the mid 1980s, with rear wings added to the rear of houses.
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
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsement86 Windmill Street. Updated CMP submitted by Land & Housing Corporation for review and endorsement. Jul 15 2014

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0089702 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     
Local Environmental PlanCSH LEP 4 07 Apr 00   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Department of Housing s170 Register1998 Brooks & Associates  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenROBERTSON & HINDMARSH PTY LTD201486-88 Windmill Street Millers Point Conservation Management Plan 10 JULY 2014

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

(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: 5045230

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.