Egglemont | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage



Item details

Name of item: Egglemont
Other name/s: Esslemont
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -33.8319096561 Long: 151.2286664270
Primary address: 11 Cranbrook Avenue, Cremorne, NSW 2090
Parish: Willoughby
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: North Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT27 DP8862
LOT28 DP8862
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
11 Cranbrook AvenueCremorneNorth SydneyWilloughbyCumberlandPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 Private25 Mar 99


Construction years: 1916-1918
Physical description: Site:
Esslemont relates well to the adjacent house by Alexander Stuart Jolly and to other houses in the Cranbrook Avenue group. It is a significant element of the Cranbrook Avenue Group, relating well to the adjacent house by A.S. Jolly and other houses in the group. The area has unfortunately been degraded in the 1970s by red brick multi-storey flat developments (Branch Manager's report, 11/2003).

The house is sited on a sloping site on Cranbrook Avenue, Cremorne, with a low, stepped wall (plastered masonry) facing the footpath, stone walls flanking a low wide paired 'wide lattice' form timber gate and crazy-paved sandstone path to the front door, large shrubs (Viburnum odoratissimum, pruned into a hedge) providing some screening from the street. To either side of the main pedestrian entry gate the name 'Esslemont' is carved into the top course of sandstone boundary wall blocks (Stuart Read, from photographs, 5/2012).

A crazy paved sandstone pedestrian path approaches the front door, which is accessed up a flight of wide stairs. Planter beds are at the base of the stairs, and abut the base of the house's walls.

A secondary pedestrian gate (Art Deco iron, flanked by stone pillars) is on the uphill side of the house. It abuts, (on its uphill side again) a paved tennis court and high (steel pipe and wire netting) fence which runs up to the house and to the street wall. At the rear of the tennis court fence is a lawn area and an outbuilding (a single garage) with a sloping roof, abutting the uphill side boundary.

On the uphill side of the tennis court are a multi-storey late-mid-20th century block of flats (Rosz & Howard et al, 2001 photographs). As well as the tennis court the property has a swimming pool (Sydney Morning Herald, 8-9/10/2011).

At the rear of the house is a small flat lawn area with shrubs and a ground cover of cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) up against the house's rear wall. The garden contains an elevated tennis court.

To the back of the house is a three storey red brick mid-20th century block of flats.

The garden is typical of the period (RNE, 1991).

The house was built c1916-18 and is one of the best examples of an early Californian Bungalow style house in Australia. IThe proportions, materials and craftsmanship are typical of the early examples of the style.

The house is large and contains a billiard room, large sunroom, dressing room and ensuite bathroom to the main bedroom, kitchen, laundry and scullery configured for use by domestic staff. The house is little altered in the past 60 years with the exception of extension of Bedroom 3 into the northern verandah and kitchen cupboards installed in the 1960s. The laundry contains early (probably original) china laundry double tubs and pedestals and a copper and finishes (photo 41), which are to be removed (Branch Manager's IDA report, 5/2001).

It comprises a large and low set single storey residence (c.1916 (Sydney Morning Herald, 2011) / 1918) in Californian Bungalow style. It has a low pitched spreading roof and gables supported on heavy timber beams, with small leadlight windows above rough dressed stone walls and massive circular verandah piers (RNE, 1991).

The house has four bedrooms on 1640 square meters (Sydney Morning Herald, 8-9/10/2011).

The original laundry was in the southwestern corner of the house (Rosz & Howard et al, 2001).
Date condition updated:08 Jul 13
Modifications and dates: c2006 - Leighton's Green' hybrid cypress (x Cuprocyparis leylandii 'Leighton's Green') hedge planted on boundary facing 13 Cranbrook Avenue - a block of flats.
2011 - NSW Land & Environment Court Tree Dispute application over the above hedge from the Strata Title flat neighbours. Application withdrawn after consultation.
Current use: residence
Former use: Aboriginal land, residence


Historical notes: Cremorne Point and Mosman Bay:
Wooloorigang / Cremorne Point and Mosman Bay were both once Cammeraygal territory named Wul-warra-Jeung before European settlement in Sydney Cove to their south. Aborigines called the waters east of the point Goram-Bullagong. In early European settlement after 1788 it became known as Careening Point and Mosman Cove became known as Hungry Bay. Careening Point commemorates HMS Sirius, a ship from the First Fleet of 1788, which was refurbished, pushed upstream in Mosman Bay (Read, 2009).

In January 1822 Scot James Robertson, watch maker, arrived on the Providence with wife and six children to become Supervisor of Governor Brisbane's astronomical instruments and clocks at his observatory in the Parramatta Domain. Brisbane was named 'founder' of Australian science by Sir William Herschell, himself a noted astronomer and botanist who spent some time in South Africa. Robertson was granted a large amount of land on the Upper Hunter River and later in 1823 a further 86 acres (34.8ha) of Cremorne headland, where he built a Georgian house with fine cedar joinery. In its grounds were some fine pear trees. One of his sons became Sir John Robertson, NSW's fifth Premier - and premier five times. His statue graces the pedestrian avenue in the Domain opposite the Art Gallery of NSW (ibid, 2009).

The difficulty of crossing the harbour was overcome by John in a novel manner. Rather than hire a boat from Blues Point (there were no ferries yet) and walk, he would walk to Mrs Macquarie's Point, tie his clothes to his head and swim. At Fort Denison he would rest before swimming the remainder. Robertson's Point commemorates his father's occupation. Today it sports a lighthouse for navigation (ibid, 2009).

The foreshore path from Neutral Bay to Cremorne Point wharf dates to 1830 when the reserve was retained by the Crown. Cremorne Point Reserve is the most substantial example in North Sydney of imposition of the 100' (Harbour Foreshore) Reservation, applied from 1828 (ibid, 2009).

The Rev. W.B.Clarke identified a coal seam running under much of Sydney and proposed it be mined. An experimental copper smelting industry was established in the mid-1840s on the eastern shore but was not successful and was removed by 1849 (ibid, 2009).

In 1853 North Shore pioneer James Milson bought the land - Robertson's house became the Cremorne Hotel, later Cremorne House - and three years later leased 22 acres to J.R.Clarke and Charles H.Woolcott, who planned Cremorne Gardens, named for the rather notorious Regency Pleasure Gardens in London. These opened in 1856 with 30 acres (12.2ha) and amusements galore. Steamers plied from Circular Quay and Woolloomooloo Bay every half hour until late. There were scenic walks - the Serpentine Walk and Italian Walk. Papers advertised 'a monster dancing stage, 200' in circumference', an 'excellent (German) band, carousel, archery, quoits, rifle shooting, skittles, gymnastics, rifle gallery and refreshments' at Sydney prices. Even a masked ball. At 8pm, magnificent fireworks, a la Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens (London) and splendid pyrotechny as in Cremorne Gardens, London. The Sydney Morning Herald declared Cremorne to 'be ranked among the best of those places of holiday resort of a superior order which have recently sprung into existence in the neighbourhood of Sydney'. Anyone missing the last boat was compelled to remain behind overnight, as the bush was too thick to penetrate and few cared to swim back. By 1862 the place had an unsavoury reputation and the 'Gardens' were in ruins (ibid, 2009).

Around 1875 a white cask was moored just off Cremorne Point and used for target practice from Mrs Macquarie's Chair. Balls from the 68 pound cannon would skim across the harbour ending up near Whiting Beach, near Taronga Zoo. The barrage would stop for the hourly steam ferry. In the 1880s and 1890s Cremorne Point was a more genteel Victorian sunday destination (ibid, 2009).

In 1891 and 1893 Sydney Harbour Collieries Ltd. sank exploratory bores and discovered coal ten feet thick. Despite support from the Mines Department, the Lands Department refused permission to build coal wharves and the company found an alternative base in Balmain (ibid, 2009).

In 1905 a Harbour Foreshores Vigilance Committee formed and Cremorne Reserve was proclaimed later that year, with North Sydney Council as trustee. This was the culmination of a ten year campaign to secure the area as public land. It reflected other campaigns for harbour foreshore reserves and conservation of that time. Magnificent harbour and city views were and remain available from here (ibid, 2009).

The McCallum Pool west of Cremorne Point was built in the 1920s as a pleasure pool for residents. As the threat of industrialisation subsided, others arose. Subdivision of the peninsula followed land reservation. By 1925 residential development encroached. While private gardens flourished, weeds and rubbish choked the foreshore reserve. Reports that 'respectable people' didn't go there at night suggest it was sheltering the homeless or carousing couples after dark. North Sydney Council started a beautification campaign in the 1920s with local residents helping, transforming it by the 1930s. Several elements of that era survive - a concrete and chicken wire sign, archway etc. Then, perhaps due to the 1930s depression and World War 2, it sunk into neglect again (ibid, 2009).

The area attracted various architects including J.Burcham Clamp: his house The Laurels (1907, extended 1920) is a striking Arts & Crafts example. A 1927 issue of 'The Home' magazine featured an 'Italian' (Mediterranean revival) example - a house belonging to Mr F.C.Lane (ibid, 2009).

By the beginning of the 20th century the maritime enterprises that had dominated the Lower North Shore had begun to give way to residential development. Neutral Bay and Cremorne became known as 'alternative society suburbs', where the emerging Arts and Crafts architectural style was creating a 'friendly', relaxed style in contrast to the uniformity of terrace housing (National Trust of Australia, 2019, 18).

Egglemont was built in c1916 / 1918 in the Californian Bungalow style with a garden typical of that period. It is a four bedroom house.

In latter years the property was owned by property developer Michael and Kimberley McGurk. Michael McGurk was murdered outside the property in September 2009. The property was sold in October 2011 (Sydney Morning Herald, 2011).

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. Cultural - Coasts and coastal features supporting human activities-
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 Landscapes and gardens of domestic accommodation-
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 Developing suburbia-
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. Landscaping - 20th century interwar-
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 - Interwar California Bungalow-

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 0032102 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0032115 Mar 85 0561183
Local Environmental Plan2001 LEP Schedule 3 heritage item1055   
National Trust of Australia register Esslemont    
National Trust of Australia register Cranbrook Avenue Group    
Register of the National EstateEsslemont291514 May 91   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
North Sydney Heritage Study19818.18Latona Masterman  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW)2019'House Inspections and National Trust Way Tours'
WrittenPhilip Rosz and Rod Howard Heritage Conservation Pty Ltd.2001Esslemont 11 Cranbrook Avenue, Cremorne : photographic recording
WrittenRead, Stuart2009unpublished notes, Cremorne walk
WrittenRead, Stuart, from various sources2009notes for 30/8/09 Cremorne Point to Mosman Bay A Walk with Joan Lawrence
WrittenTanner Architects2012Heritage Impact Statement - Esslemont - proposed essential repairs and other works in two bathrooms

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: 5045237
File number: 11/16809; S90/03576 & HC 33288

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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