Heathcote Hall | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Heathcote Hall

Item details

Name of item: Heathcote Hall
Other name/s: Heathcote Hall and Grounds; Bottle Forest
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Mansion
Location: Lat: -34.0878552936 Long: 151.0146930480
Primary address: 1-21 Dillwynnia Grove, Heathcote, NSW 2233
Parish: Heathcote
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sutherland
Local Aboriginal Land Council: La Perouse
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP725184
LOT2 DP725184
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
1-21 Dillwynnia GroveHeathcoteSutherlandHeathcoteCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Maxine FarrellyPrivate25 Mar 99

Statement of significance:

Heathcote Hall is an imposing two storey building designed in the Victorian Italianate style and is one of the oldest and grandest buildings in the Sutherland Shire. Built in 1887 by Isaac Harber a wealthy Sydney brick maker who forfeited the residence following financial losses he made in connection with the building of the Imperial Arcade in Sydney. It is a particularly striking building whose tower is a prominent landmark in Heathcote.
Date significance updated: 23 Nov 04
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.

Description

Designer/Maker: Thomas Rowe
Builder/Maker: Isaac Harber
Physical description: Mansion:
Heathcote Hall is designed in the Victorian Italianate style. The house is a two storey brick structure rendered and scribed to look like sandstone. On three sides is a two storey verandah colonnaded on the ground floor, with a cast iron balustrade and cast iron columns supporting the verandah roof of bull-nosed corrugated iron.

The tall tower with its glazed turret and balcony is still a prominent landmark above the surrounding trees.

Ancillary buildings:
There are a small number of ancillary buildings around the site In line with the rear of the house and near the northern boundary of its garden is a small WC building in brick and corrugated iron. This is hooked up to a septic system.

Remnants of a small garden shed remain on the eastern boundary near the rear gate from Tecoma Street and the eastern wall of the shed actually makes up part of the rear back fence.

A more recent timber framed structure is partly constructed on the southern side of the Tecoma Street gate. This has a galvanised steel roof but is not fully enclosed. It is being used to store building materials.

Immediately south of the timber framed structure is the remains of the foundation of a building which the owner has identified as dating from around the 1950s but which was never completed. However, these foundations appear to possibly be dated from the very early period of the estate as a small building shows in this location on the Certificate of Title for transfer of this portion of the land to Abel Harber dated 1889. A coach house building was originally located just to the north inside the existing rear gate on Tecoma Street. The remnants of the coach house were demolished (c.1945) soon after the present owners took up residence and the bricks were used to fill the ground at the rear of the main house. This area has archaeological potential and any excavation or disturbance of the ground in this area of the yard should be done under the supervision of a qualified historical archaeologist.

Immediately south of the main house is a reasonably modern laundry building which houses a laundry and storage shed. It is constucted of timber frame and lined with fibro and lattice.

Outside the main formal garden area of the house is the remnant of the larger estate. A number of stables constructed of timber frame and corrugated iron and steel are located in both the north-eastern and western sections of this area of the site. The ages of these stables vary with some showing evidence of being very old while others are more recent.

The present owners stabled horses from the earliest days of their occupation in 1945 so some remnant stable structures in this complex could be approaching 60 years old and be an important part of the evolutionary process of the estate. There is visual evidence that some of the structures are quite old and therefore the entire complex should be the subject of a further assessment by a qualified consultant prior to the removal of any fabric.

The fencing around the property has been replaced in recent years but there is the remnant of an original iron archway and gate, immediately south of the front of the house giving access to Dillwynnia Grove (Cowell & Associates, 1996, 35-6).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition is poor. Archaeological potential is high.
Date condition updated:24 Nov 04
Current use: Private residence
Former use: Private residence

History

Historical notes: Heathcote:
The development of the setting was primarily in response to construction of the Illawarra Railway line and extension of this line to this area in the 1880s. Early in 1886 the line was opened up as far as Waterfall. Up until then Heathcote was known as Bottle Forest. Bottle Forest proper and embraced an area of about 200 acres. This little pocket of fertile country extends north from Heathcote Railway Station for about half a mile, with the railway as its western boundary, runs back to the east in National Park for about 3/4 of a mile, over the crest of the Dividing Range, between the watershed of the Port Hacking and Woronora Rivers.

The new settlement of Como came alive with the construction of the railway bridge over the Georges River. Soon railway camps were set up at Sutherland township, Heathcote and Waterfall. Construction of the long tunnels near Helensburgh employed skilled contractors and consumed millions of bricks. Many were made at the brickworks established by Abel Harber at Heathcote. At the 1891 census most people lived at Sylvania and settlements clustered along the line at Sutherland, Como, Heathcote and Waterfall.

The establishment of Australia's first National Park (Royal NP) in 1879 also began to attract people to Sydney's south. Heathcote was one of a number of suburbs within the Shire of Sutherland that were to be established adjacent to land reserved as national park.

Heathcote retained its bushland setting for a number of years. It remained relatively undeveloped as a suburb until the 1920s, despite having a station in the vicinity. No doubt the reason for this neglect on the part of home-seekers lies in the fact that the Bottle Forest area, which adjoins the railway and embraces the most fertile soil and greatest elevation, had been locked up in two large family estates and never thrown open to the public for purchase (Norwood, 1926, 1, 3, 20, 34).

Heathcote Hall estate:
In the 1920s the Heathcote Hall estate was surveyed and the former 50 acre lot subdivided into numerous 1/4 acre blocks. Heathcote Hall was retained on a 4 acre block. The lot boundary has remained unchanged since (Tanner Architcts, 2004, 8).

Heathcote Hall:
Some 50 acres of freehold land was purchased about 1879 by Mr Isaac Haber, a wealthy brickmaker of that period. He built Heathcote Hall in 1887 and located it on the highest point of his land.

The hall was designed by leading Sydney architectural firm, Rowe and Green, for a sum of 7000 pounds (Anne Warr Heritage Consulting, 2017, 6).

Unfortunately, following financial losses in connection with the building of the Imperial Arcade, Sydney, Harber abandoned Heathcote Hall for the benefit of his creditors. However the mortgagees (Warr, 2017, 6: notes they took posession in 1892) into whose hands the property fell did not find the estate a disposable proposition, for New South Wales was then in the throes of the temporary financial collapse of the 1890s.

The Financial Institution, which had become the possessor, made arrangements with George Adams of Tattersalls to dispose of it by lottery. Issued from Brisbane, Heathcote Hall was made first prize at a value of seven thousand pounds. The winning ticket was held by Mr Samuel Gillette, a Sydney builder. He retained ownership for five years and then sold the whole estate for much less than its valuation. A mansion and park at Heathcote before the advent of the motorcar and with only one train a day service was not a good proposition for a city businessman struggling through the competitive times of the 1890s.

Gillette sold the estate to Mrs Jessie Fotheringham Brown in 1901 (ibid, 2017, 6).

Early in 1901, Mr R R Brown purchased Heathcote Hall with the intention of retiring there for the few short months of life that leading Sydney medical men had advised was left to him. However Mr Brown confounded his medical advisers and lived there until about 1923.

During the 1920s it was used for public tea rooms and limited accommodation, as well as a 36 hole putting green available for public use (Tanners, 2003).

In 1927 the 50 acre property was subdivided into 168 suburban lots with Heathcote Hall remaining on a 4 acre block. Blocks sold very slowly, and in 1945, the Heathcote Hall Estate Ltd. sold the reduced 4 acre Hall block to Mrs Minima Farrelly, wife of Mr Joseph Farrelly (ibid, 2017, 6). The property has been in the ownership of the Farrelly family since (Tanners, 2003) and land on the northern part of the property has been used for stabling and training of horses since the 1980s.

Joseph and Minima Farrelly bought Heathcote Hall in 1942, along with her parents Angelise & Hose. Joseph and Minima raised three children here, Michael, Ramon and Maxine. After Minima's death in 1986, Maxine stayed on, caring for her father and nursing him before he died in 2005 at age 86. She noted the tower was her favourite part, accessed by a narrow, winding staircase. Before trees obscured the view, she said it was possible to view the waves breaking on Jibbon Beach at Bundeena from here. Ms Farrelly sought to preserve Heathcote Hall and undertook some renovation works. The property was left to be shared by the children (Trembath, 27/1/2016).

In 2000 the Heritage Council of NSW provided a grant of $150,000 to undertake emergency works on the property, notably the hall's tower (ibid, 2017, 6).

The Farrelly family continued to live in the property until July 2015 when it was sold to Fuzortinn P/L (ibid, 2017, 6).

In early 2016, there were media reports indicating that Maxine Farrelly intended to sell the property.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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-
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 demonstrating styles in landscape design-
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 demonstrating styles in landscape design-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences (none)-
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. Gentlemens Mansions-
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)-
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 the prosperous - mansions in town and country-
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 Naming places (toponymy)-
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 Sub-division of large estates-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gardening-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Thomas Rowe, architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Abel Isaac Harber, German migrant brickmaker-

Recommended management:

A Conservation Management Plan for the property is currently being prepared.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
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.

FRANK SARTOR
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 endorsementCMP for endorsement review process Sep 6 2017

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0019102 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0019108 Apr 82 501596
Local Environmental Plan  15 Dec 00 16213340

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 2003Facelift for a grand old lady (St George & Sutherland Leader 26/8/03)
Management PlanGlen Cowell & Associates1999Conservation management plan for Heathcote Hall Tecoma Street, Heathcote
WrittenGlen Cowell & Associates1996Heathcote Hall, Heathcote, original ceilings consolidation and tower glazing - NSW Heritage Assistance Programme 1999/96 - project no. 96 498
WrittenKennedy, Patrick2001From Bottle Forest to Heathcote: Sutherland Shire's first settlement
WrittenNorwood, Arthur1926Concerning Heathcote Hall, Bottle Forest and Heathcote District, including the story of the Old Illawarra Road
WrittenRichard Rowe1887Plans (1) of Villa for C.Harber, Esq., Heathcote
WrittenRichard Rowe1887Plans of Villa for A.Harber Esq., Heathcote (4)
WrittenSutherland Shire Council Local History File - Heathcote Hall (historical notes, photos, newspaper clippings and other documents)
WrittenTanner Architects P/L2004Heathcote Hall - Conservation Mangagement Strategy - Tecoma Street, Heathcote (draft)
WrittenTrembath, Murray2016'Link with History Broken'
WrittenTrembath, Murray2016'Community to have a say'

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: 5045238
File number: 10/7772; S90/05841 & HC 32471


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