Belvedere | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage



Item details

Name of item: Belvedere
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -33.8317863656 Long: 151.2281651970
Primary address: 7 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
LOTA DP329662
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
7 Cranbrook AvenueCremorneNorth SydneyWilloughbyCumberlandPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 Private17 May 99

Statement of significance:

See also under 'Cranbrook Avenue Group' NSHS#1052. The house is generally regarded as one of the finest individual California Bungalow designs in NSW, described by J.M. Freeland as 'an eloquent sculptural statement' which 'anticipated later domestic work by nearly half a century'. The R.A.I.A regard it as 'the best work of a highly individual designer' (architect Alexander Stuart Jolly) LEP, 1989).
Date significance updated: 08 Nov 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 Stuart Jolly, architect
Physical description: The house is an excellent example of the larger more mature Californian bungalow, and has all the typical elements of the larger more mature Californian bungalow style: planes of white rough-cast, areas of timber shingles, massive dark stained timber beams and low pitched, wide, sheltering eaves. There is a fine wide verandah with polished timber floor and stained timber beams to the roof. The front door is recessed between two heavy rough-cast piers which extend to, but do not support the gable overhand. The roof, which is an interesting interplay of planes, is formed of both hipped and gabled sections covered with slate. Jolly specialised in gadgets, and this house has a unique rotating cupboard between the kitchen and dining room. The whole house is in excellent condition. This building is designed in the Inter-War California Bungalow style (LEP, 1989).

Single storey residence of Interwar California bungalow style. A vigorous and assured interpretation of the Californian bungalow; with deep overhanging roofs, dynamic asymmetry and cleverly exposed structural timbers (RAIA, 1979).

The California Bungalow was one of the most successful importations brought to Australian architecture and both 'Belvedere' and 'Egglemont' (11 Cranbrook Avenue) are impressive examples of this style of architecture. The bungalows are prominently located on the brow of a hill and have fine city views. Belvedere has wide verandahs to remind the client of his country home. The front door is recessed behind 2 heavy rough-cast piers which extend to the roof overhang. The roof, in turn, comprises hipped and gabled sections covered with slate. The bungalow incorporates planes of white rough-cast, areas of timber shingles, massive dark stained timber beams and low sheltering eaves. The front garden wall and gate continues the theme of rough-cast piers of the bungalow itself (Heritage Branch, Branch Manager's Report no.26/84, 26/1/1984).
Date condition updated:08 Jul 13
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).

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 (NSW), 2019, 18).

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).

Built 1919 for grazier C.H. Stockman, who specified broad eaves and wide verandahs and generous proportions for the plan. The architect, Alexander Stuart Jolly, was a prominent and unorthodox architect influenced by a love and knowledge of timber, the California bungalow movement and American 'organic' architecture (LEP, 1989).

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. Gardens-
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 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. Owning and occupying a house-
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 20th century Suburban Developments-
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-

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 0032002 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0032030 Jan 87 0200511
Local Environmental Plan  03 Nov 89   
National Trust of Australia register Cranbrook Avenue 7674925 Jul 77   
Royal Australian Institute of Architects register  30 Mar 79   
Register of the National EstateBelvedere290621 Oct 80   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
North Sydney Heritage Study Review19931054Brassil, T., Irving, R., Pratten, C., Conybeare MorrisonTB September 1992 No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenFreeland, J.M.1968Architecture in Australia - a history
WrittenHeritage Branch, Branch Manager1984Branch Manager's Report no.26/84, 26/1/1984).
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW)2019'House Inspections and National Trust Way Tours'
WrittenRead, Stuart2009unpublished notes, Cremorne Walk

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: 5045243
File number: S90/05481 & HC 32742

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