Bethungra | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Bethungra

Item details

Name of item: Bethungra
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -33.9148482875 Long: 151.1156469390
Primary address: 9 Fore Street, Canterbury, NSW 2193
Parish: St George
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Canterbury
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT8 DP743486
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
9 Fore StreetCanterburyCanterburySt GeorgeCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 Private17 May 99

Statement of significance:

Bethungra is a rare example of a substantial Victorian period residence with the local area. Constructed c.1896 Bethungra is associated with Mary McKillop the founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph. It was also used as a convent for nuns of the Order who were attached to St. Anthony's Catholic Church. (Heritage Office file)
Date significance updated: 29 Sep 08
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: Varney Parkes
Construction years: 1896-1896
Physical description: Bethungra is consturcted of local sandstone quarried from what is now the cliff face above Karool Avenue, Canterbury. The house is a single-storey asymmetrical-form late Victorian style 3-4 bedroom residence. Its construction features rough dressed irregular and tuck-pointed masonry, with rusticated quoins and window dressings.

Varney Parkes designed Bethungra. Parkes was known for his use of pattern books in the design of his buildings, and the houses he designed in Canterbury for the Quigg and Nicholas families demonstrate his enthusiasm to adopt architectural ideas from overseas for his work in NSW. Houses in Fore Street designed by Parkes around the turn of the 19th century, particularly 'Wyuna' at no.10, are characteristic of the transition between the late Victorian Italianate style and the Federation Queen Anne style of domestic architecture. Although these have render decoration characteristic of the Italianate style, the 'tower' with conical roof at the end of the veranda of 'Wyuna' is typical of the later Federation style, and the house is an important landmark in the transition from one domestic style to another (Muir, 2011).
Modifications and dates: 1980 - slate roof replaced with concrete tiles. Bullnose verandah removed.
Current use: Private residence
Former use: Private residence, convent

History

Historical notes: Canterbury:
The first European land grant in this suburb...was of 100 acres to a "very good, pious, inoffensieve man", the Reverend Richard Johnson (1753-1827), the colony's first chaplain, in 1793. He called his grant Canterbury Vale, as a tribute to Canterbury in England, and the suburb took its name from the farm. The farm extended over the area of modern day Canterbury and Ashbury suburbs. By 1800, when it was sold to Lieutenant William Cox, the propery covered 600 acres. In 1803, when it covered 900 acres, it was sold to Robert Campbell the elder (1769-1846), who then bought up most of the land north to Liverpool Road.

The village of Canterbury was formed after 1841 subdivision of this land, then owned by Campbell. Sales of the land in the area west of Canterbury Road and north of the railway, were successful, and several other sales followed in the 1840s and 1850s.

Although the soil in this area was rather poor, there was some farm cultivation, but the main work was wood cutting and carting, and brickmaking. In 1840 the Australian Sugar Company bought 60 acres of Campbell's Canterbury estate and a steam engine was installed, but after passing through the hands of several owners, the factory closed in 1856.

The first post office opened in 1858, and the first official public school in 1878, and the district slowly developed. Canterbury Race Course, on the northern bank of the Cooks River has been one of Sydney's major racetracks since 1871. The railway station, on the Bankstown line, opened in 1895 (Pollen & Healy, 1988, 7-8 & 50).

Bethungra:
Bethungra was constructed c.1896 for the Quigg family by Varney Parkes, the son of Sir Henry Parkes. Varney Parkes was a Liverpool Council Alderman, State Parliamentarian (1885 - 1913), MLA for Canterbury 1895-1900 and 1907-1913, Postmaster-General (1889 -1899) and successful architect. He trained under the Colonial Architect, James Barnet between 1878 and 1880. He established a successful architectural practice with C. H. E. Blackmann and was responsible for the design of a wide range of buildings over much of urban and rural New South Wales, including hotels, warehouses, banks, commercial premises and domestic residences. One of his best known designs was the 'Marble Bar' for George Adams's hotel in Pitt Street, begun in 1891 (now re-erected within the redeveloped Hilton Hotel on George Street).

Parkes was known for his use of pattern books in the design of his buildings, and the houses he designed in Canterbury for the Quigg and Nicholas families demonstrate his enthusiasm to adopt architectural ideas from overseas for his work in New South Wales. Houses in Fore Street designed by Parkes around the turn of the 19th century, particularly 'Wyuna' at no.10, are characteristic of the transition between the late Victorian Italianate style and the Federation Queen Anne style of domestic architecture. Although these have render decoration characteristic of the Italianate style, the 'tower' with conical roof at the end of the veranda of 'Wyuna' is typical of the later Federation style, and the house is an important landmark in the transition from one domestic style to another.

'Iserbrook', the house that Parkes designed for himself and lived in until 1925, was unfortunately demolished in the 1960s, and replaced by featureless red brick home units. The Estates surrounding the house, large sections of the Bridgewater Estate, were owned and subdivided by Alderman John Quigg (Mayor of Canterbury 1891) and his son-in-law Frederick Augustus Nicholas. They engaged Varney Parkes to build several other houses on their land, and Parkes remained a family friend and their preferred architect. Another relative by marriage, Jeffrey Denniss, also lived in Fore Street, ran a successful tannery at the eastern junction of Cup and Saucer Creek with Cooks River, and became Mayor of Canterbury from 1900 to 1903.

His friend, Frederick Augustus Nicholas, with his sons started a furniture manufacturing business in Canterbury just after World War !. This was a time of great expansion in the area, 10,000 houses were built in the Municipality between 1919 and 1929, and all of them needed furniture. The family prospered, eventually moving up the hill to land beside John Quigg's house, "Austral Eden" (now demolished). Fredederick Augustus Nicholas subdivided part of his land, creating a new street, Nicholas Avenue. In 1924, the family went on an overseas tour, and Frederick's wife, Elizabeth Amy Nicholas (formerly Quigg), became particularly impressed with the California Bungalow style of house. She brought back plans for a large residence in this style, and their friend, Varney Parkes, was entrusted with supervising the construction of a new family home in Nicholas Avenue (no.15).

Some time between 1922 and 1931 three other houses were built for the Nicholas sons, probably under the supervision of Parkes, on the land at the southern end of Nicholas Avenue. John Augustus Nicholas married Annie Batting in 1922, and lived in no.18, and Vivian Price Nicholas married Beatrice Mackie in 1925, and lived in no.16. Adrian Howard Nicholas married Una D. Wiseman in 1927, and no.11 was built for him some time between 1927 and 1931 (Muir, 2011).

In 1901 Bethungra was sold to Mary McKillop, the founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was used as a convent for nuns of the Order who were attached to St. Anthony's Catholic Church.

In 1980 the Heritage Council received a request for an Interim Heritage Order from the local historical society as Bethungra had been puchased and a devlopment application submitted for its demolition and construction of a two-story block of six home unties. An Interim heritage Order was placed over the property on 16 July 1980. Following further consideration the Heritage Council placed a Permanant Conservation Order over the property on 23 July 1982. It was transferred to the State Heritage register on 2 April 1999.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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. Educating-National Theme 6
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-
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. Architectural styles and periods - Victorian (mid)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Convent-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Practising Catholicism-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Sister Mary McKillop, nun, social worker and nominee Saint-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Varney Parkes, architect, artist, Postmaster-General and Politician-

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

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0022402 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0022423 Jul 82 993387
Local Environmental Plan 015007 Jun 96 0672954

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenMuir, Lesley2011Statement of Significance: Nicholas Avenue, Canterbury
WrittenPollen, F. & Healy, G. (ed.s)1988"Canterbury" and "Ashbury" entries, in The Book of Sydney Suburbs

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: 5045405
File number: S90/05855 & HC 32454


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