Hooper Cottage | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Hooper Cottage

Item details

Name of item: Hooper Cottage
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Cottage
Location: Lat: -33.9059865957 Long: 151.2475607670
Primary address: 17 Gilderthorpe Avenue, Randwick, NSW 2031
Parish: Alexandria
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Randwick
Local Aboriginal Land Council: La Perouse
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
17 Gilderthorpe AvenueRandwickRandwickAlexandriaCumberlandPrimary Address
Figtree AvenueRandwickRandwickAlexandriaCumberlandAlternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Hooper Cottage PlantsPrivate25 Mar 99

Statement of significance:

Hooper Cottage has historic significance as the second-oldest building remaining, the oldest farmhouse building and the only remaining building illustrative of working class cottages in the Randwick Municipal Area in what was once a rural setting. Hooper Cottage has the ability to demonstrate a way of life in early Randwick and Sydney through its role in housing market gardeners who supplied the City's markets.

The cottage has social significance for its ability to illustrate 19th century lifestyles and perceptions. The contrasts in scale and finishes between the kitchen area to the rear (which may have been servant's quarters) and the vernacular Georgian house market gardener George Hooper built illustrate perceptions of social status in the 19th century. Architecturally and aesthetically significant as an increasingly rare sandstone worker's cottage which was converted to servant's quarters/kitchen block, and an intact example of vernacular Georgian domestic architecture. (J. Hannigan 1994)
Date significance updated: 14 Sep 11
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.


Construction years: 1847-1848
Physical description: Vernacular two storey Georgian cottage, rectangular plan, small roof span, symmetrical chimneys, windows, doors. Rear faade faces Gilderthorpe Avenue (formerly Orange Street). Orientation clearly shows it was part of a much larger estate (65 acres).

Skillion verandah at rear (main faade to north). Has a rare insurance plaque above top middle window on north facade.
Detached rear single storey sandstone kitchen /servants' quarters (was probably Hooper's original c1847 cottage, later converted once he built his 1848 vernacular Georgian house). Open courtyard between.
Modifications and dates: 1860s Orange Street renamed Gilderthorpe Avenue
c1860 the name Figtree Avenue first appears on a map.

C1868 Northern verandah fell off c1968 and was rebuilt 1980.
1889 Water Board map shows:
kitchen and main house separate
kitchen has bread oven extension (North side, towards house)
outside WC in NW corner of property
No verandah on kitchen

Works completed by mid 1994: (cost $45,000; 30,000 provided as low interest loan by NSW Heritage Assistance Program).
Kitchen verandah rebuilt and extended along the full length of the western kitchen wall. Rooves replaced, gutters, downpipes, stormater system installed to minimise rising damp problem. Plumbing in bathroom and kitchen replaced, bathroom window installed to match original kitchen window.
Kitchen: removed old defective existing structure, built brick pier foundations, timber posts, timber roof structure to detail of original verandah, new c/iron roof, galv.steel traditional downpipe and gutter.
Kitchen roof -removed old defective existing roofing, built timber fascia boards, internal timber lining, insulation foil, gal.c/iron roof sheeting, three clear corrugated sheets for skylights, gal. steel box gutter for link roof between two buildings, gal. steel traditional gutters and downpipe, lead flashing around chimney.
Main house roof: removed old defective roofing material, original shingles still under roofing iron, existing batons badly termite affected. Shingles removed to replace batons. Built timber fascia boards, batons, aluminium insulation foil, gal. c/iron sheeting, gal. steel gutters and downpipes, lead flashings around chimneys.
Bathroom - kitchen - stone work.
Replaced 6 badly eroded sandstone blocks next to door to kitchen, built stone window sill for bathroom window, stone fill to narrow down window to match original kitchen window.
Current use: Residence
Former use: Residence


Historical notes: pre-1780s - local Aboriginal people in the area used the site for fishing and cultural activities - rock engravings, grinding grooves and middens remain in evidence.
1789 - Governor Philip referred to 'a long bay', which became known as Long Bay.
Aboriginal people are believed to have inhabited the Sydney region for at least 20,000 years (Turbet, 2001). The population of Aboriginal people between Palm Beach and Botany Bay in 1788 has been estimated to have been 1500. Those living south of Port Jackson to Botany Bay were the Cadigal people who spoke Dharug (Randwick Library webpage, 2003), while the local clan name of Maroubra people was "Muru-ora-dial" (City of Sydney webpage, 2003). By the mid nineteenth century the traditional owners of this land had typically either moved inland in search of food and shelter, or had died as the result of European disease or confrontation with British colonisers (Randwick Library webpage, 2003).

Colonial History:
One of the earliest land grants in this area was made in 1824 to Captain Francis Marsh, who received 12 acres bounded by the present Botany & High Streets, Alison & Belmore Roads. In 1839 William Newcombe acquired the land north-west of the present town hall in Avoca Street.

Randwick takes its name from the town of Randwick, Gloucestershire, England. The name was suggested by Simeon Pearce (1821-86) and his brother James. Simeon was born in the English Randwick and the brothers were responsible for the early development of both Randwick and its neighbour, Coogee. Simeon had come to the colony in 1841as a 21 year old surveyor. He built his Blenheim House on the 4 acres he bought from Marsh, and called his property "Randwick". The brothers bought and sold land profitably in the area and elsewhere. Simeon campaigned for construction of a road from the city to Coogee (achieved in 1853) and promoted the incorporation of the suburb. Pearce sought construction of a church modelled on the church of St. John in his birthplace. In 1857 the first St Jude's stood on the site of the present post office, at the corner of the present Alison Road and Avoca Street (Pollen, 1988, 217-8).

Randwick was...slow to progress. The village was isolated from Sydney by swamps and sandhills, and although a horse-bus was operated by a man named Grice from the late 1850s, the journey was more a test of nerves than a pleasure jaunt. Wind blew sand over the track, and the bus sometimes became bogged, so that passengers had to get out and push it free. From its early days Randwick had a divided society. The wealthy lived elegantly in large houses built when Pearce promoted Randwick and Coogee as a fashionable area. But the market gardens, orchards and piggeries that continued alongside the large estates were the lot of the working class. Even on the later estates that became racing empires, many jockeys and stablehands lived in huts or even under canvas. An even poorer group were the immigrants who existed on the periphery of Randwick in a place called Irishtown, in the area now known as The Spot, around the junction of St.Paul's Street and Perouse Road. Here families lived in makeshift houses, taking on the most menial tasks in their struggle to survive.

In 1858 when the NSW Government passed the Municipalities Act, enabling formation of municipal districts empowered to collect rates and borrow money to improve their suburb, Randwick was the first suburb to apply for the status of a municipality. It was approved in Februrary 1859, and its first Council was elected in March 1859.

Randwick had been the venue for sporting events, as well as duels and illegal sports, from the early days in the colony's history. Its first racecourse, the Sandy Racecourse or Old Sand Track, had been a hazardous track over hills and gullies since 1860. When a move was made in 1863 by John Tait, to establish Randwick Racecourse, Simeon Pearce was furious, expecially when he heard that Tait also intended to move into Byron Lodge. Tait's venture prospered, however and he became the first person in Australia to organise racing as a commercial sport. The racecourse made a big difference to the progress of Randwick. The horse-bus gave way to trams that linked the suburb to Sydney and civilisation. Randwick soon became a prosperous and lively place, and it still retains a busy residential, professional and commercial life.

Today, some of the houses have been replaced by home units. Many European migrants have made their homes in the areaa, along with students and workers at the nearby University of NSW and the Prince of Wales Hospital. (ibid, 218-9).

Hooper Cottage's land:
1824 Land originally a Crown grant to Captain Marsh in 1824.

1847 Alderman, Council auditor and one of area's first residents, Market Gardener George Hooper bought the land (65 acres) for orchards and market gardens, and built the first (single storey) cottage in the same year on about 13 acres as a farmhouse.

1848 Hooper builds vernacular 2 storey Georgian house with courtyard, and converts original cottage to kitchen/servants' quarters.

c.1860 the name Figtree Avenue first appears on a map (street to west of cottage).

1864 George Hooper leaves for Queensland, making Simeon Pearce his trustee. Estate and house left in trust to Hooper's wife Mary. Pearce was actively trying to entice wealthy residents to the Randwick area, and Hooper was a friend of the Pearce family. George's brother James Hooper woked as a market gardener on Randwick Road in 1858/9 (Sands Directory), and from 1865-1880 James was listed as living in Orange Street (name changed to Gilderthorpe Avenue sometime after 1925.

1840-80 period of market gardens and orchards in area, supplying close by City Markets. Occupants of Hooper's cottage were market gardeners.

1887 Cottage bought by Catherine Hooper, widow of James Hooper, and her daughter Mary Ann McQuigan.
Mid 1880s subdivisions and public sales in Randwick area. "Hooper's garden or "Garden Estate" titles.

1890s sale of land around Hooper's cottage. Orange Street renamed Gilderthorpe Avenue and Clovelly Road (cottage is on northern side of this road, on western side of Figtree Avenue).

c.1925 Orange Street renamed Gilderthorpe Avenue.

1930s urbanisation of area complete. Hooper Cottage on existing sized block.

c.Mid 1940s 19 Hill's figs (Ficus hillii) planted along Figtree Avenue, including two near Hooper's Cottage.

c.1968 Northern verandah fell off c1968 and was rebuilt 1980.

During 1978 Randwick Council tried to purchase the cottage to preserve it, but the family of the former owner refused to sell to Council.

During 1979 the cottage (deceased estate of Elizabeth Aveline McGuigan) was put on the market for sale and the Heritage Council of NSW received representations from the Randwick and District Historical Society and Randwick Council seeking a conservation order.

On 4 January 1980 an Interim Conservation Order was placed over the property. On the 12 February a Permanent Conservation Order was placed over the property.

In 1985 Randwick Council closes off southern end of Figtree Avenue and makes road closure park, 2 Hill's figs (Ficus hillii) in park outside Hooper's Cottage date from c1930/40).

On 2 April 1999 the property is transferred to the State Heritage Register.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Clearing land for farming-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Market gardening-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Developing real estate-
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 townsfolk - terraces and cottages-
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. Country Villa-
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 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-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working independently on the land-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in a rural homestead-

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 0008702 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0008712 Feb 82 230615
Local Environmental PlanRandwick Local Environmental Plan 1998 - Sch3 30 Apr 99   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Hooper Cottage View detail
WrittenAlie Schenk & Stephen Krahe1994Project Report & Conservation Plan Hooper Cottage, Randwick, NSW
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Hooper Cottage View detail
WrittenHannigan, J.1994Conservation Plan of Hooper Cottage - archaeology assignment
WrittenPollon, F. & Healy, G.1988Randwick entry, 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: 5045457
File number: S90/06037 & HC 32254

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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