Clydebank | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Clydebank

Item details

Name of item: Clydebank
Other name/s: Bligh House; Holbeck; St Elmo
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -33.8565136293 Long: 151.2069868270
Primary address: 43 Lower Fort Street, Millers Point, NSW 2000
Parish: St Philip
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT23 DP773846
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
43 Lower Fort StreetMillers PointSydneySt PhilipCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
BridgeClimbPrivate 

Description

Designer/Maker: unknown
Builder/Maker: Robert Crawford
Construction years: 1824-1825
Physical description: The buildings on the land were constructed at different times. They are:
Main building - 1824;
Coach House - c. 1845;
Kitchen - c. 1865, demolished 1919;
"Link" structure -1972;
Rear wing - 1919, demolished in 1993.
In 1962 some work was carried out by the architect Morton Herman and a new kitchen built in a link structure, joining the coach house (now the garage) with the house (ibid, 2005).

House:
Clyde Bank is a good example all of the main features of Old Colonial Regency style. The building has two upper storeys from Lower Fort Street, with a basement that is cut into the steep slope down to Downshire Street. The upper floors are rendered and lined over brickwork, whilst the basement is in the rough coursed stone expected from an 1820s building. There is a finish on the ground floor that has a very high gloss level, perhaps an attempt to deter graffiti.

The building is divided into the typical Georgian five bays of twelve pane windows to the upper floor with timber French doors with transomlight sashes below, each detailed with offset glazing beads typical of Regency detailing. The central entry door is a Georgian flush beaded six panel door with sidelights and a rectangular transomlight sash with ornate glazing beads. The central upper window is a feature not often seen in a Georgian building, it is divided into two narrower openings either side of a stone pier each with an eight pane double hung window, which gives the impression the building was used as two residences, despite only having a single entry door. This window may have been introduced as a more recent alteration. The building had shutters until quite recently, but these have now been removed.

The building is set back from the street behind rendered classical posts and an iron palisade fence, and the ground has been cut away to open up to a basement verandah underneath the timber framed ground floor entry balcony. The basement is in rough coursed stonework, including stone flagging and has a stone wall underneath the main villa wall. The main balcony is supported on stone walls and iron posts, and features cedar Doric columns on the ground floor level. The columns are paired at the corners and on both sides of the entry and support a hipped slate verandah roof. The hipped roof to the villa is also finished in slate with narrow timbered eaves, and is a U-shaped roof with a concealed central valley that runs parallel to the street and empties into what must be an internal downpipe against the neighbour's wall. There are four chimneys arranged symmetrically on the perimeter.

A link building in Georgian style is attached to the side of the main villa and connects to the face stone garage building. The link building is a 1962 addition in keeping with the style, and whilst it appears the garage is an early structure (Coach House) it has the appearance of having been modified relatively recently. It has a large central vehicle opening with face stone walls either side, a beaded board gable face under a simple barge with gutter returns that imply a pediment. The stone side walls to the driveway appear to be recent construction. It appears the original stable has been demolished.
The rear face of the building has a correct Georgian upper level with five original 12 pane windows. The ground floor has what appears to be a rebuilt verandah, which has been infilled with glazed doors and highlight windows. This verandah sits on exposed brick piers, which are rendered with a classical capping, and is supported by a large beam. The basement is deeply recessed behind this face.
The interior of the building is reportedly highly intact in the 1992 CMP. From the original description the building appears based on a simple Georgian four room plan with two rooms either side of a central entrance hallway. On the ground floor the two front rooms were drawing rooms; with a dining room and library / pantry behind, including a curved wall that incorporates a Georgian curved door. The main rooms have marble and Marulan sandstone chimneys with Regency iron fire grates, which are reportedly intact along with their original joinery features. The central entrance hall features an original cedar staircase to the upper level, but the basement servant quarters were connected externally via the rear verandah (which has now been enclosed). The first floor features four bedrooms (two front and back) with what were originally two dressing rooms. Whether this accounts for the odd front central window is not known. These service spaces have since become bathrooms and a kitchen. The basement consisted of a kitchen, laundry, cellar and two servant's rooms. The layout of the original house is a dramatic demonstration of how social roles have changed (LEP, 2005).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The building contains many original elements and extensive original detailing. The majority of the walls and structure is intact - CMP 1992 (LEP, 2005).
Date condition updated:10 Jan 11
Modifications and dates: The buildings on the land were constructed at different times. They are: Main building - 1824; Coach House - c. 1845; Kitchen - c. 1865, demolished 1919; "Link" structure -1972; Rear wing - 1919, demolished in 1993 (LEP, 2005).
Current use: Residence
Former use: Aboriginal land, town lot, residence, offices, museum /gallery of colonial art

History

Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora. There is no written record of the name of the language spoken and currently there are debates as whether the coastal peoples spoke a separate language "Eora" or whether this was actually a dialect of the Dharug language. Remnant bushland in places like Blackwattle Bay retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters.

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today. All cities include many immigrants in their population. Aboriginal people from across the state have been attracted to suburbs such as Pyrmont, Balmain, Rozelle, Glebe and Redfern since the 1930s. Changes in government legislation in the 1960s provided freedom of movement enabling more Aboriginal people to choose to live in Sydney.

(Information sourced from Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/barani )

In June 1823 Robert Crawford, Principal Clerk to the Colonial Secretary, was granted land at Cockle Bay, part of which survives as the present property dating from 1824. Arriving in Sydney in 1821 from Scotland, Crawford soon managed to build up extensive holdings including farms called "Doonside", "Hill End" and "Ellalong". In a letter of February 1825 he wrote to his father "I am just finishing a house near Dawes Battery. I got a town allotment and as I am not allowed lodging money. I thought it advisable to build - I call it Clyde Bank, it looks into Cockle Bay and is ten minutes walk from the office."

By 1828 Crawford was in financial difficulties and was forced to sell "Clyde Bank" to John Terry Hughes of the Albion Mills. Hughes in 1835, sold the property to Samuel Lyons and within the year it was again sold to Isaac Simmons and then shortly after to Captain Joseph Moore, Master Mariner. With his son Henry, Moore bought the Long and Wright Wharf below in Cockle Bay. Moore's Wharf became one of the two best such shipping establishments in Sydney - the other being Campbell's Wharf in Sydney Cove. It was from Moore's Wharf that in 1851 the first shipment of gold was loaded for Britain.

At this time parcels of land had been amalgamated with the house land. As with so many others in the 1840s Captain Moore became bankrupt in 1844 and was forced by the Trustees of his properties to sell the property to Robert Campbell Junior in 1845.

Captain Moore's sale notice in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1844 gives details of the house; "Ground floor - Entrance Hall, two drawing rooms, dining room, library and pantry. The drawing and dining rooms have handsome marble chimney pieces." Originally there would have not been a stair from the ground floor to the basement for security, noise and kitchen smells. A stair went up from the kitchen back door to the western verandah, where a narrow pantry may have been located for the trays to rest on their way to the dining room.

"First Floor: Four bedrooms and two dressing rooms." The two dressing rooms are now two bathrooms and a small kitchen. The fireplaces were all made of Marulan stone, some badly damaged and have been repaired in the same stone.

"The basement contains kitchen, laundry, cellar and two servant's rooms. In the rear is a yard with a three stall stable. Coach house, hay loft and a well of water and pump."

Robert Campbell Jr. owned the house until his death in 1859 but his family continued to own it until it was sold to Morris Nelson in 1874. Nelson unfortunately died not long after, and the property was transferred to his widow Caroline in 1880.

It was resumed from the Nelson family by the NSW Government in 1903 for the Sydney Harbour Trust. The property was tenanted by many people involved in maritime occupations including stevedoring and tug ownership (LEP, 2005).

In 1958 architect John Fisher (member of the Institute of Architects, the Cumberland County Council Historic Buildings Committee and on the first Council of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) after its reformation in 1960), with the help of artist Cedric Flower, convinced Taubmans to paint the central bungalow at 50 Argyle Place. This drew attention to the importance of the Rocks for the first time. As a result, Fisher was able to negotiate leases for Bligh House (later Clyde Bank) and houses in Windmill Street for various medical societies (Lucas & McGinness, 2012).

From 1961 until 1990 it was leased by the Australian College of General Practitioners after which date the leasehold was purchased by an individual for use as a private gallery of early colonial art and furniture. The house has at various times been called "Holbeck", St Elmo and from 1940 "Bligh House" (ibid, 2005).

By 1995, Clydebank was bought by Caroline Simpson (later OAM), philanthropist and conservationist, who had long been an influential member of the Women's Committee of the National Trust of Australia (New South Wales). She bought, restored and opened Clyde Bank as a gallery. Simpson also acquired one of the most significant private collections of early Australian colonial art and furniture, including one of the finest examples of the work of the artist Conrad Martens. This was complemented with the purchase and restoration of Joyce Farmhouse, dating from 1794, outside Sydney. Her Clyde Bank collection also displayed early works from other colonial outposts of the former British Empire.

Simpson was an innovative publisher on a number of subjects, including biographies of artist Conrad Martens by Elizabeth Ellis (1994). A history of colonial buildings, again sponsored by her, was published in 2003. She also contributed to a number of journals and historical texts. In the early 1980s, she coordinated an exhibition and contributed to a catalogue, on her great-uncle, the architect William Hardy Wilson. In the mid-1990s, she sponsored an exhibition by 19th-century, landscape artist Sophie Steffanoni. She quietly made substantial gifts to the Art Gallery of NSW and State Library of NSW. She had a particular affection for the Australian Dictionary of Biography, to which she contributed a number of perceptive and well-written entries (especially on members of the Fairfax and Simpson families)", and, in 1998, donated $100,000 to sustain the ADB project. Although born to be a Dame, she was delighted when her work was (rather meagrely) rewarded with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 1999 (McGuiness, 2003).

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. 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 Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
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 Places important in developing conservation processes-
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. Building settlements, towns and cities-National Theme 4
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 Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing suburbia-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Sydney's colonial settlement; Shipping-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. State government-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - administration of land-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - conserving cultural and natural heritage-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - building and operating public infrastructure-
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 - colonial homestead-
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. Designing in an exemplary architectural style-
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. Building in response to climate - verandahs-
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. Building in response to natural landscape features.-
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. Interior design styles and periods - Victorian-
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. Interior design styles and periods - Colonial-
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 - Georgian revival-
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. Adaptation of overseas design for local use-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1788-1850-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1850-1900-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1900-1950-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1950-2000-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Kitchens and servants-
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, adapting and renovating homes for changing conditions-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with the Sydney Harbour Trust, port and foreshore reformers-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Caroline Simpson (nee Fairfax) OAM, philanthropist-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Robert Campbell Jr., businessman, farmer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Robert Crawford, Principal Clerk to the Colonial Secretary-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Terry Hughes, businessman-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Samuel Lyons, businessman-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Isaac Simmons, businessman-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Captain Joseph Moore, Master Mariner-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Morris and Caroline Nelson-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with the Australian College of General Practitioners-

Recommended management:

The building should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement, or a Conservation Management Plan, should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken. There shall be no vertical additions to the building and no alterations to the façade of the building other than to reinstate original features. The principal room layout and planning configuration as well as significant internal original features including ceilings, cornices, joinery, flooring and fireplaces should be retained and conserved. The significance of the building and the site constraints would prohibit any additions to the building (LEP, 2005)

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 0052402 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0052410 Jul 87 1173917
Cumberland County Council list of Historic Buildings 1961-67     
Register of the National Estate  21 Mar 78   
Register of the National Estate  21 Oct 80   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Millers Point and Walsh Bay Heritage Review1996 Paul Davies P/L  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Colony Walking Tour View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Colony Walking Tour View detail
WrittenDavid Sheedy Pty Ltd1992A conservation plan for commercial premises at 43 Lower Fort Street Dawes Point, Sydney, N.S.W.
WrittenLucas, Clive & McGinness, Mark2012'John Fisher, 1924-2012 - Champion of the state's structures'
WrittenMcGuiness, Mark2003'Simpson, Caroline (1930-2003)' View detail

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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(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: 5045485
File number: S90/02770 & DHC 870292


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