Swifts | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Swifts

Item details

Name of item: Swifts
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Landscape - Cultural
Category: Other - Landscape - Cultural
Location: Lat: -33.8694648590 Long: 151.2382683470
Primary address: 68 Darling Point Road, Darling Point, NSW 2027
Parish: Alexandria
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Woollahra
Local Aboriginal Land Council: La Perouse
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT2 DP221605
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Thornton StreetDarling PointWoollahra   
68 Darling Point RoadDarling PointWoollahraAlexandriaCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Masolage Holdings Pty LimitedPrivate25 Mar 99

Statement of significance:

Swifts is of State significance as, apart from Government House in Sydney, it is the largest remaining Victorian Gothic Revival house in Australia. Swifts remains on its original grounds and still consists of the original landscape, statuary, terrace wall, stairs and paths. It is a prime example of how the upper class people lived in the 19th century in Australia. Swifts is also of cultural significance as it was home of two well known Sydney business families, the Lucas-Tooth and Resch families. Swifts connection with the Roman Catholic Church is also of social significance as it was home to three cardinals; Gilroy, Freeman and Clancy. The building is also significant because it is an example of the work of Gustauus Alphose Morell, a prominent Sydney architect in the late 19th century (Lucas, 1994, 128).

The western section of the garden of Swifts formed an integral part of the original design of the grounds. The special relationship of the grounds to the mansion is a significant factor in determining the status of the grounds as an item of environmental heritage. The building together with its site is an item of environmental heritage (excerpt from 'Findings' of Commissioner of Inquiry, 1983, p.55).
Date significance updated: 10 Mar 09
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: G.A.Morrell
Construction years: 1876-1883
Physical description: Garden:
Swifts is located at 68 Darling Point Road Darling Point. It was originally set in four acres of landscaped gardens.

The garden is divided into three precincts - the eastern, northern and western (Evans, 1983, 12-14). Some of the original garden design is still evident such as the carriage drive which sweeps north, west and south up to the porte cochere, and return / service drive to the property's south-eastern corner (Stuart Read, pers.comm., visit 19/11/2011). Original garden bed design is still evident through the placement of terracotta edging tiles (Evans, 1983, 12-14).

The Eastern garden is introduced from the enclosed terrace, which leads out to the carriage drive and flower beds. The northern perspective of the house is framed by huge Moreton Bay figs(Ficus macrophylla) and camphor laurels (Cinnamomum camphora), while the northern garden is scattered with Illawarra plum / brown pine (Podocarpus elatus), a bull bay / evergreen magnolia (M.grandiflora) from the United States and a bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) tree from the Mediterranean. The gardens are scattered with statues to add interest. The north eastern corner is dominated by shrubs. The western garden originally would have been for kitchen use (ibid, 1983, 12-14).

A rough line of Moreton Bay figs along the eastern Darling Point Road side form a screen from later subdivisions and housing. More Moreton Bay figs line the southern boundary, again masking later subdivisions (and current high rise flats).

A range of choice trees in the eastern border include Queensland lacebark (Brachychiton discolor)(there are a number of these on the western boundary of Swifts and another specimen on the north-east Darling Point Road edge), Illawarra flame tree (B.acerifolius), a very rare Burj / shingle oak from the Himalayas (Quercus leucotrichophora)(possibly one of only a handful in Australia) and an equally rare palo blanco tree (Picconia excelsa), an endangered rainforest tree from the Canary Islands, related to the olive. Its habitat is restricted to the 'cloud forest' or rainforest of the upper Canary Islands and Azores.This species is endangered in the wild due to land-clearing (Stuart Read, pers.comm., 10/10/2012; updated 7/11/2016). It is rarely found here - with only 14 known in NSW (e.g. two specimens in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, four at Camden Park and a few others, including two at Yasmar, Haberfield and single specimens at Denham Court, Ingleburn and at Cooma Cottage, Yass) and only 33 known around Australia (e.g. Botanic Gardens in Sydney, Melbourne and Geelong; Marybank in the Adelaide Hills)(Stuart Read, pers.comm., 6/2006, updated 10/10/2012; and 2/10/2020).Also in the eastern border is an evergreen oak (Quercus ilex) (Stuart Read, pers.comm., visit, 19/11/2011).

The Northern garden includes a huge Moreton Bay fig (Ficus macrophylla) north-west of the house near its terrace, shading that corner. Below and north of it are a range of smaller trees and shrubs arrayed on grassed lawns sloping down from the mansion to Thornton Avenue. Two young Queensland kauri (Agathis robusta) have been planted near an electricity substation facing Thornton Avenue and are now some 8m tall (Stuart Read, pers.comm., 5/2017).

The Western garden is broadly the service area part of the house, outbuildings and garden, with remnant terracing, grassed today where elements such as orchard and kitchen garden would have been originally (ibid, pers.comm., 5/2017).

Mansion (1875-1882):
The new Swifts, described as Castellated Gothic in style, with 42 rooms (Pike, 2020 says 56 rooms), resembled Government House, but had a larger ballroom, deliberately so (Kehagias, 2016 quoting Dr Shane Moran). It is a two storey sandstone Victorian Gothic Revival mansion with three storey tower, castellated parapets. Swifts resembles Government House, but had a larger ballroom before it was converted into a chapel-of-ease by the Catholic church. The majority of the house is made from either sandstone or rendered brick (Lucas, 1993, p 106). The eastern facing front entrance is marked by a porte cochere that is flanked by projecting bays. The verandah on the north is crenulated and flagged with sandstone. The windows have carved valances and external timber shutters, an unusual form of climate control for the period.

Swifts is comprised of 42 rooms arranged in a U-shape and including drawing room, morning room, smoking room, dinning room, study, billiard room, ball room, numerous bedrooms, fitted dressing room, service room, kitchen, scullery, pantry, butlers rooms, silver safe, store, wine cellar and servants quarters. Service buildings include dairy, laundry, four stall stable, double carriage house and a tack room (Lucas, 1994, p 118).

Officially there are 52 rooms - Dr (Shane) Moran said it was hard to know how many bedrooms the property had, because the rooms could be used for any purposes (Kehagias, 2016).
Smoking Room, the remains of an old opium den, which traces back to when opium was legal (ibid, 2016).
The original staff quarters were broken up into small rooms. 'We kept the 1870s layout, which split the house into a male and female side. The male side features lots of wood and there's a billiard room. The female side is brighter' (Dr Shane Moran, in ibid, 2016).
Modifications and dates: 1875-82 - first house built (G.A.Morrell)
1880s - Sir Robert Tooth had the mansion remodelled after his family home, the Great Swifts Manor, Cranbrook, Kent

1963 property left to the Catholic Church - alterations ensued

1998-9 restoration of roofing, stone work; commencement of interior restoration (ongoing, 2012).
Further information: The western section of the garden of Swifts formed an integral part of the original design of the grounds. The special relationship of the grounds to the mansion is a significant factor in determining the status of the grounds as an item of environmental heritage. The building together with its site is an item of environmental heritage (from Findings of Commissioner of Inquiry, 1983, p.55).
Current use: residence
Former use: Aboriginal land, farm estate, suburban mansion estate, Catholic Archbishop's home

History

Historical notes: Aboriginal Sydney:
When Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet landed, first in Botany Bay and then in Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), in January 1788, he was met by people who had lived on this land for many thousands of years. At least 1,500 people lived in the area between Botany Bay and Broken Bay and the intermediate coast (Attenbrow, n.d.)

There were two main languages spoken in the Sydney region - Darug and Tharawal. The Darug language had two main dialects - one spoken along the coast and the other in the hinterland (west of present-day Parramatta). Tharawal was spoken to the south of Botany Bay and as far west as the Georges River and possibly Camden (ibid, n.d.)

People belonged to small groups (territorial clans) through which they were spiritually related to specific tracts of land - these clans included the Gadigal, Wanngal, Gamaragal, Wallumedegal and Boromedegal. The suffix 'gal' denotes 'people of', thus, for example, the Gadigal were the people of Gadi (also spelled Cadigal and Cadi respectively) (ibid, n.d.).

The 'district of Gadi' was reported to have stretched from South Head west to 'the cove adjoining this settlement' (Darling Harbour) - an area that would have included Centennial, Moore and Queens Parks. Watkin Tench referred to the Gadigal as 'those who reside in the bay of Cadi'. The 'bay of Cadi' is probably Kutti, the Aboriginal place name recorded for present-day Watsons Bay, and the present name of a small beach in the bay (ibid, n.d.).

The Centennial Parklands Conservation Management Plan contains the following report that provides in depth detail of the pre-colonial history of the lands that are present day Centennial Parklands, which is where the text on this page comes from: Pre-colonial Aboriginal land and resource use in Centennial, Moore and Queens Parks - assessment of historical and archaeological evidence for Centennial Parklands Conservation Management Plan (ibid, n.d.).

Darling Point:
In 1903 Mrs Elizabeth Phillip, then aged 96, recalled that in her childhood:
'The blacks in that time were numerous, and I have often seen hundreds of them camped on what is now known as Darling Point; [they were] as kind people as ever lived. Whenever they speared fish they used to bring us some.'
Yerinibe or Yeranabe (Yeranibe Goruey), though born a Burramattagal (member of the Parramatta clan), was said to be 'King' of the Darling Point 'tribe' in the 1830-40 period. He is commemorated by Yarranabbe Road, Darling Point and Yarranabbe Park, Rushcutters Bay (Vincent Smith, 2011).

Swifts:
The land where Swifts is located was originally a crown grant made to Thomas Barker in 1833. In 1835 it was conveyed to grazier Thomas Icely and it was known as the Delamere Estate. During the 1840s the land ownership changed several times but no record of the names of the owners is found but in 1869 it was mortgaged to Francis Mitchell. A Torrens Title was then issued to Robert Lucas-Tooth in December 1875 (Lucas, 1994, 98).

Robert Lucas-Tooth was born in Sydney in 1844 and eldest son of Edwin Tooth, owner of Sydney brewing firm R & F.Tooth & Co. The family included hop merchants from 'Swifts Park', Cranbrook, Kent. Edwin and his brother Robert arrived in Sydney in 1843 and in the following year leased the Kent Brewery, Broadway from their uncle, John Tooth, who had founded it in 1835. Edmund then diversified into property and trading with associates, including Thomas Sutcliffe Mort, formed the Twofold Bay Pastoral Association, which acquired some 400,000 acres on the (far) South Coast (HCoNSW, 1984, 4).

Robert was born in Sydney in 1844 and eduacted at Eton, England. In 1868 he became a partner in the Kent Brewery. He purchased the Kameruka Estate near Bega (on the South Coast) from his uncle and there practised his enlightened humanitarian ideas and provided his tenants with 6-room cottages. He created a 'transplanted segment of the English countryside' with large plantings of English trees and an ornamental lake. On the estate he kept game of all kinds. He was a member of the Legislative Assembly, a director of the Bank of NSW and the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Ltd., when it became a public company in 1888 (HCoNSW, 1984, 4).

Apart from his association with brewing, Robert was a prominent breeder of Jersey dairy cows. In 1880 he laid the foundation of the Kameruka herd near Bega.

Robert Lucas-Tooth began work on Swifts on the 18th of March 1876 where the foundations were laid by his daughter. The rate assessments for 1878 and 1879 included a house, grounds and out buildings that were owned and occupied by Robert Lucas-Tooth. The rate assessment for 1880 included the name Swifts (Lucas, 1994, pp 98-99). It was a simple two-storey red brick Georgian style house duplicating the family home in Kent, England (Swifts Sydney, 2012).

In 1882 Robert Lucas-Tooth employed French architect G A Morell to rebuild (the existing red brick) Swifts in a style similar to Government House in Sydney known as Castellated Gothic. The original house was built to please his father as it was similar to his house in Kent. Robert Lucas-Tooth believed his father had had his own way for long enough and it was now time for his way (Lucas, 1994, 99-100). Morell arrived in NSW c1863, entering the public service where he was enaged in planning of defence works for Sydney, Newcastle and Botany, under the direction of Sir William Jervois and Mjr-Gen.Scratchley. He resigned and entered his own business in partnership with J.E.Kemp as consultant engineers and architects (HCoNSW, 1984, 4).

Tooth's commission to Morell stated 'I want the house built round the present one, the greater part of which is to be pulled down. The new place is to be built of stone. It is to be built in the same style as Government House, but not quite so elaborat, and while you are making the design, do not consider the cost to a few hundred pounds. I will not find fault with the cost if I get a home that pleases me.' (HCoNSW, 1984, 4).

Beer barons in the second half of the nineteenth century were building larger and more elaborate houses to show off their vast wealth. Tooth's only recorded instructions to Morell were to retain the original Georgian porch, hence a second port-cochere fronts the house. His second directive was that the ball room be larger than that at Government House. He wanted seating only to be in the two alcoves to allow more room for dancing and more dancers. Swifts was a light and sunny house in contrast to the dark and heavy Victorian look of the day. The decor followed the new fashionable 'Arts & Crafts' style, created by William Morris in England (Swifts Sydney, 2012).

Scottish gardener Alexander Grant was born in 1845 at Cullen, Scotland and served an apprenticeship in the gardens of Cullen House in Banffshire. Before migrating to Australia in 1878 he followed his profession in several Scottish gardens, including the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. Grant arrived in the colony in 1878 and worked first at Yaralla, Concord for the Walkers for some considerable time, then at Rosemont, Woollahra for Alexander Campbell MLC, then for Mr Tooth at Swifts, Darling Point, which he planned and laid out. There is no record of where Grant was living while working at Yaralla and Rosemont, though from 1881 he lived at 'Willow Cottage in Point Piper Road - west side (later Ocean Street), Paddington' until he moved to quarters in the Botanic Gardens, Sydney in 1882 for work there. It is likely that the positions at Yaralla and Rosemont both included quarters for a single man and that only after he married Margaret Stevenson in January 1880 was he obliged to find alternative accomodation (Willow Cottage). The 1995 report 'Swifts, Conservation Analaysis & Guidelines' by Clive Lucas Stapleton & Partners notes "the gardens are undoubtedly contemporary with the rebuilding of the house by Morell c.1882. These are extensively landscaped, providing an elaborate setting for the house. The designer of the grounds is not known but there probably was one." (Grant, 1997).

In 1889 Robert Lucas-Tooth went to England to live (Lucas, 1994, 99-100) taking his family. He was made a Baronet (in 1906) and proudly sat in the House of Lords (HCoNSW, 1984, 4 says the House of Commons, and adds that he joined the Royal Geographical Society). His three sons were killed in World War 1 (Swifts Sydney, 2012). He paid frequent visits to Australia from England, particularly to Kameruka estate (HCoNSW, 1984, 4).

Between 1893 and 1897 Henry Harris lived at Swifts (Lucas, 1994, 99-100).

Tooth sold Swifts in 1900 to Edmund Resch, another beer baron (Swifts Sydney, 2012). Resch occupied Swifts from 1900 to 1923. During this time he redecorated the interior and made some alterations to services. He was a very wealthy man who bought a Cordial and aerated water factory at Wilcannia in 1877, opened Lion Brewery in 1879, bought Waverley Brewery in 1899 and NSW Lager Bier Company in 1900 (Lucas, 1994, 101-2). After buying the Waverley Brewery in Moore Park in 1897, he had a new brewery designed and built, and was assisted by his two sons, Edmund Resch Jr. and Arnold Resch. The 'Cyclopaedia of NSW' published in 1907 described Resch as 'among the great brewers of the metropolis' and his Waverley Brewery as 'ranking among the finest in Australia', noting it presented 'one of the most striking illustrations of the "castellated style of architecture" to be seen in Australia'. Swifts is arguably, although in a domestic context, another striking example of this style (HCoNSW, 1984, 4)

Edmund Resch died in 1923 and the title of the land was than transferred to his two sons, Edmund and Arnold in April 1924. Family problems led to Swifts going to public auction and it was bought by Edmund Resch Jr. for (Pounds) 50 000 in January 1929 (Lucas, 1994, 101-102).

Edmund Resch (junior) married Florence Mabel Bennett and they made Swifts their home until they died, Florence in 1959 and Edmund 1963. The known alterations to Swifts during this time were the additions of two manure bins, an incinerator and a laundry. Alterations to the garages were made; concrete was placed over the carriage drive, garden paths and the gardener's compound.

Edmund Resch Jr. died in 1963 and left Swifts to the Roman Catholic Church in his will (Bastians, 2017, 7) and the title was transferred into their name in June 1964. It was at this stage that the land was subdivided into 2 lots. Lot 1, 22 perches and the bungalow and lot 2, 3 acres 1 road 15 perches which included Swifts, its grounds and outbuildings (Lucas, 1994, 102-103).

In 1964 the Roman Catholic Church changed the Ballroom to a Chapel-of-ease that seated 200 and had standing room for 50-60 people. Swifts was used to house the Catholic Archbishop (HCoNSW, 1984, 4) and was home for Cardinals Gilroy, Freeman and Clancy, and Pope Paul IV and Pope John Paul II also stayed there on their visits to Sydney (Lucas, 1994, 103). Gilroy was proud to be a prince of the church and entertained visiting dignitaries in style, including at least one Pope (Swifts Sydney, 2012). The former ballroom was converted into a chapel and was often used for weddings (HCoNSW, 1984, 4).

Cardinals Gilroy, Freeman and Clancy:
Freeman established the Sydney Confraternity of Christian Doctrine in 1958. Anticipating one aspect of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), he worked at nights with Father Ron Hine training lay parishioners to work as catechists in their communities. During the 1950s he also became secretary of the Sydney Catholic Radio and Television Committee and a member of the board of directors of the Catholic Weekly (chairman, 1957-68), as well as writing for the Sun-Herald and giving radio talks for the Australian Broadcasting Commission and 2SM; he continued his public outreach efforts into the 1980s. Talented with words, he was described by Cardinal Edward Clancy as having a Damon Runyonesque style with 'short, choppy sentences' (Clancy, pers. comm.). His private secretary and friend Father John Sullivan later recalled that he was determined that 'there be no fat on what you had to say' (John Sullivan, pers. comm.). Appointed a knight commander with star of the papal Order of the Holy Sepulchre, he became bishop of Armidale in October 1968 (Cullen, entry on Freeman, Sir James Darcy (Jimmy)(1907-1991), in ADB, 2014).

Gilroy set in motion the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) dutifully but reluctantly. Freeman, although temperamentally dissimilar, shared Gilroy's pragmatic conservatism. When he succeeded Gilroy as archbishop of Sydney in August 1971, he brought 'little change in the Gilroy style' apart from 'removing something of its harsher edge' (O'Farrell 1985, 419). Yet because he related to people well, he was able to work for understanding and unity. He followed through in education and liturgy, continuing Gilroy's implementation of liturgical and ecumenical commissions and priests' retirement homes. Taking Vatican II as authoritative, he was partly responsible for publishing Australian editions of liturgical texts. Interviewed in the Bulletin in 1980, he observed that while some people 'feel a certain nostalgia for the old Latin days and find the changes awkward,' those reforms had 'helped people participate more intimately and directly in the Church's ceremonies' (Bell 1980, 31; quoted in Cullen/ ADB, 2014).

With Archbishop James Knox of Melbourne, Freeman was named as a cardinal in March 1973. The following year he set up five archdiocesan regions, each to be overseen by a local auxiliary bishop. In September 1976 he hosted an international Sydney Marian congress, his episcopal motto being Per ipsum ipsa duce ('With Him, under her leadership'). He was appointed KBE in 1977, and participated in the two papal conclaves of 1978, the 'year of three Popes.' Reaching the mandatory retiring age of seventy-five, he stepped down in 1983 (ibid, 2014).

Ministering within a climate of widespread ambivalence to religion, Freeman advocated 'counter-cultural' Christianity throughout his life. He exemplified authentic Australian episcopal servant-leadership, exercised within a traditional Roman ecclesiology. Having great fidelity to the Church and respect for the canon law, he humanised this formality with Australian values of benevolent egalitarianism: 'We're all the same in the surf!', he was fond of saying. His theology was conventional, reflecting an enduring faith-based acceptance of its essentials rather than a lack of sophistication, and his strength lay in his ability to relate to people. As archbishop, he supported a pastoral priesthood and what was best for the people. He was approachable, consultative and conscientious, perhaps trying to reconcile both the spirit and letter of the law (ibid, 2014).

A twenty-year covenant on the title prevented demolition of the mansion, this period expiring in October 1983 (HCoNSW, 1984, 4). Following an inquiry under the Heritage Act 1977, Swifts was made the subject of a permanent conservation order in 1984 (ibid, 1984, 4) during its ownership by the Roman Catholic Church (Swifts Sydney, 2012).

Swifts was sold for $9 million in 1986 to Minjar Holdings Pty Ltd (Lucas, 1994, 103) and fell into serious disrepair (Swifts Sydney, 2012).

Carl Spies and his family used Swifts as their place of residency for four years. In 1990 the Spies family was evicted because of a $2.69 million debt. An auction of 450 pieces of furniture was held in October of 1992 (Lucas, 1994, 105).

In 1997 Swifts was bought by the Moran family (Chancellor, 2008; Swifts Sydney, 2012). Their brief was to repair and restore the place as a family home. The process took over a decade (AA, 2012, 52). Heritage architect Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners took on the mammoth job of restoring the derelict mansion. This involved extensive stone and roofing reconstruction and restoration of interior paintwork. Swifts is considered one of the most detailed Victorian interiors in Sydney and its Moorish smoking room is believed unique in Australia. Halfway through restoration works in 1998 a tornado swept along the Darling Point ridge destroying much of the restored roofing and decorative painting, which had to be redone. Interior work continued in 2012 under Clive Lucas' direction. A current programme for the grounds is underway with Dr James Broadbent advising (Swifts Sydney, 2012).

Mark and Evette Moran married at Swifts in 2000, that his parents had restored. Doug was founder of the eponymous health care empire. (Today) Mark runs the business, Evette has creative control of the style and decoration of the various retirement homes (Schofield, 2019, 7). Shane Moran, son of Doug and Greta, is owner of Swifts (Pike, 2020).

It (Redleaf, Wahroonga) was the couple (healthcare industry operators, Doug and Greta Moran)'s first major house restoration in a portfolio that still includes Darling Point's Swifts, Camden (Narellan)'s Studley Park, Darling House at Millers Point and Paddington's Juniper Hall. Greta, credited with being the administrative powerhouse of the family operation, is a direct descendent of one of colonial Sydney's most colourful early settlers, Robert Cooper, who was transported after being caught smuggling fine French silks, cognac and ostrich feathers during the Napoleonic Wars. Later pardoned, he built Juniper Hall, a fine early Sydney building on Oxford Street (Paddington)(ibid, 2020, 31).

Gardener Myles Baldwin is working at Swifts, finding a home for 1000 plants and building 20m deep garden beds with the help of his staff. 'Some of the beds will be 100m long...Next winter we have to plant several thousand bulbs. (The garden) will take at least four years.' (Gora, in The Daily Telegraph, 23/10/2011).

Doug Moran died in 2011, aged 87, his widow Greta moving out of Swifts to an apartment in the city, then to the Mark Moran Vaucluse complex (Scofield, 2019, 9).

Clive Lucas Stapleton & Partners won the Lachlan Macquarie Heritage Award for the restoration of Swifts from the Australian Institute of Architects in 2012 - citing the work as 'masterly - a restoration project carried out by an experienced conservation architect at the height of his powers'. 'A major achievement of the work is that the extraordinary internal painted decoration has been faithfully restored or reconstructed to its original condition. Teams of conservationists, artisans and painters have scraped, revealed, conserved and faithfully reproduced the walls and ceilings. With the commitment of a dedicated client, the inclusion of authentic furniture, fabrics and paintings has produced a real treasure trove; a wealth of experience for the eye. Externally, slate and lead roofs were extensively repaired and a great deal of work has been done on deteriorated castellated sandstone walling. It is rare that a house of this period survives intact with its original planning, outhouses and grounds. THese have been respected while incorporating modern services, kitchens and bathrooms. (AA, 2012, 52).

In 2013 the property was bought out wholly from the family by Shane and Penelope Moran and (i.e: the family, who) has been restoring it for a number of years. 'My family goes right back to the original land grant in 1833. We saw it as wanting it to stay in the family, one way or another and to continue to maintain it' Dr Moran said (Kehagias, 2016). Shane Moran notes he is related to the estate's original owner, Thomas Barker, who bought the allotment in 1833 on which the property was built (Bastians, 2017, 7).

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. Cultural - Coasts and coastal features supporting human activities-
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-
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-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Developing Commercial Enterprise-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Brewing-
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 Significant tree(s) providing urban amenity-
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 of urban amenity-
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. Housing the prosperous - mansions in town and country-
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. Housing for industrial managers and owners-
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 Fencing boundaries - retaining walls and embankments-
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 Developing suburbia-
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 Creating landmark structures and places in urban settings-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Practising Catholicism-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Adaptive new use-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Alexander Grant, Scottish-trained gardener-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Henry Harris-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Edmond Resch Jr., brewer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Florence Resch (nee Bennett), gentlewoman-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Cardinal Sir Norman Gilroy (1896-1977), Catholic Archbishop of Sydney-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Cardinal Sir James Freeman (1907-91), Catholic Archbishop of Sydney-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Cardinal Edward Clancy, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Robert Lucas Tooth, brewer and pastoralist-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with G.A. (Gustavus) Morrell, French-Australian civil engineer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Edmond Resch, brewer-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Swifts is of State significance for its associations with two brewing families - the Tooth's who built the house and the Resch's who subsequently lived in it.

Swifts is of State significance as the official residence of three cardinals: Gilroy, Freeman and Clancy.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Swifts is of State significance as a unique ensemble of late-Victorian house and extensive landscaped ground, complete with statuary, balustrade terrace wall, stairs, paths, mature trees that, in their picturesque setting within the foreshores of Sydney harbour, epitomises the development of 'taste' in nineteenth century colonial New South Wales (Lucas, Stapleton & Partners 1994:128).
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Swifts is of signficance as a rare example of the work of architect Gustavus Alphose Morell.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Swifts is of State significance as Sydney's largest and most intact late Victorian mansion. With the exception of Government House, it illustrates the complex planning and detail thought necessary for an upper class family at the endof the nineteenth century. this includes the total ensemble of house, service rooms, outhouses and grounds.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementReview a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2) OF THE HERITAGE ACT 1977

Standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977.

I, Donald Harwin, the Special Minister of State 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, effective 1 December 2020:

1. revoke the order made on 11 July 2008 and published on pages 91177 to 9182 of Government Gazette Number 110 of 5 September 2008 and varied by notice published in the Government Gazette on 5 March 2015; and

2. grant the exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 that are described in the attached Schedule.

Donald Harwin
Special Minister of State
Signed this 9th Day of November 2020.

To view the standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 click on the link below.
Nov 13 2020

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0014602 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0014619 Apr 84 582172
Local Environmental PlanLocal Environmental Plan 1995 10 Mar 95 28 
National Trust of Australia register  10059   
Register of the National Estate 257721 Oct 80   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenArchitecture Australia (AA) magazine2012Restoration of Swifts, Darling Point - Clive Lucas Stapleton & Partners, Sydney, NSW - Heritage: The Lachlan Macquarie Award
WrittenAttenbrow, Val A pre-colonial history View detail
WrittenAustral Archaeology199714 Hampden Avenue, Darling Point - Archaeological Monitoring of Excavation at the Former Gardener's Compound, Swifts Estate
WrittenBastians, Kate2017'Moran legacy will shape generations'
WrittenChancellor, Jonathan2020'Healthy Interest'
WrittenChancellor, Jonathan2008Coe takes the prize with Ritossa Sale' in "Title Deeds" in Sydney Morning Herald
WrittenChong, Oi1983A report on the Garden and Grounds and their Significance
WrittenClive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners1994Swifts, Darling Point Road, Darling Point, Sydney, Conservation Analysis and Conservation Guidelines Final Report
WrittenEvans, Elizabeth1983Swifts: Conservation Plan
WrittenGora, Bronwen2011'Meet our hottest green thumb Myles Baldwin' View detail
WrittenGrant, Jim1997The Gardener of Swifts
WrittenHeritage Council of NSW1984'Swifts, Darling Point'
WrittenImages for Business2016Photographic Report for Arcival Recording of Swifts, 68 Darling Point Road, Darling Point, 15th November 2016
WrittenKehagias, Melissa2016'Sneak peak of life inside a 56-room Gothic mansion'
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW)1983Swifts, 68 Darling Point Road, Darling Point : submission to Commission of Inquiry pursuant to section 41 of the Heritage Act 1977 / National Trust of Australia (NSW)
WrittenPike, Ben2020Sydney real estate: who lives inside city's mega mansions?
WrittenSchofield, Leo2019Clan Moran
WrittenSwifts Sydney2012'History', in "Swifts Soirees 2012" - Artistic Director David Rowden - The Grand Ballroom, 68 Darling Point Road, Darling Point - Inaugural Concert series in support of the Opera Foundation Australia View detail
WrittenVincent Smith, Keith2011Aboriginal life around Port Jackson after 1822 View detail

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 NSW
Database number: 5045530
File number: 10/18984; S90/05711 & HC 32581


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