Terrace | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage



Item details

Name of item: Terrace
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Terrace
Location: Lat: -33.8580769260 Long: 151.2040060852
Primary address: 22, 24, 26, 30, 32 Argyle Place, 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
LOT30 DP1199181
LOT31 DP1199181
LOT32 DP1199181
LOT33 DP1199181
LOT34 DP1199181
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
22, 24, 26, 30, 32 Argyle PlaceMillers PointSydneySt PhilipCumberlandPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
EQ Financial Pty LtdPrivate 

Statement of significance:

These early C19th Georgian terraces are an important streetscape element facing Argyle Place. Also, the construction date may predate 1832.

It is part of the Millers Point Conservation Area, an intact residential and maritime precinct. It contains residential buildings and civic spaces dating from the 1830's and is an important example of C19th adaptation of the landscape.

The terrace of houses at 24-32 Argyle Place, part of the Cole's Building, and the adjacent townhouse Osborne House (No. 34), are the only survivors of the series of buildings in The Rocks and Millers Point constructed by local publican William Cole in the mid-1840s. The terrace of houses is a rare surviving example of modest housing built shortly after the
introduction of building regulations in Sydney, and it retains the character, layout and detailing of modest housing of the period. The Cole's Building is a rare combination of a terrace and town house built for the same owner. No other surviving mid-1840s examples have been located. As individual buildings, they are highly significant as rare surviving examples
of modest Colonial Georgian houses, demonstrating the effect of the Sydney and London Building Acts which sought to control the spread of fire by controlling the materials and design of town houses in tight urban environments.
The houses are an integral part of Millers Point, the earliest residential precinct in Australia still in residential use today, which is of State and are likely to be of national significance. They form an important visual component of this precinct, being highly visible from Argyle Place at the front and from the Harbour, the North Shore and parts of Windmill Street at
the rear.
Date significance updated: 23 Nov 00
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.


Physical description: This mostly intact row of two storey Georgian Terraces are of stone construction, with simple stone parapet, shingle roof and rendered stone facade. Window sills are simple stone slab and simple fan light over doorway consists of twelve small panes of glass. Storeys: 2 Construction: Painted render with face stone banding and parapet string coursing. Parging detail to walls. Corrigated galvanised iron roof. Painted timber joinery. Style: Old Colonial Georgian Orientation: Overlooking Argyle Place
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
External: Good
Modifications and dates: External: Minor modifications to doors and windows, services have been inappropriately added. - Last inspected: 19/02/95 Internal: Some original areas may be present - Last inspected:
Further information: Mostly intact c.1830 terrace.
Current use: Commercial
Former use: Residence


Historical notes: Millers Point is one of the earliest areas of European settlement in Australia, and a focus for maritime activities. Argyle Place, a primitive version of a London Square, was commenced by Govenor Macquarie but not fully formed until after quarrying of the adjacent rock face had ceased in about 1865. This row of terraces appears much as it did in the mid C19th.

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).

The terrace was first tenanted by Department of Housing in 1982.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Providing evidence of the second phase of development of Millers Point, the construction of town houses and terrace houses by wealthy tradesmen as an investment, indicating the transition from penal settlement to a free market economy, a transition
that probably contributed to Cole's bankruptcy.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Associated with a prominent local publican and property developer William Cole. Later associated with the Merriman family.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The proportions and overall design of the terrace of houses (together with the grander punctuation mark of 'Osborne House' built as a part of the same terrace of houses) reflects the simple aesthetic of the Georgian period.

The later modifications of the window joinery and (first layer of) stucco render to the front faade show the changing tastes of the Victorian period as the owner sought to 'modernise' the rental properties to maintain their fashionability and, hence, their income.

The importance of the houses have long been identified as being historically and aesthetically important by virtue of their early listing by the National Trust of Australia (NSW) and their early inclusion on the Register of the National Estate.

Cole's Buildings clearly show the introduction of standard town house forms and planning that, in turn, show the impact of both the London and Sydney Building Acts such as in the use of non-combustible materials, parapets, no overhanging eaves, the
size of external and party walls, area of the Ground Floor, and no penetration of external walls by joists. The high standard of construction resulted in the retention of the buildings following the Resumption.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The descendents of long-standing former tenants and the current (2014)
long-term tenants have a very strong attachment to the Cole’s Building,
Argyle Place and to Millers Point in general.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Cole’s Buildings are an integral part of
Argyle Place, which is a rare example of housing built fronting an enclosed
SHR Criteria f)
Cole’s Buildings are a rare surviving example of a group of houses dating from the 1840s built as an investment rather than owner-occupied.
SHR Criteria g)
A number of the original details of Cole’s Buildings survive, including some window sashes, staircases, fireplace surrounds and roof shingles. What is particularly important is the comparison between the modest houses at Nos 24-32 and the larger townhouse at No. 34.
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.

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
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementRevised CMP for 24-32 Argyle Place submitted by Land & Housing Corporation for endorsement. Aug 26 2014

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0090502 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     
Local Environmental PlanCSH LEP 4 07 Apr 00   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Department of Housing s170 Register1998 Brooks & Associates  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenLucas, Clive & McGinness, Mark2012'John Fisher - 1924-2012 - champion of the state's structures'
WrittenRobertson & Hindmarsh 24-32 Argyle Place, Millers Point - Conservation Management Plan
WrittenRobertson & Hindmarsh Pty Ltd2014Cole’s Buildings 24-32 Argyle Place Millers Point Conservation Management Plan July 2014

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: 5045568

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