Garibaldi, The | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Garibaldi, The

Item details

Name of item: Garibaldi, The
Other name/s: The Garibaldi Inn
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Inn/Tavern
Location: Lat: -33.8353245380 Long: 151.1558859480
Primary address: Ferry Street, Hunters Hill, NSW 2110
Parish: Hunters Hill
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Hunters Hill
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP924009
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Ferry StreetHunters HillHunters HillHunters HillCumberlandPrimary Address
Alexandra StreetHunters HillHunters HillHunters HillCumberlandAlternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Garibaldi InnPrivate 

Statement of significance:

The Garibaldi is of State heritage significance for its associations with John Cuneo an Italian stonemason who was brought to New South Wales by the Joubert brothers and the Count de Milhau to assist in developing the area. It is of historic significance for its close associations with the evolution of Hunters Hill and as the first Inn constructed in Hunters Hill. Constructed in c.1862 The Garibaldi is of aesthetic significance as a fine and substantial two-storey structure of dressed sandstone with a slate roof. It is substantially intact and makes an important contribution to the streetscape. (Heritage Branch files)
Date significance updated: 22 Jan 13
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.


Builder/Maker: John Cuneo
Construction years: 1861-1862
Physical description: The Garibaldi is prominently located on the corner of Alexandra Street and Ferry Street Hunters Hill. It is a fine and substantial two-storey sandstone building punctuated by eight pane sash windows and a slate roof. The corner is truncated with an entrance door and above is a niche with a statue of a woman cup bearer. Attic in roof.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition is excellent.
Date condition updated:22 Jan 13
Current use: Shop
Former use: Inn, shop, residence


Historical notes: Hunters Hill:
At the time of European contact the Kelly's bush area was inhabited by the Wal Umedegal Clan who spoke the Guringai language. They lived primarly on fish and shellfish, supplmenting their diet when necessary with vegetables, marsupials, birds and grubs. They were also frequently observed firing the scrub both to facilitate access to the foreshore and to flush out game. Very little is known of their social structure and religious beliefs (Pitt, 2011).

Captain John Hunter (1737-1821) of the Sirius, charted Sydney harbour in 1788. On 28 January 1788 he wrote in his journal: 'A few days after my arrival with the transports in Port Jackson, I set off with a six-oared boat and a small boat, intending to make as good a survey of the harbour as circumstances would admit: I took to my assistance Mr Bradley, the first lieutenant, Mr Keltie, the master, and a young gentleman of the quarter-deck (midshipman Henry Waterhouse).' Hunter's meticulous chart shows 30 depth soundings around the peninsula bounded by the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers. Hunter was Governor of the Colony from 1795-1800. He is commemorated in the name of Hunters Hill (Sherry/Hunters Hill Historical Society, 2011, 15).

In 1855 a speculative housing venture of erecting four prefabricated Swiss Cottages at Hunters Hill was underway. In this period Hunters Hill was an established French enclave, with the residence of the French consul located there at "Passy", and much of its early development was constructed by men of French descent. The prefabricated houses were advertised as "four splendid family residences, standing in their own grounds, of about 1 acres each", with "wood and water in abundance" ( Sherry 1989, 48).

Beverley Sherry in her study of Hunter Hill notes that this was the first planned group of houses to be built in the municipality, marking the beginning of the garden suburb character of Australia's oldest Garden Suburb The subdivision and garden suburb development occurred in the mid to late nineteenth century, predating the formation of the Garden Suburb movement. The historic development at Hunters Hill was consistently speculative, although some of the subdivisions were undertaken to provide residences for family members (Mattingley, 2007).

Garibaldi Inn:
The Garibaldi Inn was built of the local golden sandstone by John Cuneo (who came from Genoa, Italy in 1854) during the 1860s as the suburb's first hotel (Sherry, 2011, 6). Hunter's Hill Rate Assessment Books indicate that it was unfinished in 1861, substantially completed by 1869 and that Cuneo continued to add rooms until 1881 when it was described as a '16 room hotel'. The attic rooms were once used to house Italian stonemasons who were connstructing buildings and residences in the area.

John Cuneo was one of the indentured stone masons brought out to New South Wales to build fine stone houses in the Hunters Hill area district by Count de Milhau and the Jobert Brothers. Cuneo also imported statues from Italy through his marble business until 1861.

The building is named The Garibaldi Inn in honour of Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882) a compatriot, military leader and national hero of the Italian people who fought for the liberation and unification of Italy. The Garibaldi also features a statue of a woman cupbearer in the niche above the door.

The Cuneos wer shopkeepers, yachtsmen and had a jazz band. 'Cuneo's Corner' was the centre of the suburb's social activity and 'Cuneo's Recreation Ground' was on the opposite corner (ibid, 2011, 6).

The inn was run as a hotel until 1911 when it lost its licence (ibid, 2011, 6). In the New South Wales State election of 1910, during an era of temperance fervour, a local option vote was taken on the question of reducing the number of hotels and Hunter's Hill (in the district of Lane Cove) voted for a reduction. This may relate to the fact that The Garibaldi ceased to be a hotel after 1911.

By 1912 the building began to be rented as a shop by Mrs Nelly Rehm (confectioner) and continued as such under various tenants. Relative minor alterations were made to the building in 1911/12 when it was converted from an Inn to use as a shop.

The Tanianes who were there from 1934 to 1976 and they bought the building from the Cuneo family in 1949. A fruit and vegetable shop was run from where the bar had been by Mr Peter and Miss Mary Taniane.

The building gradually fell into neglect and in 1971 Amoco made a bid for the site with the intention of demolishing the building for a service station. At this time the conservation movement in Australia was well under way and the Hunter's Hill people were able to prevent the demolition of The Garibaldi. In 1973 the original statue of Hebe, the gods' female cupbearer was stolen.

Following a community nomination a Permanent Conervation Order was placed over the building on 16 October 1981.

From the Tanianes, The Garibaldi passed to a succession of owners in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Attempts were made at the time to return the building to some kind of soical purpose as in the days of John Cuneo. There were applications to develop it as a restaurant and then as an Inn. These applications were refused to due to the local community outcry.

In 1983 The Garibaldi was bought by Barry Webb & Associates, a firm of consulting engineers for use as offices. With the approval of the State government and Hunter's Hill Council the remaining parts of the site were redeveloped with offices, shops and underground parking.

On the 2 April 1999 The Garibaldi was transferred to the State Heritage Register. (Hunter's Hill Trust Journal, 1985) (Heritage Branch files)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Ethnic influences-Activities associated with common cultural traditions and peoples of shared descent, and with exchanges between such traditions and peoples. Italian shopkeeping and retail practises-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Innkeeping-
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-

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 0013502 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0013516 Oct 81 154 
Local Environmental Plan     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismHunter's Hill Council Hunter's Hill Heritage Walk View detail
WrittenHunter's Hill Turst1985Hunter's Hill Trust Journal - The Story of the Garibaldi - Vol 14 No.1
WrittenSherry, Beverley2011'John Hunter', entry (Valentia Street Wharf footpath plaque), 'Garibaldi Hotel' entry

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: 5045666
File number: S90/06107 & HC 32181

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