Gleniffer Brae | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Gleniffer Brae

Item details

Name of item: Gleniffer Brae
Other name/s: Glenifer Brae; Wollongong Conservatorium of Music
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Landscape - Cultural
Category: Historic Landscape
Location: Lat: -34.4094062285 Long: 150.8728905690
Primary address: Murphys Avenue, Keiraville, NSW 2500
Parish: Wollongong
County: Camden
Local govt. area: Wollongong City
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Illawarra
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT2 DP252694
LOT3 DP252694
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Murphys AvenueKeiravilleWollongong CityWollongongCamdenPrimary Address
Robsons RoadKeiravilleWollongong CityWollongongCamdenAlternate Address
Northfield AvenueKeiravilleWollongong City  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Wollongong City CouncilLocal Government12 Mar 99

Statement of significance:

Gleniffer Brae is intimately associated with that period of Illawarra's history which saw the beginning of major economic development. It is associated with the Hoskins family and particularly Arthur Sidney Hoskins, pioneers of the steel industry and responsible for its creation and development at Port Kembla. The estate is thus not only a gentleman's residence but the manager's house for a large industrial complex. Sidney Hoskins, for whom the house and garden was designed and built, was instrumental establishing the Illawarra steel industry and made a significant contribution to the community life of Wollongong.

Gleniffer Brae forms a well designed residential estate in sympathy with the surrounding site which was selected for its topographical setting. It is associated with architect Geoffrey Loveridge and landscape designer Paul Sorensen. Gleniffer Brae exhibits a high quality of craftsmanship in the fabric of the original buildings. The detailing represents the finest in Australian building skills of the pre-war period and this is enhanced by the fact that its original fabric is more or less intact. The open space around the house permits a full appreciation of the scale and design of the house. The grounds' original garden design are very attractive in their own right (Conacher & Delahunty Architects, 1993).

The house constitutes a fine example of the Inter-war period English Tudor or Elizabethan Revival style of architecture, influenced by English architecture and cleverly and unusually adapted to the requirements of a single storey complex. The English Tudor or Elizabethan Revival style very much reflected the orientation and values of wealthy families in the period to World War II, who tended to look to Britain as the 'Home' country, who had Royalist sympathies and who promoted attachment to 'King and Empire'.

The gardens constitute an integral part of the design and setting of the house and show the outcome of an integrated association between architect and landscape designer. The grounds' original garden design is representative of designer Paul Sorensen's ability to incorporate the surrounding landscape and flora into the overall design and to capture and extend the dramatic effect of the natural landscape through spatial planning, planting and construction of hard landscape elements. In the execution of the landscape design, Sorensen transplanted from the surrounding bush several large Illawarra flame trees (Brachychiton acerifolium), that is reputed to be one of the earliest successful examples of transplantation of mature Australian native trees, a process still regarded as almost impossible.

The estate's current use as now the Wollongong Botanic Gardens precinct and the house's current use as home of the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music continue the estate's association with the community and educational life of Wollongong and the Illawarra region.

Few capitalists associated with the mining and industrial development chose to live in the Illawarra. Gleniffer Brae stands apart as the only example of a 'grand house' on a grand estate in the City of Wollongong. Gleniffer Brae together with Invergowrie at Exeter are a unique pair, both estates being the outcome of the collaboration between architect Geoffrey Loveridge and landscape designer Paul Sorensen, both built for two brothers Cecil and Sidney Hoskins family who each married a sister of Geoffrey Loveridge. Their rarity is heightened by the fact that the pair of estates survive as relatively intact outstanding examples of Interwar period architecture and landscape design (NBRS, 2005, partly based on Conacher & Delahunty Architects 1993)



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Date significance updated: 01 Oct 97
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: House: Geoffrey D. Loveridge (of G.D.Loveridge & Associates); Garden: Paul Sorensen
Builder/Maker: Mr L Benbow; Joinery: W.W.Todd & Son; Bricks/tiles: W.Wilson & Co.; Stone: Hawkesbury Sandstone Co.
Construction years: 1937-1939
Physical description: HOUSE
A picturesque (magnificent (RAIA)) single storey Tudor Revival style building designed by architect Geoffrey Loveridge, of complex plan, built of red textured brick with rock-faced sandstone trims (doors, window surrounds). A steep multi-gabled roof of multi-coloured Marseille tiled roof has projecting rafters, elaborate twisting chimneys. The roof's slit gable vents, ornately carved bargeboards and twisted chimneys are reminiscent of Edwin Lutyens. Tudor arched diamond patterned windows have sandstone mullions and facing the rear courtyard is a leadlighted bay window with deliberate archaizing breaks in the panes.

The interior has excellent carved doors and a central room with carved timber frieze and ribbed ceiling with stone bosses. The internal joinery ie panelling and framings including doors and frames being part of the panelling were constructed of using 'Swedish Oak'. Other details of note are pull-up flyscreens hidden in window sills, bathroom with original tiling and rainwater heads decorated with fleur-de-lis.

GARAGE

GARDEN SHED
Timber shed with tile roof built as part of the original estate.

OLD SOILS TESTING LABORATORY
Split level brick building first built as part of the girls' school then used by Council as a laboratory to test soils.

SCHOOL BUILDINGS
A double storey and a single storey school buildings in brick were built during the school era.

AUDITORIUM
This is a 1970s brick building of one large room around 13x12m with 2 small auxillary rooms.

OLD CARETAKER'S RESIDENCE
This was originally brought from Mangerton and placed on the site as headmistress' residence c.1960. After the school closed it was occupied by the Council caretaker on site until 1992. It is leased as a private residence now.

GARDEN/SITE/ GROUNDS
Loveridge designed the single storey house high on a site sloping the northeast into a valley, rising on the far side to form a low hill, which screens the suburbs of Wollongong from view. Behind is Mount Keira, a dramatic backdrop. Sorensen was given 75 acres to work on, most being left as grazing land with the garden taking up about 4 acres. Like Invergowrie (for Hoskins' brother, Cecil, at Exeter) it reflects strong links between clients, architect and landscape architect-with Sorensen and Loveridge working together effectively (Read, 2017, 5).

As soon as Gleniffer Brae's house was completed in 1938 Sorensen began tree planting. First he transplanted from surrounding bush several large Illawarra flame (Brachychiton acerifolius) trees for shelter and an appearance of maturity. These were wrapped in straw to protect them from water stress until damaged roots could regrow. Some survivors could represent the earliest successful attempt at transplanting mature Australian trees, a process still regarded as almost impossible. Also early-planted were brush box, kaffir plum (Harpephyllum caffrum), planes, silky oaks and jacarandas (ibid, 2017, 5).

An area known as The Spinney, low on the nearside of the valley, was planted with hundreds of azaleas (Rhododendron indicum cv. and R.kurume cv.) under the shade of a natural grove of turpentines (Syncarpia glomulifera). Sorensen's interest in native plants is reflected by their dominance here and the presence in a prominent location of a very large specimen of coastal cypress pine (Callitris columellaris). The driveway sweeping up to the house's front was built in a similar low key fashion to that at Invergowrie, with drive strips here of sandstone flags. Behind the house, axially placed in an open courtyard, is a more formal garden with a circular fountain sunk into the lawn surrounded by trees and shrubs framing the view to Mt Keira. Across the formal garden a romantic playhouse for children sites within shrubs on axis to the mountain, representing both summerhouse and visual accent. Natural rocks were kept either as features or skilfully built into low stonewalls and edges (ibid, 2017, 5).

Service areas to the southeast are separated from the formal garden with stonewalls of similar construction and detailing to those at Everglades. This quarter was heavily planted for shelter from prevailing winds (ibid, 2017, 5).

Extensive grounds, courtyards, garden, stone walls and paving (RAIA).
Immediately around the house are original stone walls and terraces, a fountain in a sunken circular area to the rear, sandstone driveway (2 tracks), gate pillars and a doll's house (Ratcliffe, 1990).

The garden comprises 4 acres around the house (ibid, 1990).

Also planted at this time were many brush box (Lophostemon confertus), Kaffir plum (Harpephyllum caffrum), plane trees (Platanus x acerifolia), silky oak (Grevillea robusta) and Jacaranda mimosifolia trees (ibid, 1990).

Other significant features of the garden are gravel paths, boundary wall, rustic 'dolls house' of roughcast-covered fibro with unsawn timber posts and tiled roof, rustic gardener's shed of vertical boards with unsawn coverstrips and rafters, leadlight windows and tiled roof. (National Trust of Australia (NSW), 1985, amended Read, S., 2005).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition is good. Archaeological potential is low.
Apart from the Spinney, which is readily recognisable as part of the original garden, the changes necessary to adapt a domestic garden, no matter how big, to use as a public park have disguised Sorensen's work so that his hand is no longer visible over large areas. The simplification of maintenance around the conservatorium has also reduced his impact. (Ratcliffe, 1990)

The site of the Botanic Garden has not been identified as Aboriginal Site Sensitive in the draft Aboriginal Development Control Plan. Although this is the case, the potential for the site to be of Aboriginal significance cannot be ruled out and protocols under the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Act 1979 should be followed with respect to any items of Aboriginal significance being located on the site. Wollongong City Council has certain procedures for consultation with the local Aboriginal community regarding Aboriginal heritage and these will need to be followed should any sites of significance be identified (WCC, 2002, 7).
Date condition updated:01 Oct 97
Modifications and dates: 1937 - building began
1939 - construction completed

1954. The house and grounds was became a branch school for the Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar School
1978 The school closed and was acquired by Wollongong City Council in 1978. The house is now used as a Conservatorium of Music and function centre.

1980+ grounds subdivided with over half of the area, now known as Hoskins Park, being used as the local Botanic Gardens. Apart from the Spinney, readily recognisable as part of the original garden, the changes necessary to adapt a domestic garden, no matter how big, to use as a public park have disguised Sorensen's work so that his hand is no longer visible over large areas. The simplification of maintenance around the conservatorium has also reduced his impact (Ratcliffe, 1990).
Further information: The 1993 CMP is building focussed - it needs expanded focus on grounds and garden
Current use: Conservatorium of Music and function centre, University facility, Botanic Garden (grounds)
Former use: Aboriginal land, semi-rural estate residence, school

History

Historical notes: The land that would become Gleniffer Brae and the Wollongong Botanic Garden was originally inhabited by the Dharawal Aboriginal people. 2000 acres of land including this site were purchased by James Spearing in 1825. In the 1830s the estate was sold and subdivided. (Johnson, 12/3/16).

The site of Gleniffer Brae was originally part of a Crown grant of 1000 acres to Robert and Charles Campbell in 1841. The land went through a number of different ownerships until 1928. (WCC, 2006, 4-5).

James Fitzgerald bought 75 acres in 1919 building Cratloe, the cottage on the Wollongong Botanic Gardens site now used as the Gardens' Discovery Centre (Johnson, 12/3/16).

The Hoskins family, Australian Iron & Steel Co. and Paul Sorensen:
In 1925 (later Sir) Cecil and brother, Arthur Sidney Hoskins had become joint managing directors of Hoskins Iron & Steel Co. Their father Charles had already begun to plan to move the business from Lithgow and to build integrated steelworks at Port Kembla, where he had acquired land in 1924. This was to cut high freight costs and compete with BHP which had opened works at Newcastle in 1915 (Read, 2017, 2).

In 1927 the State government agreed to build a railway connecting Port Kembla with the main line at Moss Vale and construction of a blast-furnace and deep-water wharf began. Hoskins went overseas seeking technical information, new plant and rights to manufacture and sell centrifugally spun pipes. To finance operations, in 1928 Hoskins formed a new company, Australian Iron and Steel Ltd with Baldwins Ltd of England, Dorman Long & Co. and Howard Smith Ltd; Cecil became chairman and joint managing director. Hard-hit by the Depression, A.I. & S. was sued by the government for breach of contract in 1932 and in 1935 became a subsidiary of competitor B.H.P. Hoskins remained general manager of A.I. & S. until 1950 and a director until 1959 (ibid, 2017, 2).

In 1935 a prestigious new administration building had been built at Port Kembla. Having problems with local contractors, Cecil was looking for a landscape designer to design and construct the grounds. Through the recommendation of Hoskins' friend Ronald Beale (piano manufacturer at the time working on interior cabinets in the house of Henri Van der Velde at Everglades, Leura), he met Paul Sorensen and was impressed with the quality of his work in its garden. Word of mouth was how Sorensen had become known to Henri Van der Velde also (ibid, 2017, 2).

Paul Sorensen:
Paul Edwin Sorensen was born in 1891 in Copenhagen and trained in horticulture. He worked with leading landscape designers and contractors in Denmark and Switzerland. A pacifist, he immigrated to Australia in 1915 and eventually found work as a gardener at the Carrington Hotel, Katoomba. He met and married Anna Ernestina Hillenberg, a hotel maid of German/Queensland origin and they had three sons, all of whom worked in the family business. He set up two nurseries in the Blue Mountains, in Katoomba, then Leura from 1917. Their two eldest sons were killed in World War II and the youngest, Ib, worked with Paul for decades. The nursery stocked trees, shrubs and perennials for retail and landscaping jobs. Plants were imported from New Zealand, England and Europe at first. In the 1950s it had fourteen staff working in three teams. Sorensen's garden design/construction work included around 100 gardens around NSW from Glen Innes in the far north to Cowra and Orange in the west, Wahroonga and Rushcutters' Bay in the east and Wollongong and Canberra (ACT) in the south. His gardens were essentially outdoor rooms (as were contemporary English gardens Hidcote and Sissinghurst) defined by large trees and shrubs and cleverly using walls and changes of level. He was less interested in smaller plants, leaving these to the owner. Site materials such as rock were often built around or recycled as walls and paths. Views were often borrowed from the landscape, or hidden if its scale was too grand. Standards of construction, presentation and maintenance were very high. He never wrote on his work and avoided making plans, preferring to work on site in three dimensions, dealing in person with the owner and workers. His style owes more to European modern landscape architecture (e.g.: Lars Nielsen in Denmark and the Mertens Brothers in Switzerland, particularly their work on public parks) than to 'garden design'. Paul made almost all business decisions until his death in 1983 when Ib ran the nursery. The nursery was sold in 1988 after which it declined. (ibid, 2017, 1-2).

Hoskins and Sorensen became firm friends; the relationship continued until Paul's death and carried on with his son Ib. Sorensen specified the plants for A.I. & S., Port Kembla. His work led to a number of commissions with the Hoskins family (ibid, 2017, 2).

Sorensen's work for AI & S at Port Kembla & for Cecil Hoskins at Invergowrie, Exeter (1937-8) led to commissions including Gleniffer Brae, Wollongong (for Cecil's brother Sidney), Green Hills & Hillside at Figtree - executive houses for A.I.& S., the grounds of the Hoskins Memorial Church at Lithgow (re-landscaping in 1938 the original grounds installed by the Searle Brothers) and the Southern Portland Cement Co. at Berrima as well as several smaller gardens (ibid, 2017, 3).

Greenhill & Hillside, Princes Highway, Figtree (1936-8)were designed for executives of Australian Iron & Steel - a large guest house and a function centre for important visitors and executives - a prestigious showpiece - on a south easterly facing slope commanding expansive views east to the sea and south to the steel works. Apart from scattered eucalypts the site was bare. Newcastle architects Pitt & Merewether designed the two houses. A.I. &S. engineers designed the winding zig-zag driveway up the 19 acre site with Greenhill near the top, Hillside on the lower slopes. To ensure privacy, Sorensen developed dense woodland between them and garden rooms defining spaces yet allowing views out, with dry stone wall terracing. He treated the site as one design exercise, ensuring good shelter from the strong southerly winds which buffet this coast (ibid, 2017, 3-4).

All construction and maintenance was by A.I. &S. staff, with Sorensen making 2-3 day visits. At Gleniffer Brae & Mt. Keira Scout Camp Sidney Hoskins employed workmen directly with Sorensen giving them instructions on similar visits. A single skilled workman made all the rockwork and walls at all three sites, employed directly by Sorensen. The quality of workmanship and design at all sites attests to his ability to pass ideas to unskilled men to enable them to work without supervision between visits (ibid, 2017, 4).

Hoskins ownership:
In 1928, Arthur Sidney (known as Sidney) Hoskins a founder (Joint Managing Director, who had supervised construction of AIS's Port Kembla steelworks, he remained a Director, and Manager of the Port Kembla works: Read, 2017, 2) of the Australian Iron and Steel works at Port Kembla, came from Lithgow with his brother Cecil (Johnson, 12/3/16). Sidney Hoskins purchased 75 acres of Fitzgerald's dairy farm around Murphy Lane, Wollongong and began plans for a family home (ibid, 12/3/16), the same year the steel works commenced operation. Hoskins was born in 1892 and joined the family's steel firm in 1907. He became joint managing director with his elder brother in 1924 and was directly involved with the move of the company to Port Kembla and the erection of the new works (WCC, 2006, 5).

Sidney Hoskins married Helen Madoline (known as Madge) Loveridge in 1934 and a son was born to them at Edgecliff in 1936 (RAIA). His brother Cecil married Helen/Madge's sister (ibid, 2017, 4).

Hoskins commissioned his brother-in-law, Geoffrey Loveridge (1893 -1989), to design Gleniffer Brae Manor House and had the gardens designed by Paul Sorensen (RAIA, 2010/11). Loveridge designed the single storey Tudor style house high on a site sloping the north east into a valley, rising on the far side to form a low hill which screens the suburbs of Wollongong from view. Behind is Mount Keira, a dramatic backdrop. Sorensen was given 75 acres to work on, most being left as grazing land with the garden taking up about 4 acres. Like Invergowrie it reflects strong links between clients, architect and landscape architect - with Sorensen & Loveridge working together effectively (ibid, 2017, 4).

The name Gleniffer Brae comes from a small village in Paisley, Scotland, the birthplace of Mrs Hoskins' grandfather. Gleniffer Brae was designed by architect Geoffrey Loveridge, brother of Mrs Hoskins. The building of the residence began in 1937 through a tender by a Mr L Benbow. The surveying work was undertaken by Mr George Dunwoodie. The house was completed in 1939 (Ratliffe, 1990).

Unlike most architects of his time, Geoffrey Loveridge had a long and thorough training in the building business. This involved both a strong family tradition and extensive personal experience. His building expertise was evident in his careful selection of the tradesmen for Gleniffer Brae: Benbow as builder, Todd and Son for joinery, Wilson's bricks and the Hawkesbury Sandstone Company. There is good anecdotal evidence of Loveridge's careful supervision of the high quality detailing of Gleniffer Brae. Loveridge was not simply a new architect working for rich relatives who knew what they wanted. Certainly, he designed the houses that Cecil and Sidney Hoskins intended: 'Stockbroker Tudor' for Cecil and a bungalow complex for Sidney. In the latter case, at least, there are abundant signs of highly competent architectural design, giving unity to an array of single storey buildings. The Tudor features are carefully adapted to the basic design. Gleniffer Brae bears a mature Loveridge stamp (RAIA, 2010/11).

The extensive landscaped gardens surrounding the manor were largely attributed to the landscape designer Paul Sorensen, a Danish-Australian garden designer who had worked for Hoskins' brother Cecil at his estate Invergowrie, Exeter and who had became known to Cecil Hoskins through his work for Henri Van der Velde at Everglades, Leura (Ratliffe, 1990).

As soon as the house was completed in 1938 Sorensen began tree planting. First he transplanted from surrounding bush several large Illawarra flame trees for shelter and an appearance of maturity. These were wrapped in straw to protect them from water stress until damaged roots could regrow. Some survivors could represent the earliest successful attempt at transplanting mature Australian trees, a process still regarded as almost impossible. Also early-planted were brush box, kaffir plum (Harpephyllum caffrum), planes, silky oaks and jacarandas (ibid, 2017, 4).

An area known as The Spinney, low on the nearside of the valley, was planted with hundreds of azaleas under the shade of a natural grove of turpentines. Sorensen's interest in natives is reflected by their dominance here and the presence in a prominent location of a very large specimen of coastal cypress pine (Callitris columellaris). The driveway sweeping up to the house's front was built in a similar low key fashion to that at Invergowrie, with drive strips here of sandstone flags. Behind the house, axially placed in an open courtyard, is a more formal garden with a circular fountain sunk into the lawn surrounded by trees and shrubs framing the view to Mt. Keira. Across the formal garden a romantic playhouse for children sites within shrubs on axis to the mountain, representing both summer house and visual accent. Natural rocks were kept either as features or skilfully built into low stone walls and edges (ibid, 2017, 4).

Service areas to the south east are separated from the formal garden with stone walls of similar construction and detailing to those at Everglades. This quarter was heavily planted for shelter from prevailing winds (ibid, 2017, 4).

Sidney Hoskins had a reliable and loyal gardener for Gleniffer Brae, named Eric Winter. In 1921 Hoskins gave Winter 2.5 acres of land on the eastern boundary of his property that included a house named Cratloe, which stands today as the Botanic Gardens Discovery Centre. Council purchased this land in 1966, from the owner who had bought it off Mr Winter (WCC, 2002, 6).

The impressive location and style of Gleniffer Brae was in keeping with the position of the Hoskins family with the social and financial circles of the day. In the immediate post-war years distinguished guests such as the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Archbishop of York and Lady Baden-Powell were hosted at Gleniffer Brae (Conacher & Delahunty, 1993).

During its period as the Hoskins' home (1939-1949) Gleniffer Brae was host to many prominent visitors (ibid, 1990).

Few capitalists associated with mining and industry chose to live in the Illawarra: this is the only example of a grand house & estate in Wollongong. The Hoskins were very civic-minded and the property's continuing role in public education and as a community centre reflects this desire, as set out in Sidney's will (ibid, 2017, 4).

Hoskins sold Gleniffer Brae in 1954 and for some time it was a branch school for Sydney Church of England Girls' Grammar School (ibid, 2017, 4).

With Sidney's death, part of the property was donated for use as a Botanic Garden while the house and remaining grounds were sold to the Sydney Diocese of the Church of England for its Girls Grammar School (SCEGGS) in 1954. This was a significant addition to educational facilities of the region (Ratcliffe, 1990, WCC, 2002, 6). SCEGGS operated the girl's school until The Illawarra Grammar School began co-ed classes on the grounds in the 1970s (RAIA, 2010/11).

Hoskins was civic-minded and desired that Gleniffer Brae be used for educational purposes and that the surrounding land would become a botanic garden once his family no longer used the residence (WCC, 2006, 1). Under his will, part of the property became the nucleus of Wollongong Botanical Gardens (ibid, 1990). SCEGGS operated here until 1975 when the property was bought by Wollongong City Council (Read, 2017 says 1978; RAIA, 2010/11 says 1979), allowing for extension of the Wollongong Botanic Garden (Johnson, 12/3/16).

A memorandum of understanding was finalised in 1954 with Wollongong City Council for approximately 32 acres of land extending from Murphys Avenue to Northfields Avenue for the purposes of a Botanic Garden (WCC, 2002, 6). From a visit in 1959 Mr R. H.Anderson, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, recommended expert advice be sought to prepare a design for a botanic garden (ibid, 2017, 4). It would take many years to see Hoskins' dream become a reality: the Botanic Gardens did not open to the public on a regular basis until 1971 (WCC, 2002, 6).

Ultimately the expert chosen was Professor Peter Spooner of the University of New South Wales. Spooner came up with an idea of a geographically based garden layout; which was unusual. Plants were grouped according to their country of origin rather than the more usual botanic family groups (Australiasia; Indonesia and Malaysia; Pacific Islands; Europe; India; Africa; China & Korea; The Americas)(WCC, 2006, 6-7).

The grounds have been subdivided with over half (10.5ha in the east) gifted to the city by and now known as Hoskins Park, developed since the 1960s as a Botanic Garden. This was done under the direction of its first curator William Mearnes (1960s-77; its official opening was in September 1970), with initial plans provided by Prof. Peter Spooner (ibid, 2017, 4). 6000 people visitin the first year (Johnson, 12/3/16).

The first planting was an azalea (Rhodondendron indicum cv. and R.kurume cv's), established in 1964 by original gardener, Jack Woodgate. In 1966, Council purchased Cratloe and in 1968 built the Sir Joseph Banks glasshouse The Wollongong Botanic Garden was officially opened in September 1970, (Johnson, 12/3/16).

Dean Miller was the second curator/Director (1977-88) when the gardens expanded and their arrangement changed from geographic to a habitat-based system using the site's microclimates (ibid, 2017, 4). It was determined that the geographical based garden concept was not working well and that a habitat planting system would better suit the expanded site. It was possible to develop microclimates in the garden - from the exposed dryland of the highest hill, to stone filled gullies and open grassland. (WCC, 2006, 6-7).

In 1976 a financial crisis forced SCEGGS to sell nearly 15.5 acres to Wollongong City Council and in 1978, the remaining grounds, including Gleniffer Brae passed into Council's possession via a notice of resumption. So Council owned all the land that now comprises Gleniffer Brae, the University Soccer Fields (Kooloonbong Oval) and the Botanic Garden by 1978 (WCC, 2006, 6).

Since 1980, part of the manor house, school buildings and auditorium have been used as the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music and function centre, under lease from Wollongong City Council. The remainder of the manor house and surrounding gardens have operated as a function venue by Wollongong City Council (WCC, 2006, 5).

Apart from the Spinney, which is readily recognisable as part of the original garden, the changes necessary to adapt a domestic garden, no matter how big, to use as a public park have disguised Sorensen's work so that his hand is no longer visible over large areas. The simplification of maintenance around the conservatorium has also reduced his impact (ibid, 1990).

David Bain, Threatened Species Officer, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, on the Wollongong Botanic Garden's plan to bring the Banksia vincentia from the brink. Bain says the Banksia vincentia is Australia's rarest Banksia, noting that it looks very similar to a closely-related Banksia, but that locals in the Vincentia area noticed that the said Banksia is a little bit different. When asked about their plan to preserve the plant, Bain says the five that are currently alive in the population are looking really healthy, and that they have a couple of seedlings coming up as well. Bain admits that they don't really understand the role of the said Banksia in the environment, but notes that it has large flowers and Banksias are very important nectar producers for birds, insects and small mammals. He confirms that some of the seeds have gone over to the Kew Gardens in England after collecting about 600 seeds in Australia (ABC Illawarra/host: Nick Rheinberger, 16/11/2016).

A 2005/6 proposal to extend a recent outbuilding in the rear of Gleniffer Brae homestead, use its rear formal garden for in/outdoor concerts and receptions resulted in more research on Sorensen's contribution - a formal circular plan with sunken central fountain is echoed by a semi-circular avenue of brush box trees and low stone walling - appearing to be a rear driveway or access west (ibid, 2017, 5).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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-
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 Gardens and landscapes reminiscent of an 'old country'-
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 Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Manufacturing defence materials-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Manufacturing building materials and products-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Managing industrial relations-
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. Housing famous families-
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 regional settings-
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 towns in response to topography-
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 Planning manorial villages and systems-
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 Rural orchards-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Private (religious) schooling-
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. Designing landscapes in an exemplary 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. Landscaping - 20th century interwar-
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. Landscaping - 20th century post WW2-
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 - Interwar Tudor revival-
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-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gardening-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups (none)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Paul Sorensen, landscape architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Sidney Hoskins, industrialist-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Geoffrey Loveridge, architect-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Gleniffer Brae is intimately associated with that period of Illawarra's history which saw the beginning of major economic development. Sydney Hoskins for whom the house was designed and built was instrumental in establishment of the Illawarra steel industry and made a significant contribution to the community life of Wollongong. Gleniffer Brae is associated with architect Geoffrey Loveridge and landscape designer Paul Sorenson. (Conacher & Delahunty Architects 1993)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Gleniffer Brae exhibits a high quality of craftesmanship in the fabric of the original buildings. The detailing represents the finest in Australian building skills of the pre-war period and this is enhance by the fact that its original fabric is more or less intact. The open space around the house permits a full appreciation of the scale and design of the house. The grounds original gardens design are very attractive in their own right. (Conacher & Delahunty Architects 1993)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The English Tudor or Elizabethan revival architectural style of Glennifer Brae very much reflected the orientation and values of wealthy families in the period to WWII, who tended to look to Britain as the 'Home' country, who has Royalist sympathies and who promoted attachment to 'King and Empire'. Its elaborate style displays wealth and power much as the manor did in English context. Few capitalists associated with mining and industrial development chose to live in the Illawarra. Glennifer Brae stands apart as the only example of a 'grand house' in the City of Wollongong. (Conacher & Delahunty Architects 1993)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
There is nothing else in the City of Wollongong comparable to this house particularly from the 1930s. (Conacher & Delahunty Architects 1993)
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
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for commentWollongong City Council sent 2001 CMP, 2007 LMP and 2006 Plan of Management for comment  
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act maintenance & alteration to blg


Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) The maintenance of any building or item on the site where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing material; and
(2) alterations to the school buildings erected by the Sydney Church of England Grammar School, provided that these do not add to the external bulk of the buildings concerned, nor adversely affect the heritage significance of buildings erected for the Hoskins family in 1938.
Mar 21 1986
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act gen maint.& alt to sch bld refer file


Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) The maintenance of any building or item on the site where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing material;
(2) alterations to the school buildings erected by the Sydney Church of England Grammar School provided these do not add to the external bulk of the buildings concerned, nor adversely affect the heritage significance of buildings erected for the Hoskins family in 1938.
Feb 26 1988
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
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementGleniffer Brae CMP review - Architectural Projects (March 2017) Nov 24 2017

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0055702 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0055726 Feb 88 411276
Regional Environmental PlanIllawarra REP No.1 11 Apr 86   
Local Environmental Plan  28 Dec 90   
Local Environmental Plan  07 Jan 00   
National Trust of Australia register   27 May 85   
Royal Australian Institute of Architects registerSignificant Buildings/Volume 1 Country NSW213001 Nov 81   
Register of the National Estate - InterimGleniffer Brae Manor House and Garden101155   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Gleniffer Brae View detail
WrittenAUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS2011NSW BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION - Geoffrey Douglas LOVERIDGE F.R.A.I.A.
WrittenConacher & Delahunty Architects1993Conservation Plan for Gleniffer Brae
WrittenDavid Beaver2007Landscape Master Plan - Gleniffer Brae
WrittenGeoff Dawson and Donald Ellsmore1985National Trust Classification Card - Gleniffer Brae
WrittenHeritage Division1990Paper file: Gleniffer Brae - S90/6113/1-3 (NB: Part 1 is missing)
WrittenJohnson, Lisa2016'Legacy lives on: planting the seeds of time' (Wollongong Botanic Garden)
WrittenMcIlwain, Kate2017'Functions plan stalled'
WrittenNoel Bell Ridley Smith & Partners2005Statement of Heritage Impact, proposed additions to performance centre Wollongong Conservatorium of Music in the grounds of Gleniffer Brae, Murphy's Avenue, Keiraville`
WrittenRatciffe, Richard1990Australia's Master Gardener - Paul Sorensen & his gardens
WrittenRead, Stuart (paper), in Probyn, Meg (ed.), 2017, From Wilderness to Pleasure Ground: discovering the garden history of the Southern Highlands, Papers from the 29th Annual National Conference, Australian Garden History Society, Bowral, NSW, 10-12 October 2017‘Paul Sorensen in the Southern Highlands & Illawarra’
TourismTourism NSW2007Wollongong Botanic Gardens View detail
WrittenTropman & Tropman Architects2001Conservation Management Plan for Gleniffer Brae (draft)
WrittenWollongong City Council2006Plan of Management for The Wollongong Botanic Garden (including Gleniffer Brae and Kooloobong Oval), Keiraville
WrittenWollongong City Council2002Plan of Management for Wollongong Botanic Garden (including Gleniffer Brae and Kooloobong Oval), Keiraville

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: 5045680
File number: EF14/5877; 10/5422; S92/1286


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