Hermitage and Garden | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Hermitage and Garden

Item details

Name of item: Hermitage and Garden
Other name/s: The Hermitage and Garden
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -33.8016635300 Long: 151.0991211160
Primary address: 1-13 Pennant Avenue, Denistone, NSW 2114
Parish: Hunters Hill
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Ryde
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT1 DP221325
PART LOT2 DP221325
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
1-13 Pennant AvenueDenistoneRydeHunters HillCumberlandPrimary Address
1-11 Anzac AvenueRydeRydeHunters HillCumberlandAlternate Address
1 Pennant AvenueDenistoneRyde  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Maksim Holdings Pty Ltd & Zaymill Pty LtdPrivate 
Maksim Holdings Pty Ltd & Zaymill Pty LtdPrivate 

Statement of significance:

The Hermitage is a rare (albeit altered) exemplar conforming entirely to the common perceived form of the Australian colonial house of the early Victorian period. It has high historic significance because of its association with the prominent pioneering Blaxland family and is directly related to another early Blaxland residence Brush Farm. The history of the property is a clear and typical example of the process of gentleman settlers amalgamating small farm grants to form their wealthy estates. The Hermitage is one of a small group of approximately five extant pre-1850 buildings in Ryde municipality which is the second earliest market garden settlement in Sydney. The Hermitage may be a very rare known surviving domestic work of the notable mid-nineteenth century architect John Bibb. The site is an important prominent element in the Parramatta River landscape and is a visual landmark. The broad landscape of the locality and the garden surrounding The Hermitage are the setting for a house of high cultural significance. (Clive Lucas Stapleton 1987)

The archaeological remains of the Hermitage and surrounds have the potential of providing comparative evidence for the evolution of living and working conditions on large colonial estates in NSW and particularly those on the Cumberland Plain (Higginbotham, 2001).
Date significance updated: 10 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.

Description

Designer/Maker: Possibly architect John Bibb
Construction years: 1838-1842
Physical description: The Subject Site is known as The Hermitage and Wollondilly. In 2003 it comprised 1.44 hectares with frontages onto Pennant Avenue, Anzac Avenue and Blaxland Road (Curby, 2003, 2).

Grounds:
The site is an important prominent element in the Parramatta River landscape. It occupies the elevated, thickly-treed ridge which demarcates the northern side of the river valley. The site is a local visual landmark, recognisable from most points southward to Victoria Road. The site and Hermitage has a rare and distinct visual connection to five of the approximately ten historic and architecturally-significant sites in the Ryde area. The broad landscape of the locality and the garden surrounding the Hermitage are the setting for a house of high cultural significance (CLSP, 1987, 5.2.3 Landscape), a clear and typical example of 'pure Merino' landholders amalgamating hitherto settled market garden land grants, demonstrating the colonial process of wealthy families establishing dominant freehold 'gentleman's estates' (ibid, 1987, 4.3.10 - discussion of cultural significance; also 5.2.2.4 - other significance).

Important aspects of the setting are the line of driveway, the ground levels on the east and south of the building (the rear courtyard has been raised), the southern outlook to a garden and the use of the front door as the main entry (CLSP, 1987, 4.3.16 - discussion of cultural significance).

South of the house are significant garden remains, including the gravel drive on its original alignment and a number of mature trees. The site of the well for the house is in the centre of the rear courtyard. From the garden there are panoramic views southward over Ryde and Parramatta. (Perumal Murphy Wu 1995).

The garden contains six mature plants, the stone edged garden bed along the south verandah and the line of driveway which are original landscape features of a building of high cultural significance. These plants are:
- Peruvian pepper (corn) tree, (Schinus molle);
- flowering apricot (Prunus mume cv.);
- Leichhardt's bauhinia/pegunny (Bauhinia leichhardtii (now B.hookeri: Stuart Read, pers.comm., 2/2/2018);
- Camellias (C.japonica cv's) (2 no.);
- olive (Olea europaea cv.) (ibid, 1987, 4.3.17 - discussion of cultural significance; also 5.2.3 Landscape).

House:
The Hermitage is an example of the Australian colonial house of the early Victorian period. The original house is a single storey residence with a hipped roof and verandahs. The front and side verandahs are flagged in sandstone The house has sandstone footings and brick walls. The bricks are red sandstocks without frog, although similar bricks with cinder are also widespread.

The building has three wings the main wing, and the east and west wings. The east wing is built of sandstock brick on a sandstone footing. It has a slate hipped roof. The west wing was originally single storey range of rooms with a pitched roof and gable ends. The footings are of sandstone and the surviving walls are of sandstock brick. The cellar is largely intact showing traces of a former lath and plaster ceiling. The cellar walls are of sandstone and the floor is flagged in sandstone. The interior retains many original features of quality including doors, joinery, staircase, cornices and hall screen doorway. Chimney pieces have been removed, wall surfaces renewed and various unsympathetic fixtures installed. Wall cladding and details in the attic area have been generally altered (Perumal Murphy Wu 1995).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date Condition Updated: 14 Aug 03

Physical condition is good. The areas affected by the proposal have been identified as: The grounds of the Hermitage and Wollondilly in the Archaeological Management Plan (Pages 8 and 12 and Figure 3.1). The archaeological potential of these areas has been assessed as follows:
While the historical appearance of the grounds of the house and its farm have been substantially changed with the advent of 20th century subdivision, it is likely that archaeological evidence of former occupation may survive in the form of archaeological relics and other structures not already identified by historical documentation. These relics and other features may survive in good condition, since the ground surface has not been substantially changed.
Date condition updated:14 Aug 03
Modifications and dates: 1838-42 - built using bricks made on site - main block with 12 rooms, wrap around verandahs, western rear kitchen wing.

c1860 (Rappoport, 2012)/1875 - two 'bachelors rooms' (bedrooms) added to east wing and connected to main house by a curved screen wall. A west stables wing was built during this period
1869 two orchard buildings existed and the house had a driveway connecting to Blaxland Road.
c1875 - extensive farm improvements including a vineyard with gardener's cottage and wine house, orchard and associated outbuildings, dovecote, animal pens, paddocks and a stockyard

c1884-1905 virtually unoccupied and only occasionally let out to tenants including Tooth (1896) and Mason (1905).
1903-5 transferred to O'Brien.
1905-19 subdivided and sold (1905), subsequent auctions until 1919 further subdivided estate lands.
1907-10 Stockdale was tenant

1910-22 Lot 33, The Hermitage sold to James Pollock. House underwent major alterations c1911 - including a second stair to the attic added, two verandah rooms built, four french doors replaced south side windows, former study removed and eastern wall of the back stair replaced by brick wall supported on a steel beam. Study joinery reused in attic. Bathroom added to east passage. Elliptical arch opening between dining and drawing rooms cut and west-facing verandah added to kitchen wing.

1922-52 Nicholson occupancy and further alterations made. Extended attic with addition of south facing dormer windows, bathroom added to east side of house's front verandah and a conservatory to the rear verandah, staircase rebuilt, window inserted in landing, four french doors inserted in pace of sash windows on northern side. Extensive garden changes included planting many trees, timber gate posts, stone wall on south side of drive, tennis court fence and pavilion, removal of rear east stables wing.
1930s sewerage connection, replacing earlier septic tank system; mid-1930s: one outbuilding converted to a workshop
1937 sunday school held in the Hermitage
c1945 corrugated iron shed (igloo) installed at rear of west wing
1951 - Nicholson family left, taking garden sundial and the compilation of chimney pieces with the exception of the drawing room chimney piece.

1952-55 - Commonwealth acquisition (1952). Immediate alterations including replacement of timber columns at south verandah with stone pillars, laboratories installed in attic, east wing and cellar, three windows in east wing bricked up, partition walls installed in several rooms, existing doors had glass inserted in upper panels, door from hall to dining room replaced with wider opening (and door reused at back hall entry), installed a reception desk in front hall, notice boards hung in outside walls of rear courtyard, rear verandah posts replaced with pipes, timber floorboards from rear verandah replaced with concrete floor, conservatory and servants' stair removed and front door stripped of paint.

Major alterations made to the garden including construction of ten large and several small buildings on the surrounding land, demolition of the garage and a lecture hall built in its place, igloo, fowl shed, tennis pavilion and court removed, new workshop built, temporary laboratory relocated from North Ryde to beside the workshop, driveway sealed off, wells were covered in and the rear yard level raised and the front gates were painted.
1953 - west verandah of east kitchen wing was replaced by a brick extension and the west wall of the wing and internal walls demolished to house the lunch room and mens' locker room.
1958 - second storey added to kitchen wing to house the library. Corrugated iron hipped roof above the west wing store rooms was replaced by a flat roof in 1959 (Clive Lucas and Partners 1987) (Perumal Murphy Wu 1995)(Rappoport, 2012, 7-8).
Roof slates turned and roof battens replaced on main roof and east wing. Lead hip and ridge flashings replaced with galvanised steel equivalent.

c1962 - front gates removed and driveway entry repositioned to existing location.
c1960-65 - doorway inserted from rear passage to the Chief's room. Attic partitioned off.

1970 - conference room added to kitchen wing.
c1970 - benches in lunch room remodelled.
2/1975 - library extended above conference room
1970s - acousting panelling hung on walls and ceilings of various rooms.
9/1982 - listed on RNE resulting in conservation works beginning on site.
1985-6 - laboratories removed. Three formerly bricked-up windows in east wing remade to match the single existing original by the CSIRO on-site works team. New window frames and sahses instaslled and some of the non-original partitions were removed.

7/1996 - CSIRO occupied the site until July when its Division of Wool Technology relocated the Ryde Wool Textile functions to Geelong, Victoria.

1990s-2000s - returned to private ownership, remaining unoccupied until the present owner, Maksim Holdings purchased the site.
2001 - restoration works commenced
2009-12 - further conservation works implemented to return site to appearance prior to arrival of the CSIRO (Rappoport, 2012, 7-9).
Further information: The 1995 Ryde Heritage Conservation Stratgey made a comparative study of all heritage items in the Ryde Council area. It ranked The Hermitage as having State significance and the conservation plan prepared by Perumal Murphy Wu endorses that finding based on the historic significance of the item. (Perumal Murphy Wu 1995)
Current use: Residence
Former use: Aboriginal land, colonial farm and homestead, residence, Government Office (CSIRO), research facility / complex

History

Historical notes: 1798-1809 Ryde - original land grants for small farms and agriculture:
The Ryde area was highly suitable for farming and orchards, and early grants to marines were given to encourage agriculture. In 1792 land in the area was granted to 8 marines; two of the grants were in the modern area of Ryde. Isaac Archer and John Colethread each received 80 acres of land on the site of the present Ryde-Parramatta Golf Links, now in West Ryde. Later in 1792, in the Eastern Farms area, 12 grants, most of them about 30 acres, were made to convicts (Pollen & Healy, 1996).

1835-1837 Amalgamation of grants into large landholdings for agricultural and pastoral use
Much later these farms were bought by John Macarthur, Gregory Blaxland and the Reverend Samuel Marsden. The district remained an important orchard area throughout the 19th century (Pollen & Healy, 1996).

c1838-84 - The Hermitage & the Blaxland family:
The Hermitage was built from c1838 to 1842 for John Blaxland, the eldest (Curby, 2003) son of the Blue Mountains explorer Gregory Blaxland. It was made of stone and clay bricks made on site (ibid, 2). The house is said to have been designed by the architect John Bibb but there is some conjecture over this (Perumal Murphy Wu 1995). Curby (2003, 2) notes it was commissioned by Dibbs for Blaxland. Its land consisted of 120 acres (48ha) which Thomas Forster had amalgamated from four early farm grants in the 1830s and sold to John Blaxland in 1838.

The Hermitage was the residence of John Blaxland and his wife Ellen, nee Falkner, from 1842 when they moved in until John Blaxland's death in 1884. When they stood on their front verandah, they had panoramic views down to the Parramatta River and beyond (Curby, 2003). Nine children were born to them and raised there. The house originally consisted of a main block with 12 rooms and encircling verandahs. It had attic rooms and a western rear kitchen wing. The east wing of bedrooms was added in about 1860, connected to the main block by a curved screen wall. At an unknown time a stable wing was built as part of the Home Farm which included stock yards, an orchard and a vineyard. Like many of the mansions built in the Ryde district in the 19th century, the Hermitage was essentially a country house surrounded by a spacious estate (Curby, 2003, 2).

Around 1875 extensive farm improvements were made including a vineyard with a gardener's cottage and wine house (north of the homestead and yards and north of what today is Blaxland Road), an orchard (north-west of the house and yards), a dovecote, animal pens, paddocks and stockyards (north of the homestead).

1885-1894 - House leased or unoccupied:
Around 1884 several large estates in the district including the Hermitage were subdivided (Curby, 2003, 2). After the death of John Blaxland in 1884, Ellen took up residence with her daughter Lucy at 'Minimbah', Longueville. The Hermitage lay virtually unoccupied until 1905 except for a few years when it was let out (to a series of tenants (Curby, 2003, 2).

A drawing of the site entitled 'Plan of the Hermitage as it was long ago' showing its original layout and garden setting was drawn by L.M.Levick in 1912, the husband of Blaxland's daughter, Lucy. Levick's drawing shows the layout c.1870, which included subsequent additions to the property made by the Blaxland family (1842-84), including the two additional bedrooms built to the east wing and the west stables wing...Two orchard buildings also existed and the house originally had a driveway connecting to Blaxland Road. On the opposite side of this road were an orchard and a vineyard with gardener's cottage. Other associated outbuildings are clearly marked on the plan including animal pens and stockyards likely to have been installed c1875 when improvements to the farm commenced (Rappoport, 2012, 10).

At Ellen Blaxland's death in 1903 the land around The Hermitage was subdivided and sold in several auctions held in the period 1905-1919. The Hermitage and all the estate south of Blaxland Road was subdivided and sold at auction in 1905.

1905-1964 - subdivision of estate:
Thomas Gosper, an 'illuminating artist', purchased the adjoining subdivided one and a quarter acre block in 1907 and built a single storey Edwardian style house called Wandilly in about 1908. This is the house now known as Wollondilly.

James Pollock, who held the Chair of Physics and professor of physics at the University of Sydney, bought The Hermitage in 1910 and lived there until his death in 1922. The house had many alterations during this time.

A drawing by Mrs Z.M.Levick dated 19/7/1912 showed the homestead facing the drive to the 'white gate' to its east, a paddock to its south-westl fruit trees, a vineyard, strawberry patches and an orchard to the homestead's west and north-west; a grass yard between the two wings of outbuildings rear and north of the homestead, animal pens (fowls, rabbits, pigsty, bail, stock yard and paddock to its north, a tennis ground 'made when Frank and I grew up' to its east, a bush house and round summer house to the east of the homestead's eastern wing of bedrooms, Blaxland Road to the north of the orchard and stock yard and beyond this bush to the north/northwest, a vineyard, oranges, wine house and gardener's cottage and water hole where the clay was sourced for the bricks to the north of Blaxland Road (Zinn, 2009).

The Nicholson family (1923-52):
Businessman David (Theo) and Winifred (Elinor) Nicholson bought The Hermitage in 1923 and lived there with their family (five of their six children were born there)(Curby, 2003, 2) until 1952, making more alterations to the house and extensive changes to the gardens. During the 1930s the Nicholson family conducted a Sunday School at The Hermitage. This was a lively household with family, servants and frequent visitors, all interacting under the careful guidance of Elinor Nicholson. The house had not been the scene of such vivacity since the Blaxland family had occupied it (Curby, 2003, 2).

In 1997 Peter Nicholson, the third of the family's children (born 1926), recorded an account of his life there as a child and young adult. A copy of this is held by Ryde City Council (Curby, 2003, 3). He recollected from his childhood in the 1920s and 1930s that the house was surrounded by paddocks and plenty of ground, somewhat isolated from the rest of the community (Curby, 2003, 14). The family had orchards, grew its own vegetables, fowls, eggs, milk and that in those days tradespeople used to deliver goods. The butcher, greengrocer, fishmonger would come once a week. The baker would come. The family kept a boat in a shed (Hoyles Boat Shed) in Drummoyne. Mr Nicholson used to drive his car to work in the city, over roads so rough he would drive on the tram tracks to get a smooth ride. Mrs Nicholson had a car also.

The children had a nursery - playroom, upstairs. The upstairs rooms were recalled as 'originally very pokey little rooms' and Mr Nicholson had the windows across the front of the house put in and made them habitable and with good views. A couple of the servants lived upstairs. The front verandah was not used much as it faced south and was cold. There were wooden columns covered with Ficus (probably dwarf creeping fig, Ficus pumila var.pumila (Stuart Read, pers.comm., 28/12/2008). Peter recalled that when the CSIRO first went to the Hermitage they pulled out the front verandahs wooden columns and made unattractive sandstone ones. These have since been replaced with timber, and painted green. The family used the rear verandah more, which faced north and was sunny. The Nicholsons had the house's cedar joinery restored at one stage.

Elinor Nicholson was a great gardener and had an elaborate garden. She was so pleased with the appearance of the garden in c.1938 that she had photographer Harold Cazneaux take a series of photographs of it. She had a full time gardener who lived in, and whose wife was the family's cook. The family kept a cow which the gardener milked, had a very big fowl yard and chooks. The grounds were extensive with a number of outbuildings, one of which was converted in the mid 1930s to a workshop for woodworking. Peter Nicholson's jobs included raking the long gravel drive every Saturday and to mow the lawns. Banana trees grew in the back (courtyard) garden. Behind that was an orchard with quite a few trees. Mrs Nicholson planted the sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) in the centre of the back lawn (where apparently there was a well, covered over before the Nicholson's time) where the bananas had been. One of the boys planted an acorn around the other side of the house which grew into a considerable-sized tree.

There was a stable outside and an extra toilet. Peter Nicholson recollected that the same man who installed the sewer connection, a Mr McMahon from Pymble, also built the beautiful stone wall, parallel to the drive, in front of the house (enclosing the front flower garden and lawn with a central path to the front door)(the wall has since been demolished) and some crazy stone paving around the site. The family had a fishpond with a fountain in the side garden and extensive shrubberies (Curby, 2003, 7-9). A stone table near a bird bath is shown in a photograph of two daughters from the 1940s (Curby, 2003, 11).

During the war the family built a tennis court and had a lot of friends over for tennis on Saturdays. As the Ryde School was a long way (about a mile) away, Mrs Nicholson had a governess come to teach the three older children at home. This was the first of a number of governesses who came by day, not living in. Mrs Nicholson entertained a lot, missionaries from overseas and friends. She bought a house over Pennant Avenue at one stage to put up overseas missionaries, while they settled. She was a very keen Anglican and supported various missions. Mr Nicholson got involved in having a big Christian mission, erecting a big marquee in the cow paddock on the Blaxland Road frontage, once a year, with teaching sessions by day and night. Mrs Nicholson set up a Sunday School in the house for neighbouring children as she was worried they were so far from St. Anne's church and not going to it, or to Sunday School there.

The Sunday School grew so big the family had a separate hall erected in Pennant Avenue. It was a Hudson pre-cut building that could seat 50-60 people. When the property was sold to the CSIRO, one of the conditions was that this building had to be moved, and it was moved to East Denistone and became the focus of the church there (Curby, 2003, 12).

Peter Nicholson recalls a Mr Roberts who lived at Wollondilly next to the Hermitage, and worked for the CSIRO wool research division. The head of this division, Dr Vic Burgmann, lived in Beecroft and it may have suited him well to have the division move to Ryde, close by (Curby, 2003, 14).

1952-1996 CSIRO Institutional Use
In 1952 the Commonwealth Government bought the property as a permanent home for the recently formed Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) wool textiles research laboratories unit. The first Officer-in -Charge was Victor Burgmann. The CSIRO further altered and added to The Hermitage. The garage was demolished and a lecture hall built in its place. The Igloo, fowl shed, tennis pavilion and tennis court were removed. A further ten large and several small buildings were built on the site. (Clive Lucas & Partners 1987) (Perumal Murphy Wu 1995)

It made immediate alterations including replacement of timber columns at south verandah with stone pillars, laboratories installed in attic, east wing and cellar, three windows in east wing bricked up, partition walls installed in several rooms, existing doors had glass inserted in upper panels, door from hall to dining room replaced with wider opening (and door reused at back hall entry), installed a reception desk in front hall, notice boards hung in outside walls of rear courtyard, rear verandah posts replaced with pipes, timber floorboards from rear verandah replaced with concrete floor, conservatory and servants' stair removed and front door stripped of paint.

Major alterations made to the garden including construction of ten large and several small buildings on the surrounding land, demolition of the garage and a lecture hall built in its place, igloo, fowl shed, tennis pavilion and court removed, new workshop built, temporary laboratory relocated from North Ryde to beside the workshop, driveway sealed off, wells were covered in and the rear yard level raised and the front gates were painted.

In 1953 the west verandah of east kitchen wing was replaced by a brick extension and the west wall of the wing and internal walls were demolished to house the lunch room and mens' locker room.

In 1958 a second storey was added to the kitchen wing to house the library. A corrugated iron hipped roof above the west wing store rooms was replaced by a flat roof in 1959 (Clive Lucas and Partners 1987) (Perumal Murphy Wu 1995)(Rappoport, 2012, 7-8). Roof slates turned and roof battens replaced on main roof and east wing. Lead hip and ridge flashings replaced with galvanised steel equivalent.

c1962 the front gates removed and driveway entry repositioned to existing location.
c1960-65 a doorway was inserted from the rear passage to the Chief's room. The attic was partitioned off.

In 1970 a conference room added to kitchen wing. c1970 the benches in lunch room were remodelled.
In february 1975 the library was extended above conference room. Also in the 1970s acousting panelling was hung on walls and ceilings of various rooms.

in september 1982 The Hermitage was listed on the Register of the National Estate, resulting in conservation works beginning on site.

In 1985-6 the laboratories were removed. Three formerly bricked-up windows in east wing were remade to match the single existing original by the CSIRO on-site works team. New window frames and sahses were installed and some of the non-original partitions were removed.

The CSIRO occupied the site until July 1996 when its Division of Wool Technology relocated the Ryde Wool Textile functions to Geelong (Curby, 2003, 3).

Between the 1990s and 2000s the site was returned to private ownership, remaining unoccupied until the present owner, Maksim Holdings purchased the site.

In 2001 restoration works commenced to the house.

Between 2009-12 - further conservation works implemented to return site to appearance prior to arrival of the CSIRO (Rappoport, 2012, 7-9).

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. Parramatta River-
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. Topography: How did the environment, topography and the River influence early settlement? Is there a strong relationship-Peopling the Continent Contact
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-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Farming by emancipated convicts on land grants-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Creating a gentleman's estate-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Attempting to transplant European farming practices to Australian environments-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Growing vines and maintaining vineyards-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Orcharding-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Clearing land for farming-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Ancillary structures - wells, cisterns-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Science-Activities associated with systematic observations, experiments and processes for the explanation of observable phenomena Experimenting with animals-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Science-Activities associated with systematic observations, experiments and processes for the explanation of observable phenomena Researching biology and biological processes-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Science-Activities associated with systematic observations, experiments and processes for the explanation of observable phenomena Researching agronomy and pastoral industries-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Science-Activities associated with systematic observations, experiments and processes for the explanation of observable phenomena Scientific promotion and education-
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 Selecting land for pastoral or agricultural purposes-
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 Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Resuming private lands for public purposes-
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 Granting Crown lands for private farming-
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 Sub-division of large estates-
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 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 Country Estate-
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 Role of transport in settlement-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working on pastoral stations-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working with animals-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Government research station-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Federal Government-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - scientific research-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - facilitating agriculture-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - facilitating pastoralism-
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 - colonial period-
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 - Victorian gardenesque style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Building in response to natural landscape features.-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - Federation period-
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. Designing in an exemplary architectural style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Building in response to climate - verandahs-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - colonial homestead-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Interior design styles and periods - Colonial-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - Victorian (mid)-
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. Applying architectural design to utlilitarian structures-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Country estates - visiting, enjoying-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1900-1950-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1950-2000-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1788-1850-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1850-1900-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ornamental Garden-
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 bushland setting-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Valuing women's contributions-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Kitchens and servants-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in a rural homestead-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in, adapting and renovating homes for changing conditions-
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 suburbia-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Activities associated with relaxation and recreation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gardening-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Practising Anglicanism-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Conducting missions-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Providing schools and education-
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 John Bibb, architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Thomas Gosper, artist-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Professor James Pollock, Chemistry, University 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 David Nicholson, businessman-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Harold Cazneaux, photographer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Blaxland, wealthy free settler, pastoralist-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site and The Hermitage has historical associations with the important pioneer Blaxland family, and is directly related to another early Blaxland residence, Brush Farm. There is some dispute but the Hermitage may be a very rare known surviving domestic work of the notable mid-nineteenth century architect John Bibb. It is one of a small group of approximatley five extant pre-1850 buildings in Ryde Municipality which is the second earliest market garden settlement in Sydney. The site is a clear and typical example of 'Pure Merino' land holders amalgamating settled market garden land grants, demonstrating the colonial process of wealthy families establishing dominant freehold gentlemans estates. It was once the former residence of the eminent physicist, Professor James Pollock. It was the site of a Sunday School conducted by the Nicholsan family in the 1930s. (Clive Lucas and Partners 1987) (Perumal Murphy Wu 1995)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Hermitage is a rare (albiet altered) exemplar conforming entirely to the common perceived form of the Australian colonial house of the early Victorian period. It contains original elements of individual joinery. The site is an important element in the Parramatta River landscape and a local visual landmark. The broad landscape of the locality and the garden surroundings are the setting for a house of high cultural significance. The garden contains six mature plants and part of the driveway which are the original to a building of high cultural significance. (Clive Lucas Stapleton 1987)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The hermitage and its site contain a resource for the study of the architecture and landscape of a suburban dating back to the 1830s. The site contains a unique resource for the conservation and interpretation of the place. The specimen of Bauhinia leichardtii in The Hermitage garden is very rare as one of the two specimens known to be in the Sydney region( the other is at Camden Park). (Clive Lucas and Partners 1987)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The surviving original fabric of the main, east and west wings and the sandstone extension is a rare but altered example of an early colonial house. (Perumal Murphy Wu 1995)
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The site and The Hermitage belong to a small group of approximately ten important historic and architecturally significant sites in the ryde area (Clive Lucas and Partners 1987)
Integrity/Intactness: The site and building is a mixture of several periods of alterations. (Clive Lucas and Partners 1987)
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:

The garden surrounding the Hermitage should be retained and conserved as the setting for a house of high cultural significance. The elements of the garden original to The Hermitage should be retained and conserved. The visual connection of the site and The Hermitage to other historic and architectural sites in the Ryde area should be retained and conserved. No works or activities should obscure this visual relationship . The relationshipo of The Hermitage to its setting should be conserved. The archoaeological potential of the site should be conserved. The rare specimen of Bauhinia leichhardtii (now B.hookeri) should be retained and conserved (CLSP, 1987, 6.1.8-11, 13 constraints).

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 SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

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

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0077702 Apr 99   
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0077711 Sep 98   
Local Environmental Plan     
Heritage study     
National Trust of Australia register      
Register of the National Estate  28 Sep 82   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Map  Plans of Proposed Work
WrittenAMAC Archaeological2012Final Archaeological Report - The Hermitage, 1-13 Pennant Avenue, Denistone, NSW
WrittenAshton, William1995Conservation Plan - Volume 2 - Landscape Assessment - 1-11 Anzac Avenue, Denistone
WrittenCharles Parkinson2003Archaeological Monitoring of Concrete Slab removal at the Hermitage, 1-13 Pennant Denistone NSW (Letter)
WrittenClive Lucas & Partners Pty Ltd1987The Hermitage and Wollondilly - CSIRO Division of Textile Physics - Conservation Analysis and Draft Conservation Policy
WrittenCurby, Pauline2003The Hermitage, Mermories of the 1930s
WrittenEdward Higginbotham2001Archaeological Management Plan for the The Hermitage and Wollondilly, 1-13 Pennant Avenue, Denistone NSW 2112
WrittenMusecape P/L (Chris Betteridge)2001The Hermitage - Heritage Landscape Report
WrittenPerumal Murphy Wu Pty Ltd1995Conservation Plan for 1-11 Anzac Avenue Denistone
WrittenPollen, F. (Ed.) & Healy, G.1996Ryde (entry), in The Book of Sydney Suburbs
WrittenRappoport P/L Heritage Consultants2012Interpretation Strategy of the Hermitage for Lot 1 Anzac Avenue, Denistone Interpretation Strategy of the Hermitage, for Lot 1 ANZAC Avenue, Denistone
WrittenRobert Moore, Geoffrey Britton and Anthony Rodd1999The Hermitage and Wollondilly - 1-13 Pennant Avenue, Denistone - Curtilage Study (including Cultural Landscape assessment)

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: 5045683
File number: 09/3947; S96/01329


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