Grossman House | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Grossman House

Item details

Name of item: Grossman House
Other name/s: Brough and Grossmann House Group, Maitland Girl’s High School; Grossmann House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -32.7353046039 Long: 151.5528172030
Primary address: 71 Church Street, Maitland, NSW 2320
Parish: Maitland
County: Northumberland
Local govt. area: Maitland
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Mindaribba
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT411 DP39556
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
71 Church StreetMaitlandMaitlandMaitlandNorthumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
National Trust of Australia (NSW)Community Group 

Statement of significance:

A large Victorian town house, which forms an interesting group with its twin (Brough House) next door now largely, restored in its original form. Built by merchants in partnership, they form an impressive residential partnership of the 1860’s. The historical associations of these two buildings make them of great interest in their relationship to the original owners and later use as part of the Maitland Girls' High School. (National Trust, 1976)
Date significance updated: 11 Oct 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

Builder/Maker: Isaac Beckett and Samuel Owen
Construction years: 1860-1862
Physical description: Garden:

The rose garden was planned and planted in 1973. The garden remains largely unaltered since it was established. The idea was not to replicate roses entirely from the 1870s when Grossmann House was (newly) built, but rather to select heritage species (cultivars) which would give recurrent flowering over a long period. Different families of roses were selected, including species from China which are better suited to Australian conditions than are European varieties. The roses were selected from Ross Roses Nursery in South Australia (Todd, 2014, 180.

A map made in 1976 of the 1973 rose garden plantings was used in 2003 as the basis of an updated inventory of the roses. Over 60% of the original plantings had survived over 30 years. Today there are 33 varieties of which 27 date from the 1973 plantings. Some of the species were developed around the time Grossmann House was (newly) built, 1870-71. 'Zepherine Drouhin' (1868) is a climbing pink rose that is thornless and good for training over archways, 'Paul Neyron' (1869) is nicknamed 'the cabbage rose' and 'Louise Odier', highly fragrant, is said to be used in the French perfume 'Joy'. 'Aimee Vibert' (1828), another of the climbers planted in 1973, was one of the first roses in the colony, brought in originally for the Macarthurs' garden. In 2013 the Hunter Valley Rose Society offered to help look after the Grossmann House rose garden. More new species have been added and the garden is both a visual delight and fascinating to anyone interested in the heritage of roses (Todd, 2014, 18)

House:
Isaac Beckett and Samuel Owen built Grossmann and the neighbouring Brough House in 1860 to 1862. The strong business partnership between the two merchants, Owen and Beckett, is reflected in the construction of their identical two storey Victorian houses next door to each other.

Local red sandstone bricks are the primary medium and detailing incorporates a harmonious use of buff sandstone and painted cast iron and timber. Large verandahs at the front and rear (west and east) formed an integral part of the design. The hipped roof is covered with corrugated iron.

Internal planning is sensible, providing easy circulation and spacious main rooms. Based on a centre hall plan the front entrances become side doors and the length of the house extends along Church Street, thereby optimising the verandah and views. Original internal joinery is cedar and this, along with other interior finishes (plaster, tiles, timber flooring) are presented with little embellishment.

The gardens were generous in size and, perhaps predictably, given the symmetry of Owen and Beckett's arrangement, the laundry building is situated on the centre line of the properties. This simple, rectilinear structure has a central partition, dividing the area thus providing each resident with semi-private facilities.
(The National Trust of Australia (NSW),1976).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition is good.
Date condition updated:30 Jun 00
Modifications and dates: 1973: rose garden installed.
1986: street- front verandahs to house restored, basic kitchen and bathroom facilities introduced to serve a caretaker. General restoration of house, gardens and outbuilding(s) has never occurred (Tanner,1986)

2000: stone memorial placed in the rose garden to commemorate Dr.s John & Wilga Abrahams by their family.
Current use: House Museum
Former use: Residence, Maitland Girls’ High School, museum, art gallery.

History

Historical notes: During the nineteenth century, Maitland was an important commercial centre in the Hunter Valley. Its origins as a camp for convict timber loggers led to the realisation of the extremely fertile soil and potential for agricultural prosperity. By the 1840s Maitland was established as the chief town of the region, its population exceeding only that of Sydney. The business industry flourished as Maitland adopted the role of the trade centre, providing services and supplies to rural industries.

It was during this successful period that local business partners Samuel Owens and Isaac Beckett built their two homes, Brough House and Grossmann House. The businessmen formed their partnership in 1838, however the houses were not built until 1860.

In 1838 Owen and Beckett Partnership established General Merchants, Tailors and Woolbrokers, Wine and Spirit and tobacco Merchants.

In 1860 Grossmann and Brough house were constructed opposite Church of St. Mary, near railway and away from the threat of flood.

In 1860 Grossmann House was occupied by the owner Isaac and his wife and daughter, Caroline and Sarah.

After the death of Beckett in 1880 the property was left to his wife and then son, Thomas Cooper Beckett.

In 1890 the property was sold to J.D Prentice. In 1893 Grossmann and Brough House were purchased by the Department of Public Infrastructure for a Girl's High School, its name being derived from the first headmistress, Miss Jeanette Grossmann. Miss Grossmann was principal at the school from 1890-1913.

In 1963 the house was presented to the Hunter Regional Trust for the use of a house museum. The National Trust of Australia (NSW) decorated the interior to present artefacts from the 1860s. The upper floor also provides simple custodian accommodation.

In 1966 the National Trust took control of the property and opened the house for public viewing. The Department of Education owned the property at the time, and the National Trust has secured a permissive occupancy agreement.

The rose garden at Grossman House was planned and planted in 1973 by members of the Hunter Valley Rose Society. The garden remains largely unaltered since it was established. The idea was not to replicate roses entirely from the 1870s when Grossmann House was (newly) built, but rather to select heritage species (cultivars) which would give recurrent flowering over a long period. Different families of roses were selected, including species from China which are better suited to Australian conditions than are European varieties. The roses were selected from Ross Roses Nursery in South Australia (Todd, 2014, 180.

Wilga Jessie Ferguson was born in Sydney in April 1927. She graduated from Sydney University in Medicine with Honours and, in 1951, she married Dr John Abrahams. They established their home and extensive garden at Bolwarra and raised their family of seven children (six sons and one daughter). I remember my mother taking friends and visitors around the garden at Bolwarra, reciting botanical names in Latin, thereby revealing her scientific and classical education and her passion for horticulture. Wilga died in July 1976 after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

John Joseph Abrahams was born in Sydney in November. He graduated in Medicine in 1950 and entered General Practive with Dr Frank Bonar in Maitland in 1953 where he was well respected as a comprehensive family doctor.
Throughout his life, John showed prowes and passion for all physical activites, especially on the water. He retired from medicine practive in 1999, after 46 years in General Practive in the Maitland community and died in his leep in March 2000. He is survived by six children and nine grandchildren. We thank the National Trust and Grossman House for allowing our family to place the stone memorial in the rose garden. We congratulate Grossman House on the careful presentation of the garden (Hector Abrahams, date?).

In 1978 the State Government added Grossman House to the Brough House reserve for the preservation of historic sites and buildings and the National Trust of Australia (NSW) were appointed trust managers (Tanner,1986:5).

A map made in 1976 of the 1973 rose garden plantings was used in 2003 as the basis of an updated inventory of the roses. Over 60% of the original plantings had survived over 30 years. Today there are 33 varieties of which 27 date from the 1973 plantings. Some of the species were developed around the time Grossmann House was (newly) built, 1870-71. 'Zepherine Drouhin' (1868) is a climbing pink rose that is thornless and good for training over archways, 'Paul Neyron' (1869) is nicknamed 'the cabbage rose' and 'Louise Odier', highly fragrant, is said to be used in the French perfume 'Joy'. 'Aimee Vibert' (1828), another of the climbers planted in 1973, was one of the first roses in the colony, brought in originally for the Macarthurs' garden. In 2013 the Hunter Valley Rose Society offered to help look after the Grossmann House rose garden. More new species have been added and the garden is both a visual delight and fascinating to anyone interested in the heritage of roses (Todd, 2014, 18).

2014 saw visitation increase by 34% with fundraising days, local house 'open days', a candlelight soiree, sales of home produce and walking tours. A NSW Government grant eneabled painting of the exteriors of Brough and Grossmann Houses in matching colours, another step towards linking the mirror-image properties as conceived over 140 years ago (Silink & Hayes, 2014).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-
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. (none)-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Grossmann House reflects the introduction of public education in New South Wales. Historically the house reflect Maitland’s nineteenth century prosperity and significance, especially in its location on the axis between the railway station and High streets. The architectural design of the Victorian Terraces also adds to the historical significance of developing a township. (Tanner,1986)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Grossmann House forms an integral part of an historic nineteenth century townscape dominated by St Mary’s Church, large fig trees, residences and gardens. Built on Church Street, directly adjacent to the Church of St. Mary, Grossman House mirrors its neighbour Brough House. Built side by side in Victorian style (with Georgian simplicity), these asymmetrical structures are characteristic of the substantial residential buildings of the era. The buildings reflect a prosperous period for Maitland. Therefore the site makes a significant and attractive contribution to the present streetscape and to the district as a whole. (Tanner,1986:4)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Grossman House is socially significant for its long association with the public as a schoolhouse, museum and art gallery add to the social recognition and use of the property. (Tanner,1986)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Grossman House serves as a museum of early Maitland urban life and relates well to the other nineteenth century buildings nearby. (Tanner,1986)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Grossmann House is a rare intact Victorian townhouse providing an accurate representation and presentation of the eighteenth century through its furnishings and architecture. (Tanner,1986)
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The properties represent the eighteenth century architecture by providing two intact identical Victorian Townhouses. The furnishings represent the times and the long associations with the Education Department. (Tanner,1986)
Integrity/Intactness: Grossman House is largely intact.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
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 0149901 Mar 02 541450
Local Environmental PlanMaitland LEP 2011I13716 Dec 11   
National Trust of Australia register Grossmann House (part of G.House Group)382105 Apr 76   
Register of the National EstateGrossmann House125223 Oct 78   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Grossman House View detail
TourismHeritage NSW2013Grossmann House (1862) Maitland
WrittenHoward Tanner and Associates Pty Ltd.1986Grossmann House, Brough House: Management Plan.
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW)2000State Heritage Inventory form
WrittenSilink, Richard & Hayes, Gerry2014'Grossmann House, Maitland'
WrittenThe National Trust of Australia (NSW).1976Classification Card: Grossmann House Group.
WrittenTodd, Alan2014'Grossmann House - a profusion of roses'
TourismTourism NSW2007Grossmann House Heritage Walk View detail
TourismTourism NSW2007Grossmann House View detail

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5051262
File number: H00/00223


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