Brough House | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Brough House

Item details

Name of item: Brough House
Other name/s: Grossman and Brough House Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -32.7350488257 Long: 151.5531932330
Primary address: 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
LOT435 DP46743
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Church StreetMaitlandMaitlandMaitlandNorthumberlandPrimary Address
Scotia StreetMaitlandMaitland  Alternate Address


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 (Grossman 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.


Builder/Maker: Isaac Beckett, Samuel Owens.
Construction years: 1860-1862
Physical description: Isaac Beckett and Samuel Owen built Grossmann and 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: 1920’s - addition of a Kitchen and upper floor washrooms were added to Brough House.
1965 - shutters were restored to the ground floor and a small flat installed on the first floor for a resident curator.
1974 - minor changes were made to Brough House to facilitate an art gallery and enable limited use of two musical rehearsal rooms on the first floor by the Newcastle Conservatorium.
1979 - front verandahs have been reinstated after a lengthy absence from both formal facades.

Street front verandahs to Brough House restored. General restoration of Brough House, the gardens and the outbuilding(s) has never occurred. (Tanner,1986)
Former use: Residence, Maitland Girls' High School, museum, art gallery.


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 Bough house were constructed opposite Church of St. Mary, near railway and away from the threat of flood.

In 1860 the house was occupied by Samuel Owen and his wife Margaret (Eyre) Owen.

In 1919 the Department of Education purchased the house to convert into a school hostel.

In 1972 the Department of Education granted permissive occupancy to the National Trust of Australia (NSW).

In 1974 Maitland City Council agreed to house Maitland Art Gallery and share the upper floor with the Music Conservatorium. The Maitland City Council under the auspices of the National Trust manages Brough House. In 1975 the Maitland Art Gallery opened to the public.

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).

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]
Brough 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]
Brough 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, Brough House mirrors its neighbour Grossman 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]
Brough House is socially signifciant 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]
Brough 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)
Brough 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)
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: Brough 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
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

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

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

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

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

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

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0149501 Mar 02 541449

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismHeritage NSW2013Brough House (1862) Maitland
WrittenHoward Tanner and Associates Pty Ltd.1986Grossmann House, Brough House: Management Plan.
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW)2000State Heritage Inventory nomination form
WrittenThe National Trust of Australia (NSW).1976Classification card - Grossmann House Group.

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: 5051263
File number: H00/00224/001

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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