Parramatta District Hospital - Brislington and Landscape | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Parramatta District Hospital - Brislington and Landscape

Item details

Name of item: Parramatta District Hospital - Brislington and Landscape
Other name/s: Brislington & Landscape - Parramatta District Hospital
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Health Services
Category: Hospital
Location: Lat: -33.8129684710 Long: 151.0021044560
Primary address: 10 George Street, Parramatta, NSW 2150
Local govt. area: Parramatta
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Deerubbin
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT23 DP1173876
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
10 George StreetParramattaParramatta  Primary Address
CNR Marsden StreetParramattaParramattaSt JohnCumberlandAlternate Address
CNR George StreetParramattaParramattaSt JohnCumberlandDuplicate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Ministry of HealthState Government 

Statement of significance:

Brislington is the oldest extant example of the archetypal early colonial two-storey townhouse privately built in mainland Australia. It has been associated with the medical profession since 1851 having been a doctors residence and practice and associations with the Parramatta District Hospital. This represents an extensive relationship with the community of Parramatta over an unparalleled period of time.

Association with notable people. Evidence of the major role of colonial and state government in Parramatta. Site possesses potential to contribute to an understanding early urban development in Parramatta.

Contains one of the first five wells dug (by colonists) in Australia, one of originally three on the property. (Parramatta Hospitals Archives Committee, 1983).

The Port Jackson fig tree (Ficus rubiginosa) which predates 1857, still growing in the remnant front garden is probably the oldest tree on the Parramatta Hospital site. Its geographic location relates directly to the formal symmetry of the house's façade.
Date significance updated: 24 Mar 10
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Builder/Maker: John Hodge
Construction years: 1819-1821
Physical description: Large two storey Old Colonial Georgian building - free standing house in red brick laid in Flemish bond built 1819-21. Later (c. 1910) verandahs to ground floor. Roof, now slated, is hipped. The front garden screened by a large Port Jackson Fig Tree provides an appropriate setting.

AZP Reference: PC 34 and Parramatta Hospital Sites: PC 31, 32, 33, 1. DP235337

Walls constructed in warm red brickwork laid in Flemish bond. The roof is slated. Verandah and entrance porch has brick column bases with timber columns and bracketing with a slate roof.

Small (remnant) garden, with large pre 1857 Port Jackson fig (Ficus rubiginosa) on George Street, jelly palm (Butia capitata) near the south-western corner of the house, and more recent cottage plantings in beds edging lawn.

Cellar entry is on rear of eastern (north-south axis) wing of house.

Garden contains two foundation stone tablets both relocated from the former "Cottage Hospital" designed by John Sulman, of Sulman & Power Architects, Government Architect.

One stone tablet dates from 1 May 1901, commemorating The Hon. John See, NSW Premier's opening of a wing of the hospital.

The other stone tablet dates from 4 June 1896, commemorating Viscount Hampden, State Governor's opening the cottage hospital.
Modifications and dates: Built 1819-21 and set on an acre and a quarter of ground

c1910 ground floor verandahs added, with stumpy brick pier posts, twin timber posts, heavy timber brackets, and gabled entrance bay.

Two storey eastern bay is another addition. Some internal alterations made.

1930s?/40s? Front verandah added to (southern elevation) house, facing George Street.

1949 resumed by Parramatta District Hospital for health related uses (nursing home from 1949).

1970s?/redevelopment of the adjacent Parramatta District Hospital with a new Accident & Emergency wing directly north of Hambledon, three stories tall.

1982 restoration by Parramatta Hospitals, Parramatta City Council and NSW Heritage Council involved demolition of two rear wings (one two storey to the east, one one storey to the west) on the recommendation of National Trust.
Further information: CPS; AZP; Brislington House: Conservation Analysis and draft conservation guidelines. Final Draft, April 1991, Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners, For Dept of Public Works
Current use: Nurses' Home
Former use: Hotel, Doctor's Residence


Historical notes: Built 1819-21 for emancipist trader and publican, John Hodges, and probably used as the 'Anchor & Hope' Inn. Occupied by Sir George Wigram Allen from 1840s to 1857. Local history claims that Hodges won a thousand pounds in a card game at the nearby Woolpack Inn - the 8 of diamonds being his winning card. It is believed that to commemorate his luck, he had the convict bricklayers work the diamond pattern into the back wall of the building.

Then set on an acre and a quarter of ground, the building was 'large and commodious', with four rooms on each floor, a variety of outhouses consisting of kitchen and pantry, a large cellar, two servants' bedrooms, a four stall stable and a coach house and possessing one of the first wells in Parramatta town. Hodges was found guilty of stealing a large stone from the Government Quarry to build his kitchen fireplace, his conviction leading to the forced sale advertisement in the Sydney Gazette on 14 April 1825.

The property had various owners until 1857, including George Wigram Allen (1840s).

In 1857 passed to Dr Walter Brown, the first of three generations of Doctors Brown, establishing a long association with the medical profession. Brown named the house Brislington after his home town in Bristol, England, commencing 95 years and three generations of the family's practise of medicine on this site (until 1952). Walter Brown died in 1896, his wife Sigismunda in 1903, both being buried in St. John's cemetery, Parramatta.
The Port Jackson fig tree (Ficus rubiginosa) at the front gate was already large in 1857 when Brown bought the property.

From 1949, it became a part of Parramatta Hospital and was used as a nurses' home.

1970s demolition proposed but not proceeded with. The role of Parramatta Hospital was changing and it ceased to provide acute surgical care, meaning Brislington was no longer needed for accomodation. (1970s Accident & Emergency wing of the hospital built next to Brislington to the north facing Marsden Street, 1977 Westmead hospital opened, 1983 last patient left Jeffrey House, further north on Marsden Street from Brislington/A& E wing).

From 1983 (when the Archives Committee was established by both Parramatta and Westmead Hospitals to guard their history) until the present Brislington has been used as a nursing/hospital museum, housing a medical and nursing display for public viewing. (Parramatta Hospitals Archive Committee, 1983)

Archaeological Site Data Convict Allotment and Hut, 1790. Pre 1823 leases: Timothy Hollister, 16 July 1804 (LTO Book 3C No 140) C 1804 map: No.3. 1823 return: John Hodges. 1823 Leases: none. Grant: John Hodges, 30 June 1823 (LTO Book 26. No 4) Sec 19. Allot 98. Sites of buildings: c1792 map: convict hut. c.1804 map: 2 buildings. 1823 map: building. 1844 map: same building, masonry, another building of wood.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 Demonstrating emancipist's entrepreneurial activities-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Innkeeping-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Health-Activities associated with preparing and providing medical assistance and/or promoting or maintaining the well being of humans (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Health-Activities associated with preparing and providing medical assistance and/or promoting or maintaining the well being of humans Caring for the sick in hospitals-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Health-Activities associated with preparing and providing medical assistance and/or promoting or maintaining the well being of humans Operating public hospitals-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Providing drinking water-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in health care-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing and maintaining a local museum-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Aaron Muron Bolot, architect-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Brislington is the oldest extant domestic structure within the town of Parramatta being built in 1821. It is a building of the Macquarie period.

The site's incorporation of a well, known as one of the first to be sunk in Parramatta and an extremely rare extant example of a house and well in an urban setting. (Conservation Analysis and Draft Conservation Guidelines, Clive Lucas Stapleton & Partners 1991)
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The association of the building with John Hodges, an early 'character' of New South Wales, providing a link with the early colonial township of Parramatta.

The association of the building and site with the Brown family, from whom the name 'Brislington' is derived and who occupied the home as a residence for over ninety years.

The association with of the building with nineteenth century identities such as George Wigram Allen and Alfred George Lloyd.

The site has been associated with the Parramatta District Hospital since c.1850. (Conservation Analysis and Draft Conservation Guidelines, CLive Lucas Stapleton & Partners 1991)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The building retains elements of its original fabric including sash windows, doors, fanlight, elements of the stair, cellar details and chimneys.

The building substantially retains its exterior fabric. The date of the building makes the bricks and flagstones extremely rare especially in a in-situ domestic urban setting.

The building incorporates an unusual decorative feature on its north-east exterior wall in the form of burnt bricks in a diamond design.

The original design of the building incorporates the unusual feature (in early colonial buildings) of two fronts.

The building possesses a Edwardian period front verandah, albeit reduced, and entrance door. (Conservation Analysis and Draft Conservation Guidelines, Clive Lucas Stapleton & Partners 1991)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The site has been continuously occupied since the earliest days of European occupation in Australia. Thesite can potentially hold information pertaining to his period. The site has had the present dwelling on it since 1821. The iste therefore may have archaeological potential in revealing aspects about earlier configurations of the house and land and aspects of the garden. (Conservation Analysis and Draft Conservation Guidelines, CLive Lucas Stapleton & Partners 1991)
SHR Criteria f)
This item is rare. The oldest existing building in Parramatta.
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:

another former file is S90/6870

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act Refer to standard exemptions gazetted 23 October 1998.

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) Garden maintenance including cultivation, pruning and tree surgery (but not extensive lopping), weed control and the repair and maintenance of existing fences, gates and garden walls.
Dec 5 1986
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementParramatta Hospital and Attorney-General's Carpark Site, Parramatta NSW (DPWS Heritage Group, Jan 02) May 8 2003
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 0005902 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0005918 Feb 83 320750
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register 03/2/6/100301 Feb 92   
Local Environmental Plan  27 Feb 97 20 
Register of the National Estate  21 Mar 78   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
City of Parramatta Heritage Study1993204Meredith Walker  Yes
Department of Community Services - Preliminary s170 Register199303/2/6/100State Projects Heritage Group  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenBartok, Di2013'Our oldest house for sale', in The Parramatta Advertiser, 11/12/13
WrittenClive Lucas Stapleton & Partners1991 Conservation Analysis and Draft Conservation Guidelines
WrittenCumberland Area Health Service1988Caring for Convicts & the Community - a history of Parramatta Hospital
TourismParramatta City Council2006Brislington Museum View detail
WrittenParramatta Hospitals Archives Committee1983Brislington 1821

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: 5051397
File number: 10/21989; S90/06154; S90/06653

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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