Redstone | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Redstone

Item details

Name of item: Redstone
Other name/s: The Winter House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -33.7974236930 Long: 151.0401303030
Primary address: 34 Adderton Road, Telopea, NSW 2117
Parish: Field Of Mars
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Parramatta
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT7 DP24969
PART LOT8 DP24969

Boundary:

The site consists of Lot 7 and that part of Lot 8 of DP 24969 from the north-eastern corner of Lot 7 to a point six metres west of the south-eastern corner of Lot 8, measured along the southern boundary of Lot 8.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
34 Adderton RoadTelopeaParramattaField Of MarsCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

Redstone is of state significance as an outstandingly intact example of the small-scale domestic work of the architect Walter Burley Griffin. An American student of Frank Lloyd Wright, Griffin is one of the most acclaimed designers to have practised in Australia. His extant works are rare internationally and important within Australia for introducing aspects of the Prairie School style of architecture.
The intactness of Redstone's interiors, including its fixtures and fittings, is extremely rare and of state significance. The garden, though not designed by Walter Burley Griffin, is a fine intact example of an interwar garden which contributes to the setting of the house.
Date significance updated: 11 Jun 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.

Description

Designer/Maker: Walter Burley Griffin
Construction years: 1935-1935
Physical description: A small sandstone and brick single-storey house, with a detached garage in similar style, set in a large open and intact inter-war era garden.

The double pitched overlay roof of 'Super-6' corrugated asbestos cement has wide splayed, dark-stained timber bargeboards and deep overhanging eaves. External walls to sill height are of locally quarried (Telopea) sandstone. Above sill height, natural-coloured cement rendered walls form piers between very fine timber framed window and doors. There are heavy sandstone bookend walls to east and west elevations. A rustic sandstone chimney dominates the front view of the house.

The RAIA has described the style of the house as 'Interwar exotic' and a 'unique resolution of a compact, economic, suburban villa' (RAIA, 1979).

The original clients, Edward and Greta Winter, had three stipulations only regarding the house design: that the house NOT have a flat roof; that there be no steps and that every bedroom have a washbasin (K Lee, pers comm 2008, Boesel: 2008).

Greta Winter also wanted double the Council-required setback from the (then dirt) road. Walter Burley Griffin sited the house on the highest point of the original orchard, a position that in 1935 enabled views eastwards to the city and south to the Parramatta River. Typically for Griffin, the house is constructed directly upon the ground, separated only by a layer of tar, then gravel, then timber boards onto which the native cypress pine (Callitris sp.) floorboards are laid. According to acknowledged Griffin expert, Professor James Weirick of the University of NSW, one of Griffin's great enthusiasms was building directly onto the ground, for which he developed a technique with extensive use of bitumen (J. Weirick, pers. comm. 2008).

In 1975 Peter Harrison produced a re-drawn plan of Redstone from Walter Burley Griffin's 1935 originals. Harrison renamed the Lounge as Living (room); the Scullery as the Utility (room) and the south-east facing Entry as the Porch. The rooms are refered to below by Griffin's names, with Harrison's following in brackets.

The front and back entrances open directly from the lounge room (living room) and back entry (porch) respectively onto patios shaded by large roof overhangs. It was Griffin's intention that the two entrances should have similar features and not be strongly differentiated. The south east facing entry (porch) was used by Edward Winter as a breakfast room and later by his widow Greta as her sitting room. The front entrance displays the original lettered sign, 'Redstone'.

Original features include:
A) Throughout the house
- all floorings, being cypress pine timber except for mosaic tiles in the bathroom and painted cement render in the scullery (utility)..
- dark-stained timber skirting boards
- dark-stained timber doors
- recessed dark-stained timber casement windows
- unusual square, flush ceiling light fittings throughout the house
- dark-stained timber screens in the dining and lounge (living) rooms and corridor with brass rods

and additionally in the following areas:

B) Lounge (Living) room:
- the sunken fireplace (restored) with its ash pan opening to the outside for ease of cleaning. The lidded excavated exterior opening with its original iron shutter door, is set into the ground at the base of the sandstone chimney.
- a deeply recessed casement window with a planted window box in the western sandstone bay

C) Dining room
- three dark-stained and painted timber French doors that open onto the garden
- a fitted recessed dark-stained timber sideboard with mirror (which includes the original paint finish inside the cupboard)
- cabinetry with a two-way drawer to the kitchen

D) Kitchen
- a twin "German silver" sink, single swivel tap spout and piping (but not the tap handles)
- timber shelving against the window above the sink
- all cupboards and drawers (with a two-way drawer to the dining room) and work top (but not the resurfacing)

E) Scullery (Utility)
- a picture window in the scullery/kitchen wall

F) Entry (Porch)
- a cupboard that originally housed the ice-chest

G) Bathroom
- bath, taps, fittings, wall and floor tiles (but not the toilet, or stainless steel shower base)

H) Bedrooms
- basins, fittings, tile splash backs and mirrored toilet cabinets above basins in each bedroom
- built-in single wardrobes with doors in three bedrooms; two wardrobes and doors in the north-east corner bedroom

I) Corridor
- dark-stained timber shelving (which includes the original paint finish behind the shelves).

J) The garden is generally open in character and typifies larger gardens of the middle class of the inter-war era in its general layout, 'clothed boundaries' and selection of plants favoured. Its main feature is a a large sweep of lawn around the house to its north, west and south. A bank of shrubs near the house's north-west corner separates a smaller rectilinear lawn facing the bedrooms on the northern side of the house.
The boundaries to the house's north, west and south fairly densely planted with shrubs and some trees. To the house's east the garage is flanked by beds and banks of shrubs and some fruit trees and other shrubs are planted on the additional lot to the east.

The garden contains several trees planted by Edward Winter and his wife, Greta. These include: a Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis) and a date palm (P.dactylifera), which is a rare multi-trunked specimen (on the lawn north-west of the house); a cape chestnut, a Chinese elm, a jacaranda, a lemon-scented gum and a guava. One fruiting plum tree (Prunus x domestica cv.) from the orcharding period survives to the house's west.

Shrubs planted by the Winters and their daughter Nella Melchert include Camellia japonica cv.s, azaleas, a holly bush near the front door, a white bird-of-paradise flower (Strelitzia nicloae) north of the house and a rare orange-flowered South African wild pomegranate (Burchellia bubalina (syn.B.capensis). The camellia near the Manson Street driveway is a scion from the camellia (C.japonica cv.) at Cliftonville. Three Sydney blue gums (Eucalyptus saligna) planted by Nella Melchert in 1980 have grown out of control and are leaning dangerously over the house.

A list of plants in the garden of Redstone at November 2008 (compiled by landscape architect Stuart Read) is outlined below.

Northern border (northwest of house)
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana;
variegated periwinkle, Vinca major 'Variegata';
Kaffir lilies, Clivia miniata;
azaleas, Rhododendron indicum ('Grandiflora' types in red, pink and white)(Kerry Lee, pers.comm., 2/2/09) cv.s;
hydrangeas, H.macrophylla cv.s;
bromeliads, Billbergia sp.;
prayer plant, Maranta sp.;
crepe myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica cv.

Bed & Border north of house
Low box hedge near house (marking a change in ground level) box, Buxus sempervirens;
2 Chinese junipers (Juniperus chinensis cv.(perhaps 'Skyrocket') in tubs near house's northern facade;
bird-of-paradise flower, Strelitzia reginae;
elephant's ear, Bergenia cordifolia;
ornamental indigo, Indigofera australis;
rose, Rosa x hybrida cv.;
Chinese hibiscus, H.rosa-sinensis cv.;
Queensland kauri, Agathus robusta (seedling, 2m high)(progeny of former kauri tree to north-east of garage, since gone)
asparagus fern, Asparagus densiflorus;
Japanese quince / japonica, Chaenomeles japonica cv.;
Camellia japonica cv.s (the largest specimen was a 21st birthday present to Nella Melchert). Greta Winter sold camellia flowers picked from her garden to florists. (pers.comm., Kerry Lee, 2/2/09);
cast iron plant, Aspidistra elatior;
tree gardenia, Gardenia thunbergia;
dwarf /pygmy date palm, Phoenix roebelinii;
Canary Island date palm, Phoenix canariensis
giant (white) bird-of-paradise flower, Strelitzia nicolae;
jacaranda, J.mimosifolia planted to 'lure' Greta Winter to Redstone, she having insisted on having camellias in the garden (Kerry Lee, pers.comm., 2/2/09);
holly (near front door) Ilex aquifolium cv. (NB: a re-sprout from the original bush/tree);
orchid tree, Bauhinia variegata;
Judas tree, Cercis siliquastrum;
guava (off S-W corner of house), Psidium cattleyanum.
fruit salad plant, Monstera deliciosa;
Cape plumbago, P.capensis;
Japanese/heavenly/sacred bamboo, Nandina domestica;
variegated lemonwood/tarata, Pittosporum eugenioides 'Variegata';
white quince/rambutan, Alectryon subcinereus;
a large Camellia japonica cv. (double pink);
Rondeletia amoena;
Mickey Mouse plant, Ochna serrulata;
spider plant, Chlorophytum comosum;
Cape / peacock iris, Moraea iridioides;
sage, Salvia sp.;
African olive, Olea europaea var. africana (syn O.europaea var. cuspidata);
red and green NZ.cabbage tree/ ti kouka, Cordyline australis (& C.a.'Rubra');
dwarf Nile/African lily, Agapanthus orientalis cv.;
Beschorneria yuccoides;
Adam's needle/Spanish bayonet, Yucca filamentosa 'Variegata';
ladder /sword fern, Nephrolepis cordifolia;
Rhododendron cv.;
autumn camellia, C.sasanqua cv.;
silver banksia, B.marginata (2);
Cape chestnut, Calodendron capense (2)
Weigela florida cv. (?Rubra) (red)
(stump, resprouting, of) black bean, Castanospermum australe (north-east corner of lawn)

Western border
fruiting plum (NB: old tree - last remaining of former orchard which the whole block once was, before/when the house was built), Prunus domestica cv.;
Cape chestnut, as above;
bottlebrush, Callistemon viminalis cv;
Palmer River lily, Doryanthes palmeri;
Indian hawthorn, Raphiolepis indica;
Canary Island/ date palm (multi-trunked specimen), Phoenix canariensis / P.dactylifera;
Cordyline terminalis cv 'Rubra' (red Cordyline);
geraniums, Pelargonium cv.s;
pea flower, Polygala myrtifolia;
Rhododendron cv. (pink);
Palm (either Lord Howe Island palm, Kentia fosteriana or bangalow palm, Archontophoenix cunninghamiana)(too young to tell yet);
Window boxes planted with ivy geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum cv.s).

Southern border
Sydney blue gum, Eucalyptus saligna (2: NB: planted c.1980s by Nella Melchert)(one is in poor condition)
lemon-scented gum, Corymbia citriodora (2: one was here when the house was built, and hasn't grown much; another was planted since and has grown larger);
Chinese elm, Ulmus parvifolia
variegated laurustinus, Viburnum tinus 'Variegata';
umbrella tree, Schefflera actinophylla;
oyster plant, Bellerophone (syn. Justicia) guttata;
Burrawang/cycad, Macrozamia communis;
Photinia glabra;
red orchid tree, Bauhinia galpinii/B.punctata;
frangipani, Plumeria rubra (white);
ornamental indigo (as above);
Thryptomene saxicola;
rose cv. (as above);
Indian shot, Canna indica cv.;
flowering WA gum, Corymbia ficifolia;
native frangipani, Hymenosproum flavum;
golden bamboo, Bambusa sp;
giant bird-of-paradise flower (as above);
christmas bush, Ceratopetalum gummiferum;
blueberry ash, Elaeocarpus reticulatus;
bottlebrush, Callistemon citrinus;
spider flower, Grevillea rosmariniifolia;
bull bay / evergreen magnolia, M.grandiflora;
sago palm/cycad, Cycas revoluta;
Chinese plumbago, Ceratostigma wilmottianum;
Indian hawthorn, Raphiolepis umbellata;
black-eyed Susan/African daisy, Arctotis acaulis cv..;
box, Buxus sempervirens;
cast iron plant, Aspidistra elatior;
(orange-flowered bush, Sth. Africa) Burchellia bubalina (Rubiaceae);
Paris daisy, Euryops pectinatus;
wax flower, Eriostemon myoporoides;
bromeliads (various);
knife-leafed wattle, Acacia cultriformis;
ornamental ginger, Hedychium gardnerianum;
Aeonium sp. (succulent);
spider flower, Grevillea sp.
native mint bush, Prostanthera sp.;
Kermadec Island Christmas bush/pohutukawa, Metrosideros kermadecensis;
Rock lily/orchid, Dendrobium speciousum

Southern side of house
Camellia japonica cv. hedge;
laurustinus, Viburnum tinus;
firespike, Odontonema calystachyum;
ladder / sword fern, as above;
prayer plant, as above;
Beaufortia sparsa;
bromeliads;
Coleus sp./cv.s;
wax flower, as above;
Cape iris, as above;
winter/lenten roses, Helleborus niger / H.orientalis cv.s;
star of the veldt, Dimorphotheca sp.;
black eyed Susan/African daisy, as above;
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana cv.s;
dwarf lily pilly, Syzygium luehmannii cv.;
cast iron plant, as above;
Gardenia radicans;
geraniums, as above;
bear's breetches, Acanthus mollis;
Indian shot, as above;
Nile / African lilies, as above;
crown fern, Blechnum discolor
guava, Psidium cattleyanum cv. (fruiting guava, replaced an earlier plum tree. Greta Winter was a keen preserver of fruit (Kerry Lee, pers.comm., 2/2/09).

South-western side of house
yesterday, today & tomorrow, Brunfelsia uniflora;
montbretias, Crocosmia masoniorum (environmental weed);
black-eyed Susan/African daisy, as above;
cast-iron plant, as above;
asparagus fern (upright), A.setaceus;
azaleas, as above (Greta's grandmothers' varieties);
Indian hawthorn, as above;
golden rod, Solidaster luteus.;
Gardenia jasminoides;
holly, Ilex aquifolium;
guava, noted above

Border west of the garage
azaleas, as above;
Kaffir lilies, as above;
Japanese sacred/heavenly bamboo, as above;
Sargent's juniper, Juniperus chinensis 'Sargentii' (in a pot SE of site)

Drive/ garage, border to east
Large specimens of Japanese sacred/heavenly bamboo, as above;
Drawf mondo grass, Ophiopogon sp.'Nana';
NZ cabbage tree/ti kouka, Cordyline australis (in a pot).

East of the drive (to the garage)
snow in summer, Melaleuca lineariifolia;
bromeliads (various);
pea flower, as above;
Kaffir plum, Harpephyllum caffrum;
Cape iris, as above;
Lantana montividensis;
rock lily/orchid, as above;
Japanese privet, Ligustrum japonicum 'Rotundifolium';
Camellia japonica cv.s (several, including one propagated from a bush from (formerly adjoining) Cliftonville (3cm double 'waratah' form, rose/shell pink);
Canary Island date palm, Phoenix canariensis (intended twin of one on western lawn which has turned out to be multi-trunked);
variegated lemonwood/tarata, as above;
giant bird-of-paradise flower, as above;
crucifix orchid, Epidendron radicans;
Paris daisy, as above;
yellow tree broom, Chamaecytisus sp.(?hirsutus);
bird-of-paradise flower, as above;
tallowwood, Citharexylon quadrangulare;
oleander, Nerium oleander cv.s (several);
Chinese hibiscus, as above;
asparagus fern, as above

Lot 8 (block to east, adjoins rear of garage)
Indian hawthorn, as above;
firethorn, Pyracantha sp;
sweet box, Murraya paniculata;
mulberry, Morus nigra;
avocado, Persea gratissima (2);
laurustinus, as above;
golden Monterey cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa 'Aurea';
Queensland nut, Macadamia integrifolia and M.tetraphylla;
bottlebrush, as above;
mangoes (2), Mangifera indica cv.s
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Redstone is the most intact surviving house designed by W.B. Griffin in NSW (LEP, 1997; Walter Burley Griffin Society Inc, 2008).

The place is in excellent physical condition.

Prior to the construction of Redstone, the subject land was used for orcharding. Therefore, the archaeological potential is considered to be low.
Date condition updated:17 Oct 08
Modifications and dates: The following changes have been made to the place in the latter 20th century:
- 1953+ The garden setting has been reduced slightly at various times since 1953 by enlargements to the adjacent streets (Adderton Road and Manson Street).
- 1950s Bathroom: a toilet was put into the bathroom (which previously consisted of only a shower and bath) when the Dundas area was connected to the metropolitan sewerage system. (The original, and extant, toilet was located in a room within the garage).

Late 1950s/early 1960s
- Lounge (Living) room: the sunken fireplace in the western wall was filled in with cement to accommodate a coke-burning Cozy stove. The Cozy was removed by 1972.

Early 1960s
- Scullery (Utility): the original green enamel Metters wood fuel stove (with four enamel legs, oven door on right and fuel door on left) that sat under the large window in the scullery/kitchen wall, was removed from the scullery. A modern cooker was installed in the kitchen, together with a refrigerator. (Previously ice was stored in an ice safe in the entry (porch) cupboard).
Possiblily at this time also the coke-fuelled industrial hot water system in the scullery cupboard (and its associated 90-gallon copper tank in the roof) were removed and replaced with an electric hot water system.
- Kitchen: New surface to the worktop installed.

1970s
- Scullery (Utility): ceramic tiling added to the scullery wall and a Stegbar door was fitted to the alcove on the south wall of the scullery that previously housed the American brand Savage electric washing machine purchased in 1935.

1987
Routine repairs were undertaken to the flashings, plaster, and pointing. All detail in the repair work matched existing.

2002
Large (and in Sydney relatively rare) Queensland kauri (Agathis robusta) cut down to the north-east of the house and garage (Walter Burley Griffin Society, pers.comm. 25/11/08). A seedling of the same tree is in the shrub border closest to the north-west corner (entry) of the house (Stuart Read, pers.comm., 26/11/08).

2008
- Upper roof: Replacement of wide timber fascia board surrounding the upper level roof in dark-stained oregon to match the original, mounted on new galvanised steel brackets maintaining the original supporting timbers.
- Bedroom 1: washbasin refinished
- Bathroom: A stainless steel tray (easily removable) laid in the shower base with no disturbance to the original tiled shower floor.
- Lounge (Living) room: the concrete infill to the fireplace hearth was removed and the original timber trim refixed, to restore the fireplace to its original configuration.
- Ceiling lights: lead sheets fitted behind ceiling light fittings to block off connections between the room interiors and the roof space.

Date unknown:
The front 'gate' entry in the site's north-western corner originally had a climbing rose cv 'Crimson Glory' - this is gone today. There was a rose bed in the lawn south-west of the house. Mr Winter was 'best-friends' with Roy Rumsey, a well-known nurseryman and gardener (commemorated in the Rumsey Rose Garden in Parramatta Park). It is possible the Winters obtained cuttings of roses and perhaps palm plants also from the Rumseys. A fruiting mango tree and a frangipani north of the house have both been removed (Kerry Lee, pers.comm., 2/2/09).
A black bean stump (Castanospermum australe) on the north-east corner of the lawn north of the house is sprouting, showing a sawn-off trunk some 30cm in diameter - this would have been a fair height tree (5-7m perhaps) before it was cut down (Stuart Read, observation, 2/2/09).
Further information: Pers Comm. from Professor James Werrick: RAIA 20th Century Buildings Register. Meredith Walker site visit 23 Jan 1992. 'Walter Burley Griffin and the Winter House', unpublished thesis for B. Arch by Paul Melchert, 1975.
Current use: private house
Former use: private house

History

Historical notes: Aboriginal occupation of this part of Sydney
The valley of the Parramatta River had been populated by Indigenous Australians for some 40,000 years before European settlement by peoples of the Darug (or Dharug) nation. The Wallumedagal (or Walumettagal) clan lived along the north bank of the Parramatta River, westward from the Lane Cove River (centred on the present day Ryde district). Further west, at the head of the Parramatta River, lived the Burramattagal (or Booramedical) of the present day Parramatta district. Seasonal burning of the long grass to encourage a fresh grass supply for native animal feed created the fertile landscape that attracted the European colonists -- large trees, spaced well apart with a grassy under storey.

Colonisation and European settlement
Governor Phillip's instructions from George III required him to begin cultivation immediately on landing at Sydney Cove. The failure of the first crops at Farm Cove turned Phillip's attention westward where he found the fertile country around The Crescent (present day Parramatta Park) and Prospect Hill that could sustain the agriculture needed to feed the infant colony. The Rose Hill (Parramatta) settlement was established late in 1788, and the 70 acres cleared for the Government Farm delivered the colony's first harvest of wheat, barley, maize, oats, vegetables and flax in late 1789. From 1791 all agricultural efforts were concentrated around Parramatta, spreading to The Ponds area (north of Victoria Road, Rydalmere, along The Ponds Creek into the Dundas Valley) in 1792 with the settlement of 14 First Fleet emancipists on 30 acre minimum land grants. Redstone is sited on part of each of two of The Ponds land grants, to William Hubbard and William Wade. Hubbard, a plasterer convicted of theft, and his emancipist wife Mary Atkinson (Goulding) successfully farmed the land and raised a family at The Ponds.

By 1834 the land on which Redstone is located was part of the Adderton Estate (with a driveway on to Kissing Point Road) where Major Robert Gerald Moffat, an officer of the Parramatta military detachment, lived with his family and convict servants until 1845. Adderton was surrounded by fruit orchards that had spread south from Carlingford and west from the Brush Farm Estate through the Dundas Valley to the Parramatta River. When the Dundas district was incorporated in 1889, its first aldermen were predominately local fruitgrowers. In 1883 Adderton was purchased as a dairy farm by orchardist Neil Harper who sent fresh milk to Parramatta twice daily. In 1885 Harper and other local residents petitioned the government to open an old track, now Adderton Road, connecting Pennant Hills Road to Kissing Point Road. Harper benefited considerably by the construction of Adderton Road and the Carlingford rail line. In the 1890s he subdivided his Adderton Estate into three to six acre blocks for orchards and small farms.

The Carlingford railway line was completed in 1896, passing near the western boundary of the Adderton Estate. Financed by the Bank of New Zealand it was the first stage of the planned extension of the private rail line from Clyde to Rosehill across the Parramatta River to the fruit growing district of Dural. The line was bought by the NSW Government in 1900, and never extended beyond Carlingford, but it did provide a rail connection to the city which influenced Edward Winter's decision to purchase land nearby for a family home in the country. Winter was reportedly influential in having Telopea station opened in 1925 (Kass, Liston & McClymont: 1996; Parramatta Park Trust: 2004; Kerry Lee, pers comm., 20 August 2008).

Redstone and the Winter family
Redstone is the last Griffin house still remaining in the ownership of the family who commissioned it. In 1924 Edward Winter purchased one hectare (2.5 acres) of former orcharding land (part of the Adderton Estate at Dundas) with the intention of building a family home where he, his wife Greta and their six children could enjoy a country lifestyle (until the mid 1950s, the Dundas-Telopea area featured much rural and orcharding land). From 1924 to 1935 the family occupied an existing house on the property, that was originally named Cliftonville but which they called "Redstone" after Edward Winter's grandfather's cottage in Wales. Cliftonville was a single-storey building with verandahs that were used as sleep-outs by its occupants, who included Edward Winter's father who came out from England and a sailor as well as the eight members of the Winter family. The household lived an easy, informal, semi-rural lifestyle at Cliftonville.

Edward Winter owned a gentleman's outfitter's shop in Pitt Street, Sydney while his wife, Greta, had worked as a photographic colourist before her marriage. They were friendly with Walter Burley Griffin through their shared involvement in the Single Tax Movement of the Henry George League and their other common interest, the Theosophical Society. Griffin encouraged Winter to build a new house for his family in the Dundas district and Winter commissioned Griffin to design the home. Construction began in March 1935 on a site approximately 1 acre in size (0.4 of a hectare). The remainder of Winter's land, including Cliftonville, was sold to offset the cost of construction of the new house. (Cliftonville has since been demolished). Upon its completion, in December 1935, Edward and Greta Winter and five of their six children moved into Redstone (the eldest daughter, Madge, having by then left home).

The new house was given the Winter family's traditional name of 'Redstone'. This is the name the family has always used for the property, although architectural historians tend to refer to it as 'The Winter House'.

The sandstone for Redstone was obtained from the grounds of a nearby property in Telopea owned by the Rumsey family (seed merchants and nursery owners) who were friends of the Winter family.

In September 1953, in order to fund his retirement, Edward Winter subdivided the remaining land into 8 allotments. He retained Lots 7 and 8 (Redstone being located on lot 7). Suburban detached housing was constructed on Lots 1 to 6 and Winter Street was created to services these sites.

Edward Winter died in 1963 and the property passed to his widow, Greta. In 1974 Greta suffered a stroke, requiring her to move to a nursing home. The title to the house was transferred to the eldest of the Winter children, John Norman "Jack" Winter although he never again occupied the house. In November 1976 his sister Nella Melchert (nee Winter) and her husband Charles purchased the house and they resided there with their family. Following Charles' passing in 2002, Nellla lived alone at Redstone until her death in early 2008.

The Winter family have maintained the house with loving care over the many decades of their ownership, and Redstone remains almost unaltered in its structure and layout (although the colour scheme of its walls has changed at times). The original specification and original coloured contract drawings are still in the family's possession. The family is also remarkable for having employed high quality heritage advice in its maintenance and repair since the 1970s, ensuring that it has been conserved according to Burra Charter principles. In 2008 the family is preparing the house for sale.

Walter Burley Griffin (1876-1937)
Walter Burley Griffin was born near Chicago and trained at Nathan Ricker's School of Architecture at the University of Illinios, graduating in 1899. From 1901-1906, he worked as an associate of Frank Lloyd Wright at Oak Park. Griffin started his own practice in 1906 and within a few years established his reputation as an architect of the Prairie School. In 1911, Griffin married Marion Mahony, who had graduated in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked as Wright's head designer (Jahn, 1997, p. 221).

Inspired by the designs by Frederick Law Olmsted (often called the founder of American landscape architecture) of New York's Central Park and his 'green necklace' of parks in Boston, landscape design was the career Walter Burley Griffin would have pursued had the opportunity offered. He had approached Chicago landscape gardener Ossian Cole Simonds for career advice before entering the University of Illinois in 1895. Apparently unsatisfied with the lack of relevant curriculum, Simonds urged him to pursue architecture and study landscape gardening on his own, as he himself had done. Griffin took what classes he could and, like Simonds and landscape gardener Jens Jensen, shared an approach to landscape design through architecture, an interest in civic design, urbanism and planning.

In 1902 there were only six 'landscape gardeners' (and no landscape architects) listed in the Lakeside Annual Directory of the City of Chicago (Chicago Directory, Chicago, 1902 pp 24, 35, 47). In 1912 only two landscape architects and 13 landscape gardeners were listed (ibid, 1912, pp.1552 & 1693).

Griffin's practice as a landscape architect was first featured in a public text in Wilhelm Miller's The Prairie Spirit in Landscape Gardening (1915), which included Griffin as an exponent (along with Jensen, Simonds and architect Frank Lloyd Wright) of his proposed American regional 'Prairie' style. Simonds, Griffin and Miller had all attended the first national meeting of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) in 1913 in Chicago.

By 1914 Griffin and his architect wife Marion Mahony had moved to Australia after winning the 1912 international design competition for the Federal Capital, Canberra with a scheme based on its topography, a distinctly non-prairie valley landscape of undulating hills. (Stuart Read, in http://www.griffinsociety.org.au/lives and works/landscape_architecture cited 21 November 2008). This was a project they had worked on together (Jahn, 1997, p.221).

By 1919, there were problems with the Canberra project and Griffin resigned his position as Federal Capital Director of Design and Construction. He then formed the Greater Sydney Development Association to purchase 263 hectares in Middle Harbour, which became known as Castlecrag. He devoted the next fifteen years to developing and promoting the area, while maintaining an architectural practice (Jahn, 1997, p. 221)

Griffin believed dwellings should play a subordinate role in the scheme of nature. His houses were small and intimate. He aimed toward the most natural use of land and the selection of indigenous plants. He also developed an economical construction system of pre-cast interlocking structural tiles, which he called 'Knitlock', and used it widely, as well as stone, in the houses of Castlecrag. In the early 1930s, Griffin built incinerators for the destruction of household garbage in various cities and suburbs in the eastern states of Australia. They provided a canvas for experimentation with form and texture for the architect, but sadly few have survived (Jahn, 1997, p. 221).

Two Griffin incinerators survive in suburban Sydney: the Glebe Municipal Incinerator (City of Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2000 local heritage item); and the Willoughby Incinerator (State Heritage Register (SHR) listing #84).

Griffin's work took him to India in 1935 and he died there two years later of peritonitis (Jahn, 1997, p. 221).

Griffin's contribution to the development of the Wrightian / Prairie School style internationally has begun to receive attention from architectural historians in recent years. It is now increasingly acknowledged that Griffin contributed a number of fresh concepts to the Prairie School, most noticeably: his attention to vertical space (a development leading directly to the ubiquitous split-level style post-war houses); 'open plan' living and dining areas dominated by a large central fireplace; and the extensive domestic use of reinforced concrete. (Kirk, Andrew, 'Prairie School Connection', , cited 3rd December 2007)

Griffin is also internationally renowned for his work as a landscape architect, especially the innovative town planning design of Canberra and Castlecrag, Griffith and Leeton.

Griffin's design approaches to landscape and architecture informed one another. Landscape itself, for example, crucially served as a basis for architecture - a conviction first made explicit in the Canberra publicity, Griffin noting (in Chicago) that: '...a building should ideally be "the logical outgrowth of the environment in which [it is] located".' In Australia, he hoped to 'evolve an indigenous type, one similarly derived from and adapted to local climate, climate and topography.' In Australia the scale and number of his landscape commissions grew considerably, including a number of town plans. Griffin signed many of his drawings with the term 'landscape architect'. (Stuart Read, in http://www.griffinsociety.org.au/lives and works/landscape_architecture cited 21 November 2008).

Redstone was the last house designed and supervised by Walter Burley Griffin before he departed Australia in October 1935. Griffin's wife and professional partner, Marion Mahony Griffin, is understood to not have been involved in the design of Redstone (J Weirick, pers. comm 2008). Similarly Griffin's practice partner, Eric Nicholls is understood to not have been closely involved in either the design or supervision of Redstone's, although he did sign-off on its construction in December 1935, after Griffin's departure (Kerry Lee, pers comm., 2008).

Comparisons of intactness with other Griffin houses:
Redstone is the most intact of the 19 surviving houses in NSW designed by Walter Burley Griffin (Walter Burley Griffin Society Inc, 2008), of which 13 are located in Castlecrag. Four of the five other Griffin houses outside Castlecrag are on Sydney's North Shore. Redstone is the only Griffin house built in Western Sydney.

Fishwick House is generally considered to be the most intact of the 13 houses in Castlecrag, both externally and internally, although Fishwick's windows have been replicated (J.Weirick, pers comm 2008) and 1970s-80s modifications included a rebuilt kitchen. In scale and form the Fishwick house differs considerably from Redstone. It is a large, two-storeyed house, the largest and grandest of the surviving Castlecrag houses, and is set in a naturally landscaped (rather than explicitly planted) garden. The Fishwick House and The Eric Pratten House re both large, grand two-storeyed houses. The Eric Pratten House was Griffin's largest Australian domestic commission. It was completed by his partner Eric Nicholls after Griffin departed Australia and there are differing professional views of the place of this building in the body of Griffin's work. Its intactness has been compromised by unapproved works in 2002 which gutted five bathrooms.

More closely comparable to Redstone are the Duncan House (SHR listing #742) and Stella James House (SHR listing #1510). The Duncan House is a small, ground-hugging building with similarities in design and use of sandstone bays to Redstone. But it was built as one of a group of three houses, is flat-roofed with no eaves and has been considerably extended in the 1940s and 1990s. More closely comparable in design, scale and use of materials is the Stella James House at Avalon. It differs from Redstone in that it is set in a steep natural bushland setting and not a planted garden. It is also less intact than Redstone . Originally a two-bedroom cottage, a terrace was added and in 1957 Sydney Ancher sympathetically added a third bedroom, on and over the terrace. The kitchen fittings were also modified.

Redstone is unprecedented in Griffin's work although its lines have an affinity with his horizontal Prairie houses. There is no other Griffin building with this roof form. There is an unbuilt project in Victoria that has some similarities in design approach (Turnbull Navaretti 1998: 160) and the Christian Jollie Smith house additions project at Castlecrag has similarities in its large stone end wall that includes the fireplace (Turnbull, Navaretti, 1998: 297) (Walter Burley Griffin Society Inc, 2008).

As at October 2008, four Walter Burley Griffin Houses are listed on the State Heritage Register: Fishwick House At Castlecrag (SHR listing # 01751), the Eric Pratten House at Pymble (SHR listing #1443), the Walter Burley Griffin Lodge (aka the Stella James House) at Avalon (SHR listing #1510) and the Duncan House at Castlecrag (SHR listing #742).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes demonstrating styles in landscape design-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes and gardens of domestic accommodation-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes and parklands of distinctive styles-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Housing professional people-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Rural orchards-
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-
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. Interior design styles and periods - Victorian-
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 - Modernist-
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. 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. Architectural styles and periods - Interwar Modernist-
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. (none)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Walter Burley and Marion Mahony Griffin architects and landscape architects-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Redstone has local heritage significance as the only example of the work of the internationally acclaimed architect Walter Burley Griffin to be found in Sydney's western suburbs. It is also of local significance as a pre-war residential home built on rural and orcharding land, a forerunner of the area's shift to residential sub-division. The Dundas-Telopea area remained a predominately agricultural and orcharding landscape until the introduction of a sewerage system in the 1950s enabled its transformation into suburbia.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The item has State significance for its historical association with the American architect, Walter Burley Griffin. Griffin, together with with his wife Marion Mahony Griffin, is important to Australian cultural history for the innovative town planning design of Canberra and Castlecrag, and for the widely acclaimed architectural design of buildings such as Newman College and the Capitol Theatre in Melbourne.

Redstone is a representative example of Griffin's small-scale domestic architecture and is of exceptional intactness and integrity. It forms an important part of Walter Burley Griffin's body of work in Australia.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Redstone is of State heritage significance for its aesthetic qualities as a fine work of architecture and an outstandingly intact example of Walter Burley Griffin's small-scale house design. It contains many of the features for which Griffin is highly regarded including open planning, juxtaposition of robust stonework with fine oiled timber joinery, Art Deco styled chimney, curtained interior screens, a ground hugging profile and a multi-layered roof with large overhangs (characteristic of the Prairie School style). The roof is constructed in 'Super 6', an innovative building material for the 1930s (corrugated fibro cement sheet).The gracious garden retains trees and other species planted by the original clients and its design has been largely unaltered since 1953.

Redstone has State heritage significance for the extremely intact nature of its interiors, including the retention of its original fixtures and fittings. These include the dining room screen, and kitchen and bathroom fitments. A patch of the original stipple paint wall finish exists within a hall cupboard. The joinery of the house retains much of its original finishes.

Redstone is of State significance for the existence of its original construction drawings and documentation - moveable heritage which complements the building's exceptional intactness and integrity.

Still in its near-original setting, Redstone been owned and faithfully maintained to Burra Charter standards by the family of the commissioning client.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Redstone is of State significance for the esteem in which it is held by architecture enthusiasts and the professional architectural community as an excellent example of Walter Burley Griffin's small scale residential design and the most intact example of a Griffin house in NSW (Walter Burley Griffin Society Inc, 2008). Redstone is mentioned in most published works about Walter Burley Griffin and the house is often inspected and studied by architecture students. Professional and community esteem for the place is also evidenced by Redstone's inclusion on the following heritage listings: Parramatta LEP (1997), the Register of the National Estate, the RAIA (NSW Chapter) Register of 20th Century Buildings of Significance, the National Trust (NSW) Register and the Art Deco Society of NSW Interim Register.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Redstone is State significant as a highly intact example of the architecture of Walter Burley Griffin, and the most intact Griffin house in NSW which has been faithfully maintained to best practice standards over its entire existence (Walter Burley Griffin Society Inc, 2008).
The building is an important resource for understanding the design intent, detailing and construction techniques of the architect. This resource is enhanced by the existence of the architect's original construction documentation that is still in the owner's possession.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Redstone is State significant for its rarity as an exceptionally intact example of a Walter Burley Griffin designed house. Redstone is the most intact of the 19 surviving houses in NSW designed by Walter Burley Griffin (Walter Burley Griffin Soceity Inc, 2008). 13 of these are located in Castlecrag, and four are already listed on the State Heritage Register at 2008.

Redstone's rarity and significance is further enhanced by its intact garden setting and by the existence of architectural specifications and original drawings that are still in the owner's possession.

Redstone is also rare as the only Griffin designed house to have remained in the owership of the one family since construction.

For a comparison of Redstone with other Griffin designed houses in NSW see History- Comparison with Griffin-designed houses.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Redstone is State significant as a representative and highly intact example of the domestic architecture of Walter Burley Griffin and a local exemplar of the Prairie School architectural style. Redstone demonstrates characteristic features of this style, with which Griffin is associated, in its open planning, juxtaposition of robust stonework with fine oiled timber joinery, Art Deco style chimney, curtained interior screens and ground hugging profile. Redstone is representative of Griffin's residential designs in so far as they are are characterised by open-planned forms, the use of sandstone and oiled timber and the sensitive placement of the house in the landscape.
Integrity/Intactness: Redstone is an exceptionally intact item, both the building and its setting. It retains its original plan form, all of its original interiors ( including most of its finishes and fitments), its original exterior finishes and its mature garden in its near-original setting.
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:

Subdivision, including dual occupancies, should be prevented in the area around the house and garage.

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 0179509 Jan 09 8269
Local Environmental Plan 1021 Feb 97   
National Trust of Australia register  9470   
Royal Australian Institute of Architects register  30 Mar 79   
Register of the National Estate 309828 Sep 82   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenBirrell, James1964Walter Burley Griffin
WrittenBoesel, E2008Redstone: The Winter House
WrittenClive Lucas Stapleton & Partners (Meg Quinlisk & Ian Stapleton)2008Redstone State Heritage Register Nomination
Oral HistoryHale, Patricia & Hanna, Bronwyn2008Personal communication with Kerry Lee, 20 August 2008
PhotographHale, Patricia & Hanna, Bronwyn2008Site visit, 20 August 2008
Oral HistoryHanna, Bronwyn2008Personal communication with Professor James Weirick
WrittenJahn, Graham1997Sydney Architecture
WrittenJohnson, Donald Leslie1980Australian Architecture 1901- 1950
WrittenMauldon, V2004Colonial Rose Hill Parramatta Park: a self-guided walking tour
Oral HistoryMelchert, Nella & Lee (nee Melchert), Kerry2007Personal communication with Clive Lucas Stapleton & Partners, 4 & 5 December 2007
WrittenMelchert, Paul1975Walter Burley Griffin and the Winter House, B Arch thesis
WrittenRead, Stuart2008Redstone Garden Plant List, November 2008
WrittenStuart Read (inter alia)2006Landscape_architecture View detail
WrittenTurnbull, Jeff & Navaretti, Peter Y (ed)1998The Griffins in Australia and India: the complete works and projects of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin
ElectronicWalter Burley Griffin Society (various authors)1999Walter Burley Griffin Society website and component articles View detail
WrittenWatson, Anne (ed.)2015Visionaries in Suburbia - Griffin Houses in the Sydney landscape

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: 5056284
File number: H02/00082 Pt 1, H02/00082-002


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