Nielsen Park and Hermitage Foreshore Reserve (under consideration) | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Nielsen Park and Hermitage Foreshore Reserve (under consideration)

Item details

Name of item: Nielsen Park and Hermitage Foreshore Reserve (under consideration)
Other name/s: Nielsen Park; Wentworth Estate (part); Hermitage Foreshore Reserve
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Landscape - Cultural
Category: Historic Landscape

Statement of significance:

Nielsen Park and the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve are likely to be of state heritage significance as an outstanding natural and cultural landscape, that demonstrates a rich and diverse range of uses spanning pre-European settlement to the present.

The presence of Aboriginal art, shelters and middens across the site demonstrates pre-colonial use of the place as a fishing and camping ground for local Aboriginal people and signifies the ongoing connection of the place to the Birrabirragal or Cadigal clan of the Eora people.

The site's use as part of a private residential estate by the noted colonial family of William Charles Wentworth is demonstrated by adjoining developments at the adjoining Carrara (later Strickland House) and at Greycliffe House, both with their surviving outbuildings, landscaped settings and historic harbour view lines, both of which are rare in consideration of their intactness and retention of their direct relationship to Sydney Harbour as 'marine villas', sited and designed to be seen from the water.

The Hermitage Foreshore Reserve is a remnant not only of the Wentworth Estate but of one of its first subdivisions, the Hermitage estate. This was the grounds of the Hermitage, built first around 1837-40 and expanded from 1870-78 near Hermit Point, one of Sydney's most important harbourside villas of the late Victorian era for the Hon. Edward Mason Hunt MLC, which grew from a smaller cottage on the site, built by silversmith, Alexander Dick.

Greycliffe House in Nielsen Park is an outstanding example of John F. Hilly's architectural design in Gothic Revival style and one of a suite of neighbouring Hilly residences in the immediate vicinity, including Strickland House, originally Carrara.

Greycliffe House's use as a health facility for infants and babies, firstly as Lady Edeline Hospital for Babies from 1914-1934, and from 1934-68 as Tresillian Mothercraft Training School is of historic significance. The history of these institutions exhibits evolving philosophies and methods of treating infant patients and mothers which can be demonstrated in various alterations and additions to buildings and landscape in this period. Works such as Margaret Harper House (1939) and the parterre garden, designed by long serving matron, Matron Kaibel, in the 1930s, contribute to the layering of significance in the site.

Nielsen Park is historically significant in its several phases of use for defence activities. Steele Point fortification complex is representative of a group of 1870s Sydney Harbour defence fortifications. Steele Point Battery and associated outbuildings, together with potential archaeological deposits relating to use of the site in two world wars demonstrates the strategic importance of the location to Australia's defence forces since the 1870s.

Neilsen Park and the Hermitage Reserve have historical values at a state level for their ability to demonstrate the rise of harbour side recreational activity in 20th century. Both were some of the first major recreational reserves created in 1911 and 1912 along the southern shore of Sydney Harbour, instigated by a large public push to secure Sydney Harbour foreshore land in public ownership and resumption by the government from private ownership to become public reserve lands, run by Trusts.

Shark Bay, bordered by the current swimming enclosure, together with structures including the kiosk, bathing pavilion and promenade demonstrates the growth in popularity and evolving trends in public bathing and recreational activities.

The historical significance of Nielsen Park across various phases of use is enhanced through association with several notable colonial figures, including: William Wentworth, author, barrister, landowner, and statesman; the Reeve family who built Greycliffe House estate and, noted mid-19th century architect and surveyor, John F. Hilly who designed Greycliffe and its outbuildings. It is associated with the politician and philanthropist Hon. Edward Mason Hunt MLC and Alexander Dick, silversmith who built and expanded The Hermitage estate. It is associated with William Notting, Secretary of the Harbour Foreshores Vigilance Committee and Park Trustee, who led the public move to have the area preserved, the Secretary of Lands at the time and Niels Nielsen who provided government support for the establishment of the park. Its later use of Greycliffe as an Infant Hospital saw a close association with eminent paediatrician Dr Margaret Harper, whose work on infant diet, care and disease has remained highly influential.

The site demonstrates multiple layers of aesthetic and social significance including native bushland, rich Aboriginal sites, a substantially intact Victorian Marine Villa estate, 20th century hospital complex and 20th century public recreational space. Each phase of use has yet to be dominated by newer developments and in combination allows the site to contribute to the landmark qualities of Nielsen Park as seen from within the park and from the waters of Sydney Harbour.
Date significance updated: 04 Jan 19
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: various: J.F. Hilly (Greycliffe House; Gardener's Cottage);
Builder/Maker: various Reserve Trusts; National Parks & Wildlife Service;Public Works;Government Architect's Office
Construction years: 1840-1929
Physical description: The following description separates the item into two components:
1) Nielsen Park; and
2) The Hermitage Foreshore Reserve.

Taken together, these two reserves form 3km of rock and beach foreshore which is mostly untouched by urban development and is fully accessible to the public (WHHS, 1996, 1).

Nielsen Park and the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve both form part of a partly-highly modified landscape that reflects three phases of occupation:
- pre-settlement landscape;
- a modified landscape seen as both a natural and planned picturesque landscape around Strickland House and around Greycliffe House; and
- a public landscape for recreation that includes a number of support structures.
In addition the Steel Point fortifications add a further layer to the use and appearance of the park.

As well as flora, fauna in the two reserves includes birds such as seagulls and terns, cormorants, currawongs, honey eaters and noisy miners. Often met with are blue-tongue lizards and small skinks. Golden orb weaving spiders are often seen on webs near the track, particularly in autumn. Present in large numbers but rarely seen are nocturnal possums (brush-and ring-tailed) (ibid, 1996, 2).


1) Nielsen Park:
Nielsen Park is a highly modified landscape that reflects three phases of occupation: pre-settlement landscape; a modified landscape seen as both a natural and planned picturesque landscape around Greycliffe House; and a public landscape for recreation that includes a number of support structures. In addition the Steel Point fortifications add a further layer to the use and appearance of the park.

Nielsen Park has had its pre-settlement landscape dramatically altered by extensive clearing and modifying of land forms and vegetation but also by replanting and regenerating a form of natural bushland on parts of the site. This has resulted in recent years of the overall impression that areas of the landscape appear similar to that which existed prior to European settlement. However the areas of native vegetation that now exist do not reflect the form of the historic native landscape.

The shift to regenerating native landscape has taken place during the NPWS management of the site and contrasts to the Trust management that focused on the recreational aspects of the place.

In its current form the Park does not reflect any of the specific periods of use in its overall landscape setting but rather a combination of regenerated native landscape, modified garden landscape related to the house and very modified park landscape related to the recreational uses.

The landscape is also modified by the buildings that have been constructed and that are viewed as part of the now largely picturesque landscape. These buildings are mostly of a small scale and were sensitively designed to be viewed as components of a picturesque setting.

Natural Vegetation
As is common in all coastal and estuarine areas of the Sydney Region, the Park contains many rock outcrops, particularly along the foreshore headlands. These are given some added interest by the remnants of the effect of a basalt dyke that runs from Mount Trefle to Bottle and Glass Point resulting in the unusually formed rock formations still visible.

The native vegetation consists of tall heath along the western foreshore containing Allocasuarina portuensis, smooth-barked apple (Angophora costata) and Port Jackson figs (Ficus rubiginosa) associated with the various exposed sandstone outcrops. In the northern and eastern slopes of the hill formations exist also tick bush (Kunzea ambigua), tea tree (Leptospermum laevigatum), she-oak (Casuarina glauca), bushy needlewood (Hakea decurrens), coastal banksia (B.integrifolia) and pockets of smooth-barked apple trees. In the lower slopes and flat areas there are stands of Sydney peppermint gum (Eucalyptus piperita), red bloodwood and some Port Jackson figs. Low level vegetation also contains sweet pittosporum (P.undulatum), cheese tree (Glochidion ferdinandii), blueberry ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus) and a ground cover of kangaroo vine (Cissus antarctica).

Introduced Plantings and Modifications to Land Form
Apart from the introduced lower grassed areas, other newer introduced tree plantings include tuckeroos (Cupaniopsis anacardioides), brush box (Lophostemon confertus) and Moreton Bay figs (Ficus rubiginosa). Plantings include those along Notting Parade and around the W. A. Notting Memorial, the Hill's fig (Ficus microcarpa 'Hillii') Avenue, tree plantings adjacent to the cottage and the brush box tree boundary planting along Greycliffe Avenue and Vaucluse Road.

The introduced plantings originally related to the original layout of Greycliffe House and then later to the establishment of the Trust and public recreation. These two uses can be understood from the landscape plantings.

In its earlier known state the Park was bisected by a small watercourse known as Shark Creek which flowed into a lagoon behind Shark Beach that drained into the harbour at the north end of the beach. This system has now been replaced by a series of large diameter pre-cast concrete pipes with grassed areas extending over the former creek. It is likely that the land around this creek would have been heavily timbered with dense undergrowth which would have thinned out at the higher elevations.

The landscape modifications can be summarised as:
-cut and filled platform for Greycliffe.
-cut and filled roadway entry drive to Greycliffe.
-excavation and landfill for Steel Point Battery group.
-modifications to beachfront for concrete promenade.
-infilling the creek and presumably changing the levels around it to create the current lawn area.
-levelling for car parking in various areas around the park.
-the Mt Trefle Quarry.
-cut and fill for the Notting Memorial.
-filling the swamp behind the beach (site of dressing pavilion).
-minor changes for paths and minor works around the site.

Nielsen Park has been separated into landscape management zones (see Appendix 3, Conservation Management Plan, 2014). These include:
1. Natural Zone - This consists mainly of the revegetated Mount Trefle and its western slopes and includes most of the heavily wooded indigenous plantings. It also includes Bottle and Glass Point to the north and the steep and dense scrublands above the western shore area.
2. Parkland Zone - This includes all of the grassed lower areas, the beachfront and the slopes up to Greycliffe House (but not the garden). It contains most of the large lawn areas, introduced trees and paving, and many of the buildings on the site.
3. Greycliffe Garden Zone - This small zone includes the remnant gardens of 'Greycliffe House' and those adjacent to the Margaret Harper Wing which incorporates a parterre garden.
4. Military Zone - This consists of Steele Point and contains the above ground and subterranean remains of the Battery and its associated buildings. It is noted that military activity at times included a number of sites in the Park.
5. Utility Zone - This includes the NPWS workshop situated in the old stone quarry near the entrance of the original access road from Vaucluse Road.

Aboriginal Sites
The site, with its accessible location, fresh water supply and wealth of resources constitutes an Aboriginal cultural landscape. Extensive archaeological evidence at Nielsen Park demonstrates use of the land for camping and fishing over an extended period. There are 14 recorded Aboriginal sites within the park. These sites are comprised within:

-A small cavity in the base of sandstone escarpment at the north-eastern end of Shark Beach. Two red ochre positive hand stencils are located on the rear wall of the stone cavity. The hands (both left and right) are approximately 15 cm wide and 14 cm long. No archaeological deposits are present within the site. The cavity floor is sandstone.

-A small sandstone overhang on an upper terrace of a sandstone escarpment at the north-eastern end of Shark Beach (photo to left shows site location). The overhang is approximately 6.6 m long, 1.4 m high and 2.6 m wide. The site is approximately 15 m above sea level. One white ochre negative hand stencil is located on the rear wall of the shelter. Only one left hand is present, no other art was identified. A thin residual midden deposit covers the shelter floor. The deposit contains the remains of a variety of shellfish species, dominated by rock oyster, mud whelk and cockle. Charcoal and pieces of quartz (probable stone artefacts) are also included within the deposit.

-Residual midden deposits scattered in patches across Bottle and Glass Point. The midden deposits form a more or less continuous site across the point and southern side of the point in areas where the land slopes gradually to the shoreline and original soils have been retained.

-Large north-east facing shelter on Steel Point approx. 3m above waterline, located 30m north-west of western end of Shark Beach. Access is along shoreline. The shelter is 10-15m long, 6m wide and 6m high.

-Small west-facing rock-overhang on upper escarpment of Mt Trefle. The site is located above a clearing adjacent to the Nielsen Park access road. Rock shelter is 7.5m long, 1.5m deep and 1.36m high.

-Large west-facing shelter approximately 20 metres north of the first Mt Trefle site. The shelter is approximately 7m long, 3.5m wide and 1.5m high. The shelter includes a relatively dense shell midden deposit on the shelter floor including a variety of shell fish species including rock oyster, turban, hairy mussel, limpet and nerita.

Greycliffe House
Greycliffe House is a 2-storey 'Marine Villa' of sandstone construction with steeply sloped gabled roof covered with Marseilles pattern terracotta tiles, the roof originally was timber shingled. It was designed in the Victorian Gothic Revival manner by architect J F Hilly for the owner John Reeve and completed in 1851.

Hilly probably based his scheme on a pattern book design as he did for many other similar houses at that time. The result is very picturesque, well suited to its woodland harbourside and hillside setting. As viewed from the harbour it is very similar to its original appearance although its original design intent has been somewhat altered by later alterations and additions at its rear.

The original design consisted of a two storey villa for the main living quarters with bedrooms above and a single storey kitchen and scullery at the rear. Nearby was a detached attic storey sandstone coach house and stables with staff quarters above.

This arrangement is clearly shown on a c1860 map of the area with the house served by the present access road. This plan also shows the fencing that separated the property from the rest of the Vaucluse estate and the adjoining Carrara estate.

Following a major fire in 1897 that severely damaged the house it was rebuilt, and was altered and added to providing more staff accommodation. The owner, Fitzwilliam Wentworth, added another storey to the kitchen wing in a similar style to the main house.

During its conversion after 1914 for hospital use numerous small alterations and additions were made, some of which remain. However, NPWS commenced a restoration process for the house to remove the Tresillian period changes in the main part of the house and the formal northern elevations and restore the 19th Century layout and details.
Hilly's design for the House conforms to the 'picturesque' philosophy of landscape design common in large contemporary estates. A noted horticulturist and nurseryman of the time, Thomas Shepherd, held that in such a style the lawn should be bold and sweeping, and enclosed on both sides by groups of trees, leaving an open park in front of the house. The early landscape layout of Greycliffe appeared to have been influenced by this philosophy; the sandstone outcrops and harbourside location were almost made-to-measure natural elements enhancing the 'picturesque.' Subsequent development of the landscape and curtilage of the House barely progressed beyond sporadic plantings and clearing; this state of affairs was consistent with the continuous leasing of the House for almost the first 50 years. The garden setting today is little changed from early images.

The Gardener's Cottage
This small sandstone cottage with terracotta tiled roof (as did 'Greycliffe') was probably also built in 1851 for John Reeve to a design by J F Hilly in the picturesque Victorian Gothic Revival style. He appears to have used a pattern book design for the basis of the planning as it is very similar to standard designs available for 'two farm labourers' in separate dwellings within the one building. It is likely that the building was used for two dwellings as there is evidence of a second staircase providing for access to a bedroom from each of the two ground floor rooms but as early as 1857 it was referred to as the Gardeners' Cottage'.

As there was an early connecting road to Vaucluse House past the cottage it is possible, as it is sited right on the boundary of the two properties, that it may have been intended as a combined gate lodge and worker's cottage.

Changes to the cottage appear to have been made after 1911 when the Trust took control. A rear veranda was added in 1912 and the bathroom annexe (to the side, now demolished) added in 1923 when the sewer was connected. When the NPWS assumed control after 1968 further improvements were made including the upgrading and installation of the kitchen on the rear veranda, demolition of the garage, bathroom annex and rear skillion and reconstruction of the current rear addition.

It also appears that the cottage was used in association with fruit and vegetable gardens for the estate as these are shown fenced and adjoining the cottage, and afterwards in Trust and NPWS ownership it has served as quarters for park rangers. Despite various works having been undertaken, the building is in quite poor condition and requires substantial upgrade. In particular drainage around the building and termites are causing substantial damage.

The Margaret Harper Wing
Built in 1939 as a hospital wing for Greycliffe in its role as a Tresillian House it was designed by architect Gilbert Hughes to provide private ward accommodation for nursing mothers and student nursing staff. The asymmetrical planned building of rendered brickwork with gabled terracotta tiled roof reflects the character of Greycliffe and was originally physically connected. The design has been referred to as being in the Interwar Mediterranean style however its Tudor Gothic Revival roof, chimneys and wall details with its colonial Georgian windows and Spanish colonial arcades possibly suggest the emphasis may be towards Neo Colonial Gothic Revival style.

The NPWS has carried out some alterations and removed some internal walls to improve living areas for its use as a residence. Some significant moveable heritage is associated with the Tresillian period of occupation of the site including a number of baby bassinets. From time to time birth and health certificates are also donated to PWG by people who were admitted to the centre. These are held on site.

The Steele Point Precinct
The battery, dating from 1871 is of sandstone construction, at least half being below ground level and roofed with sandstone slabs. The construction was 'cut and fill' with spoil being used to mound around the emplacements so that they were not visible from the harbour. The two northern gun pits and connecting trenches are open but the one southern gun pit is filled with sand and has been turfed over.

The fortification also consists of a north-south tunnel with a western branch down a stairway to the original magazine. A small room, probably intended as a 'stand to' area for gunners is situated at the north end of the tunnel wall. At the south the tunnel branches south easterly to a stair connecting to the filled gun pit and westerly to a tunnel portal recently re-opened that led to the barracks.

At various places both above and below ground are original cast and wrought iron fittings either built into the stonework as hooks or loose items having been partly dismantled from their original form. There are also other parts of surviving fittings such as timber door frames, glazed brick vents, brass fixings, terracotta pipe drains and traces of white lime wash to walls and some black stencilled lettering.

In at least two places, steel roof props have been fitted to prevent collapse but otherwise the structure appears to be in good condition and largely intact.

The fortification is mostly located on Park land, although a section of underground tunnel is under the land occupied for the degaussing station and is not under park control. The site of the guns provided extensive views to the harbour however regrowth of the surrounding bushland has obscured the setting from the installation.

Steele Point Cottage
The cottage is a single storey timber-framed structure clad externally with weather boards with a hipped corrugated steel roof. It was originally built in 1880 as a two roomed barracks for the Gunners as this was probably sufficient for a normal detachment at any one time attached to the fort. The two skillion roofed additions to the north and south were probably added in the early 20th century, most likely to make the building more suitable as quarters for the District Gunner. A verandah was added in 1930 by the Trust and it was later enclosed to form a room. Despite these changes and some inconsequential awning additions, the building retains most of its original details including doors, windows, fireplaces and chimney. Significant conservation and restoration works were undertaken in 2006 and the building is now used for short term holiday accommodation.

The Store Shed
This timber-framed structure, associated with Steele Point Cottage, has a gabled roof and the walls and roof are clad with corrugated iron, some wall sheets having the 'Gospel Oak' brand visible indicating probable 19th century derivation and fragments of military use building fabric such as traces of pitch on the concrete floor. The building had two sets of double doors presumably to house two wagons but one of these bays is enclosed and a window fitted. A later timber trellis has been added at the north side. Conservation and restoration works have been completed in conjunction with the works to the cottage.
The building is in good condition.

Kiosk, Cottage and Garage Group
The single storey pavilion kiosk is of timber-framed construction set on a rusticated sandstone spandrel up to window sill height interrupted in two locations by doorways accessed by sandstone flights of steps. The main and central entrance is marked by a decorative timber-gabled porch in the Edwardian style complementing the Federation period style of the building. The hipped roof is clad with Marseilles pattern unglazed terracotta tiles with finials at ridge junctions.

Internally, the north area has a raised timber floor while the south kiosk has a painted cement paved floor and part-raised timber floor. The vaulted ceiling expresses the original octagonal 'tent' form, which is extended north and south over the additions and the ceiling follows the roof line and is panelled with timber boarding. Doors are panelled in the Edwardian style and the windows consist of clear glass lower panes and multi-coloured small glazed panes at the top suggesting the 1920's period. This design, coupled with the rear room having windows and a stuccoed masonry wall, suggests that when originally built the kiosk was open at the sides or had a form of opening screens for day use.

The rear of the building has a series of kitchen and store spaces with tiled and skillion roofing above panelled timber or rendered brick walls. These are now connected to the originally detached small cottage as an office for the kiosk manager.

This weather board cottage also has a tiled roof and it has been extended at its southern side in recent years up to a courtyard wall that encloses a small service area at the south side of the kiosk. Its main architectural feature is its decorative veranda balustrade.

The building has been conserved and upgraded and is in good condition.

Western Toilet Block
This small toilet block originally built in c1920 as a Ladies Toilet block has rusticated sandstone walls and is relieved by small glass louvered window openings and screen entrance walls at each end. The hipped terracotta tiled roof was originally of gambrel form, while internally it has been partitioned to create a Gents Toilet at its southern end. At the same time during the initial period of NPWS control a shower was installed, some toilets replaced with benches and cubicle doors replaced. The building is to be in good condition.

Dressing Pavilion
This is a single storey building or enclosure, dating from 1932, designed in a restrained Inter-war Mediterranean style popular in the 1930's, to provide change and shower facilities for paying visitors using the beach. It was designed to provide separated men's and women's toilets, lockers and changing spaces around two large courtyards. Between the two courtyard wings is a central entrance court with an administration area. The building is constructed from cement rendered and painted brickwork walls, recessed externally and capped with narrow pitched terracotta tiled roofing on a timber framework. Additional amenity was provided by free standing shelters in the courtyards.

The central access area provided entry, from the rear of the building, where patrons paid for use of the beach. This led to a semi-circular area between the pavilion and the promenade before leading through a pedestrian tunnel under Notting Parade onto Shark Beach. This arrangement was developed due to the prevailing social attitude that changing clothes could not be done on the beach and as the beach was fenced off from the public and admission charged. Extended daily access was made possible by wearing strips of colour-coded wool.

In 2002-2003 structural and restoration works were carried out within the Dressing Pavilion and in 2004, the tunnel linking the Pavilion with the beach, running beneath Notting Parade, was restored and re-opened. The building is now in very good condition and use of the Pavilion has been revitalised.

W. A. Notting Memorial
The memorial is in the form of a semi-circular Roman Seat, set into the hillside, looking out across the harbour. It has bronze plaques at each end and a continuous seat with a low wall behind.

The memorial forms a landscape focal point to the western end of the reserve and is given added visual importance by being elevated on a podium above Notting Parade.

It is accessed by two low flights of concrete steps. The memorial is finished in unpainted cement render and given interest by classically inspired capping mouldings. The structure is as originally built and is in good condition.

Halbert Pavilion
This is a single storey former picnic pavilion built in 1958. It is timber-framed structure built on a rusticated sandstone foundation wall. The walls above are lined with vertically placed corrugated galvanised 'ripple iron' sheets. The gabled roof is covered with terracotta tiles. In the 1997 adaptive re-use project to convert it to a function room, clear glass windows were installed replacing the original timber lattice screens. In 2007, further works were undertaken including the construction of a deck and doors.

Beachfront
To supplement the installation of the initial beach swimming enclosure, around 1930 the Trust built a large concrete beach wall and terrace for the full length of the beach.

This replaced a grassed bank that had been part of a formal landscaped setting provided by the Trust around 1916. This work resulted in the low lying land beyond, into which the creek discharged being filled and the area being suitable for the construction of the dressing pavilion.

The present structure is in the form of a high retaining wall, behind which are areas of mown lawns abutting the Notting Parade pedestrian and service vehicle road. A concrete walkway follows the base of the wall along the beach and below are three large terraced steps which also serve as seating levels. Reinforcing the formal beach backdrop is a flight of steps from the top level onto the beach and symmetrically aligned on the centre of the kiosk. Other smaller stair flights between the upper and lower walkways have been recently fitted with stainless steel handrails.

In 2003, the north eastern end of the concrete terrace was rebuilt with smaller steps with a new wider connecting path to Notting Parade. Elsewhere the beachfront wall and terraces are in fair to poor condition and reflect the numerous repairs made over the years to stabilise the structure in the face of the harsh waterfront environment.
The shark-proof netted enclosure of semi-circular form is suspended on braided stainless steel cable attached to timber and concrete encased piles extending 75 metres from the beach. It extends for almost the full length of the beach. The net is removed each winter and stored in the Dressing Pavilion.

Former Surf Life Saving Club and Toilet
This former swimming and lifesaving club building with male toilet is incorporated into one of the two buildings in this precinct at the north eastern part of the beach and park. Dating from 1920, the building is in two sections. One is a rusticated sandstone walled building with a sandstone parapet containing toilets, former shower and dressing room and boatshed facing the Park. The other section, added 1948-1964, is constructed of timber framing accommodating the former SLS clubrooms.

The male toilet area is largely in its original state while an adjoining store was converted in recent years into a disabled toilet. In 2003, the metal skillion roofing was extensively repaired as was the rear timber framed walling. To combat a severe stone exfoliation problem adjacent to the beach in 2003 a poultice was applied to the lower level of the wall to draw out the damaging salt composition build up on the wall.

The north end of the SLSC section was refitted in late 2003 as a kiosk, when repairs were carried out including re-painting internally. This part contains an open deck supported in timber posts over the beach and includes a timber-floored room. All roofing is of skillion low-pitched profile while internally the concrete floors are either tiled or painted cement paving. Wall and ceiling linings to the timber-framed areas are generally of painted hardboard. The building is generally in good condition.

The Ladies' Toilet Block
Dating from 1965, the Ladies' Toilet Block is the last building to be constructed in the park except for the NPWS workshop near Mount Trefle. It has been sensitively sited and is well screened from view by careful tree and shrub plantings.

The ladies' toilet has a standard toilet interior, covered by a steep mono-pitched corrugated steel roof. It is in good condition. It is accessed by a stair and concrete path leading off Notting Parade close to the Park entrance.

Bottle and Glass Precinct
Rock formations and steep cliff faces dominate the north and west sides of the point. A low hill comprising a sandstone outcrop provides a dramatic anchor for the Port Jackson Figs growing over it on the southern side. Other vegetation growing around the base of the hill includes Red Bloodwoods, while Tick Bush (Kunzea ambigua) and Ball Honey Myrtle (Melaleuca nodosa) occurs on the summit. A road winds around the hill variously enclosed by trees and exposed sandstone until it reaches the mown grass areas on the northern side, giving panoramas of the Harbour.

Non-contributory Items
There are numerous structures which, due to their sympathetic siting and design, do not detract from the significance of the site, but are not significant in and of themselves. Such structures include the fabric of the current swimming enclosure, Sydney Water sewage pumping stations, service buildings such as the Mount Trefle workshops and visitor facilities including toilets, information shelters, BBQs, picnic shelters, signage, car parks, walking tracks, fencing, bollards, tree guards, service roads and road barriers.

Harbour Foreshore Walk (continued):
As Nielsen Park is entered, coastal bushland replaces introduced species in one of the finest of all harbourside parks. A track leads up to the right, to the main roadway, but the more interesting way is to continue ahead, past rocky outcrops, water views and through the bush before making a short climb to the road. Nielsen Park was named in 1912 for Niels Rasmus Wilson Nielsen (1869-1930), Copenhagen-born Labor Minister for Lands in NSW, 1910-1911. A dedicated and sincere socialist, Nielsen re-acquired harbourside land for public use under his Foreshores Resumption Scheme - Taronga Park and Nielsen Park being his most important successes. The Park was incorporated into Sydney Harbour National Park when it was created in 1975, and the Hermitage Foreshore was added in 1984.

At Steel Point (another misspelling, as it was named at the same time as Rose Bay after the other of the joint Secretaries to the British Treasury, Thomas Steele) is a historically important military precinct. The brick buildings encountered first were built in the 1950s over part of the historic fort for a RAN degaussing station. Degaussing is a countermeasure against magnetic mines and Shark Island had been a base for this during WWII. Naval ships passed over cables laid in the Bay and were effectively demagnetized. Immediately beyond is the accessible part of the Steel Point fortifications. These 1871 emplacements originally held three 80 pounder rifled muzzle-loaders (RMLs), replaced in the 1890s with 5 inch breech-loading guns. The guns were removed by 1910 but during WWII, the Nielsen Park area was used as an anti-aircraft base with temporary wooden barracks, searchlights and anti-aircraft guns.

From Steel Point follow the signs towards the National Parks District Headquarters, the romantically steep-pitched rustic Gothic and gabled Greycliffe House. Completed in 1862, it is set in idyllic bushland overlooking Shark Beach. Its design, like neighbouring Carrara, is attributed to John Frederick Hilly, and it too was a William Charles Wentworth wedding gift, this time for daughter Fanny and her husband John Reeve, a Gippsland grazier. They probably never lived there and Greycliffe was leased as a home by Joseph Scaife Willis (1808-97), a merchant and businessman. It was also owned for a few years by Sir John Robertson, Premier of NSW (see later in Main Walk and also Loop Walk L10). The Foreshores Resumption Scheme acquired it in 1911 and the grounds of the house were opened to public use. The house became, in 1913, the Lady Edeline Hospital for Babies (named, like its neighbour two years later, after Governor (Spindler, 2007).


2) The Hermitage Foreshore Reserve:
The reserve is a broadly linear narrow strip of coastal land on Sydney Harbour's east along the eastern part of Rose Bay at Vaucluse. It comprises the eastern edge of Sydney Harbour from Steele Point (Nielsen Park) in the north, past Shark Point, Milk Beach (in front/to the west of Strickland House, formerly known as Carrara), Tingarra Beach, Hermit Bay (north), Hermit Point, Hermit Bay (south) and Queens Beach to Bayview Hill Road in the south (WHHS, 2018, expanded).

The reserve is mostly vegetated bushland, with a 1.7km long walking track (Hermitage Foreshore Walk) threading through it, from adjacent to 19 Bayview Hill Road north to Steele Point. Side tracks allow entry lead to and from Queens Avenue, Tingara Avenue, across Milk Beach and the lawns of Strickland House (up to Carrara Road) and to two points on Steele Point Road, one in the south of this road, one almost at Steele Point in the north.

The Hermitage Foreshore Reserve enjoys spectacular harbour views, includes areas of remnant heathland, shady woodland, small patches of rainforest, craggy sanstone cliffs and secluded coves.

Natural Vegetation
The Hermitage Foreshore Reserve pre-settlement landscape is far-less modified than that of adjacent Nielsen Park's. Despite some private incursions and developments prior to and following its 1912 resumption, most have been removed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and bush rehabilitation works have taken place. The area was largely left in its natural state so that with both the 'Hermitage Reserve' and 'Nielsen Park' there are more than 3km of rock and beach foreshore which is mostly untouched by urban development and is fully accessible to the public (ibid, 1996, 1).

As is common in all coastal and estuarine areas of the Sydney region, the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve contains many rock outcrops, particularly along foreshore headlands.

The native vegetation consists of tall heath along the western foreshore containing endangered she-oak (Allocasuarina portuensis), smooth-barked apple or Sydney red gum (Angophora costata) and Port Jackson figs (Ficus rubiginosa) associated with the various exposed sandstone outcrops. Also present in places are tick bush (Kunzea ambigua), coastal tea tree (Leptospermum laevigatum), she-oak (Casuarina glauca), bushy needlewood (Hakea sericea), coastal Banksia (B.integrifolia) and pockets of smooth-barked apple / Sydney red gum trees. In lower slopes and flat areas there are stands of Sydney peppermint gum (Eucalyptus piperita), red bloodwood (Eucalyptus gummifera) and Port Jackson figs. Low level vegetation also contains sweet pittosporum (P.undulatum), cheese tree (Glochidion ferdinandii), blueberry ash (Elaeocarpus denticulatus) and a ground cover of kangaroo vine (Cissus antarctica).

Some of the area's vegetation is degraded due to invasive weed species. Conservation Volunteers Australia are actively making contributions to the restoration of this area and enhancing the biodiversity of its coastal vegetation through bush regeneration works, removing weeds and refuse, revegetating and maintaining areas degraded by storm water and disturbance.

Introduced vegetation/plantings:
Queens Beach is bordered by a large stand of coral trees (Erythrina sp.), probably the Kaffir coral (E.caffra) from South Africa, which have scarlet flowers in late winter, are prickly and very hardy. Public and private tracks lead in from the right occasionally to the narrow reserve, the vegetation of which is initially dominated by introduced plants from adjoining houses pressing down on the narrow walkway (Spindler, 2007).

Starting from the walk's southern end off Bayview Hill Road, it is: 350m to Queens Beach; 600m to Hermit Bay; 1km to Strickland House; and 1.8km to Nielsen Park, Vaucluse (Woollahra Municipal Council).

Just near the southern (Bayview Hill Road) start of the walk, a viewing point reveals to the left, relics of old (Tivoli) baths and a (Tivoli) pier. The main walk continues to the right (north). The first kilometer or so of track dips up and down along the narrow reserve, past a succession of little bays, beaches, rock platforms and headlands with constantly wonderful views across Rose Bay, buzzed by the occasional seaplane. The quiet cemetery of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart Convent is soon passed - note the J. Horbury Hunt-designed stone Celtic cross of Reverend Mother Febronie Vercruysse (d.1895), founder of the Convent. Afterwards, the walk drops down steps to a boardwalk with coral trees at Queens Beach. Public and private tracks lead in from the right occasionally to the narrow reserve strip, the vegetation of which is initially dominated by introduced plants from the large houses pressing down on the narrow walkway.

Queens Beach is accessed by steep stone steps and while small is a popular venue in summer, particularly with the boating community (ibid, 1996, 1).

At Hermit Point, the reserve widens around the headland onto Hermit Bay with pathways, picnic tables, boat ramp and a little wharf before continuing along the track and steps. There is a good view across the bay to Shark Island, part of Sydney Harbour National Park. Once beyond and above the beach, there are good views back to houses now on the opposite side, especially the many rustic Gothic gables of The Hermitage (Spindler, 2007).

This house gave the walk and the little bay it oversights, their names. It began as a smaller cottage built by Alexander Dick around 1837 and later occupied by Edward Mason Hunt (who may have been the "hermit"). It grew steadily and was remodelled and enlarged by architect Emil Sodersten, after it had been badly damaged by fire in 1936. Used as a bank training college in the 1960s, it is again privately owned.

Hermit Bay has rock overhangs on its southern side. A substantial creek flows into the bay running along the line of a volcanic dyke of Jurassic age (c160million years ago). The area has seen considerable development with solidly-built sandstone retaining walls, slips and a wharf. Fish in season here include leather jacket, black bream, tailer, flathead, John Dory and it is one of the most prominent blackfish spots in Rose Bay (ibid, 1996, 1).

Soon after, the narrow strip of foreshore walk reaches a large, cleared area with a great white house at the head of the lawns, its grand, bowed entrance facing the Harbour. Carrara (named after the Italian marble used in it, and later called Strickland House) was built on a portion of the Wentworth estate given to William Charles Wentworth's daughter, Thomasine, as part of a marriage settlement but sold to Charles Lowe in 1854. The house, designed by John Frederick Hilly, was sold before its completion in 1856 to John Hosking, Sydney's first elected mayor. Its original two storey coach house and servants' quarters stand nearby (SHR entry: Strickland House).

After Hosking's death, Carrara went through several prominent owners. It was a school and then, after its purchase by the Government in 1914, became Strickland Women's Convalescent Home, opened in 1915 to relieve pressure on general hospitals during WWI. Additional buildings were added to the hospital and the grounds were landscaped again in the 1930s - notice the bowling greens in the gully. The hospital dormitory blocks remain, some distance from the main house.

Closure of the hospital in 1989 opened the grounds to the public but also the building to controversy over its future use. Government proposals to lease it as a 'boutique' hotel made it the subject of protest. Meanwhile, the grounds and gardens with their many treasures allow visitors a rare opportunity to experience something of the extent and quality of such a splendid Victorian marine villa on the Harbour. And it has had other uses, too, posing in 2007 as Darwin's Government House (which it hardly resembles) for Baz Luhrmann's epic film, 'Australia'. Fortunately the simulated Japanese bombing in the film was no more damaging than the Japanese shells which hit Rose Bay in 1942.

Back down on the foreshore, the track continues above two more small and natural beaches, Tingara (a misspelling of Tingira, the training ship once moored in the bay) and Milk Beach (Spindler, 2007).

Milk Beach was a part of former Carrara / Strickland House Estate. Carrara villa was built in 1856 in a large landscaped setting, including a strong relationship between house and the water of Sydney Harbour. The remnants of a sandstone wharf (, jetty or a wall: ibid, 1996, 2) adjacent to the beach contributes to the strength of this association (SHR entry: Strickland House). When the main form of transport and delivery was by boat, milk was delivered here and so the beach gained its name. Its milky-white sand also contributed to the name (Clifford & Webb, 1997, 140). The beach is fed by a creek, largely still in its natural state (ibid, 1996, 2).

The track winds uphill (occasionally cutting: Spindler, 2007) through the remains of Aboriginal shell middens and alongside some 'tor-like' rocks with 'eyebolts' believed to once have been the base for a large flagstaff. Then the track generally follows the foreshore into Nielsen Park, turning right neading north up the hillside (ibid, 1996, 2). Archaeological studies of Milk Beach have revealed other evidence of Aboriginal occupation, rare now in generally greatly disturbed harbour beaches (Spindler, 2007).

As Nielsen Park is entered, coastal bushland replaces introduced species in one of the finest of all harbourside parks (Spindler, 2007). The track meets a stepped pathway out via Tingara Avenue to Carrara Road and Vaucluse Road. The track turns left (north) stopping at open space near picnic tables in front of Strickland House (Carrara). The track continues through a 'closed forest' dominated by a large Moreton Bay fig (Ficus macrophylla) tree which appears to have been uprooted by westerly winds and tilted over, but still living. Further on is a stone step with finely-chiselled engraving on it, the origin of which is unknown. It is expected this was done by masons employed in building Carrara, since its stone was quarried on site (ibid, 1996, 2).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The Reserve is in reasonable condition but needs maintenance of both its natural assets and structural features (WHHS, 2018).
Date condition updated:04 Jan 19
Further information: The Reserve is still the same area that was original proclaimed as public recreation ground on 1 May 1912. Since then it has had modifications to improve the public's ability to access it as a fine public walk, fishing and swimming area. (WHHS, 2018).
Current use: National Park reserve, recreation, conservation
Former use: Aboriginal land, timber-getting, farming

History

Historical notes: Before Australia became a British colony, the area around Sydney Harbour was occupied by the Eora, Guringai and Daruk Aboriginal Nations. The eastern part of Sydney Harbour was Eora Country (NPWS 1).

Before European settlement, the area where Vaucluse is now located was inhabited by the Birrabirragal Aboriginal clan, who belonged to the coastal Dharug language group (Paton, 1987, quoted in the Wikipedia entry for Vaucluse).

The Rose Bay to Shark Bay (Nielsen Park beach) foreshore was laden with middens (left-over shells from countless meals of fish and seafood), proof that the Hermitage Track was a place of great importance to the Cadigal (Birrabirragul). They set out in canoes from here, slept in (under) the overhanging roacks and carved drawings into the rocks at Milk Beach (Clifford & Webb, 1997, 137).

The site was an attractive occupation site due to its accessibility, supply of fresh water and fishing resources. Extensive archaeological evidence at Nielsen Park demonstrates use of the land for camping and fishing over an extended period. To date there are 14 recorded Aboriginal sites within the park, comprised of middens, rock shelters, and art.

Upon the arrival of settlers and convicts, land was cleared to make way for the developing colony and Aboriginal people were forced further and further away from their traditional camping and hunting grounds. As the colony spread, more evidence of Aboriginal life and culture was destroyed. Today, despite the great spread of the city, you can find many Aboriginal sites like rock engravings and middens - examples of an ancient and enduring cultural heritage and a record of the Eora Peoples' connection to Country (NPWS 1).

Archival records attest to the continuing use of the land by Aboriginal people post-European contact. For example, during the Wentworth occupation of the site 1827-1911 Aboriginal people were recorded to be camping at the site. The recorded sites and potential unknown archaeological deposits link the Birrabirragal peoples of the past to Aboriginal peoples of the present. The landscape continues to be of cultural value for Aboriginal people.

With the arrival of the colonists the land comprising Nielsen Park went through several phases of private ownership. In 1793 Governor John Hunter made a grant to Thomas Laycock, Deputy Commissary - General Quartermaster in the NSW Corps of 80 acres. Three years later in 1797 the land was purchased by Captain Thomas Dennett and named Woodmancote.

Six years later in 1803 Sir Henry Brown Hayes purchased the land along with another 40 acres and together the lands formed the Vaucluse Estate. Hayes built a house and cleared the land; 50 acres for cattle, orchards and vegetables. Hayes also leased the land to Samuel Breakwell who in turn leased it to Sir Maurice O'Connell, who then leased it to Captain John Piper. Piper went on to purchase some of the estate until in 1827 his economic circumstances took a downturn and he sold the land to William Charles Wentworth.

The Vaucluse Estate
William Charles (W.C.) Wentworth, the explorer, author, barrister, landowner, and statesman was born to Catherine Crowley, a convict and D'Arcy Wentworth. W.C.Wentworth, along with Gregory Blaxland and William Lawson, is credited with making the first major colonial exploration by crossing the Blue Mountains in 1813. As a reward he was granted 1000 acres in addition to an earlier grant of 1750 acres (708 ha) on the Nepean River. Wentworth travelled to England in 1816 to study law and became an advocate for political reform in NSW. Together with Robert Wardell, Wentworth founded 'The Australian' newspaper.

After his father Darcy's death in 1827 William Charles Wentworth gradually purchased land on Sydney Harbour which he combined to create his Vaucluse Estate. As well as buying Piper's land, William Charles Wentworth was granted another 370 acres, bringing his Vaucluse Estate to 515 acres. It included the land from the Macquarie Lighthouse on South Head to the eastern heights of Rose Bay, with the land currently known as Nielsen Park and Hermitage Foreshore Reserve both forming parts. The focal point of the estate was the house he had built for his family (Vaucluse House). William and his wife Sarah had seven daughters and three sons.

The Hermitage Estate:
One of the first subdivisions of W.C.Wentworth's consolidated Vaucluse Estate led to the creation of The Hermitage Estate. This centred on The Hermitage, which began as a small cottage built by silversmith Alexander Dick around 1837 (who may have been the "hermit")(Spindler, 2007).

Alexander Dick (c1791-1843) was born in Scotland, possibly related to an Edinburgh silversmith with firms Dick & Robertson or Dick & McPherson. He arrived as a free settler in Sydney in 1824 on the 'Portland', at first possibly working for fellow Scot James Robertson. By 1826 Dick was advertising his own business on Pitt Street, marrying Charlotte Hutchinson that year. He prospered, employing two smiths, two jewellers and a servant girl, soon moving to new premises on Williams Place, George Street where he employed up to six other craftsmen. Tried in court in 1829 for receiving stolen silver goods, his good character was defended by forty leading citizens and Governor Darling pardoned Dick. He returned to business, smelting the first gold discovered in Australia, found by Polish explorer John Lhotsky on the Monaro Plains in 1834. In 1835-6 he expanded, moving in 1837 to bigger premises in more fashionable east George Street opposite the barracks gate. He sponsored 16 bounty immigrants including two jewellers, a silversmith-clockmaker and watchmaker. He bought land at Vaucluse, building The Hermitage and went on family picnics around the harbour: he and Charlotte had four sons and four daughters. Dick retired from business in 1841 and died in 1843, buried in Devonshire Street cemetery (Wade/ADB entry 2005).

Dick, his wife and son lived there until 1868 when the politician Hon. Edward Mason Hunt MLC acquired the property and built a Gothic Revival style two-storey house (1870-78), incorporating the previous cottage. Hunt lived there for about 30 years - it is conjectured that Hunt may be the 'hermit' after which the bay and the house had been named (WHHS, 1996, 1). The Hermitage gave the walk and bay it oversights, and today's reserve, their names (Spindler, 2007).

Resumption and Establishment of Hermitage Foreshore Reserve:
The Harbour Foreshores Vigilance Committee, with William Notting as secretary, formed in 1905 to secure parks on Harbour foreshores for public use. William Notting was a tireless campaigner against the alienation of Harbour foreshore lands and had been agitating for the resumption of land at Parsley Bay since 1900. Notting was a keen sailor who urged that 'steps must be taken to prevent Sydney Harbour becoming a private lake, commenting that it is little better than a pond in a privately-owned paddock'.

The Committee played a significant role in the emergence of a public movement to protect the remaining natural foreshores of the Harbour. As a result, the Foreshore Resumptions Scheme was established in 1911.

In May 1912, a width of Rose Bay foreshore land varying from 40 - 100' (12-30m) from Bayview Hill Road to Nielsen Park was resumed by the NSW Government's Department of Lands under the Foreshores Resumption Scheme for a public recreation ground (ibid, 1996, 1; WHHS, 2018). The Hermitage Foreshore Reserve is that land (ibid, 2018). The NSW Government Gazette of 1 May 1912 gave notice of the resumption of land which is now the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve (WHHS, 2018).

The reserve was added to in 1940 at the behest of the then Vaucluse (now Woollahra) Municipal Council. Due to the steepness of the terrain, it was not developed for public use. However, work was carried out on portions of this land, limited to private development under permissive occupancy and approved by the Maritime Services Board and the Lands Department - this was terminated on September 30, 1965. The land was declared a reserve for public recreation on November 13, 1964 and placed under the care, control and management of Woollahra Municipal Council. Park amenities were planned for the area, but legal obstacles in regard to the development that had taken place hindered this work (ibid, 1996, 1).

The Hermitage Foreshore Reserve was added to the Sydney Harbour National Park on November 12, 1983, designated a 'Heritage Reserve' and placed under the control of the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service. Private encroachments were taken over or removed, a track put through and improvements to facilities were made. Wisely, the area was largely left in its natural state so that with both the 'Hermitage Reserve' and 'Nielsen Park' there are more than 3km of rock and beach foreshore which is mostly untouched by urban development and is fully accessible to the public (ibid, 1996, 1).

On the reserve walking track at Steele Point is a plaque and marker board placed on 29 November 1993 commemorating the opening of this track, which was upgraded with funds from the Vincent Fairfax Foundation and channelled here by the National Parks & Wildlife Foundation. The plaque was unveiled at Hermit Point by Chris Hartcher, Minister for the Environment and transferred to its present location (later)(ibid, 1996, 2).

In 1914, the Hermitage (remaining estate and house) was bought by David McCathie of the Pitt Street Department Store family. In 1936, the house was severely damaged by fire but was reconstructed in its present form by architect Emil Sodersten, retaining much of the early (Gothic Revival) style. In the 1990s the building served as a staff training centre for Woolworths (WHHS, 1996). It was associated with Victor Boyce of Palm Island Fashions and Theo Kelly, Chairman of Woolworths (Chancellor, 2017). Kelly built a 1960s 'Hawaiian style' mansion Tahiti' to the design of Douglas Snelling, adjacent to The Hermitage (Singer, 2007). The Hermitage was used as a bank training college in the 1960s (Spindler, 2007: wikipedia states that it was bought by the Woolworths company in 1964 and used for staff training) but today is again privately owned (Spindler, 2007) by the Hemmes family of Merivale hospitality and fashion business.

The Greycliffe Estate
In 1847, one of William Charles Wentworth's daughters, Fanny Katherine (1829-1893), married John Reeve, a wealthy pastoralist from Gippsland. In 1850 Reeve purchased 14 acres of the Vaucluse Estate fronting Shark Bay from his father-in-law. Reeve commissioned architect John Frederick (J.F.) Hilly to design a villa at Shark Bay, which was completed in 1851 and called Greycliffe. It demonstrates the characteristics of the Rustic Gothic design through its steeply pitched roofs and its location in a picturesque landscape. The house was oriented to the harbour front, with a vast portion of cleared land opening views to the water. The building included a detached sandstone coach house with staff quarters in the attic.

Another, smaller, building was also built at this time as an estate cottage which became known as the Gardener's Cottage. Also designed by J.F. Hilly, the cottage reflects a pattern book design as the basis of its planning. Is shown in early photographs to have been located near a substantial kitchen garden, with open paddocks surrounding.

In 1854 the Reeves left for England and did not return. Greycliffe House was leased by a succession of distinguished persons including: Lt.-Col. J.G.N. Gibbes, Collector of Customs; Fitzwilliam Wentworth, Attorney General; William Bede Dalley; Premier Sir John Robertson and Lady Isabella Martin, wife of NSW Premier and politician Sir James Martin.

Greycliffe Estate's Defence Use:
In 1870 part of Greycliffe Estate was set aside for defence purposes. At this time Britain had withdrawn the last of its garrisons from Sydney and the government again ordered a serious re-evaluation of Sydney's Harbour defences. A Royal Commission into the defence of the Colony found that there was a need for coastal and Harbour defence and decided to build batteries at Middle Head, Georges Head, South Head, Bradley's Head, and Shark Point on Sydney Harbour. Shark Point, now known as Steele Point, was one of this system of artillery batteries at the entrance to Port Jackson. One acre, one rood and 10 perches at Steele Point was resumed at this time to build a battery. The battery, designed by James Barnet, is of sandstone construction and is comprised of a series of gun pits with connecting trenches and tunnels. A timber cottage near to the portal entrance of the Battery was built in 1880 as a two-roomed Gunners' Barracks. A store shed, which was likely used for early storage of artillery, and later vehicle storage, was also built in the 1880s.

In February 1897, whilst Greycliffe House was occupied by The Hon. Fitzwilliam Wentworth, a very extensive fire damaged much of the house and it's interior. Wentworth had it rebuilt largely to its original design but with some with alterations. By May 1898 Mary and Fitzwilliam were once again occupying the house and continued to do so until it was resumed by the State Government.

During the private ownership phase in the 19th and early 20th centuries the beachfront of Shark Bay remained in its natural state apart from a small change shed and piled swimming cage located at the eastern extent of the bay for the use of Greycliffe residents.

Resumption of Greycliffe Estate and Establishment of Nielsen Park:
The Harbour Foreshores Vigilance Committee, with William Notting as secretary, formed in 1905 to secure parks on Harbour foreshores for public use. William Notting was a tireless campaigner against the alienation of Harbour foreshore lands and had been agitating for the resumption of land at Parsley Bay since 1900. Notting was a keen sailor who urged that 'steps must be taken to prevent Sydney Harbour becoming a private lake, commenting that it is little better than a pond in a privately-owned paddock'.

The Committee played a significant role in the emergence of a public movement to protect the remaining natural foreshores of the Harbour. As a result, the Foreshore Resumptions Scheme was established in 1911 and Nielsen Park was created and named in honour of the Secretary for Lands, Mr. Niels R W Nielsen. The Hermitage Foreshore Reserve and Strickland House were also reclaimed at this time.

In 1911, the Greycliffe Estate (but not the house) was resumed. Nielsen Park was created and named in honour of the Secretary for Lands, Mr. Niels R W Nielsen. The newly created Nielsen Park Reserve was a total of 51 acres of land and it included: Shark Beach, Bottle and Glass Point and the W C Wentworth Trustee's land around Mount Trefle as well as a parcel of land belonging to George Donaldson containing a house and stables at the summit of Mount Trefle.

The newly created Nielsen Park Reserve was a total of 51 acres of land and included: Shark Beach, Bottle and Glass Point and the W C Wentworth Trustee's land around Mount Trefle as well as a parcel of land belonging to George Donaldson containing a house and stables at the summit of Mount Trefle.

Greycliffe was not included in the first resumption. The public praised resumption of part of the foreshore but pressed for the acquisition of Greycliffe. In 1914 Greycliffe House with a two acre curtilage was added and dedicated for hospital purposes with its first role as the Lady Edeline Hospital for Babies. The Battery at Steele Point remained in Commonwealth of Australia ownership.

Management under Nielsen Park Trust (1912-1967)
Care and control of Nielsen Park was entrusted to the Nielsen Park Trust whom held their first meeting on 24 May 1912. The first committee members included E.M. deBurgh - Public Works Chief Engineer for Harbours and Water Supply (President), Macarthur Onslow - Member for Waverly MLA NSW and Mr O'Keefe (Secretary and Treasurer).

The Park was added to with numerous structures constructed by the Trust between 1914 and 1965. Most, constructed by the NSW Government Architect's Office, were located along the foreshore, and some were constructed using labour from the Unemployed Relief Work Fund which employed builders during the Depression. The site became a popular picnicking area and the ferry wharf, built at the southern end of the beach in 1916, resulted in increased Park patronage.

Although resumed for a public reserve, swimming at Shark Beach was initially discouraged by the Trust due to the danger of shark attacks. A small sea wall and fence along the beachfront was provided in c1918. By 1930, to accommodate the increased patronage, the Trust decided to build the first triangular swimming enclosure. This was quickly replaced by a larger enclosure in 1931 with a central diving tower and fixed piled platforms and pontoons.

When the small sea wall and fence along the beachfront was provided in c1918 the upper level promenade was built named 'Notting Parade'. Along this, the W. A. Notting Memorial is sited immediately west of the Kiosk. The large curved masonry stuccoed Roman Seat is was erected in 1927 by the Nielsen Park Trust, with a plaque honouring William Albert Notting, who was instrumental in having the reserve established through his involvement with the Harbour Foreshore Vigilance Committee. A second plaque at the western end of the memorial, honouring Niels Nielsen, was added in 1995.

The Park Kiosk dates from 1914 and was the first building commissioned by the newly formed Nielsen Park Reserve Trust to provide refreshment facilities for visitors, reflecting the new status of the park as a recreation ground. Its original form was an octagonal shaped pavilion and in c1925 wings were added each side. A small cottage and garage was built adjacent for the Kiosk lessee.

A men's dressing shed with stone turreted walls built in 1920 to the Government Architect's design. This structure adjoined an earlier timber and fibro shed sited on the beach. The new dressing sheds were opened on 21 October 1921 and in 1924 a Life Saving and Swimming Club was formed that used part of the original dressing shed. In 1931 the public works department undertook works to accommodate locker and toilet facilities for men in this building.

A small western toilet block was built in c1920 as a Ladies Toilet block, with rusticated sandstone walls. Another small toilet block, completed in 1965 was one of the last buildings to be constructed under the Trust administration. Built to a Government Architect design using stone walls but in a contemporary architectural idiom, it was discretely sited at the on the hill at the western end of the beach behind vegetation.

In 1932 the Dressing Pavilion was built. This single storey building or enclosure was designed in a restrained Inter-war Mediterranean style, to provide change and shower facilities for paying visitors using the beach. It was designed to provide separated men's and women's toilets, lockers and changing spaces around two large courtyards. The building was constructed from cement rendered and painted brickwork walls, recessed externally and capped with narrow pitched terracotta tiled roofing on a timber framework. It provided the sole access way, via a tunnel, to the swimming enclosure which was then fenced off from the rest of the park, and thus allowed the Trust to charge visitors for swimming.

The Halbert Pavilion, located between Greycliffe house and the Kiosk was built by the Nielsen Park Trust as a picnicking pavilion. The structure had no windows and the sides were partially sheeted. The cut and filled grassed area, retained by a sandstone wall, was accessed by steps and a cement path from the access road.

Mt Trefle, the highest point in Nielsen Park, was named after the Hon. J. L. Trefle, Secretary for Lands from 1912-1915. Trefle followed the Hon. N R W Nielsen who had been Secretary in the McGowen Government from 1910 and 1911. It is a sandstone outcrop with evidence of a basalt dyke extending from Mount Trefle down to the Bottle and Glass Point. Prior to the period of public ownership a quarry was in use on its eastern side. In the early management by the Trust revenue was generated from the agistment of horses on cleared land on the northern slopes of Mount Trefle towards the rear of Greycliffe.

In 1942, 9 acres of the broader site was occupied by the Army as Sydney Harbour's anti-aircraft defences. A light AA gun was placed at Steele Point, air raid shelters were built and the 61st Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Company (an all-women unit) occupied the area between the Gardeners Cottage and the avenue of small fig trees to its south. A brick emplacement was constructed at Bottle and Glass Point for use by volunteer 15-16 year old boys of the Marine Bomb Spotting Squad

The management of the Park was altered in 1950 when it was combined with Vaucluse Park to become Nielsen- Vaucluse Trust. This Trust management the park for another 17 years until it was transferred to the care of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in 1967.

Several early Trust-era structures including a rotunda, dressing sheds, swimming enclosures and the ferry wharf were gradually removed across the period for a wide range of reasons including weather events and changing requirements of the site.

Greycliffe House was located on a separate lot and was not included in Nielsen Park until 1970. The Sydney Harbour National Park was established in 1975 and Nielsen Park was included a few years later.

Infant Care
The NSW Ministry of Health established the Lady Edeline Hospital for Babies in Greycliffe house in 1914 under the direction of the Baby Clinics, Pre-Maternity and Home Nursing Board, mainly to treat gastroenteritis. The harbourside location and fresh air were considered optimal for the recovery process. The facility was named for Lady Edeline Strickland (nee Sackville), who championed the cause of infant care. It was only the second hospital established in Australia specifically for infants under the age of two years.

Greycliffe House was altered and added to during the 1920s for hospital purposes, including enclosing the house's north east verandah, construction of large timber framed verandah on the north, construction of a single storey room at the east end of the stables block and construction of a small enclosure and toilet on the south of the house. Greycliffe's interior was also adapted but documentary records to date do not evidence these changes. Documents record that in 1923 the hospital was housing 35 patients, 13 nursing staff and 10 household staff.

As improved health and hygiene standards lead to a decline in infant mortality the Lady Edeline Hospital for Babies was closed in 1934. At this time the Tresillian Mothercraft Training School was established at Greycliffe House to provide training for nurses and a place where mothers could learn appropriate care for their babies. It was the third Tresillian facility established.

In 1939 a new building, Margaret Harper House, was built behind Greycliffe to service the Tresilian Facility. It features a series of enclosed verandahs around a courtyard and was originally linked to Greycliffe House. The building is named for eminent paediatrician Dr Margaret Harper, whose work on infant diet, care and disease has remained highly influential.

Tresillian tailored and altered the house during their 33 year occupancy including subdividing the larger rooms for accommodation, toilets and storage. Measured plans were prepared in the 1950s identifying the rooms and their uses. In particular, a single storey extension, housing a nursery, was added in 1939 between Margaret Harper House and Greycliffe, which involved demolition and alteration to previous work. The architect added a rotunda to this suite of rooms. A toddlers' room was constructed in 1953 on the north east corner of the enclosed verandah and Margaret Harper House was constructed to the east in 1939. The garden to the north of Greycliffe was well used by the Tresillian patients and staff.
During the 1930s, Matron Kaibel, who resided at the site for 23 years, established a sunken garden to the north east of Greycliffe with associated paths and plantings. The facility closed its doors on 10 October 1968. The property was added to the lands to be administered by NPWS on 4 May 1970.

Under NSW National Parks' stewardship, Greycliffe was repaired and restored to its nineteenth century layout. The Lady Edeline and Tresillian external additions were removed, in particular the additions attached to the north and east of the former stables. Some of the internal features relating to the Lady Edeline and Tresillian phases were retained. The upper floor of the stables had not been not altered and still retains its mid nineteenth century plan. In 2002 the gardens around Greycliffe were reconstructed.

Management by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (1967-present)
When the NPWS assumed management of Nielsen Park in 1968 they set about making the Park more open and focused on both public recreation and protection of the natural environment. Fencing on the beach was removed, free access was given to the swimming enclosure and the Dressing Pavilion, car parking was banned and two picnic shelters were removed. The wharf was demolished in 1979 along with swimming platforms, pontoons and a diving tower. Women's change sheds near the wharf were removed as were fireplaces at Vaucluse Point. At this point Greycliffe House became the new administration centre for the Sydney District of NPWS.

In 1989 a new steel framed workshop and compound was built in the old quarry site behind Mount Trefle.

Throughout the 1970s various restoration works were undertaken to Greycliffe House, the Gardener's Cottage and Steele Point Cottage along with urgent repairs to the kiosk after a severe storm in the 1980s. The NPWS management of Nielsen Park has contributed to the enhancement of the natural environment with restoration of cleared areas of the park, regeneration and recovery of the Nielsen Park she-oak population (Allocasuarina portuensis).

Nielsen Park continues to be a popular venue for beach-side recreation and family picnics. The Park is becoming increasingly popular as a venue to celebrate Christmas Day and to watch the start of the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

Nielsen Park was listed on the NSW State Heritage Register in August 2017 (WHHS, 2018). Nielsen Park and Strickland House, which is also listed on the Register, were acquired by the NSW Government with funds from the Foreshore Resumption Scheme in 1911 and 1914 respectively. The Hermitage Foreshore Reserve, which runs from Nielsen Park along the foreshore in front of Strickland House and on to below Rose Bay Convent, was acquired by the NSW Government in 1912 under the same Fund. The Woollahra History and Heritage Society submitted a nomination in 2018 for State Heritage Register listing of the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve (WHHS, 2018).

Milk Beach (part of former Carrara / Strickland House Estate):
The original villa, Carrara was built in 1856 in a large landscaped setting, including a strong relationship between the house and the water of Sydney Harbour. The two-storey segmental bay projection is striking and represents a relatively early use of such a feature.The remnants of the sandstone wharf adjacent to Milk Beach contributes to the strength of this association (SHR entry: Strickland House).

When the main form of transport and delivery was by boat, milk was delivered by this beach and so Milk Beach gained its name. Its milky-white sand also contributed to its name (Clifford & Webb, 1997, 140).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Parks-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Environment/Contact: What do we know of the Contact Environment?-Environment (Natural) Control
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Other open space-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Topography: How did the environment, topography and the River influence early settlement? Is there a strong relationship-Peopling the Continent Contact
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Conserving and protecting natural features-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural - Coasts and coastal features supporting human activities-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Scientific: Environments important for plant life-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Environments important to Aboriginal traditional and spiritual life-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Natural - pre European settlement vegetation-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Natural - site important native fauna habitat or food source-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Natural - regenerating native flora valued for conservation purposes-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Introduce cultural planting-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Introduce cultural planting-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Park reserve-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Rare and Significant Flora-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Regional flora and fauna-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Special tree or trees-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures-Activities associated with maintaining, developing, experiencing and remembering Aboriginal cultural identities and practices, past and present. Aboriginal Culture-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures-Activities associated with maintaining, developing, experiencing and remembering Aboriginal cultural identities and practices, past and present. Eora Nation - sites evidencing occupation-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures-Activities associated with maintaining, developing, experiencing and remembering Aboriginal cultural identities and practices, past and present. Eora nation - places of contact with the colonisers-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Creating a gentleman's estate-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Ethnic influences-Activities associated with common cultural traditions and peoples of shared descent, and with exchanges between such traditions and peoples. Irish migrants-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Private farming-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Farming by convict emancipists-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Clearing land for farming-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Significant Places How are significant places marked in the landscape by, or for, different groups-Monuments and Sites
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 Park-
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 Creating environments evocative of the 'old country'-
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 of military activities-
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 of urban amenity-
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 of cultural and natural interaction-
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 of contemplation and devotion-
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 Places important in developing conservation processes-
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 Gardens demonstrating the travels and sojurns of a gardener-
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 of coastal swimming, diving, surfing and sunbathing-
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 Gardens and landscapes reminiscent of an 'old country'-
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 used for self reliant recreation-
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 Significant tree(s) providing urban amenity-
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-
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 of scenic beauty-
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 Tourism-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Holding opening and dedication ceremonies-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Providing a venue for significant events-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Developing local landmarks-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements administering the public ferry system-
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. Country Homes-
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. Country Villa-
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 working animals-
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 the prosperous - mansions in town and country-
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 medical staff-
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 for industrial managers and owners-
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 for merchants and dealers-
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. Gentlemens Villas-
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. Country mansion-
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. Marine villa-
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. A Picturesque Residential Suburb-
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 (suburbs)-
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. gentlemen's residences-
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. Architectural design-
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. Victorian era residence-
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. early settlement or worker's cottage-
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. Adapted heritage building or structure-
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 politicians-
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 famous families-
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. Accommodating workers in workers' housing-
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 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. Living as a hermit-
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. Building for seclusion-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Early land grants-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Sub-division of large estates-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal avenue of trees-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Early farming (Cattle grazing)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Surveying by Augustus Alt-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Naming places (toponymy)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Resuming private lands for public purposes-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Granting Crown lands for private farming-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Subdivision of urban estates-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 19th century suburban developments-
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 20th century Suburban Developments-
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 Subdivision of rural estates-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing suburbia-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Country Estate-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Country Estate-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Role of transport in settlement-
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 20th Century infrastructure-
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 A Picturesque Residential District-
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 Garden suburbs-
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 Suburban Consolidation-
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 Estates-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages living in the suburbs-
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 living in the country-
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 community park-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in health care-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working independently on the land-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Defending the homeland-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Observing and looking out for enemy movements-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Involvement with the Second World War-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Military barracks accommodation-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. State government-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Local government-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Federal Government-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - building and operating public infrastructure-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - town and country planning-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - conserving cultural and natural heritage-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - parks and open spaces-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - public land administration-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - providing health care facilities-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Public works-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - administration of land-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Open Space Provision-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. resumption for heritage conservation-
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. Parks and public gardens-
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. work of stonemasons-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - Victorian picturesque Gothic-
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. Architectural styles and periods - colonial Gothic-
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 Mediterranean-
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 c bush garden style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - neglected, regenerating to bushland-
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. Designing in an exemplary architectural style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - Federation period-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Adaptation of overseas design for local use-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - Victorian period-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - 20th century interwar-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - 20th century post WW2-
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 - public parks movement-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - Victorian gardenesque style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Building in response to natural landscape features.-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Building in response to climate - ocean pools and baths-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1788-1850-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1850-1900-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Country estates - visiting, enjoying-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1900-1950-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1950-2000-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Kitchens and servants-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in a rural homestead-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Holidaying near the sea-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in a new house-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in, adapting and renovating homes for changing conditions-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living on the urban fringe-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in suburbia-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Valuing women's contributions-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ornamental Garden-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in a bushland setting-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Outdoor relief-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Sea baths-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Tourism-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation community park-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Activities associated with relaxation and recreation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gardening-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to the beach-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Enjoying picnics-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to the park-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting heritage places-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going fishing-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going bushwalking-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going swimming-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going boating and sailing-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting lookouts and places of natural beauty-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Enjoying public parks and gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Places of informal community gatherings-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Community organisations-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing local clubs and meeting places-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with William Charles Wentworth, explorer, politician, fathor of the Constitution-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Thomas Laycock Jr., soldier, explorer, businessman, grazier-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with James Barnet, Colonial (government) Architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Frederick Hilly, architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with the Hon. Sir John Robertson, Premier and colonial politician-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Alexander Dick, settler and alleged hermit-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Captain Thomas Dennett, soldier, landowner-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with E.M. deBurgh, Public Works Chief Engineer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Mary Wentworth, gentlewoman-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Edward Hunt MLA, cabinet maker, Councillor, MP-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Sir Henry Brown Hayes, emancipated convict-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Lt.-Colonel J G N Gibbes, Naval Commander-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Governor (Captn.) John Hunter RN, 1795-1800-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Samuel Breakwell, settler/farmer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Governor (later Gen.) Sir Maurice O'Connell, soldier, Lt-Governor NSW-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Reeve, pastoralist-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Fanny Reeve (nee Wentworth), gentlewoman-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with the Hon. Fitzwilliam Wentworth, Attorney-General-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with the Hon. William Bede Dalley, MP, solicitor, patriot, scholar-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Lady Isabella Martin, Premier's wife, gentlewoman-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with William Notting, Secretary, Harbour Foreshores Vigilance Committee-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with the Hon. Niels R.W. Nielsen, Secretary for Lands, 1910-12-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Nielsen Park and the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve are likely to be of state heritage significance as an outstanding natural and cultural landscape, that demonstrates a rich and diverse range of uses spanning pre-European settlement to the present.

The presence of Aboriginal art, shelters and middens across the site demonstrates pre-colonial use of the place as a fishing and camping ground for local Aboriginal people and signifies the ongoing connection of the place to the Birrabirragal People.

The site's use as part of a private residential estate by the noted colonial family of William Wentworth is demonstrated by adjoining developments at Carrara (later Strickland House) and at Greycliffe House, both with their surviving outbuildings, landscaped settings and historic harbour view lines, both of which are rare in consideration of their intactness and retention of their direct relationship to Sydney Harbour as 'marine villas' to be seen from the water.

The Hermitage Foreshore Reserve is a remnant not only of the Wentworth Estate but of one of its first subdivisions, the Hermitage estate. This was the grounds of the Hermitage, built between 1870-78 near Hermit Point, one of Sydney's most important harbourside villas of the late Victorian era for the Hon. Edward Mason Hunt MLC, which grew from a smaller cottage on the site, built around 1837 by silversmith, Alexander Dick.

Greycliffe House is an outstanding example of John F. Hilly's architectural design and one of a suite of neighbouring Hilly residences in the immediate vicinity including Strickland House.

Greycliffe House's use as a health facility for infants and babies, firstly as Lady Edeline Hospital for Babies from 1914-1934, and from 1934-68 as Tresillian Mothercraft Training School is of historic significance. The history of these institutions exhibits evolving philosophies and methods of treating infant patients and mothers which can be demonstrated in various alterations and additions to buildings and landscape in this period. Works such as Margaret Harper House (1939) and the parterre garden, designed by long serving matron, Matron Kaibel, in the 1930s, contribute to the layering of significance in the site.

Nielsen Park is historically significant in its several phases of use for defence activities. Steele Point fortification complex is representative of a group of 1870s Sydney Harbour defence fortifications. Steele Point Battery and associated outbuildings, together with potential archaeological deposits relating to use of the site in two world wars demonstrates the strategic importance of the location to Australia's defence forces since the 1870s.

The Hermitage Reserve and Neilsen Park have historical values at a state level for their ability to demonstrate the rise of harbour side recreational activity in 20th century. Both were some of the first major recreational reserves created along the southern shore of Sydney Harbour, instigated by a large public push to secure foreshore land in public ownership and resumption by the government from private ownership to become public reserve lands, run by Trusts.

Shark Bay, bordered by the current swimming enclosure, together with structures including the kiosk, bathing pavilion and promenade demonstrates the growth in popularity and evolving trends in public bathing and recreational activities.

The historical significance of Nielsen Park across various phases of use is enhanced through association with several notable colonial figures, including: William Wentworth, author, barrister, landowner, and statesman; the Reeve family who built Greycliffe House estate and, noted mid-19th century architect and surveyor, John F. Hilly who designed Greycliffe and its outbuildings.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Nielsen Park and Hermitage Foreshore Reserve have potential state associative significance as their creation as public foreshore reserves came about due to the lobbying of the Foreshores Vigilance Committee, a group of people campaigning for the public acquisition of foreshore private land to become public parkland, at the beginning of the 20th century.

The Hermitage Foreshore Reserve and Neilsen Park have potential state associative significance with several notable colonial figures, including: William Charles Wentworth, author, barrister, landowner, and statesman; the Reeve family who built Greycliffe House estate, noted mid-19th century architect and surveyor, John F. Hilly who designed Greycliffe and its outbuildings (and adjacent Carrara (later Strickland House). It is associated with the politician and philanthropist Hon. Edward Mason Hunt MLC and Alexander Dick, silversmith who built and expanded The Hermitage estate. It is associated with William Notting, Secretary of the Harbour Foreshores Vigilance Committee and Park Trustee, who led the public move to have the area preserved, the Secretary of Lands at the time and Niels Nielsen who provided government support for the establishment of the park. The later use of Greycliffe as an Infant Hospital saw a close association with eminent paediatrician Dr Margaret Harper, whose work on infant diet, care and disease has remained highly influential.

Greycliffe House has potential state associative significance as an outstanding example of John F. Hilly's architectural design and one of a suite of neighbouring Hilly residences in the immediate vicinity including Strickland House (formerly Carrara).
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Nielsen Park and the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve have state aesthetic significance as these two reserves form 3km of rock and beach foreshore mostly untouched by urban development and fully accessible to the public. Nielsen Park alone is one of the finest of all Sydney harbourside parks. Its aesthetic significance and variety are complemented and extended by the Hermitage Foreshore, which retains much more of its original vegetation and less-modified landscape character.

The site demonstrates multiple layers of aesthetic and social significance including native bushland, rich Aboriginal sites, a substantially intact Victorian Marine Villa estate, 20th century hospital complex and 20th century public recreational space. Each phase of use has yet to be dominated by newer developments and in combination allows the site to contribute to the landmark qualities of Nielsen Park as seen from within the park and from the waters of Sydney Harbour.

Nielsen Park is of state heritage significance as it contains two fine architectural examples of mid-19th century residential buildings. Greycliffe House and its related outbuildings designed by architect J F. Hilly; and the Steele Point Battery and Barracks and associated cottage designed by Colonial Architect, James Barnet. The buildings are still situated in their landscape setting.

In addition, a diverse range of recreational Nielsen Park buildings such as the kiosk, cottage, dressing shed and toilet buildings (mostly from the office of the Government Architect) are also extant and in their landscape setting. They all are excellent examples of their type and demonstrate the importance of the park as a recreational area and its development since the early 20th century.

The natural and cultural landscape, together, constitute an iconic Harbour side location with impressive views.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The site demonstrates multiple layers of aesthetic and social significance including native bushland, rich Aboriginal sites, a substantially intact Victorian Marine Villa estate, 20th century hospital complex and 20th century public recreational space. Each phase of use has yet to be dominated by newer developments and in combination allows the site to contribute to the landmark qualities of Nielsen Park as seen from within the park and from the waters of Sydney Harbour.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Nielsen Park and Hermitage Foreshore Reserve have potential state research signficance for their ability to contribute to the understanding of the community's desire for public foreshore parkland and history of that phenomenon occuring in New South Wales.

Due to its rich and diverse range of uses from pre-settlement times to the present (including uses such as a private residential estate, a colonial fort and recreational reserve), The Hermitage Foreshore Reserve and Nielsen Park may be of state significance for its ability to contribute to the understanding of the long term cultural and natural history of the harbour.

There is great potential for insights into the cultural practises of the Birrabirragal and other Aboriginal peoples from Sydney Harbour more broadly, to be extrapolated from further investigation into the numerous Aboriginal archaeological sites which have been identified across the site.

There is high archaeological potential for evidence of the various phases of European occupation across the site, ranging from agricultural practises, defence activities and recreational activities. This would notably include the rubbish deposits on the western side of Mount Trefle which have been identified as highly likely to contain material of significance from the fire-damaged Greycliffe House or nearby historic properties.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Nielsen Park and Hermitage Foreshore Reserve may be of state heritage significance as they retain a rare example of parts of two waterfront mid-19th estates that have survived in a near original state, and adjoin a third (Strickland House, formerly Carrara). The retention of Greycliffe House, its outbuildings, grounds and historic view lines is rare. The retention of Strickland House, its outbuildings, gruonds and historic view lines across the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve to and from the harbour is also rare.

The Steele Point Battery in Nielsen Park is the only harbour fort to survive in its entirety, together with the associated cottage, also designed by James Barnet.

The Hermitage Foreshore Reserves and Nielsen Park also contain the last surviving parcel of remnant bushland in the eastern suburbs with two endangered plant species including the Nielsen Park she-oak (Allocasuarina portuensis). In the 1990s consisted of only eight living specimens in this reserve. The NPWS is carrying out a planting programme to increase the population.

The site is unique in that the one landscape clearly demonstrates various phases of use from the cultural practises of the Birrabirragal through to leisure activities from the early 20th century to the present.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Nielsen Park and Hermitage Foreshore Reserve are a prime representative example of public foreshore parkalands on Sydney Harbour, reflecting early twentieth century public campaigning for such reserves and typical elements of such reserves.

The Hermitage Foreshore Reserve and Nielsen Park contain a rich collection of indigenous archaeology characteristic of coastal sites.

The Hermitage Foreshores Reserve and Nielsen Park represent one of the finest public recreational harbour areas in Sydney and may be of state significance for its use for public leisure spanning the 20th and 21st centuries.

Adjoining the Hermitage Foreshores Reserve are both the Hermitage and Strickland House (formerly Carrara), both fine represntative examples of early-mid Victorian marine villas, which in Carrara's case retain its outbuildings, gruonds and historic harbour views across the reserve.

Within Nielsen Park is a fine example of a mid-Victorian marine villa, Greycliffe House, which has retainedits outbuildings and historic harbour views. The development of the site as a public recreational space has sympathetically responded to the aesthetic principles and planning of the Victorian estate.

At a prominent position on the harbour front Nielsen Park contains one of the 1870's fortification complexes that were built as a group on promontories around Sydney Harbour. It is representative as one of several fortification complexes designed by colonial architect James Barnet.
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:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Statutory InstrumentNominate for State Heritage Register (SHR) 
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - Under consideration for SHR/IHO listingNielsen Park and the Hermitage Foreshore (Curtilag 21 Jan 19   
Local Environmental PlanWatercourse to Hermit Bay40223 May 15   
Potential Heritage Item  05 Oct 18   
Heritage studyNSW Maritime (Nielsen Park Pool and associated str79504 Jan 10   
Register of the National EstateThe Hermitage00249921 Oct 80   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
NSW Maritime Heritage and Conservation Register2010795Godden Mackay Logan  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenChancellor, Jonathan2017'NSW real estate: Jonathan Chancellor reports on Justin Hemmes' changes to family mansion' View detail
WrittenClements, Caroline2019'Try this at Home'
WrittenClifford, Lisa and Webb, Mandy1997'17 - Rose Bay to Nielsen Park' in "Walking Sydney"
WrittenEJE Landscape Architects in association with Christa Ludlow2005Survey of Harbourside & Ocean Pools of the Sydney Metropolitan Region Report & Inventory Sheets
WrittenNPWS 1, in 'Sydney Harbour National Park / Hermitage Foreshore Walk' 'Aboriginal Heritage' View detail
WrittenPaton, Neil (quoted in Wikipedia.com/entry on 'Vaucluse')1987'Walks in the Sydney Harbour National Park' View detail
WrittenPaul Davies2014Nielsen Park Conservation Management Plan
WrittenRobinson, Les1991Field Guide to the Native Plants of Sydney
WrittenSinger, Michelle2007'$29.5m only to knock it down - welcome to Vaucluse' View detail
WrittenSpindler, Graham2007Sharing Sydney Harbour: Harbour Bridge to South Head and Clovelly View detail
WrittenWade, John2005'Dick, Alexander (1791-1843)' View detail
WrittenWoollahra History & Heritage Society1996Heritage Walks in Woollahra 1.3: Hermitage Foreshore Walk
WrittenWoollahra Municipal Council 'Hermitage Reserve' View detail

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

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5066625
File number: EF18/6360


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