House (including original interiors) - Seven Gables | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


House (including original interiors) - Seven Gables

Item details

Name of item: House (including original interiors) - Seven Gables
Other name/s: 'Heidelberg' 'Werribeen'
Type of item: Conservation Area
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 251 Mowbray Road, Chatswood, NSW 2067
Parish: Willoughby
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Willoughby


Curtilage/Boundary is Lot size: The heritage listing applies to the whole property and any element which contributes to the heritage significance of this item. This may also include floor plan layout, internal detailing and/or fittings and fixtures, external setting including pathways, existing hard surfaces, gardens, fencing, landscape features and trees.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
251 Mowbray RoadChatswoodWilloughbyWilloughbyCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The house is an exceptional English Revival style villa with eclectically inspired detailing, extremely modern for its period. The house is of historical significance for its architectural quality and representation of early stylistic innovation in development by the wealthier inhabitants of the area. It has association with local identities and is of aesthetic significance for its inherent qualities and contribution to the streetscape, particularly the fine group of houses comprising Nos 245, 253 and 258 Mowbray Road.
Date significance updated: 10 Mar 04
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.


Designer/Maker: Albert Borchard
Builder/Maker: Albert Borchard
Construction years: 1902-1903
Physical description: Large single storeyed painted brick mansion with hipped roof and tall roughcast chimneys. The building's most distinctive architectural feature is its seven prominent brick gables with simple parapets on the ends, front and sides of the house. It has a separate, steeply roofed front veranda on two sides on narrow Doric columns and brick details around front windows. Internally, the house has 12 rooms and 5 excellent fireplaces, each with sandstone surrounds, carved mantels and glazed tiles.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Archaeological potential: Unknown
Date condition updated:23 Apr 08
Further information: Property extensively damaged by fire in April 2010.
Current use: Residential
Former use: Residential


Historical notes: In 1840, Governor Sir George Gipps proclaimed a grant of 160 acres to James Blackett and Richard Read, in trust for Maria Brown. This land was bounded roughly by the Artarmon Estate to the south, Victoria Avenue to the north, Stanley Street to the east and Devonshire Street to the west. The area east of Stanley Street was part of an earlier 1825 crown grant to Richard Archbold. This land was bought and subdivided by William Lithgow and put up for sale in 1854 with limited success.

Urban development commenced in earnest in the 1870's with the news of the impending arrival of the railway, the following decades were a period of vigorious subdivision in Chatswood, and high class building activity flourished in the area.

The Mowbray Road streetscape is significant as one of Willoughby's earliest streets and most important routes, and because of this significance it displays a range of substantial and high quality residences from this early phase of development of the area.

The English Revival style house was built in 1902-03 on Holland's subdivision for Phoebe Borchard, wife of German born accountant Albert Borchard who had migrated to Australia in 1884. No 315 Mowbray Road (Hilton) was reportedly designed by Borchard reflecting similar architectural details to Seven Gables. The house, then known as "Heidelberg" was sold to Daniel Calwallader (flour miller) in 1910 who changed the property's name to '"Werribeen' following midst First World War xenophobia. The property remained in the Calwallader family until 1941 when the house was sold to "Thomas Cummings Ford of Chatswood, gentleman."

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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. Suburban residential development-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Seven gables has local significance as an excellent example of a turn of the century villa. Historically, it has significance for its architectural quality and representation of early stylistic innovation in development by the wealthier inhabitants of the area.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
It has associations with local identity Albert Orchard, a German-born architect.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
This house is of aesthetic significance for its inherent qualities and contribution to the streetscape, particularly the fine group of houses comprising Nos 245, 253 and 258 Mowbray Road.
SHR Criteria g)
Seven Gables is representative of early stylistic innovation in development that occurred from the early, wealthier inhabitants of the area
Integrity/Intactness: Substantially intact
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanWLEP 2012I8631 Jan 13   
Local Environmental PlanWLEP 1995, Amendment No 9, Schedule 7Amendment 924 Jul 98 1125699
Within a conservation area on an LEPWLEP 2012C 1131 Jan 13   
Within a conservation area on an LEPWLEP 1995    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Willoughby Heritage Study1989243Jonathon Falk & Rodney Jensen  No
Chatswood Area Heritage Study1982 Kass and Kelly  No
Review of Proposed Heritage Listings in the City of Willoughby1996 Robert A Moore  No
Inventory of Possible LEP Items1993 Willoughby City Council  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenJudy Adamson2002Heart and Hearth: every home has a history, Seven Gables has 100 years of interesting tales to tell
WrittenVince Egan1988The Heritage of East Chatswood

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

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2660168

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

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