Ashton and its grounds | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Ashton and its grounds

Item details

Name of item: Ashton and its grounds
Other name/s: Caprera (c.1875-c.1910); Brema or Braemar (c.1910-c.1920); The German Consulate (popular local name - not supported up by historical research)
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Mansion
Location: Lat: -33.8709868980 Long: 151.2295139810
Primary address: 102 Elizabeth Bay Road, Elizabeth Bay, NSW 2011
Parish: Alexandria
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: La Perouse
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP1143775
LOT2 DP1143775
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
102 Elizabeth Bay RoadElizabeth BaySydneyAlexandriaCumberlandPrimary Address
11 The EsplanadeElizabeth BaySydney  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 General 
Southern Cross ConstructionsPrivate 

Statement of significance:

Ashton represents a rare and intact example of a Victorian Italianate villa in its original grounds situated on the Sydney Harbour waterfront, dating from 1875. Designed by the architect Thomas Rowe as his family home, the house and grounds are a fine example of the major domestic work of this prominent 19th Century architect. Ashton is rare in the State as one of the small group of surviving major domestic works attributed to Thomas Rowe, together with Tresco, Kincoppal, and Heathcote Hall. The building retains its distinctive exterior and interior features and the grounds retain important landscape elements, which contribute to the surrounding landscape and relate the property with the other surviving villas of Thomas Rowe. The visual link between the house and Elizabeth Bay that dictated its original siting survives. The house and grounds are a prominent landmark in the locality, visible from Elizabeth Bay, Elizabeth Point, Elizabeth Bay Road, the Esplanade, and other waterfront properties.

The house and grounds demonstrate the evolution of the culture, taste, lifestyle and affluence of Sydney's professional and mercantile elite over the period of 1875-1942. Eminent former owners include Thomas Rowe, John Grafton Ross, Charles Henry Hoskins and Sir Cecil Harold Hoskins, who were important figures in the development of Australian architecture and industry, including CSR (Ross), Australasian Gaslight Company (Ross), Australian General Insurance (Ross), Hoskins Iron and Steel Co. (Charles Hoskins), and BHP (Cecil Hoskins). The grandeur, quality, style and situation of the house and grounds provide evidence of the affluence and importance of these figures in Australian architecture and industry.

Historically, the property represents one of only two, surviving, intact first-generation subdivisions of the original Macleay Estate, illustrating the first-generation residential development of Elizabeth Point.
Date significance updated: 01 Oct 03
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: Thomas Rowe, architect
Builder/Maker: Not known
Construction years: 1874-1875
Physical description: Ashton comprises a two-storey, late Victorian Italianate harbour side villa in its original grounds. The property addresses Elizabeth Bay, Elizabeth Bay Road and The Esplanade. It features a prominent tower visible from both Elizabeth Bay Road and Beare Park and is known as a local landmark.

The house has been extended and renovated a number of times but still retains many of its original Victorian features and details. Many of these additions are significant in themselves due to their association with particular historic occupants of the place.

The original section of the house is of rendered brick with struck courses built on a basement podium of sandstone ashlar. Later additions are of rendered brick with struck courses well matched to the original building. Roofs are generally slate. Basement floor is a recent concrete slab with upper floors of timber. The masonry tower features a distinctive, steep pitched roof with cast iron cresting. Joinery throughout appears to be cedar with very recent modifications of undetermined timber.

An associated 1920s building on the site, Esplanade Cottage, was demolished without authorisation some time after 1999. Its footings and remnant walls and landscape remain in situ. This building addressed The Esplanade.

The grounds contain nineteenth-century sandstone walling and garden terracing, with views across Beare Park to Sydney Harbour.

The front garden and carriage loop facing Elizabeth Bay has been modified but retains some original plantings, including curly palm (Howea belmoreana), Lord Howe Island palm (H.fosteriana)(Stuart Read, pers.comm., 2/2016).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The house is currently (2003) in poor condition due to extensive roof damage in the 1999 hail storms and subsequent neglect.
Upper floor ceilings are generally lost but representative ground floor ceilings remain.
Most joinery is intact insitu or labelled and stored on site. Most chimney pieces remain insitu.
The fabric retains evidence of earlier uses, services and finishes.
Recent unauthorised works and demolitions do not preclude a high quality conservation of the place.

An associated building on the site, Esplanade Cottage, was demolished without authorisation some time after 1999. Its footings and remnant walls and landscape remain in situ.
Date condition updated:17 Dec 03
Modifications and dates: The following periods correspond to the different names given to the house by its different owners as revealed by documentary research.

Caprera Period (CP) 1871-1902
This represents the original house built and lived in by Thomas Rowe after he moved from Tresco before 1875. A photograph dated 1885 shows that no additions had been built to the northern or southern sides of the house, apart from a narrow awning at basement level on the south and a small gabled porch at ground floor level on the north. The outline of the house including these minor structures is shown on the 1908 survey along with stables on the western boundary. This plan indicates that immediately to the north of the front door there may have been a verandah or porch.

Caprera was described in 1891 as ‘three storey’ indicating that the current basement level was inhabited. It seems likely that the basement level housed the kitchen and servants quarters.

Braemar Period (BP) 1903-1921
After Thomas Rowe’s death in 1899 the property was rented to various tenants including G H Boner. Later it was purchased by Boner, who applied to carry out building works in 1908. It is possible this work included the single storey extension to the south west corner of the house and the two storey extension to the north of the front door and tower. F A Lohmann purchased the property in 1909 and it became known as Braemar during this period of German influence.

Ashton Phase 1 (AP1) 1921-1929
After being confiscated from German ownership at the end of World War I the house was purchased and occupied by Charles Henry Hoskins, proprietor of the Hoskins Iron and Steel Company. Hoskins introduced the name Ashton for the place. He added to the northern end of the house, built two motor garages and a separate cottage to replace the stables and probably built the bay window addition to the library and balcony over. The cast iron detailing of the rear first floor balcony was replaced in timber probably at this time. The ground floor room behind the garage may have been the chauffeur quarters or might have accommodated the kitchen relocated from the basement to a more convenient location.

Ashton Phase 2 (AP2) 1929-1936
Following the death of Charles Hoskins, Ashton was sold to Leslie Scandrett who added the first floor bathroom to the main bedroom at the south west corner of the house. The Water Board survey from 1934 shows that the large arcaded verandah on the garden front had been added by this time.

Ashton Phase 3 (AP3) 1937-2002
Very little was added to the house in this period, although the cottage on the western boundary had been extended by 1954 and the land was subdivided into two lots, although retained under a single ownership. The cottage was demolished and the house has suffered storm damage and deterioration due to lack of maintenance.

The surrounding development changed considerably in the last period. The enclave of six similar sized villas designed by Thomas Rowe were reduced to three (Ashton, Tresco and Kincoppal) and multil-storey flat buildings have been consutructed on either side of Ashton.
Current use: residence
Former use: Aboriginal land, rural estate, residence

History

Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora. There is no written record of the name of the language spoken and currently there are debates as whether the coastal peoples spoke a separate language "Eora" or whether this was actually a dialect of the Dharug language. Remnant bushland in places like Blackwattle Bay retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters.

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today. All cities include many immigrants in their population. Aboriginal people from across the state have been attracted to suburbs such as Pyrmont, Balmain, Rozelle, Glebe and Redfern since the 1930s. Changes in government legislation in the 1960s provided freedom of movement enabling more Aboriginal people to choose to live in Sydney (Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/barani).

Jerrawin, Gurrajin, Elizabeth Point and subject site:
The area now occupied by Ashton and formerly part of the Alexander Macleay Elizabeth Bay estate was originally occupied by Aboriginal peole of the Cadigal and/or Wangal clans. No remains of Aboriginal occupation have been found (on the site)(CLSP, 2002, 2).

The Aboriginal name for Elizabeth Point (just to what would become Tresco's site's north-east) is Jerrowan. The name for Macleay Point (just to what would become Tresco's east) is Yurrandubbee. The name for Elizabeth Bay is Gurrajin (Sydney City Council, 2019).

Elizabeth Bay had been the site of a fishing village established by Governor Macquarie in c.1815 for a composite group of Cadigal people under the leadership of Bungaree (d.1830). Elizabeth Bay had been named in honour of Mrs Macquarie. Sir Thomas Brisbane, Governor 1821-5, designated Elizabeth Bay as the site of an asylum for the insane. Governor Darling granted Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay 54 acres at Elizabeth Bay in 1826. From 1826-1926 the subject land was part of Macleay's estate, in which he built his mansion in the 1830s to the west. Built well before the house, the estate was widely considered at the time (1820s on) as "the finest house and garden in the colony". Its wood walks bordered the estate on its eastern side (Carlin, 2000, p.38,92) (and later the site of Ashton).

In 1844 Macleay was forced to subdivide part of his estate. In this first subdivision, only eight lots were sold (ibid, 2002, 2).

On 12 February 1865, following the death of (Alexander Macleay's son) William Sharp Macleay, the estate was transferred to his brother, George (later Sir George) Macleay, by then living in England. From 1865 George further subdivided the estate and offered large villa sites under 99 year leasehold arrangements. This time the area around Elizabeth Point was subdivided, creating Ithaca Road and Elizabeth Bay Road. Once again, the subdivision was not immediately successful and the allotments sold slowly (ibid, 2002, 2).

On 15 June 1871, George Macleay leased Lot 56 to architect, Thomas Rowe for 20 pounds per year. Under the agreement, Rowe was required to, within five years, build and finish a good and substantial dwelling house messuage or tenement of stone, brick with slated or metal roof. In 1865 Rowe had bought the land on the other side of Elizabeth Bay Road within the Macleay estate subdivision and in 1869 he completed a large house for himself which he named 'Tresco', after Tresco, one of Cornwall's Scilly Isles. This was the home of his great-grandmother and where he had spent childhood holidays. 'Tresco' was the first house on Elizabeth Point and at the time Rowe was also building nearby houses for John Hughes (Kincoppal) and John Hurley MLA (Toftmonks, next door to the west of Tresco)(ibid, 2002, 3).

Rowe's first wife, Charlotte, did not like the north-east winds and so in the early 1870s he built another house which he called 'Capera' (later Ashton) on the sheltered (western) side of Elizabeth Point, and in 1875 Rowe sold 'Tresco' to the Westgarth family. This provides an approximate construction date for Caprera (Ashton) of c1875 (ibid, 2002, 3).

At the same time he built Caprera, Rowe built Bramley next door and in 1885 Holmesby (later Stanfor) for T.S.Clibborn on the other side of Caprera, making a total of six known houses built by Thomas Rowe at Elizabeth Point (ibid, 2002, 3).

Rowe's first wife died in March 1877 and in July he married Sarah Selina Maude Cornish. According to Mrs Rowe's recollections in 1933, she and her husband lived at Caprera for four years before going to England in 1884. THey leased Caprera and, on their return, lived at Mona in Darling Point. In 1933 Mrs Rowe recalled that Italians stranded in Sydney formed the terraces, swimming pond and boat house at Tresco, so it is possible that Italian tradesmen also formed the terraces at Rowe's other Elizabeth Point properties, including Caprera (ibid, 2002, 3).

This property has been thoroughly documented in the Heritage Impact Assessment prepared by Godden Mackay Logan (GML), September 2004. The conservation works related to this document - apart from the landscape works, which were not implemented- remain in place today (Tanner, 2019).

A full history of the property is available in this document, apart from the names of the owners subsequent to the conservation works, which were completed in 2009. Their names are:
- R & R Harris (2009-2017);
- J. Lewis & D. Lalor (2017-).
No significant works were carried outto the propertyin the period 2009-2018 (ibid, 2019).

Outline History:
- Land was originally granted to AlexanderMacleay of Elizabeth Bay House;
- in 1865 this land was subdivided, and the distinctive oval road reserve was formed;
- Caprera, later renamed Ashton, was constructed 1875-6, one amongst a street of similar Victorian villas;
- Caprera / Ashton's architect / owner was Thomas Rowe (1929-1899). His best-known designs are Sydney Hospital, Sydney (The Great) Synagogue and Newington College (ibid, 2019). Rowe when Mayor of Manly was responsible for the planting of Norfolk Island pines on its waterfront. A photograph of Ashton (date not certain) shows Nofrolk Island pine trees to its east on the street frontage (GML, 2005, 26). A c1905-1908 photograph of Ashton shows on its southern side the beginnings of the first extension phase. Building applications had been submitted in 1907 and 1908 by Goswin Boner and while no plans have been found, it seems that the addition of the room in this photograph was likely one of them (ibid, 2005, 27);
- c.1921 the northern addition (garage, etc.) made for George Hoskins (ibid, 2019)(property then called 'Braemar' (GML, 2005, 28);
- 1960s/70s the streetscape was altered by the demolition of villas for high-riseapartments;
- 1999 Ashton was purchasedby Baseoak Pty Ltd (for architect / investor (Barry) Anstey);
- 1999 its roof was severely damagedin the extremehailstorm of the sameyear. It became ruinous;
- 2003 it was sold in that condition to the Southern Cross group of builders and developers;
- 2003-2009: approvals and conservation works (ibid, 2019).

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. Gardens-
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. Changing the environment-
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: Cliffs and escarpments influencing human settlement-
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. Cadigal tribe - Eora nation-
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. Italian stone masons and builders-
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. Cornish migrants-
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 and gardens of domestic accommodation-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes and parklands of distinctive styles-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Developing local landmarks-
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 settlements, towns and cities-National Theme 4
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. Residential-
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Housing townsfolk - urban 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. 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. Gentlemens Mansions-
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. Housing famous families-
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 1820s-1850s 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 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 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 Expressing lines of early grant allotments-
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 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 Early Sydney Street-
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 Creating landmark structures and places in suburban settings-
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 Expansion-
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 Gardens - public (parks, reserves)-
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 Shaping coastal 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 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 Developing suburbia-
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-
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. 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. Architectural styles and periods - Victorian (late)-
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. 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. 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. Architectural styles and periods - Victorian Italianate-
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 Italianate-
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 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. 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. 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. 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, 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 in suburbia-
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 Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Leisure-Includes tourism, resorts.
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-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing exclusive clubs-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Sir Cecil Hoskins, Steel industry pioneer, entrepreneur-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Alexander Sloane, Riverina pastoralist-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Thomas Rowe, architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Governor (Mjr-Gen., later Gnl., Sir) Ralph Darling and Eliza Darling, 1826-1830-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Aaron Muron Bolot, architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Governor Sir (later Lord) Augustus F.S.Loftus, 1879-1884+-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Grafton Ross, industrialist and businessman-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Charles Henry Hoskins, Steel manufacturer and manager-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Ashton demonstrates the first-generation subdivision patterns and residential development at Elizabeth Point. It represents one of only two intact, surviving, first generation subdivisions of the original Macleay family Estate, which was subdivided by the Macleay family from the 1840s. Its original allotment boundaries are still legible and under one ownership, despite subdivision into two lots.

The house and grounds provide evidence of the development of Australian architecture during the 19th Century, as a fine example of a Victorian Italianate villa on Sydney Harbour designed by the prominent architect of this era, Thomas Rowe.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Ashton is significant for its association with eminent former owners including Thomas Rowe, Joseph Ross, and the Hoskins family who were major steel manufacturers and associated with the development of BHP.

The grandeur, quality, style and situation of the house and grounds demonstrates the professional and economic standing of these figures achieved by the time of their residency in Ashton and their importance in the development of Australian architecture or industry.

Designed by the architect Thomas Rowe as his family home (after Tresco), the house and grounds of Ashton also provide evidence of the architectural accomplishments, personal tastes, lifestyle, and economic and social position of this prominent 19th Century architect during the 1870s.

Rowe’s architectural practice became one of the largest and most important architectural practices of the nineteenth century, with work in Bathurst, Orange, Goulburn, Newcastle and Brisbane as well as Sydney. He became well-known for his commercial buildings, arcades, churches and large private residences. Rowe was a founder of the Institute of Architects in 1871, and served as its president in 1876-1889 and 1895-1897. He was an alderman on the Sydney City Council in 1872-1876 and the first mayor of Manly in 1877. He was also a first lieutenant in the Engineer Corps in 1872 and lieut-colonel in 1886, hence the name "Colonel". He lost his fortune in the 1893 depression and died almost penniless in his house, "Mona" in Darling Point in January 1899.

The first known following resident of Ashton was Joseph Grafton Ross, company director and son-in-law of newspaper proprietor, John Fairfax. He was chairman and director of various companies, including CSR, Australasian Gaslight Company, Mercantile Bank of Sydney, Australian General Assurance Co, helped establish the Prince Alfred Hospital, and served on many committees for charitable organisations.

Oskar Plate was a wealthy and prominent member of Sydney's German born community at the beginning of WWI. As the Sydney-based agent for the Norddeutscher Lloyd Steamship Company, Mr Plate fell into a small category of men targeted by the government for internment and eventual deportation as a means of ensuring that "enemy firms" which had been ordered closed by the Commonwealth could not reopen once the war had ended. He was interned during the war after a campaign by the tabloid media of the time and was deported in 1919. Ashton was subsequently impounded by the state

Ashton was later owned by the prominent steel manufacturer, Charles Henry Hoskins and his family between 1920 and 1929, including his son Cecil Harold Hoskins (later Sir). G and C Hoskins Ltd (later, Hoskins Iron and Steel Co Ltd, then Australian Iron and Steel Ltd) supplied and laid the pipes for the Sydney water supply and later shared the contract to supply to 350 miles of pipe for the Perth to Coolgardie water supply. In 1907 the company took over the Lithgow Ironworks and became a major competitor of BHP. The company built an integrated steelworks at Port Kembla, near Wollongong, in 1928 it merged with Baldwins of England, and in 1935 became a subsidiary of BHP with Cecil Hoskins remaining the General Manager of AIS, and later, director until 1959.

Charles Hoskins was an avid car enthusiast, which explains the addition of two motor garages at Ashton in 1921 and 1923. Charles Hoskins died at Ashton in February 1926 and his widow, Emily, continued to live at Ashton until her death in 1928.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Constructed in 1875, Ashton is a fine example of a Victorian Italianate harbourside villa in its original setting. Such villas, once common around Sydney Harbour, are now rare. The villa has survived relatively intact with a number of additions and is structurally sound, although currently in a poor state of repair from hail damage in 1999 and subsequent neglect.

Ashton represents a rare example of Thomas Rowe’s major domestic work, forming one of the small group of surviving major domestic works attributed to Thomas Rowe, including Tresco (the earlier home of Rowe), Kincoppal and Heathcote Hall. It demonstrates the careful control by Rowe of the overall character of the streetscape and vistas to, and from, the buildings.

It is a prominent landmark in the locality, visible from Elizabeth Bay, Elizabeth Point, Elizabeth Bay Road, the Esplanade, and other waterfront properties.

Ashton has aesthetic significance for the picturesque massing and exterior decoration of elements such as the tower with its steep slate roof and cast iron cresting. It features some unusual and distinctive interior features such as the staircase and moulded cedar architraves and retains its original iron palisade fence and gate piers onto Elizabeth Bay Road. Ashton retains its large garden with lawn terrace, sandstone walling and steps facing Beare Park and the harbour.

Later additions to the building, such as those built by Charles Hoskins, contribute to the aesthetic and historic significance of the item.

Ashton and its grounds make an important contribution to the surviving historical landscape and character of Beare Park and Elizabeth Point.

The sandstone walling and terracing at Ashton is likely to be the work of Italian stonemasons employed by Thomas Rowe for his own garden at Tresco and for the other villas he designed and built at Elizabeth Point in the 1860s and 1870s. In this, the surviving garden stonework forms a significant group with other sandstone remnants surviving in the grounds of Tresco and Kincoppal, the other villas designed by Thomas Rowe at Elizabeth Point.

The property retains its views into and out from the house, which are significant as the house was intentionally sited to take advantage of the outlook across Elizabeth Bay.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Ashton is likely to retain meaning for previous residents including members of the Rowe and Hoskins families, and other families who lived in the house.

Ashton is a well-known landmark in the community, contributing to the community sense of place.

Regard for Ashton has been indicated by the number of concerned submissions from the community and elected representatives regarding the conservation, disrepair and sale of the property.

Community memory of the occupation of the house by German merchants during the 1920s appears to persist in the apparently mistaken belief amongst many locals that the place was once the German Consulate. This local folklore may indicate a high level of community interest in the place.

Community esteem is also indicated by its inclusion in the South Sydney Council LEP as a heritage item.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Ashton lies within the grounds of the former Macleay Estate, although it appears to be located outside of the documented extent of Alexander Macleay's landscaped gardens. Maps of the Macleay Estate do not indicate the presence of any early paths or structures in the area around Elizabeth Point.

With the upheaval of the site for the building of the house and the garden terracing, it is unlikely that evidence of either Aboriginal occupation or early European occupation survive on the site.

Identified archaeological potential on the site dates from the era of the present house and grounds, including the foundations of the 1920s Esplanade Cottage that was formerly located on the lower terrace.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Ashton is rare on the Sydney Harbour waterfront as a surviving example of a Victorian Italianate maritime villa in its original setting.

The property is rare in Elizabeth Bay as one of two intact surviving first generation subdivisions of the original Macleay Estate.

It is rare in the State as one of the small group of surviving major domestic works attributed to Thomas Rowe, together with Tresco (1869), Kincoppal (c.1869) and Heathcote Hall (1887).

The fabric of the house retains some rare evidence of domestic taste and household management as it was not subject to major extension or refurbishment after 1942.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Ashton and its setting is representative of the evolution of the culture, taste, lifestyle and affluence of Sydney’s professional and mercantile elite over the period 1875-1942.

The house and grounds represent a fine example of a late nineteenth century waterfront mansion designed in the Victorian Italianate style, and represent the first generation residential subdivision and development of Elizabeth Point.
Integrity/Intactness: Many of the early twentieth century additions to the Rowe’s original build of the house are generally related to significant occupants and so contribute to the overall significance of the item. A lack of maintenance in the second half of the twentieth century and unauthorised works post 1999 have left the fabric in poor condition but structurally sound. Sufficient original fabric, site and documentary evidence survives to facilitate conservation and interpretation of the place.
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
Recommended ManagementReview a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
CMP-EndorseConservation Plan submitted for endorsementAshton, Elizabeth Bay CMP, by Godden Mackay Logan for Southern Cross Group (International) dated May 2005 Conservation Management Plan endorsed by Heritage Council 10 June 2005 for a period of five years, expires 10 June 2010. Jun 10 2005
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2) OF THE HERITAGE ACT 1977

Standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977.

I, Donald Harwin, the Special Minister of State pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales do by this Order, effective 1 December 2020:

1. revoke the order made on 11 July 2008 and published on pages 91177 to 9182 of Government Gazette Number 110 of 5 September 2008 and varied by notice published in the Government Gazette on 5 March 2015; and

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

Donald Harwin
Special Minister of State
Signed this 9th Day of November 2020.

To view the standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 click on the link below.
Nov 13 2020

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0168419 Nov 03 18310641
Heritage Act - Interim Heritage Order - Lapsed 0008322 Aug 03 1308213
Local Environmental PlanSouth Sydney Amending LEP 200039228 Jul 00 977003
Heritage study     
Within a National Trust conservation area     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 1967Elizabeth Bay House
Written  Australian Dictionary of Biography
WrittenAnthony Smith, Specialist- Heritage, City of Sydney2003State Heritage Inventory form
WrittenBerry, M1969A history of Colonel Thomas Rowe, FRIBA, Architect
WrittenBrian MacDonald and Associates1998Heritage Assessment and Feasibility Study: 102 Elizabeth Bay Road
WrittenBroadbent, Dr James2018Conservation Management Plan, notes and sketches
WrittenCarlin, S2000Elizabeth Bay House: A History and Guide
WrittenClive Lucas Stapleton and Partners2002Draft Conservation Plan
Management Plan (HC endorsed)Godden Mackay Logan2005Ashton, 102 Elizabeth Bay Road, Elizabeth Bay : Conservation management plan
WrittenGodden Mackay Logan2007Archaeological Excavation Report - 102 Elizabeth Bay Road, Elizabeth Bay (Ashton)
WrittenHoward Tanner2019Ashton, 102 Elizabeth Bay Road, Elizabeth Bay NSW 2011 - Heritage Impact Statement
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW)2003Correspondence on proposed listing and significance from 13 November 2003
WrittenRowe family Rowe family papers
WrittenSydney City Council2019Cartographica - Sydney on the Map

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

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage NSW
Database number: 5054714
File number: H03/00175


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