Bellevue is of restrained Italianate design and is of stuccoed brick construction. Part two storey stucco, new fibre cement shingle roof- plaster eaves brackets bullnose verandah. Multi-bedroom single storey building with large entertaining areas and numerous basement rooms.
1875+ residential use of the site: Venetia constructed, with several outbuildings fronting Leichhardt Street and along the (eastern) boundary with Bellevue, boatshed, formal gardens with carriage drive in front, wall to wharf to east (end of
1896 Bellevue constructed
c1915 Venetia demolished, and a large shed was built over the site of the house. At least one outbuilding continued in use under the timber milling operation.
1925 Timber milling operation commenced on site (Bellevue ceased to be used as a house in 1925). Vanderfield & Reid Timber milling company operations extended across both sites, and to Blackwattle Bay on the south side of Leichhardt Street. Accretions were added to Bellevue, eg: shed in courtyard to rear, and attached to the building.
c.1970 timber framed and iron-roofed buildings across much of the site (aerial photograph) and much site clearing, on foreshore areas and around sheds, and dumping of fill on the slope and in front of Bellevue. Particular site disturbance appears to have occurred in the west corner where a crane was located, corresponding with the site of a former boatshed.
1970+ Blackwattle Bay Park was created by further filling and landscaping over the site. All structures except Bellevue were removed, substantial amounts of fill added from nearby development sites, and landscaping with tree plantings and lawn.
Despite the many proposals and community consultations, Bellevue remains derelict and fenced to prevent public access. City Plan Heritage, 2004)
A preliminary assessment of the archaeological potential of Bellevue is that it is of local significance. Both Bellevue and the physical remains of the adjacent 'Venetia' are representative of houses constructed in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, which are common in the area.
(Source: Archaeology & Heritage Pty Ltd, 2004)
The site of Venetia is considered to have a high degree of archaeological potential (Archaeology & Heritage, 2005)
The Leichhardt area was originally inhabited by the Wangal clan of Aborigines. After 1788 diseases such as smallpox and the loss of their hunting grounds caused huge reductions in their numbers and they moved further inland. Since European settlement the foreshores of Blackwattle Bay and Rozelle Bay have developed a unique maritime, industrial and residential character - a character which continues to evolve as areas which were originally residential estates, then industrial areas, are redeveloped for residential units and parklands.
The fist formal grant in the Glebe area was a 400 acre grant to Rev.Richard Johnson, the colony's first chaplain, in 1789. The Glebe (land allocated for the maintenance of a church minister) comprised rolling shale hills covering sandstone, with several sandstone cliff faces. The ridges were drained by several creeks including Blackwattle Creek, Orphan School Creek and Johnston Creek. Extensive swampland surrounded the creeks. On the shale ridges, heavily timbered woodlands contained several varieties of eucalypts while the swamplands and tidal mudflats had mangroves, swamp oaks (Casuarina glauca) and blackwattles (Callicoma serratifolia) after which the bay is named. Blackwattle Swamp was first mentioned by surveyors in the 1790s and Blackwattle Swamp Bay in 1807. By 1840 it was called Blackwattle Bay. Boat parties collected wattles and reeds for the building of huts, and kangaroos and emus were hunted by the early settlers who called the area the Kangaroo Ground. Rozelle Bay is thought to have been named after a schooner which once moored in its waters.
Johnson's land remained largely undeveloped until 1828, when the Church and School Corporation subdivided it into 28 lots, 3 of which they retained for church use (City Plan Heritage, 2005, quoting Max Solling & Peter Reynolds 'Leichhardt: On the Margins of the City', 1997, 14).
The Church sold 27 allotments in 1828 - north on the point and south around Broadway. The Church kept the middle section where the Glebe Estate is now. Up until the 1970s the Glebe Estate was in the possession of the Church.
On the point the sea breezes attracted the wealthy who built villas. The Broadway end attracted slaughterhouses and boiling down works that used the creek draining to Blackwattle Swamp. Smaller working-class houses were built around these industries. Abbattoirs were built there from the 1860s.
When Glebe was made a municipality in 1859 there were pro and anti-municipal clashes in the streets. From 1850 Glebe was dominated by wealthier interests.
Reclaiming the swamp, Wentworth Park opened in 1882 as a cricket ground and lawn bowls club. Rugby Union was played there in the late 19th century. The dog racing started in 1932. In the early 20th century modest villas were broken up into boarding houses as they were elsewhere in the inner city areas. The wealthier moved into the suburbs which were opening up through the railways. Up until the 1950s Sydney was the location for working class employment - it was a port and industrial city. By the 1960s central Sydney was becoming a corporate city with service-based industries - capital intensive not labour intensive. A shift in demographics occurred, with younger professionals and technical and administrative people servicing the corporate city wanting to live close by. Housing was coming under threat and the heritage conservation movement was starting. The Fish Markets moved in in the 1970s. A influx of students came to Glebe in the 1960s and 1970s. (Dr Lisa Murray, in Central Sydney, 5/8/2009).
Most of the lots near Blackwattle Swamp were purchased for slaughterhouses and other noxious industries which had been forced out of the city. These included tanneries, copper smelting, pig yards and tobacco works. In contrast the elevated blocks to the north, with harbour views, became 'villa retreats' where the prosperous middle class merchants escaped the crush of the city (City Plan Heritage, 2005, quoting Max Solling & Peter Reynolds 'Leichhardt: On the Margins of the City', 1997, 14).
Alexander Brodie Spark (of Tusculum, Potts Point and Tempe House, Tempe) purchased this site as part of his 20 acre lot in the Church subdivision of 1828. In the 1840s depression Spark became bankrupt and his land was sold.
By 1870 Mary Chisolm owned large portions of the original grant, and she commenced the subdivision and sale of the remaining lots in 1873. Ambrose Thornley owned a house near the point at this time (west of the Bellevue & Venetia lots), and a bathing house (later known as Homecroft) had been built c.1858 on the foreshore of the land owned by James Rothwell, immediately west of lot 45/Venetia). A second bathing house was built in the shallows of the adjacent (to Lot 45) foreshore.
Lots 45 & 46 adjacent to Rothwell's land were bought by William Jarrett in 1873, with a mortgage from the Industrial & Provident Permanent Benefit Building Society, of which Jarrett was manager. Jarrett had arrived in Sydney in 1853 and in 1860 became licensee for the Tradesmen's Arms Hotel in Leichhardt. He was a publican until 1870 when he started his association with Industrial Buildings Societies.
William Jarrett is first listed in the 1876 Sands Directory as a resident of Glebe Point, having previously resided in Glebe Road, suggesting he built Venetia (on lots 45 & 46) in 1875).
Ambrose Thornley Senior, who already owned the land and had built his house Drayton Lodge to the west of Jarrett's land, bought lot 47 on the point.(the site of Bellevue). In 1876 he sold lot 47 to William Jarrett. Jarrett was a Glebe Alderman for 3 years from 1872 and gave evidence to the Government's Select Committee on Immigration in 1880. Venetia was known to be full of art pieces, many collected on the Jarrett's overseas travels. A very strict father, his children and their spouses continued to live at Venetia, even after their marriages.
By 1880 a row of 7 houses had been built in then Kennedy Street (renamed in 1909 as an extension of Leichhardt Street). Jarrett also built a row of 4 houses further west in Oxley Street. In 1890 a residence, The Poplars, was built opposite Venetia.
Jarrett built a second house Bellevue, adjoining Venetia in 1896. It was designed by Ambrose Thornley Junior, an architect who lived nearby in Florence Villa, and is typical of Thornley's designs, which included the Glebe Town Hall. Thornley was declared bankrupt in the 1890s and became a publican.
Bellevue is reputed to have been built for Jarrett's daughter, although the first occupant was Ewin Cecilia and J G Warden moved in a year later. It was described in the family history as a 'multi-bedroom single storey building with large entertaining areas and numerous basement rooms'. Jarrett died in 1901, and it was not until 1913 that Bellevue and Venetia were sold to solicitor William Archibold Windeyer, in July 1913. Extensive reclamation and sea walls had extended Jarrett's original lots (viz. 1913 plan of Windeyer's purchase).
The 1905 Sands Directory shows Joseph Stinson (who owned the largest real estate agency in Glebe at the time) occupying Venetia and Thomas Riley occupying Bellevue. This was still the case in 1914, however from 1915 there are no further listings of Venetia, suggesting it was demolished by Windeyer in 1914/5, soon after his purchase.
Bellevue was occupied by Mrs Lena Reilly in 1920, and from 1924 until 1925 by George Cavanagh. From 1925 the transition of the Point from residential to industrial uses commenced. 53 Leichhardt Street for a short time became a lighterage for McEnnally Bros. & Co. Ltd. While the sites of Venetia and The Poplars, together with Bellevue were incorporated into the Vanderfield & Reid Ltd. Timber Yards. 49-53 Leichhardt Street became Sylvester Stride's ship breaking yards. The crane which remains on the foreshore today (2004) to the rear of numbers 49 & 51B was part of Stride's operation. Although Stride demolished parts of the houses on his site, they remained relatively intact during his ownership, number 49 becoming part of the offices for the salvage and wrecking business.
Windeyer sold his land on the Point to Property Purchase P/L in 1939. Vanderfield & Reid Ltd. Bought the property in 1948. The c.1950 survey by the City of Sydney shows the extent of their timber yard holdings, north and south of Leichhardt Street. They also extended their holdings into the bay, as large numbers of logs were floated ready for processing. A c1970 photo shows a building (now demolished) had been attached to the rear of Bellevue (its south).
In 1970 the extensive Vanderfield & Reid holdings were sold to Korvette Hardware P/L, with mortgage finance provided by Parkes Developments P/L and CAGA Finance. Parkes became known as the developer of the sites. At this time the foreshore land was zoned industrial, and described in the "The Glebe" newspaper as "a disaster area - deserted timber yards, empty fuel drums littered about, derelict houses and rusting hulks of barges moored to rotting jetties". Only the Maritime Services Board opposed the rezoning of the land to residential.
As part of the rezoning of the Parkes' Land, and the approval process for a large apartment development for the site, the developer agreed to set aside land on the foreshore for a park. This was assisted by community activists and members of the Glebe Society who assisted in particular opposing the demolition of Bellevue.
A condition of development approval was for the restoration of Bellevue for community use, however Parkes commenced demolition. Insisting that it was an unfortunate misunderstanding, Parkes halted demolition but subsequently failed to restore Bellevue's fabric. Parkes also dumped fill which was excavated from the apartment sites onto the Bellevue site. Leichhardt Council subsequently purchased the foreshore parkland, including Bellevue, at the end of 1981.
A section 130 Order was placed over Bellevue on 16 May 1980 to provide time to investigate the retention and re-use of the building.
Blackwattle Bay Park to the south of Bellevue was designed by Stuart Pittendrigh & Associates, who also designed the Reserves at Simmons Point and Peacock Point in Balmain. It was opened in August 1983. Part of the park was created to the west of the Strides site and in 1985 the Strides site was purchased by the then Department of Environment & Planning, for open space to link the two parts of Blackwattle Bay Park. However after the original residences on the site were assessed as having heritage significance, the foreshore was subdivided and retained as a link, while the houses at 49, 51/51A, 51B and 53 had their squatters evicted and were sold with caveats which ensure their restoration and retention. The 5 houses were sold for $800,000.
The foreshore land was transferred to Leichhardt Council in 1987. Council had limited funds to restore Bellevue.
After LEP listing as an item of state significance in 1984 it was re-roofed with slate, assisted by a $17,000 $ for $ grant from the Heritage Conservation fund administered by the Heritage Council. As one of the conditions attached to the assistance the owner applied for the making of a Permanent Conservation Order over the item. To ensure the long term protection of the item the Heritage Council at its meeting of 6 February 1986 recommended to the Minister that a Permanent Conservation Order be placed over Bellevue. The Permanent Conservation Order was gazetted on 25 July 1986.
In 1984 the Glebe Society surveyed local residents and community organisations on possible uses for Bellevue. Council prepared sketch plans, allocating the upper storey for public use and a scheme of funding was presented to Council - this plan did not proceed. In 1988 the Australian Society of Authors expressed interest in establishing its headquarters in Bellevue, with a low level of use and some public access. Changes in Council caused this proposal to lapse.
In 1991 Leichhardt Council called for tenders for the lease, restoration and commercial use of Bellevue, and made a new wharf a condition of its development. Successful tenderer Anthony Vick & Associates was to restore Bellevue and establish a restaurant with water access from a new wharf. The approval also allowed for a kiosk, caretaker's flat and 20 parking spaces. By 1993 the approval had lapsed. After extensive public consultation, the Glebe Society favoured using Bellevue for a 'kiosk, public toilets, park equipment storage and a local environment museum.'
In 1996 Anthony Vick lodged a new application for a large residence, coffee shop/kiosk, gazebo and toilets, which was refused.
In the late 1990s Council also refused an application to use Bellevue as a restaurant with part of the park area providing 22 parking spaces. In 1998 further community consultation occurred when EDAW P/L prepared a Management Plan for Blackwattle Bay Park and Bellevue. Despite the many proposals and community consultations, Bellevue remains derelict and fenced to prevent public access. (City Plan Heritage, 2004)
In 1994 the Heritage Council approved work for the conversion of the building into a restaurant and caretakers flat and construction of a kiosk, store and toilets within the courtyard of the property. (this did not proceed).
Bellevue was listed on the State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.
In 2003, the suburb of Glebe and Bellevue came under the jurisdiction of the City of Sydney Council. In 2005, the City of Sydney commissioned a Conservation Management Plan for Bellevue and a DA was approved for its restoration and refurbishment (DA2005/26) as part of Glebe foreshore parks upgrading. On 3 March 2007 an open day was held at Bellevue to celebrate the completion of the building's restoration. The house remains in the ownership of the City of Sydney.
A cafe was operating out of Bellevue in 2011 (Central News, 12/1/2011).
SMH Good Food guide (6/2/2018) notes new cafe/restaurant operator Anthony Moskovitz to 'rebirth' the Blackwattle cafe site as 'Antoine at the Cottage', to open March 2018 under the restrictions of the last tenant. The cafe closed a few years ago (with neighbours' objections). AM to try to get changes through later: valet parking in evenings, 80 sq.m.vegie garden and takeaway. The previous tenant, the Tea Room QVB walked away from the site in 2007 after many local residents opposed their DA (SMH, Good Food, 6/2/18, 2).