Friday, July 30, 2010

Rockdale District Heritage Association


July 2010

Issue Number 1

Heritage Conservation Sadly Lacking in Rockdale.

Here we go again, this association has unfortunately been thin on the ground for the past twelve months, but that’s about to change.

We are once again going to take the fight right up to Rockdale City Council as well as our invisible local MP Mr Frank Sator. Both council and our local MP seem to have lost all interest in any proper heritage conservation plans and in fact they seem to be more determined to allow developers to do what ever they want and to hell with the cities history.

This to me show a complete lack of understanding by both parties, we are currently seeing new development taking place all over the community that will destroy many fine period homes, and I know we will have people out there screaming that you can’t dictate style etc, but you can if it is done correctly. If we sit back and do nothing we will see some of the worst and cheapest developments pushed

through that will destroy for ever the beauty of Rockdale. There is also the other problem of people who are coming into the area, buying beautiful period homes and renovating them without any proper consultation, we have recently seen a 1890’s cottage in Earle Street Arncliffe lose its original slate roof only to be replaced with a modern slate look a like, why not just repair and re-nail the original it possibly would have been much cheaper and I bet the roofing company didn’t tell the new owners that they get about $15 for each of the old slates they took off.

They also removed the original Cedar front four panel door only to be replaced by a “Doors are Us” reproduction. People need to understand that it is better to keep as many original features as they can, this is what adds value to the home not modern bits that take value off it.

That is why we need to put pressure on Rockdale Council to bring back a Heritage Advisor to help people restore and renovate these old homes. Without these types of resources being made available to residents, we will see many more period homes ruined by ignorance and bad advice. Recently a number of people who own period homes that are on the councils Heritage List have asked that their home be removed from that list, some have actually been fortunate enough to have received a reply, other are still waiting months after writing to council. What is very interesting is that council, has now decided to

actually review its heritage list. When questioned it appears that Rockdale City Council are in the process of reviewing it’s heritage list. I spoke to a council officer who advised me that this review will be completed within the next couple of months and that the review is being undertaken by a person from the Department Of Planning’s Heritage Branch. The following is the email I received from council,

“As we discussed on the telephone today, please see below the scope of the

heritage review currently underway:

1. Overview

The objective of the project is to review the 1991 Rockdale Heritage Study by Terry Kass and Meredith Walker and to update the inventory sheets which relate specifically to the 282 items listed in the draft Rockdale LEP. The outcome of these tasks may lead to recommendations to change the listing

status of some of these heritage items. As part of the work the draft DCP controls prepared by Rockdale Council for the Draft Comprehensive DCP will also be reviewed and recommendations made for additions or changes. The end result of the project will be up to date information to accompany the new LEP; a document which will inform future development and strategic planning with regards to heritage conservation and inventory sheets to assist owners and Council staff with an understanding of the heritage value of the heritage items in the draft LEP.

2. Tasks

a. Review and update inventory sheets using the Heritage database software. Create updated State Heritage Inventory data forms for the 282 heritage

items in the draft Rockdale LEP. For each property the following will be undertaken:

. At least one external inspection; . a revised physical description; . an up dated condition assessment; . revised and expanded historical information; . property information from 1991 study will be checked on site; . assessment of the heritage significance of the property. b. Photograph each of the 282 properties. c. Research on each property in order to provide a brief summarized history with references for each property. The intention of the research is to find out the following: • When the place was built? • Who designed and /or built it? • Who was it built for? • For what purpose was it built? • Whether the persons associated with the place are notable historically. • Whether there are any events associated with the place that are notable historically. These questions provide information that helps to determine the heritage significance of a place. d. Review the 1991 Rockdale Heritage Study Report . Review the original recommendations and assess whether they have been actioned. Outline areas requiring further work arising from the above. . Review the study in the context of the new research done for the 2010 review and highlight areas where further research is required. e. Review the heritage objectives and controls in the Draft Rockdale Comprehensive DCP. f. Prepare Heritage Study report. The report will include: . The methodology used in the 2010 study review. . Summary of the review of the 1991 Heritage Study and recommendations arising. . Recommendations regarding the heritage provisions of the Draft DCP. . Recommendations arising from significance assessment of the 282 items. This may include recommendations to delist items. . Practical recommendations about the conservation of Rockdale’s heritage arising from site inspections and research.

I expect the Review to be completed in 1-2 months time. Following its completion, I am intending to put a report to Council advising of the findings of the Review and identifying the issues with current arrangements. Thank you for sharing you views with me and I have noted your

concerns regarding the Development Application process and the additional requirements placed on heritage items.

I trust the information above answers your questions regarding the Review, and hope that we can continue our dialogue on heritage matters.”

What amazes me is the scope of the review especially when they intend to review the Kass & Walker list which was rejected by the council back in the early 90’s. And if they are reviewing that list what are they going to do about the houses that were identified and have since been demolished like “Olivdene”. (see photo above) What is really puzzling is that the current list contains many properties that where never included in the Kass & Walker study but where included at the request of the owners. As to removing items Council passed a resolution back in the 90’s that basically allowed the owner to either agree or dis agree to having their house placed on the list. As that resolution still stands it should be simple enough to have your home removed once the new list is reviewed. I assume from the email that the council intends to speak to all the owners of those houses that are being reviewed. I am worried though that this will allow the original buildings identified by former Councillor Ron Rathbone to be removed including items such as Lydham Hall, Dapeto, or the other twenty odd that were on the original heritage list prior to the Kass & Walker study, if this were allowed to happen then this city would loose some Sydney’s most historic homes.

So if you are concerned then we would advise you to speak to council or your Ward Councillor to make your feelings known, because if this goes the same way as previous heritage studies then there is a good chance it will end up a real mess, especially if it is left up to the councillors to agree on the recommendations by the consultant.

Finally we are again looking to increase the membership. So if you know anyone who may be interested in joining then get them to drop us a email giving us a few details about themselves and we will place them on the mailing list of the Bugle. Also are there any members out there that would once again like to participate in our “Weekends Away” trips to country New South Wales. These are great fun and reasonably priced and we get to see a bit of the country as well as putting some money into local communities. So if you are please contact us as we could possibly be doing something before the end of the year.


If you have anything you would like to share with the members please post it in and we will publish it in the newsletter

RDHA, PO Box 64 Arncliffe. NSW 2205 |

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Local Pottery

The following article was sent to RDHA from a lovely lady to let us know about her families history here in Rockdale. I for one had no idea that this Pottery business even existed let alone here in Rockdale.
This is a terrific article and I hope that you will appreciate it as much as I did when I received it earlier this year. We would be interested to hear from anyone who has pieces of this pottery and how they came about acquiring them.

If any RDHA members or anyone who has similar stories that reflect Rockdale Cities past who wish to have it placed in our Blog please contact me at

Friday, September 4, 2009

I Remember

This entry entitled "I Remmeber" were written some years ago and unfortunately not signed or dated. It was published I believe several years ago by The St George Historical Society but I don't know if they got any replies.
So if you think you now who wrote this or can shed some more light on the items mentioned we would be only too pleased to hear from you to share with us the lost history of our community...
  1. I was born in Arncliffe in 1903, a notable event for the world, but was it for me?
  2. The Arncliffe - Bexley tramway was in its infancy, the first tram departing from Arncliffe Railway Station admidst great pomp and ceremony.
  3. The Kindergarten School conducted by Misses Cork and Osborn. School located at 75 Hirst Street Arncliffe. A weatherboard structure, subsequently transferred as a residence to Broe Avenue, to accomodate Granny Litely.
  4. The fire that burnt that structure to the ground, and the burning to death of the dear old Granny at the same time.
  5. Arncliffe Park with its post and rail fence, its creek, now a piped drain way, its pear tree, the weatherboard pavillion in the centre, where the present Soldier Memorial Oblesque is located. The fence enclosed cast iron drinking fountain, with its cast iron cup attached to chains.
  6. The horses which roamed the park and the mushrooms.
  7. When that portion of Broe Avenue between Station Street and Wollongong Road was a paddock, and palings removed to allow access to each.
  8. Bobby Dunsworth, that pleasant old "Cop" who was fond of the "kids", playing football with them, and lecturing them for their wrong doings.
  9. The 'top picture show", the Lyric, with its roof half way along. The rainy Saturday nights when those front part patrons crowded into the back part to escape a wetting and to enjoy the show on a wet glittering screen. The nights when the stubborn old donkey engine would not start, and the apology from the proprietor, "Old" Blackadder and later Matt Predaeux and the Matters family.
  10. The nights when the front patrons were noisy.
  11. The scren effects, peas in a film tin rattled for water effect, two halves of a coconut shell tapped on boards to imitate horses running and a 6d. cap gun for the revolver shooting of William S Hart.
  12. The 'bottom show", the "Tin House", the Elite Theatre in Barden Street, Proprietor King, with the word REX in electric light on the outside of the building, right hand top corner of the screen. What seats -- and those trained fleas. Mr King was killed in a railway accident.
  13. The night the films caught fire.
  14. The Highbury Barn Hotel with its hitching rails, its fenced in small pepper corn tree.
  15. The Arncliffe Hotel - Mitchels - withs its verandah, hitching rails water trough and big pepper corn trees.
  16. The Dettman Timber Factory fire, the night Fire Captain Wolfendon was killed by the falling chimney stack.
  17. The bell which rang at the railway station as a warning to intending passengers that a steam train was passing under the Forest Road overhead bridge.
  18. The railway level crossing gates at the foot of Done Street. The days the World War 1 started and finished. The passing through Arncliffe of the "Kangaroo" recruits.
  19. The seven year supremacy of the Arncliffe "A" cricket team with repeated ability to beat an English Eleven. What cricketers the victorious team had, to mention a few: Charles Walker Captain, Charlie Crispo, Dan Moloney, Albert Ford, Nipper Nosworthy, Percy Marr, Frank Donaghue, George Crispo, Ray Freemas, that master hitter, alleged to have put a ball in Station Street.
  20. That stately homes and properties of the Judds, the Gibbons, the Farleighs, the Esdailes, not forgetting the Castle near Tempe and the advent of Earl Park as the league Football Centre of the St George District.
  21. The brawl on Earl Park after Balmain v St George match.
  22. The last tram on ther Arncliffe - Bexley run and the good bye to old "Hughee" the driving ace who beat "Old" Wright's buses to Arncliffe.
  23. Arncliffe School with its Montgomery, Heatherton, Finlayson, Morrow and Ben Roberts, Kate Smith, Mrs Bingham, not forgetting Miss Allen the teacher with a wonderful memory of faces.
  24. The old sewerage farm and the anguish of the advent of the southerlies, which wafted the obnoxious perfume in all directions.
  25. The Depression and its heartache.
  26. The first Electric Train through Arncliffe.
  27. Vincents and Lustys nurseries.
  28. The great blow which blew the Seventh Day Adventist's Church from its foundations.
  29. The great Waratah - Wanderers, Mortdale Deathadders, Marist Brothers and Bexley waratahs. Football tussels on Arncliffe Park and the fights among the enthusiastic followers.
  30. The swims in creeks, Ducky, Springy, Cooksie in our birthday suits and treacherous Jackoes where a number of our school mates lost their lives.

This document was written a long time ago but if anyone has any information about who may have written it or when it was written could you please let us know.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Arncliffe in the 19th Century A Window to our Past

How it was a view to our past
A small sample of the "Esdaile Collection" available at the History Library Rockdale Town Hall.

Esdaile's House The Towers 105 Forest Rd Arncliffe

Arncliffe Park and Wollongong Road

Friday, July 31, 2009

Our 20 Most Precious Heritage Buildings

Segenhoe St Arncliffe
Kembla St Arncliffe
Wollongong Road Arncliffe
Frederick St Rockdale
The Gables
Arncliffe Public School House
Roslyn Hall Circa 1888
Meryton Circa 1885
Glenwood Circa 1886
Dundry Circa 1888
Coburra Circa 1905
St Elmo Circa 1897
Gladstone & Wentworth Circa 1886
Dapeto Circa 1885
Fairview Circa 1884
Belmont Circa 1884
Forsythe Circa 1868
Cairnsfoot Circa 1884
Lydham Hall Circa 1860
Tempe House Circa 1836

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Country Favorites

The following photos are just a small example of what the association came across on its many trips to country centres like Bathurst, Goulburn, Lithgow just to name a few. If you are interested in period homes then take a trip to any one of a dozen or more country towns within 3 hours of Sydney and you will come across same of the most beautiful period homes you have ever seen

Built on Stone Part 2

Built on Stone Part 2 is to again show some more examples of period homes etc in Arncliffe, Banksia and Rockdale built using locally quarried sandstone. These are only a small example as we have not yet discovered all of those that exist.