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Historian asks for urgent interim Heritage Order on 100-year-old Windsor house – Council declines

Dec 9, 2021


A Windsor historian has asked Hawkesbury Council to place an urgent interim Heritage Order on an almost 100-year old house which she fears is likely to be demolished after being sold at auction recently.


But Hawkesbury Council will not be immediately placing an order on the California-bungalow style house in New Street, which was recently sold for $1.8m.


Historian Carol Roberts fears the house will likely be demolished and the plot potentially developed – it sits on a sizeable 1,163 metre square block – and she says the real estate agent told potential buyers it could be demolished – so she wrote to Council’s General Manager, Elizabeth Richardson, and asked her to place an urgent Heritage Order on the property.


“The house is of architectural and aesthetic significance to the City of Hawkesbury as a largely intact interwar dwelling in the Californian Bungalow style,” Ms Roberts said in her letter to Ms Richardson.


“The style was common in suburbs throughout the 1920s,” she says.


Ms Roberts says 3 New Street is of “aesthetic significance as a largely intact example of a Californian Bungalow. Typical features of the style that can be found in this house include a low-pitch, triple gable roof, a deep front-facing porch, sash windows with leadlight, liver-coloured bricks, repeated twinned verandah supports for the main gable which are not evident in other Californian Bungalows in the precinct, and a low-line masonry fence. The design has a strong emphasis on the horizontal, creating the sense of heaviness and solidity common to the style”.


There is precedent for a Council to place such an order – which at the very least would stop a protected building from demolition – when a similar situation occurred in the Willoughby City Council local government area in 2018.


An assessment would need to be carried out to consider if, on further investigation, the building is found to be of local heritage significance, and is being, or is likely to be, harmed.


Ms Roberts says the Windsor house, and other similar ones in the area,

demonstrate the post-Victorian style of development of The Terrace, which was originally called Windsor Terrace and is known as a precinct with high quality homes.


“Along with the Californian bungalow at 95 The Terrace and the Californian bungalow at 105 The Terrace, 3 New Street contributes to the heritage character of The Terrace precinct as a high-quality residential area characterised by low-rise development with wide street frontages and deep setbacks, demonstrating the historic development of Windsor in the interwar period,” said Ms Roberts.


She says it’s important to save these buildings because two-storey developments and the zoning of The Terrace precinct as mixed use residential/commercial “is diminishing the heritage character of the area”.


“Also, the demolition of the historic weatherboard cottage at 5 New Street and the current dilapidated state of the old Church of England Hall at 7 New Street, plus the houses demolished to build the Riverview Shopping Centre, show clearly that this precinct is under threat.” Ms Roberts said.


And there are broader historic Windsor connections to 3 New Street too, says Ms Roberts.


“It was built by family connections to the heritage-listed properties at 74 The Terrace and 86 The Terrace and as such were part of thriving family networks that go back seven, sometimes eight, generations to the very early convicts and settlers who came to the area from 1794, when European settlement of this area began.


“Other Californian Bungalows of this era that should also be heritage-listed by Council are 7 Macquarie Street, 21 Bridge Street and 46 Court Street – all situated near the Thompson Square Heritage Precinct.


“These three properties all have significant family connections to the Hawkesbury Garage in Thompson Square as they were built by the Clements family who built and operated Hawkesbury Garage,” Ms Roberts said.


But while Hawkesbury Council have not agreed to an urgent Heritage Order on 3 New Street, so essentially it is not protected from demolition, they are carrying out – says Council’s Andrew Kearns, the Manager of Strategic Planning – “a review of the heritage listings within the Hawkesbury local government area through the Hawkesbury Heritage Study”.


And not before time – the last Heritage Inventory was way back in 1988.


The Hawkesbury Heritage Study is being carried out with a view to including a list of places and items valued by the community to protect for future generations. These places and items are evidence of the rich and unique history of the local government area. The project is funded by Council, with assistance through a grant from the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage via the Heritage Near Me Program. The draft of the study is yet to be distributed for community comment.


Mr Kearns said, “public consultation on the potential local listings will occur following the completion of the Heritage Study Review. A Local Environmental Plan amendment is required to implement any planned additions to the schedule of environmental heritage within Hawkesbury Local Environmental Plan 2012”.


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