Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

The Hunters Hill Trust

The Hunters Hill Trust

Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

Christmas at Wybalena!

What an amazing venue for our Christmas Party this year!  We were thrilled to be invited to ‘Wybalena’ one of our most historic and beautiful heritage sandstone houses and were very grateful to our hosts Melissa and Joe who opened their home to over 100 Trust members so that we could enjoy a Christmas get-together in this spectacular setting.

Built by Charles Jeanneret in 1874-75 who lived here with his wife and 11 children for 20 years, the house was described in 1878 as having nine rooms, which increased to fourteen by the following year and then by 1884, was described as a sixteen room stone house with two pavilions and a summer-house in 25 acres of land!
Our local historian and academic Dr Beverley Sherry treated us to a fascinating history of Charles Jeanneret, one of the early settlers of Hunters Hill and three-time Mayor, who was responsible for the building of many classic sandstone houses on the southern side of the peninsula in the late 1800s.   We also owe our exceptional heritage of trees to his vision when in 1870 under his direction, the Council introduced a tree policy, planting avenues of trees and giving away trees to residents on the proviso that they be planted near the street frontages.
Melissa and Joe regaled us with tales of their painstaking restoration journey to rescue much of the fabric of the house which had deteriorated over the years, acknowledging their responsibility as custodians of this local treasure.  The lengthy restoration meant replacing over 40 windows, numerous cedar doors and frames, balconies and stonework, all of which were in urgent need of attention. Their insistence on everything being restored faithfully to its original design using heritage stone masons and carpenters has hopefully ensured this beautiful home will last for another 100 years!
A few images below from a very special evening…..

2023-11-19T07:29:09+11:00November 18, 2023|

Spring in our suburbs….

Every so often we need to remind ourselves how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country!   Although the wider world is chaotic and fractured and our streets are sadly being changed with modest craftsman homes and mature gardens demolished to enable project houses to be built to the fence lines, we can still celebrate the stunning heritage and environment that we so often take for granted!  Here are just a few examples….

2023-11-19T08:04:41+11:00October 17, 2023|

Montefiore Planning Proposal Rejected!

Further to our post below regarding Council’s Extraordinary General Meeting on Tuesday 12 September to decide whether or not to support Montefiore’s Planning Proposal – we’re delighted to report that Councillors voted 5 to 2 against sending the Proposal through to the Department of Planning’s Gateway Determination.
Many speakers pointed to the deficiencies in the Proposal which fell far short of Planning Department guidelines for a Gateway Determination, even though Council’s own report had also identified some of these issues while still recommending that the Proposal was ‘adequate’!
Among the serious problems raised were the questionable use of the SP2 Infrastructure category in order to allow the increased 6-storey building height, the absence of community consultation and the lack of adherence to our Local Environmental Plan ‘to maintain and enhance the character and identity of established neighbourhoods in Hunters Hill by regulating the use and development of land’.
Individual Councillors were fully engaged with the debate which resulted in Councillor Williams’ motion that Council did not support the Planning Proposal for reasons including the lack of strategic merit, failure to meet site-specific merit, relevant Government guidelines or community expectations.
All credit is due to members of the Montefiore Community Action Association who spent many hours poring over hundreds of pages of documents to bring to light the deficiencies that informed the debate.  We are pleased to have been involved with this win for the community and look to the applicant to ensure that any subsequent Planning Proposal for this site will be much more sympathetic to the local character and heritage of our area.

2023-09-14T11:10:05+10:00September 14, 2023|

Proposed rezoning could set a 6-storey precedent…

The owners of Montefiore Residential Care have asked Council to re-zone their massive Hunters Hill site between Barons Crescent and High Street from 2-storey Low Residential (8.5m height) to the recently created zone of SP2 Infrastructure (24m height)allowing buildings of 6 storeys or more. 
Montefiore’s Planning Proposal was published on Council’s website on 16 June but was sent straight to the Local Planning Panel (LPP) on 22 June.   Fortunately, the Panel reflected the community’s concerns and unanimously resolved not to support Council’s recommendation that the Planning Proposal be sent to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment for a ‘Gateway Determination’.
The LPP’s resolution included the advice to Council that adequate time was needed for assessment of the contextual understanding of impacts on similar aged care sites within the Municipality and recommended wider community consultation.  In spite of this, and Council’s own Resolution ‘to hold a community meeting as soon as practicable after the lodgement of a Planning Proposal for the Montefiore site’, Council’s plan is to consult the community only after the Gateway Determination – by which time it is unlikely to be overturned.

Montefiore Hunters Hill

An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) is being convened at Council chambers on Tuesday 12 September 2023 at 6pm when a final decision to reject or support the Montefiore Proposal will be made.  This will be an opportunity to demonstrate the community’s concerns including the following:
1.   This rezoning could result in severe and permanent impacts across the whole of Hunters Hill LGA!  It could affect the low-rise residential streetscapes, character and amenity of our existing neighbourhoods.  Allowing this site to be zoned for height increases could set a precedent for the 7 other aged care sites, including seniors’ complexes in Woolwich Road, Ferdinand Street, Passy Avenue and Hunters Hill Village.
2.   Montefiore’s proposal would allow for buildings up to 24m in height to accommodate 144 one, two and three bedroom independent living apartments, whilst at the same time closing 126 existing residential aged care beds.  This at a time when the latest census data shows that our 85+ demographic is predicted to increase more than any other age group.
3.    With a planned 260+ space car park/loading dock with entrances in High Street and Barons Crescent directly opposite wildlife catchment areas and heritage listed Boronia Park, the extra traffic movements caused by the 24/7 operation of the new housing estate (currently only Stage 1) will result in more traffic disruption and congestion on all feeder roads including Ryde Road, Park Road, High Street and Pittwater Road and local roads already under pressure.
Even though arguments against the questionable use of the SP2 Infrastructure category to facilitate increased height were presented to Council and individual Councillors by representatives of the Community Action Association, who are pressing for a more moderate redevelopment consistent with the character of the local area, there has so far not been an adequate or properly considered response.
Council’s lack of transparency over this issue is unacceptable when it has apparently been in discussion with Montefiore for 17 months.  Releasing the  analysis of technical reports requested by the LPP only a few days before the EGM when the final decision will be made, is unreasonable and disrespectful to the community.

2023-09-05T14:52:18+10:00September 5, 2023|

Extending Woolwich Marina – not for the public good!

Woolwich Marina set to double in size obstructing waterways and public views of heritage items


The proposed Development Application DA2023-0094 for alterations and additions to the existing Woolwich Marina poses many serious issues including the following:

1. The site is located in the vicinity of a number of significant heritage items including State Heritage listed Kelly’s Bush and World Heritage listed Cockatoo Island within a conservation area, and this proposal will have serious implications for sensitive bushlands, parklands and waterways.

2. The development does not promote the equitable use of the Foreshores and Waterways Area as it seeks to double the size of the current Woolwich Marina to cater for private interests at the expense of the public good.

3. The visual impact of the planned extended marina is unacceptable as the larger numbers and dimensions of the boats to be catered for will partially obliterate the open water and views from public pathways and heritage sites.

4. The alienation of this busy stretch of water for the sailing community and the general public is unacceptable, and the safety implications of a reduced channel for ferries and boating, cannot be underestimated.

5. The resultant increase in traffic congestion through the peninsula with one road in and out, and the need for increased parking will place an unacceptable burden on the community.

The closing date for submission is 4pm on Friday 1st September.  The Trust’s submission strongly objecting to this project is here HHT Submission to DA2023-0094 Alterations & Additions to Woolwich Marina.   If, like us, you feel this proposal is not of benefit to the community, please send a short email in your own words to

2023-08-27T11:19:53+10:00August 25, 2023|

Tree quotas for new developments?

You may remember in our December 2022 Journal that we highlighted the continuing loss of our trees and suggested ways in which Council could discourage deliberate vandalism and slow the alarming loss of tree canopy on private land.    Subsequently, we wrote to Council on 11 Jan 2023  suggesting several ways in which Council could strengthen its Tree and Vegetation Management Policy, particularly in ‘Complying Development’ areas, where knockdown and rebuild projects tend to build to the fence lines, removing all trees and vegetation.

Therefore we were very pleased to read in the Sydney Morning Herald of 30 July 2023 that Woollahra Council –  who have experienced similar problems with a spate of knockdown/rebuilds destroying established gardens and historic trees –  have now produced an ‘Urban Forest Strategy’ that clearly lays out their new greening rules to prevent over development at the expense of green space. Their very inclusive Council invites residents to provide feedback – an excellent initiative and a great example of what can be done.

We understand that our Council has completed a Street Tree Management Plan which is a good start but the greatest threat currently is from trees being removed, often illegally, from private land.  Therefore an initiative like Woollahra’s could help combat this problem.  The suggestion to implement something similar for Hunters Hill has been made to Council and we await their response.

2023-08-25T10:12:38+10:00August 19, 2023|

What’s the hold-up?

Now at the end of the sixth week of stopped work at Figtree Park, we are asking why Council has not been able to progress this job? With such a huge sum of money at their disposal, the community would rightly expect a fully resourced and well planned process.
So what’s the delay? There are many local families, dog walkers, office workers and elderly people who have been denied use of this park, who are very unhappy about the delay and the resulting extra time it will now take until this much-loved amenity is restored.
After enquiring why there has been no work for so long, one of our members finally received an email to say that “preliminary investigations are underway” and “work will re-commence in August”. After nearly 18 months of planning the question we are asking is, why would Council still be carrying out ‘preliminary investigations’?

2023-08-27T11:09:58+10:00August 19, 2023|

Come and see us at Moocooboola on Sunday 6 August!

Come and see us at this year’s Moocooboola Festival being held at Boronia Park Ovals, Cnr Park and Ryde Roads from 10am – 4pm. We’re on Stand No. D7 together with our friends, The Happy Hens.    Pop by and say hello and check out our beautiful high quality tea towels.
You can also pick up a copy of our stunning publication ‘The Heritage of Hunters Hill’ a perfect present for that hard-to-buy-for friend or relative!  

The Heritage of Hunters Hill   Edition 5

This book was first published in 1969 and is now printed in full colour.  It features detailed information on almost 500 buildings of Hunters Hill in their historical contexts and landscape settings.
Also available from the following local outlets:
 –  Hunters Hill Post Office, 32 Alexandra Street
 – Village Florist and Wishbone, Garibaldi Square, Hunters Hill
or to obtain a copy by post please email




2023-08-19T16:37:19+10:00August 3, 2023|

Hunters Hill Trust Journal July 2023

Vol 61, No. 1 July 2023

Another well-built home set in established gardens that give our suburb its character and charm – slated for demolition.

This edition covers the changing of the guard for the Trust with the retirement of our long term President, Alister Sharp, and the appointment of a staunch advocate for our heritage and environment, Karyn Raisin.   Also, instead of our usual ‘Hunters Hill Modern’ supplement, pages 3 & 4 feature an award-winning renovation and extension of a sandstone gem.

  • From the Retiring President and Introducing the Incoming President
  • So Who Are These NIMBYs?  – the pressure of development on heritage suburbs
  • In Tune with Heritage – a focus on an award winning renovation
  • Montefiore Planning Proposal
  • Update on Boronia Park
2023-07-21T10:52:09+10:00July 19, 2023|

Heritage and the latest push for development…..

There’s been a never-ending stream of media coverage recently regarding the need for more housing and greater density, with many commentators apportioning blame as to who is responsible for the housing shortage.  Spoiler alert – apparently it’s the NIMBYs.
Could it be that the developer lobby is now so powerful it is able to skew the argument towards re-zoning and accessing precious Crown Land as being the only answer to increased housing?  But according to the latest census data, there were 1 million homes unoccupied on census night – 10 per cent of the total housing stock.
The latest incentives from Government to build new dwellings has been described as a ‘free for all’ for developers and there is every indication that suburbs like ours are in the firing line for not pulling our weight, even though we are expected to meet or exceed the dwelling targets set for our LGA. In this push for development there must also be an assessment of the ‘liveability’ of our cities and, in a changing climate, the natural environment that sustains us.
Sadly there appears to be no room in this discussion for considering the carrying capacity of our heritage suburbs, in order to preserve their charm and character for future generations.   Can we be really that short sighted that we are prepared to jeopardise layers of our history?
Some of the history we’ve already lost – modest well built single family homes set in established gardens – replaced by large single family homes built to the fence lines with little or no green space….

With regard to the claim that heritage is being used as a tool to block development, at our recent Members’ Evening & AGM, our presenter, Jane Alexander, The National Trust of NSW’s Advocacy Manager, debunked that particular myth with the fact that of the 3.5 million land parcels in New South Wales, less than 1% are listed heritage items!  As the National Trust presentation to the Heritage Act Review stated:

Our heritage places make a significant contribution to our identity, creating a sense of place and representing the State’s story, its people and its shared connections.  From buildings to landscapes, songlines to character areas, trees to shipwrecks – the heritage of NSW is important.

We were therefore disappointed to learn that Council was prepared to fast track the recent Planning Proposal from the Montefiore Home for rezoning their site, to allow increased building heights up to 28m and include ‘premium priced apartments’ – not residential aged care.  Council recommended to the Local Planning Panel that the Planning Proposal be forwarded to the Department of Planning and Environment for a Gateway Determination….’  thus pushing the Proposal through without proper consideration or adequate time to engage the community.
Thankfully the independent Local Planning Panel reflected community concerns and voted unanimously to reject Council’s recommendations and advised that more time was needed for assessment of the contextual understanding of impacts on similar aged care sites within the Municipality, and called for wider community consultation.
The unseemly haste by Council to get this Proposal for increased building heights approved before finalising the vital revision of the Local Environmental Plan, is very concerning.   It could set a dangerous precedent – but a Council open to increasing density may very well find that convenient.

2023-07-15T08:43:54+10:00July 11, 2023|
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