Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

The Hunters Hill Trust

The Hunters Hill Trust

Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

Our Modernist ‘Gems’

While renowned for its significant stock of fine nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings, Hunters Hill is also home to some modernist gems from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.  With many of these more modestly sized, yet excellent buildings coming under threat from unsympathetic additions or demolition – notably the recently demolished 34 Barons Crescent – it’s time to consider the recognition that the more outstanding local examples of this style of architecture might warrant.

8 Ellesmere Avenue Architect Frank Kolos 1959 (Ross Heathcote, (c) Sydney Living Museums)

To start a conversation on the topic of “Hunters Hill Modern” the Trust is preparing an inventory of mid-century houses and buildings.  If you know of a building you consider might meet this criteria, we would welcome your input!  Email us at

33 Bonnefin Road Hunters Hill Architect Sir Roy Grounds 1954

Although we have sadly lost some of these ‘gems’, we are very lucky to still have several examples of this classic style existing in Hunters Hill. One such example is 33 Bonnefin Road, designed by well-known Melbourne architect Sir Roy Grounds in 1954. Sir Roy designed it for his friend, the journalist Tilly Shelton-Smith, who was the first woman to report from a war zone in World War II.
Sir Roy is best known for the Victorian Art Gallery and was one of Australia’s leading 20th century Modernist architects. Originally the house was known as Tilly’s hat box house and was minute, with an area of only 55 square metres. It was subsequently sympathetically added to by our very own heritage architect (and former Trust president) Tony Coote. The house was heritage listed by Hunters Hill Council in the 1990s.

We are delighted to have enlisted the help of our local celebrity, author and advocate for mid-century architecture, Tim Ross, who will be assisting us in preparing an inventory of these classic gems.

Contributory Items

The Trust is also working with Council to reassess the heritage value of housing from the inter-war period, the so-called “contributory items” that, while not heritage-listed, contribute to the unique character of Hunters Hill.   As many of you will know, charming and sound bungalows from the 1920s and 1930s are being altered beyond recognition, or demolished, all over the municipality.

The LEP revision this year may be an opportunity to secure more protection for buildings in this category.  Stay tuned for more on this in the upcoming months!

2022-02-13T19:20:40+11:00February 13, 2022|

Caring for Crown Lands

Happy new year and we wish you a healthy and safe 2022!
We’re looking forward to the challenges of this new year and in particular we’re busy reviewing the three Draft Plans of Management (PoMs) for Crown Reserves, as listed below, which you may understandably have missed as they were released on 4 November the day before Council’s caretaker period commenced!  They can be viewed on Council’s website:

  • Henley Precinct Open Space (including Gladesville Reserve)
  • Figtree Park and Gladesville Community Centre Reserves
  • Small Crown Reserves

On your behalf, we have been examining these proposals. With regard to the Figtree Park and Gladesville Community Centre Reserves PoM, although there is proven overwhelming support for retaining the croquet club in situ, we are concerned about disturbing inclusions in Council’s draft which if not corrected, will adversely affect the future of Hunters Hill village.
We are therefore requesting that Council’s General Manager withdraw the Figtree Park PoM from community consultation for further revision.
As we already pointed out to Council in July 2021, the first release of the Figtree Park PoM was misleading as it conflated the management of the Reserves with the re-development of the properties along Gladesville Road. The Acting General Manager’s reply at the time stated:
“I can assure you there is no intention to imbed the Draft Community Infrastructure Plan/Property Strategy into the Plans of Management for Figtree Park and Gladesville Community Reserve as detailed above, no such changes can occur without the exhibition of revised documents. All comments recorded during the consultation period will be included in the summary of feedback but as detailed earlier, only those items which are permissible under the Figtree Reserve Plan of Management will [be] considered.”
In spite of the above assurance, we now find that the current Plan released in October 2021 is once again strongly influenced by Council’s Draft Property Strategy!
Due to community opposition, Council resolved at its meeting on 26 April 2021 that “options and associated financial modelling be investigated” prior to adoption of the Draft Strategy. It is not acceptable that this unaltered and unadopted Draft now informs the intent of a potentially binding PoM. References to the Strategy appear throughout the document including:

7.9 Action Plan – Table 14 Objectives and performance targets – 3.2 Infrastructure and Facilities (p74)
“Plan for well-designed buildings and facilities to maximise usage through co-location, shared, flexible and multipurpose design that can accommodate changing needs overtime”.
This is a blanket statement that blatantly conflates the intent of the unadopted Property Strategy with the Figtree Park PoM.


8.2 Potential Future Development (p76)
This whole section which details the proposals in the Draft Property Strategy including the creation of residential, commercial and retail development must be deleted. Council has discussed, but has NOT “provided guidance for potential future development with corresponding intensity of use, at Figtree Park and Gladesville Community Centre reserves as an outcome in the draft Property Strategy”.
The Figtree Park PoM should not be utilised as an enabler for future developer driven goals.

Submissions close on 14 January 2022 and we’d ask you to please send a short email stating the concerns as above, to the Acting General Manager at requesting an acknowledgement. Thank you for all that you do. The Trust’s submissions are here:

HHT submission re Figtree Park Plan of Management

HHT submission re Henley precinct Open Space Plan of Management

HHT Submission re Miscellaneous Crown Reserves Plan of Management

2022-01-14T12:43:28+11:00January 13, 2022|

And now for something completely different……

In the midst of current concerns, we didn’t want to forget to take a moment to celebrate the recent flowering of our local trees and pay homage to the joy and colour that makes our garden suburb so special!

2021-12-21T17:53:33+11:00December 10, 2021|


We recently highlighted the importance of knowing where Group preferences (ie their 2nd and 3rd choices) will be going in this Council election so here’s the link to the Electoral Commission website so you can check this out:


You will note that, while Groups are obviously free to direct preferences wherever they like, it is now apparent that the new “Independent” Groups with no history on Council, are preferencing a political party.   Residents voting to keep Hunters Hill independent need to be aware of this.

2021-11-26T13:10:21+11:00November 25, 2021|

Local Elections – What’s at Stake?

The Council election on 4 December is one of the most important since the Trust was formed over 50 years ago.  With the increasing pressures of losses and impacts on our built and natural heritage, our community needs Councillors who have integrity and transparency and are independent of party politics,  to ensure sustainable development outcomes that support everyone’s needs fairly. Early next year Council will be reviewing the Local Environment and Development Control Plans which could mean an increase in both the height and density of our suburbs. This is a critical time for our municipality.

A particular example of this is the Property Strategy containing Council’s blueprint for our municipality for the next 10 years.  Community feedback was strongly against the proposals for which no business case, needs analysis or financial risk assessment had been presented and our thanks go to Mayor Ross Williams and Councillors Sanderson, Krassoi and McLaughlin, who voted to further investigate options and financial modelling before adoption.

The Hunters Hill Trust was established to help protect our Municipality from inappropriate development.   We are proud of our role in advocating for our beautiful heritage and garden suburb to be preserved.    This has been even more important over the last term of Council (see Submissions) when we have pushed for sustainable and appropriate development outcomes, rather than just  ‘development’.    We have advocated for better facilities for our young families, particularly a reinstated playpark at Figtree Park, and supported many successful plans for adaptive re-use of local buildings.

We are fortunate to have access to magnificent parkland, harbour foreshores and bushland and need to protect what we value for present and future generations.   The ongoing trend to fell mature trees and build to the fence line is sadly affecting the whole community. We hope everyone will engage in respectful debate and support those candidates who are truly committed to our local community and its diverse needs and values.  Now we have a chance to vote for what we really want for the future!

2021-12-05T13:37:03+11:00November 19, 2021|

What are the Options?

Council’s recent email gave us two design Options for Figtree Park  In both Options there are good improvements to play spaces and seating but as yet, it is not clear how the wide walking/bike tracks and buffer plantings will affect existing green space, or that trees will not be lost.

Council’s successful grant application to secure the $4.75m in funding stated their intention of “….. retaining the croquet club”. However this is not borne out by the design of Option 2 which completely removes the Croquet Green!   In addition the Consultation Report listing the top 3 comments from the Social Pinpoint Map (based on overall votes) excludes the following comment about the Croquet Club – which shoud have been No. 3!


“This is a lovely community hall that is used by a range of community groups and people. The croquet green is also used by the local high school for students to do croquet as a sporting activity. The croquet club covers the costs of preserving the natural green and it is a wonderful activity for all generations and should be further promoted.”        (94 combined votes, 87 Likes, 7 Dislikes)

Please respond to the survey and consider choosing Option 1, as removal of the Croquet Green and its historic Clubhouse would mean that this community asset, providing ‘all ages’ recreation would be lost.   In spite of the Property Strategy not yet returned for community consultation, Council’s plans for a knock down and rebuild development on the Gladesville Road sites appear to be further progressed, with the two design Options already showing the remaining four Gladesville Road buildings (with no. 48 removed to facilitate a new Park entry) assumed to be demolished, and replaced by the footprints of three development sites.  Council seems to indicate that the fate of these buildings, and of the low-scale, leafy entry to the village, is already a fait accompli!


2021-11-17T16:45:03+11:00November 5, 2021|

Unsustainable Synthetic Turf for Gladesville Reserve???

Hunters Hill Council has $2m funding from NSW government to spend on upgrading the Gladesville Reserve playing fields.  Council has proposed a fenced-off field with an artificial surface.  Sporting interests, mainly soccer, want a synthetic turf replacement but many in the local community are urging an improved natural turf surface to ensure this valued Crown Land remains accessible to all.

Council is required to consult widely prior to making a decision and you can learn more and get involved by signing the petition provided by the newly formed Sustaining Gladesville Reserve group at:   

Their email address is if you would like to contact them directly.

A fenced off plastic surface will restrict activities other than sports and close off a shared community resource currently much used and enjoyed by all.  Synthetic turf is opposed for its many environmental disadvantages, particularly in a changing climate.  Microplastics migrate to waterways and bushland, vital natural processes are disrupted and native wildlife impacted.  Disposal of the plastic surface every decade or so remains very problematic.   Watch this YouTube showing the very successful natural turf upgrade at Middle Head Oval.


The Trust supports use of the funds to upgrade Gladesville Reserve’s facilities that benefit the whole community and the natural environment through proven techniques that provide a sustainable fit-for-purpose grassed surface. 

2021-11-10T14:14:14+11:00October 18, 2021|

Where are we up to with the Gladesville Master Plan?

Hunters Hill Council has prepared a revised Gladeville Master Plan whose stated aim is to provide an integrated plan for Gladesville Town Centre – but the main intent is to amend Hunters Hill Local Environment Plan 2012 (HHLEP) to enable greater development density!

The commercial zone along Victoria Rd from Junction St to Pittwater Rd is within a heritage conservation area and the Trust is opposed to the relocation or removal of the belatedly heritage listed Schedule 5 item at 10 Cowell Street, which was also sold to the developer but not adequately protected at the time.  The timber cottage can provide a low-key transition from the commercial to the residential zone which should act to inform and shape the redevelopment of the GSV site.  The issues are:

  • The form of the Block Studies (referred to as Blocks 1, 2 & 3) used for public exhibition are not sufficiently defined to comprehend the proposed redevelopment for these sections of the Master Plan. The three options outlined for Block 4 (Gladesville Shopping Centre/Key site) are called Concept Plans and are all relying on amendment to the HHLEP to build to greater heights and accommodate much larger numbers of units – up to 19 storeys in height!
  • The history of selling off Council land, now described as Block 4, in 2012 – without consultation with the community and adequate planning controls to guarantee public benefit – has left a legacy of mistrust.  Council amended the LEP to increase Floor Space Ratio (FSR) of 2.3 to 2.7. This allows greater bulk and permits building height of 34 metres – 180 residential units up to 8-10 storeys.  See the Trust’s submission here HHT Submission for Gladesville Master Plan
  • Council’s proposed further amendment from the existing FSR* 2.7 to 3.1 would permit greater density and height and obviously greater profit to the land owner.  But it would disadvantage local residents, shoppers and visitors.  Towers up to 19 storeys in height on the Shopping Village site situated along the Gladesville ridgeline will over-shadow surrounding residential streets, remove privacy from households and disrupt local amenity.
  • The draft Master Plan shows no improvement from the 2013 Development Application which attempted to trade off increased open space and ‘design excellence’ for greater density and imposition on the local community.  That DA was comprehensively rejected and fortunately later refused by the NSW Planning Department.
  • Traffic and parking are increasingly problematic and both need far more rigorous assessment and solutions presented within the Master Plan.  It is not clear from the Block Studies and the Concept Plan how traffic flow and density will be managed as a result of such major development.

Council has targeted Gladesville Town Centre, particularly the GSV site, to provide for the NSW government’s housing projections for Hunters Hill LGA in its Local Housing Strategy.  Opposition to this was expressed during the Strategy’s consultation process as it places unreasonable and inequitable over-development impacts on Gladesville residents and will be detrimental to heritage values.

The community has not been assisted in this review process by having no models and relevant visuals presented, such as at the main Shopping Centre.  It is hard to visualise how a ‘town square’ could be accommodated within either of the three options for Block 4, given the shared right-of-way requirements for vehicles and future increased pedestrian users of the site.

It is also vital that the existing car park at 3A Cowell Street remains as such within the LEP and continues to provide much-needed public car parking to serve residents’ needs as well as keeping small local businesses viable.

Hunters Hill and City of Ryde Councils need to liaise on creating a more cohesive approach to development within the precinct. Consideration must also be given to greater linkage across Victoria Road by strategically connecting Trim Place to the core of the retail and Post Office shopping strip.  There is an opportunity to apply sustainability principles to urban renewal at Gladesville’s Town Centre and take account of climate change mitigation and improved liveability.

The HHLEP must not be amended to allow any increase to the existing FSR of 2.7.

 *FSR refers to Floor Space Ratio, the measure for bulk. More FSR means more flats (and/or commercial space, but most of this development is about building more flats).

2021-10-06T17:18:47+11:00October 6, 2021|

Groundhog day………!

Here we go again with yet another Development Application (DA20211185) for an inappropriate adaptive re-use of the iconic heritage building at 39 Alexandra Street, currently leased by The Lost & Found Department homewares outlet.

The new proposal is another attempt to over-develop this historic site with alterations and additions for shop-top housing with residential accommodation, a retail shop and a licensed restaurant seating 35-40 patrons operating from 7.00am to 10.00pm (in reality likely to be in operation around 18 hours per day).

If you feel that this iconic building deserves to remain the well-loved community asset it currently is, make your views known to Council at by 24 Sept 2021.  Read the Trust’s submission here Submission re 39 Alexandra St

It is difficult to think of a more inappropriate use of this property. Restaurants are not in short supply in Hunters Hill. In fact, there are 3 within 50m of this site, as well as 4 more in Woolwich, barely 1km away, the Hunters Hill Club a few hundred metres distant and a clutch of eating establishments on Ryde and Gladesville Roads near the Hunters Hill Hotel. The Trust considers the civic importance of this corner location unsuitable for this type of development for the following reasons:

1.    The Plan is for a 2 storey modern extension to the heritage building with increased height, no setback, inappropriate materials and lack of landscaping – particularly unsuitable for a site opposite The Garibaldi Inn, one of Hunters Hill’s few State Heritage Listed structures.
2.    There is no mention of protecting the building’s interior which boasts many outstanding heritage features.
3.    The proposed hours of operation (minimum) 15 hours per day are far too long for a quiet neighbourhood and twice those of its previous approval.
4.    There are no parking facilities available for the commercial portion of the building, which would mean a large number of patrons and staff trying to park in the surrounding area between 6.00am and midnight, seriously affecting residents in nearby streets and leading to traffic problems on already congested Alexandra and Ferry Streets.
5.    The question of pedestrian safety due to the increased foot traffic has not been addressed.  The premises are directly on a dangerous corner on a busy road where there have been previous pedestrian accidents, one of them fatal.
6.    There is no reference to the management of a licensed premises.  This will have particular relevance to the amenity of the adjoining historic landmark of All Saints Church and the potential effect on services such as funerals.
7.    There is no mention of sound attenuation for the surrounding community, particularly at night with footpath dining, when noise will carry throughout the quiet neighbourhood.
8.    There is not sufficient detail of the waste management provisions, critical for a restaurant of this size, located in a residential neighbourhood.
9.    There is no loading zone for the frequent deliveries, causing inevitable parking issues and disruption for neighbours and pedestrians.
10.  The proposal to remove 4 trees with the loss of habitat to wildlife and amenity to the neighbourhood is indefensible.

If you feel that this iconic building deserves to remain the well-loved community asset it currently is, please write a short submission quoting DA20211185 and make your views known to Council at by 24 September 2021.

2021-09-24T18:07:49+11:00September 20, 2021|

Boronia Park Sports & Community Facility – Too big and in the wrong location

Mature eucalypts due for removal


Hunters Hill Council has now lodged a Development Application DA20211184 for a Sports & Community Facility at Boronia Park. You may have received a flyer from the Boronia Park Action Group inviting you to have your say on this development within our heritage-listed parkland. Submissions close on Friday 17 September 2021 at 4pm and we encourage you to make your views known to Council at   The Trust’s submission is here Boronia Park

Council promotes this building as a ‘community facility’, although we know the Hunters Hill Rugby Club will have almost exclusive rights and access, at a nominal cost of $100 per annum!  Despite this, ratepayers are expected to cover an annual maintenance bill in excess of $38,000.

The need for better facilities in Boronia Park, such as female change rooms, storage, etc is clear, but amenities can be easily and more sustainably provided by restoring and extending the existing heritage grandstand, as intended by the original $1M State Government grant.  In fact, this site was identified in the 2015 Boronia Park Management Plan as being the most appropriate, reinforced in 2020 by Council’s independent consultant finding overwhelming support for the grandstand location, with 97 submissions in favour and only 6 opposed.

However the Plan adopted by Council, under pressure from the sporting lobby, instead locates a new 50 metre long, 8 metre high, two-storey facility between Ovals 1 & 2.  This oversized structure will act as a wall between the two ovals, destroying views across Boronia Park to bushland and compromising the expansive sense of open space.  It will require a lift to reach the viewing platform, adding to maintenance costs and energy use, and will be lit up until 11pm at night, disrupting nocturnal wildlife and local residents.  The removal of 3 or 4 healthy mature eucalypts is indefensible and the casual acceptance of their loss reflects poorly on Council and is a further blow to the community.

It is evidence of fiscal imprudence that Council, as the development’s applicant, has not guaranteed that the funds required to construct this facility are yet in hand.  There is also a well founded concern that, should the Rugby Club fall short of its fundraising target, Council and ratepayers will be under pressure to foot the bill even further.  Please be sure to have your say at quoting DA 20211184.

2021-09-16T17:06:18+11:00September 8, 2021|
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