Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

The Hunters Hill Trust

The Hunters Hill Trust

Preserving Our Heritage since 1968

St Joseph’s College development plans

Hunters Hill Council has strongly opposed the plans from St Joseph’s College to build a new Gymnasium and massive Sports Complex.  The College is wholly within a Hunters Hill Council’s heritage conservation area.  The proposal fails to observe the basic heritage objectives set down in the Local Environment Plan and raises concerns due to its:

  • height, scale and lack of setback from the college boundary for the proposed Basketball Complex
  • removal of over 30 trees, several of local significance
  • lack of compatibility with existing college buildings and loss of open space
  • incompatibility with the character and amenity of the residential neighbourhood.

It also fails to present design excellence and there is no intention to contribute to a Voluntary Planning Agreement to benefit ratepayers.

The Minster for Planning has been requested to hold a public hearing.  For more details you can read the Hunters Hill Trust’s submission.

2018-11-16T19:59:47+11:00November 15, 2018|

Conservation or demolition?

1 Ryde Road, Source:  Google maps

The Trust and members of the local community have been concerned about the rapid deterioration of two historic weatherboard cottages at 1A and 3 Ryde Rd near the Hunters Hill overpass.

Council has told the Mainstreet Committee that the front verandah of 1 Ryde Road was recently demolished without authority.  Hunters Hill Council promptly took the developer to court the next day and obtained an injunction.

Heritage items like this need to be conserved.


2018-09-10T22:45:01+10:00September 10, 2018|

How can we get better at conserving and adapting our heritage items?

11 Mark Street

How can we get better at protecting, maintaining and adapting our heritage items?  There are lessons to be learned from what happened to the Schedule 5 heritage listed cottage at 11 Mark Street.

This small timber workman’s cottage became very dilapidated over many years, despite alerts from Council’s Conservation Advisory Panel (CAP) and the Hunters Hill Trust. The owners initially discussed demolition and creating car parking spaces but eventually proposed to demolish the cottage and reconstruct the front portion of it with a new building behind.

1 Ryde Road

The Council of the time ignored CAP’s detailed advice. CAP recommended that the hipped rear section of the building should not be demolished as it could be anticipated that the two storey rear addition would dominate the little house at the front. Sadly, this has proved to be true. The detail of the rebuilding of the front part of the house and the colour scheme have paid little heed to the original details of the fabric of the cottage.  Read the sad case of heritage listed cottage at 11 Mark Street here.

What does this mean today as we stand by and watch the two historic timber cottages steadily deteriorating on Ryde Road?

2018-08-28T10:25:35+10:00August 24, 2018|

negative impacts of St Joseph’s College plans

Luke St & Gladesville Rd, Source: TDK Architects

St Joseph’s College plans to build a huge basketball complex and gymnasium. The basketball court building would be more than 14m high and extend 95m along Luke Street and 34m along Gladesville Road.  This is almost twice the height of what is allowed by houses in the adjacent streets.

St Joseph’s College is heritage listed (Heritage Item 1242) and is also within Hunters Hill Council’s General Conservation Area.  The current plans have negative impacts on this Heritage Item and also on the local Conservation Area.

The style of the BASKETBALL COMPLEX building has been described as “brutal,” “stark” and “industrial” and is at odds with the residential scale and character of the surrounding streets.  It will destroy the garden setting and completely change the character of this part of the campus.  Views of various buildings and landscape features will be obliterated.

The heritage-listed stonewalls to Gladesville Road and Luke St will be overwhelmed by the scale of the new structure’s walls.  The street trees in Luke St, on public land, will be ‘demolished and replaced’.  Existing properties in Luke St  will be over shadowed and lose afternoon sun in winter. There will also be sound problems and traffic problems.

The form and finishes of the GYMNASIUM are also unsympathetic to the existing surrounding buildings.  The landscaped area between the Brothers’ Residence and Chapel will be destroyed.


Since this proposal is being classed as a State Significant Development, the College is not necessarily bound by the LEP controls that every other ratepayer is required to abide by.  The College still has a moral duty to do the right thing by the community and to respect the objectives and controls set out in Hunters Hill Council’s Local Environment Plan and its Development Control Plan, not just to its own heritage listed campus, but also to the neighbourhood.

The Trust urges Council and the Local Planning Panel, which will ultimately assess the proposals, to reject both in their entirety.  Read the Trust’s detailed assessment of the College’s proposal here.  For more details of the proposed works: Check here.

2018-11-15T08:02:22+11:00July 31, 2018|

Historic cottages: is this demolition by neglect?

1A Ryde Road, Hunters Hill

At its meeting on 24th May, the Main Street Committee expressed concern about the rapid deterioration of two weatherboard cottages at 1A and 3 Ryde Rd near the Hunters Hill overpass. The doors and/or windows of these cottages have been open, and there is a danger of them collapsing, or catching fire.

Hunters Hill Trust members are concerned about the continued  neglect of these historic cottages, and want to know why they are still unprotected from further deterioration.

What action is the owner and site developer taking to stabilise them?

2018-09-10T22:31:53+10:00July 14, 2018|

Altering heritage items: ‘taking it like a man’

from Tony Coote, HHT’s representative on Hunters Hill Council’s Conservation Advisory Panel (CAP)

One thing I’ve noticed over the years in relation to alterations and additions to heritage items and proposed works in conservation areas is that the proponents of such works (architects, usually) use the Burra Charter Article 22 New work (22.2) “New work should be readily identifiable as such” to justify completely unsympathetic work that pays no respect to the item or its surrounds.

In making this spurious case they completely ignore the second part of item 22.2 : “but must respect and have minimal impact on the cultural significance of the place” (ie the building and its surrounds).   They also generally ignore item 22.1 “New work such as additions or other changes to the place may be acceptable where it respects and does not distort or obscure the cultural significance of the place, or detract from its interpretation and appreciation.”

Yale University Art Gallery (image Wikimedia)

Tom Wolfe in From Bauhaus to Our House is scathing of Louis Kahn’s addition to the Yale University Art Gallery, which, I think, epitomises the misrepresentation of the Burra Charter I’m talking about.  Kahn’s work is on the left.  The existing building was built 25 years before in 1928.  When questioned by the Yale administrators about his design, Kahn is quoted by Wolfe:

“What do you mean, “It has nothing to do with the existing building”?  You don’t understand?  You don’t see it?  You don’t see the string courses?  They express the floor lines of the existing building.  They reveal the structure.  For a quarter of a century, those floors have been hidden behind masonry, completely concealed.  Now they will be unconcealed.  Honest form – beauty, as you choose to call it – can only result from unconcealed structure!  Unconcealed structure?  Did he say unconcealed structure?  

Baffled but somehow intimidated, as if by Cagliostro* or a Jacmel hoongan*, the Yale administration yielded to the destiny of architecture and took it like a man.  Administrators, directors, boards of trustees, municipal committees, and executive officers have been taking it like men ever since.”

2018-04-23T18:47:25+10:00April 23, 2018|

plan to reduce water going back to the Murray Darling Basin

image: Sascha Healy

The Murray Darling Basin Authority is proposing to reduce the amount of water that is currently going back into the river environment. This will stop water recovery in its tracks and limit the environmental outcomes of the Murray Darling Plan.

To give birds, fish, frogs and trees a fair go, keep salinity in check so that the rivers water can be used, and keep the mouth of the Murray open, the plan needs to recover 3200GL of water to flow for the environment.  If you have a minute, please sign the NSW Conservation Council’s submission before Friday 3rd November.


2017-10-31T14:16:57+11:00October 30, 2017|

Sir John Sulman’s vision of a ‘garden city’

18 Richmond Crescent Gladesville

This house at 18 Richmond Crescent Gladesville was featured in the November 2016 Trust Journal under the heading ‘Heritage under Threat‘. Council had received a development application to demolish the house and construct a new, much larger, house in its place.  Trust committee member, Caroline Mackaness, wrote a submission to Council about it, much of which was published in the Journal article.

The house is in Conservation Area C1 and Conservation Area C435 (Dept of Housing Subdivision) and is within the General Landscape Conservation Area. The subdivision was designed by Sir John Sulman in 1919.

Council’s Conservation Advisory Panel advised Council that, in its view, the existing cottage should be retained as a largely intact example of the housing built by NSW Department of Housing in the early post-WW1 development of the area.  The Panel also considered the proposed replacement house to be inappropriate in its response to the streetscape, which is typified by asymmetrical facades.  Council also received a number of individual objections and a petition opposing the application. (more…)

2017-10-07T11:48:33+11:00September 29, 2017|

WW1 returned service cottage threatened with demolition

18 Richmond Crescent

The proposed demolition of number 18 Richmond Crescent would destroy the last remaining WW1 returned soldier settlement cottage in original condition in our area.  This would erode the overall value of the conservation precinct.

Hunter’s Hill Council initially refused the DA to demolish the cottage, undertake a major excavation and construct a very large 3 storey building that is completely out of character in this Conversation Area and does not comply with the LEP.

The amended plans that are now being considered do not appear to adequately address the issues raised by concerned neighbours or the Council: (more…)

2017-09-03T11:06:18+10:00July 17, 2017|

Demolition proposed for ‘P and O style’ house

48 Mary St, Hunters Hill

48 Mary St, Hunters Hill

48 Mary Street, Hunters Hill may not be heritage listed, but it is a valuable example of Interwar Functionalist, or what is more commonly known as the ‘P and O Style’ housing. It is part of the historic record of European building in Hunters Hill.

Will it be replaced by yet another project-style house that bears no relationship to the character of the neighbourhood?

You can read HHT’s comments on the plan to demolish here.



2017-09-03T11:43:28+10:00September 10, 2016|
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