Statement of SignificanceView Terrace is a place of heritage value for The Rocks and for New South Wales.Within the state-wide context of New South Wales, View Terrace is significant for demonstrating human ingenuity in adapting built forms and structures to difficult physical environments such as the rocky ledges of the sandstone ridge of The Rocks for over two hundred years, including the passing (then and now highly contentious) phase in heritage conservation practices now called facadism applied to a domestic residential terrace, that continued long historical practices of providing rental accommodation for residential and commercial purposes.This history of cultural adaptability is supported by the further research potential of the site in understanding early colonial practices of building on near-vertical natural formations, comprehending the evolution of British terrace forms in the colonial environment of New South Wales, and challenging historical stereotypes that only the wealthy developed strategies and ways of passing on heritable property within family dynasties, notably through female lineages.Within the local context of The Rocks, View Terrace is significant as a landmark façade that both maintains the aesthetic character of Gloucester Street as a Victorian/early Federation era streetscape through a combination of Italianate and post-modern architectural styles, forms and massing that responds to the whole site 'in the round' from Cambridge and Argyle Streets as well as Gloucester Street. These landmark values are associated with the pre-eminent late-twentieth century architect Phillip Cox AO (in whose portfolio this is a minor but sensitive work) and several generations of nineteenth century speculative builders.Further associations with the lower middle class families that inhabited The Rocks for most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and with twentieth century social reformers, are evident in the records of land ownership and tenancies, the building types and their relationships with the changing physical layouts and levels of the surrounding streets, especially the Gloucester Street, Cumberland Street and Argyle Street junction.The place is rare in the local context as an example of facadism applied to a residential premises, and representative of the customs of local terrace building, of which it is a good example (in its facades) of the bald-faced terrace type in its later evolution during the 1880s and 1890s. Facadism was and remains a controversial practice, likened by some to vandalism or a distortion by postmodern architectural practices.The changing public appreciation of the aesthetic values of the place are evident in the inspiration it provided to colonial watercolour painters, then fin de siècle photographers including the renowned Harold Cazneaux, the romantic 'old town' painters of the early 1900s, and finally the sketch artists of the 1960s and 70s who invoked an atmosphere of romantic ruin in their drawings as the now almost-forgotten Cambridge Street arts quarter briefly flourished before its demolition in 1984. These values were enhanced by the associations of the Cambridge Street warehouse sculptors gallery with post-war refugee artists and the avant-garde arts scene of 1970s Sydney. The removal of the terrace housing and warehouse and their replacement with the sympathetic infill Cox building in 1985 attached to the Victorian era facades maintains the aesthetic values of the place in the local context of The Rocks.
Residential buildings (private)
Construction Years: 1885 - 1885
Physical Description: Nos 38-40 Gloucester Street is a two storey late Victorian Italianate style stuccoed terrace with basement. Its most distinctive features are the very tall decorated arched doorway openings and the arched windows with plain keystones. All the windows at ground level are double hung with one pane in the upper window, two in the lower. The windows of the upper storey are double hung with four panes.(Collingridge1978)Style: Italianate Terrace; Storeys: Three
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Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: According to the Council Rate Assessment records in 1851 this site contained two, one storey stone and shingle roofed houses. Between 1867-1869 No.38 was demolished and this site remained a vacant block till 1883. No. 40 was occupied by different people till the house was demolished c.1880. By 1884 Sands Sydney Directory records the presence of tenants at this site so it is reasonable to presume that a new residence has been constructed. The new structure being a three storey, six room brick terrace with an iron roof, divided into two units. In the 1890s these premises were used as boarding houses by different tenants and were continually leased till the early 1980s. In 1985 the facade was retained and the pitched roof reinstated the remainder being demolished to become part of the office complex known as 40 Gloucester Street.
Historical significance: The historical significance of the View Terrace is demonstrated by:· The evidence in the place of the significant human activity of continually adapting the physical environment to suit cultural needs, as evident in the varying ground levels of the site that have been hewn out of the natural rock face, cascading from the heights of Gloucester Street down to the Gloucester and Cumberland street forecourts, and then down to the View Court and the Little Cambridge Steps, and finally down to Cambridge Street. This adaptation is reinforced in the built forms of both the former terraces and the current building which also step down the underlying rocky ledges and display considerable human ingenuity and adaptability in design and building on such near-vertical sites.· The associations of the place with the significant historical phase, limited to the mid-1980s, in the evolution of conservation practices now known as facadism. This approach was practiced by the Authority on a limited range of sites for a limited period, and reflects an understanding of heritage significance based solely or largely on the presentation of aesthetically-pleasing built surfaces for public enjoyment, without understanding the historical forces that shaped and are represented by those surfaces.· The associations of the place with the significant historical phase, during the 1970s, of pre- and post-war refugee artists strongly influencing the work and approaches of locally-born artists, through the medium of the Cambridge Street warehouse sculptor's gallery where works were both created and exhibited in an avant-garde environment outside the control of established galleries and artists.· The maintaining of a significant historical process in the place of providing rental accommodation, mostly for residential purposes and more recently for commercial purposes.The sequence of structures, from the early nineteenth century cottages to the later Victorian terraces to the late twentieth century offices, have all maintained this activity of providing accommodation in return for payment. The resumption of the private properties by the Crown in 1902 transferred this role from several private landlords to a single public landlord, but the continuity of low-level disputes over maintenance of buildings, relations between tenants, and of the capacity of landlords to remove tenants and demolish structures is consistent across time.The item meets this criterion at the STATE level.
Historical association: The associational significance of View Terrace is demonstrated by:· The association of the place with the significant person of the architect Phillip Cox AO. Cox was an early practitioner in the field of conservation architecture, and between 1962 and 1993 he received at least 16 prestigious awards, including two Wilkinson Awards, three Sulman medals, a Royal Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 1984, and appointment to the Order of Australia as an Officer in 1988 for services to architecture. Cox designed the new structure that replaced the terraces in 1985 and to which the terrace facades are attached. The design responds sympathetically to both the site and the massing of the former terraces. This was at the height of his recognition by his peers, and was probably his last major work in The Rocks. Cox does not list the work among his 'selected projects', and on that basis it is assessed as being a locally-significant association rather than State significant.76· The association of the place with the significant person of the arts administrator Dennis Wolanski OAM. Wolanski was a Polish refugee and Warsaw Ghetto survivor, and a sculptor in post-war Sydney. He was also an able arts administrator, and in 1973 donated the funds to establish the Wolanksi Library and Archives in the then-new Sydney Opera House. He was awarded a medal of the Order of Australia in 1988 for service to the arts. Wolanski was vice president of the Society of Sculptors & Associates who occupied the Cambridge Street warehouse between 1972 and 1984, and was the main spokesperson for the Society and principle negotiator with SCRA over tenancy arrangements and maintenance of the building, responsible for increasing the gallery functions by including the craft gallery, and sought to extend the gallery into 1 Cambridge Street. As Wolanski's best known associations are with the Opera House, his association with site, although lengthy, is assessed as being of local rather than State significance.· The association of the place with a significant group of persons, in this instance publicans. A range of nineteenth century local publicans in The Rocks, including Stafford Lett, Andrew Coss, Thomas Douglass, John Sims and Eleanor Rochester, have been either owners and/or residents in the cottages and terrace houses. Hotels and their publicans and innkeepers have been a significant local commercial presence in The Rocks, especially in relation to maritimetrades and occupations, and the place is located within close walking distance of a number of local hotels.· The association of the place with a significant group of persons, in this case the multi-generational Wybrow (or Whybrow)77 family at 32-36 Gloucester Street. The Wybrow's are a significant group in that, as a family over several generations, they owned and occupied the site between c1822 and c1906, and constructed the three-dwelling terrace in 1881 to house three families related through their maternal lineage. This is a representative association evident at other sites in The Rocks that allowed related women to maintain close and mutually supportive domestic relationships while their menfolk, especially those engaged in maritime occupations, were often absent for extended periods of time.The item meets this criterion at the LOCAL level.
Aesthetic significance: The aesthetic significance of View Terrace is demonstrated by:· Being inspiration for creative achievement, whereby the site and its vicinity have been the subject of colonial watercolourists such as George Roberts (1830s), Samuel Elyard (1867), G Henderson (1878), numerous official photographers in the early twentieth century as well as the renowned Harold Cazneaux, and mid-twentieth century sketchers such as Alan Sutherland (1965), Unk White (1966), Ashley Cooper (1970) and Cedric Emmanuel (1971). The Cambridge Street (back) facades and forms inspired a range of artists in the early twentieth century to produce depictions of the streetscape as representative of a romantic urban plein air idiom, and the site was notably represented in the 1902 'Old Sydney' exhibition by artists such as Julian Ashton and Fred Leist.· Being associated with creative achievement and innovation between 1972 and 1984 when the Cambridge Street warehouse was occupied by sculpture and craft galleries where works were created, performed and sold at the time Cambridge Street North briefly flourished as an 'arts quarter'. A number of well-known artists exhibited at the gallery, and mixed in the intellectual and artistic milieu associated with the gallery and Sydney's 1970s avante garde arts scene.· Showing creative and technical innovation in the massing, form and finishes of the 1985 building that retains forms and mass reminiscent of the demolished terrace buildings in stepping down the steep cliff face and uses exterior finishes that evoke those of late-nineteenth century urban buildings.· Showing creative and technical innovation in the early use of reinforced concrete in 1912 in the retaining walls remaining on the street side of the Cumberland Street forecourt, in the steps and balustrading of View Court and in No 1 Cambridge Street.· Having landmark qualities in the retained terrace facades as a group that maintain a distinctive reference to past residential uses and strongly contribute to the aesthetic character of the streetscape of Gloucester Street. The facades display strong visual relationships with adjacent terraces, especially Bakers Terrace and Jobbins Terrace, which enhance the presentation of its landmark qualities.· Exemplifying a particular taste or style through the use of a Victorian Italianate style on the facades of numbers 26-30 and 38-40. The stylistic characteristics remain intact, with attention to detailing and proportions. The application of this style to terrace housing is uncommon, as is the originally symmetrical composition of the facades (the demolition of numbers 22-24 in 1912 now obscures the originally symmetrical façade of View Terrace). The asymmetry usually associated with this style is absent from the facades as they continued to be built in the same repetitive form of earlier terrace housing, thus making the style more of an 'add-on' façade, and thus an uncommon variation on the style in The Rocks. Rather than stylistic purity, the use of an Italianate style on the facades reflects the tastes and pretensions of the owners and the type of tenants they sought to attract to their investment properties.· Having landmark qualities in the use of a federation Free Classical style for 1 Cambridge Street in 1912 that provided a human-scaled 'gateway' character to the entrance to Cambridge Street and continued the self-confident expression of the style in the (then) new Argyle Bridge in a way that reflected the underlying landform and complemented the topographically-responsive form and Italianate style of View Terrace.· Exemplifying a particular taste or style through the use of a late twentieth century Post-modernist style, confined to the exterior of the 1985 building. It respects the original massing and forms of the 1880s terrace buildings as an 'infill' structure within an existing urban environment. It references Victorian-era detailing such as an astylar base with ashlar coursing, decorated parapets with classical motifs, the use of perforated metal screens and grills, timber window and door joinery, timber louvres and the linear rhythms and proportions of the fenestration. The 1985 Cox-designed structure is a good example of the use of this style for an infill structure in a heritage precinct such as The Rocks.The item meets this criterion at the LOCAL level.
Social significance: The social significance of View Terrace is demonstrated by:· Its importance for associations with an identifiable group, in this case the lower middle class families of The Rocks and in particular their familial networks of inter-generational inheritance. Property ownership in the nineteenth century and heritable tenancies across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and up to the early 1980s are significant in explaining the patterns of occupancy in the terraces and the social connections between the inhabitants of the terraces. These familial associations are also important for demonstrating the aspirations of the terrace owners and tenants to social respectability during the nineteenth century, aspirations reflected in the scale and style of the Italianate facades.· Its importance for associations with an identifiable group, in this case social reformers of the early twentieth century who, from positions within the NSW Government and public service, sought to improve social conditions through, among other things, controlling rents through the Fair Rents Acts of 1915 and 1926 (which extended to small shops) that made long term renting affordable and secure, and allowed many tenants to stay at the same residence for years; through various urban renewal programs that aimed to reduce diseases and illness and provide hygienic and comfortable homes and streets; and through widespread resumption of private properties in order to actively reshape the urban environment of The Rocks in pursuit of a broader public good. These social objectives are reflected in the changing alignments and heights of Gloucester Street, evident in the forecourts, and the fragmentary 'fin wall' and View Court that survive from the demolished shop and residence at 22-24 Gloucester Street, and in the surviving tenancy records associated with the place for the early to mid-twentieth century.· Its potential to be important to a community's sense of place, in this case residents of The Rocks and Millers Point and their descendants who participated in the resident action and social movements of the 1970s known as the Green Bans, and their supporters in the Builders Labourers Federation. They were able to influence urban renewal proposals of the day in ways that lead to the retention of terrace housing in The Rocks and, even when only the façades of the terraces were retained, resident advocacy ensured the streetscape contribution of the façades would be appreciated and their role as a monument to the former residents of the terraces could continue to be interpreted to descendants and the general public.The item meets this criterion at a LOCAL level.
Research significance: The research significance of View Terrace is demonstrated by:· Its potential to yield archaeological information, although now limited, relating to nineteenth century construction practices and built responses to the rocky ledges of Bunkers Hill that remain evident in the stone wall beneath the View Terrace façade and the potential archaeological resources beneath the surface of the forecourts and around 1 Cambridge Street.· Its importance as a reference site for further research into the evolution of terrace housing forms and styles, especially from English or British predecessor forms, in a New South Wales and Australian environment, reflected especially in the bald-face, or Type 3, terrace type.· Its importance as a reference site for further research into historical strategies and practices for retaining urban properties within family lineages of lower middle class families, often of convict descent, even when deprived of property ownership. Such practices are more commonly associated with wealthy rural landholder dynasties, but this site (and others in The Rocks) has the potential through further research to challenge such assumptions, especially in regions of New South Wales and Australia that are associated with convict settlement.The item meets this criterion on a STATE level.
Rare assessment: The rarity of View Terraceis demonstrated by:· Providing evidence of a defunct process, or at least rarely practiced process, in this case the processes or practices of facadism, in The Rocks. Facadism was, and remains, a highly contentious practice. The site is one of only three such examples, and the only one in the form of a set of late nineteenth century domestic terrace facades attached to a late twentieth century Cox-designed commercial building.The item meets this criterion on LOCAL level.
Representative assessment: The representativeness of View Terrace is demonstrated by:· Having attributes typical of a particular custom, that of building domestic housing in The Rocks in terraced rows, although now only evident in the facades and the massing of the attached structure.· Having the principle characteristics of an important class or group, in this case 'second wave' terrace housing built in The Rocks in the 1880s and 1890s, which now form the largest group (44%) of all surviving terrace housing in The Rocks, albeit now providing a rare sub-group of facades-only, of which it is the only example.· Having the principle characteristics of an important class or group, in this case bald-fronted terraces built in The Rocks, which now constitute one of the nine recognised categories of terrace-types in The Rocks, mainly built between the 1830s and 1890s. Chronologically they are at the most-recently built end of this spectrum, and as noted above, only their facades survive.· The representativeness of the site is reduced by the limited survival of original fabric, essentially only the facades, that limits their context in any meaningful way to the local area.The item meets this criterion on LOCAL level.
Intact assessment: Archaeology mostly disturbed
Physical condition: Archaeology Assessment Condition: Mostly disturbed. Assessment Basis: Recently restored. Terraced into hill slope. Cellars.
|Australian Theme||NSW Theme||Local Theme|
|Building settlements, towns and cities||Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation ? does not include architectural styles ? use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0431||Terrace Façade||21/10/1980||2301|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0431||Gloucester Street North Precinct||21/10/1980||2297|
|National Trust of Australia Register||10127||25/02/1978|
|Heritage Act - State Heritage Register||01605||10/05/2002||2869||85|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|Within a National Trust conservation area||10499|