Statement of SignificanceThe pair of houses at 29-31 George Street is a fine example of the Victorian terrace housing associated with the merchant class in residence in The Rocks in the middle of the nineteenth century. Distinguished by the starkness of their finely finished stone work and their restrained detailing, the houses contribute to the aesthetic diversity of north George Street and the historic character of The Rocks. The site and building are also of State heritage significance for their contribution to The Rocks area which is of State Heritage significance in its own right (see item no. 4500458).The archaeological potential of the site is considered high, for local significance, belowground archaeology, at the rear of the subject terraces. The above-ground archaeological potential of the site is confined to the central firewall between the terraces and the ceilings and between-floor spaces in the terraces.
Residential buildings (private)
Construction Years: 1866 - 1866
Physical Description: Style: Early Victorian; Storeys: 2 plus attic; Facade: Stone; Roof Cladding: Asbestos Cement Roof shingles; Floor Frame: Timber
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Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: Bounded by Gloucester and George Street this land was granted to Robert Campbell snr. in October 1834. Campbell had leased the land from the Crown since approximately 1805. In 1848, Robert Campbell Jnr; George Campbell (both sons of Robert Campbell, Snr) and Arthur Jeffreys (son-in-law to Robert Campbell, Snr) were given the authority to dispose of land in Robert Campbell, Snr. 's estate which was no longer required by the family. In 1851, Arthur Jeffreys conveyed Lot 4 of the Campbell sub-division to William Reilly for the sum of 120 pounds. The site was not developed until 1866 when Reilly built a pair of houses on the land, each having a frontage of 30 feet. In 1867 the unoccupied houses, containing six rooms, were described as being of two storeys and attic, with stone walls (the stone possibly quarried on the site) and shingled roofs. Reilly's tenants, from 1867 to 1873, included an accountant, clergyman, and other professional gentlemen. Situated on the upper side of north George Street, the occupants of the houses enjoyed harbour views prior to the construction of the warehouses on the lower side of George Street. In July 1873, Reilly sold the land and dwellings to Thomas Wilton Eady, a leather merchant for the sum of 1400 pounds. It appeared that Eady erected a large shed to the rear of the allotments. From 1874 to 1887 Eady lived at 29 George St. and from here carried out his leather merchandising business. For the same period, James McCarthy a warehouseman and bootmaker, occupied No.31. From 1888 Eady's houses were managed as boarding houses. In 1890, the buildings were roofed in corrugated iron. In 1900 the Observatory Hill Resumption Act was gazetted and in February 1903 Eady's trustees released to the King and to the Minister for Public Works the two houses for the sum of 2500 pounds. (SCRA 1979: AP/04)In 1978-9 SCRA carried out extensive restoration and renovation works at a cost of $56,000. [Archaeological History - Lease to Robert Campbell (See also: AM026-027; AM029-030; AM163; AR013; AR016-017; AR026; AR028-031; AR041; AR052; AR149-151; AR155) by 1807. Granted to Robert Campbell, 16 October 1834.]
Historical significance: This pair of fine large houses are associated with the merchant class in residence in The Rocks in the middle of the nineteenth century. The occupants, situated on the upper side of north George Street, enjoyed harbour views prior to the construction of the warehouses on the lower side of George Street. The terraces provide evidence of the changing use pattern and development history of TheRocks by their uses as residential, boarding house and commercial purposes.
Historical association: The land of the subject terraces is associated with the significant Sydney merchant Robert Campbell, who was granted the land in 1834, although he had leased it since 1805. William Reilly developed the terraces after he purchased the land although did not live in the terraces. He sublet them to a range of occupants which included Thomas Wilton Eady, a leather merchant at 29 George St. and James McCarthy a warehouseman andbootmaker, at No. 31 during the 1870s-1880s. These men are of local significance due to their occupations.
Aesthetic significance: The pair of houses at 29-31 George Street are a fine example of Victorian terrace housing, distinguished by the starkness of their finely finished stone work and their restrained detailing. The houses contribute to the aesthetic diversity of north George Street and the historic character of The Rocks.
Social significance: The social significance of the place has not been formally assessed through community consultation but no specific strong or special social associations within the local community have been identified through the existing evidence. However, the pair of terraces at 29-31 George Street has potential to add to the community's sense of place due to their contribution to the aesthetic diversity of George Street north and the historic character of The Rocks.
Research significance: It is assessed that the subject terraces site has some archaeological potential for below ground archaeology, partly disturbed, generally located at the rear and of local significance. This would relate to the demolition phases or possibly foundations and other relics of the former shed and skillion bathroom extensions associated with the existing terraces, the first recorded buildings on the site.
Rare assessment: The pair of finely built sandstone terraces is not a rare example of this type of Sydney architecture.
Representative assessment: The pair of finely built sandstone terraces demonstrates the principal characteristics of "standard" type Victorian row of terraces that were prevalent throughout the inner suburbs of Sydney in the mid to late 19th century. They feature two-storey detached terrace buildings with attic level, wrought iron work to upper floor balcony and palisade balustrade to ground floor veranda, arched windows and door openings.
Intact assessment: Archaeology partly disturbed.
Physical condition: Archaeology Assessment Condition: Partly disturbed. Assessment Basis: Floors level with George Street. Stone quarried out at rear.
|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|
|National Trust of Australia Register||7715||05/04/1976|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0324||New Metcalfe Bond / George Street Precinct||21/03/1978||2125|
|National Trust of Australia Register||9654||05/04/1976|
|Heritage Act - State Heritage Register||01608||10/05/2002||2869||85|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|Within a National Trust conservation area||10499|