Sergeant Majors Row (terrace)
Statement of SignificanceSergeant Majors Row, 33-41 George Street, is of State and local heritage significance for their historic, aesthetic and scientific cultural values. The site and buildings are significant as part of the late 19th century development in this precinct and examples of the "midrange" late Victorian residential buildings in the local area. The change of use and minor works to the buildings represents the evolution of the area into a commercial and tourist precinct. The buildings provide evidence of the building practices of the 1880s and remain as good examples of speculative housing constructed in c. 1881. The buildings retain typical, late Victorian detailing, with front facades characterised by regular rhythm of party walls, two storey verandahs and associated decorative details. With Nos. 29-31 George Street they form a highly visible group, which makes a positive contribution to this section of the George Street streetscape. The group is recognisable as they are in contrast, in terms of scale and style, to their immediate neighbours. The buildings continue to have a relationship with the rear yards and are bounded by a stone wall and cut that demonstrates the early topography and character of The Rocks. The commercial uses provide opportunity for interpretation and appreciation of the buildings and site. The buildings are good and intact examples of late Victorian terraces that incorporate standard construction materials and techniques and building form and layout, and are relatively rare examples of this type of terrace building in The Rocks. However, there are a number of similar terraced buildings located in Millers Point and the wider context. The site and buildings may retain archaeological resources that tell of past way of life and situation of the building occupants, however, it is considered that this would not reveal any information which would not be readily available elsewhere. The wall and cut, that formsthe western site boundary and curtilage is of some local archaeological significance as it indicates that earlier topography of the area and site and works carried out as part of the overall development of The Rocks. The buildings are of some local social significance for their association with a number of local identities including Edward Stanley Ebsworth who developed the site and also constructed other buildings in the local area and Nita Louise McCrae who lived in No. 35 for a number of years and was associated with The Rocks Residents Action Group and Green Bans movement.
Shops and offices
Residential buildings (private)
Construction Years: 1881 - 1881
Physical Description: 1881. Two storey terraced housing.; Built By: 1880'sThe row comprises a group of seven two-storeyed late Victorian terrace houses. Nos 29-31 were built of stone and reflect the "standard" terrace type pattern commonly found on Darlinghurst and Paddington, with single span iron lace balcony, arched openings to ground floor and squared lintels to first floor. Half round dormer windows to attics give an added picturesque form.Nos 33-41 were built of stuccoed brick and are of a larger, more decorative terrace type pattern, having wide balconies supported by centre cast iron columns, iron valences and balustrade. (Sheedy 1976)Style: Victorian Filigree; Storeys: Two; Facade: Stone and Brick; Roof Cladding: Galvanised Iron; Floor Frame: Timber
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Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: This property is part of the land originally granted to Robert Campbell senior by Crown grant under the hand of Sir Richard Bourke, formerly Governor of the Colony in 1834. Robert Campbell's will gave to each of his sons and daughters one sixth of his property. In 1848, a Deed of Partition was registered giving Arthur Jeffreys (Campbell's son-in-law) and George Campbell the task of selling parcels of property. In 1851, Jeffreys conveyed the allotments 1, 2, and 3 of Campbell's subdivision to Mr Thomas Fisher. Two years later Fisher, without investing capital into the property, conveyed the site to Alfred Mitchell who in 1855 sold the land to Francis Mitchell. In 1878 the property still remained undeveloped. On September 25th 1878 F Mitchell transferred the land to Edward Stanley Ebsworth. Ebsworth commenced erection of five houses to this site in c.1880 and by December 1881 the Sydney Council noted that five houses were built upon the property. In 1881 the two storey seven roomed dwellings were described as being constructed of brick walls with roofs clad in 'Iron'. In 1882, tenants were Joseph O'Connor, Frank Cook and Mary Ann Kendall. The remaining houses were empty. Ebsworth mortgaged the property to the Australian Mutual Provident Society in 1884. In September 1888 the mortgage was discharged and Ebsworth conveyed the dwellings to the Sydney Real Estate Bank Limited. In April the following year the SREB mortgaged the five dwellings to Charles Edward Pitcher, and Edward Lewin Samuel. In 1892, Pitcher and Samuel transferred the mortgage to the Perpetual Trustee Company Ltd. In December 1900 the Observatory Hill Resumption Act was gazetted and the Perpetual Trustee Company Ltd. released the property to the King and the Minister for Public Works in May 1903. In 1910 the Central City Mission used No. 41 George Street. (SCRA 1979: AP/03)From 1969 No 35 was occupied by Nita McRae, one of the founders of the Rocks Residents' Group and Green Bans activist. Much of the background work to coordinate the residents' action to save The Rocks community took place in this house. A plaque was placed in her memory in1996. (S. Duyker 1999) Tenders were called in the early 1980s for the lease of the buildings for their current use of shops and offices. In June 1982 the SCRA issued an invitation to tender for lease and establishment of a Medical Centre at No. 37-39 George Street. It is assumed that the buildings were subsequently leased for medical purposes as at the end of 1985, consideration was being given to the 'contraction of the medical practices at the above address [37 and 39 George Street], into 37 George Street'. Openings which had been made in the shared party wall were infilled and the buildings were again separately leased. A Doctors Surgery continues to occupy the ground floor of No. 37 George Street. A separate office operates from the upper floor. The other buildings are currently occupied by various commercial and retail tenants.The name of the buildings, 'Sergeant Major's Row', appears to have been adopted by SCRA as a reminder for an early term for George Street, though this related more specifically the northern end of the street. In the early 1800s it was also known as 'High Street', becoming 'George Street' in 1810 after the then reigning monarch, King George III. (GRAHAM BROOKS AND ASSOCIATES PTY LTD 2004)[Archaeology notes: Lease to Robert Campbell (See also: AM026-027; AM029-030; AM163; AR013; AR016-017; AR025; AR028-031; AR041; AR052; AR149-151; AR155) by 1807. Granted to Robert Campbell, 16 October 1834.]The name given the buildings by SCRA is a reminder of an early term for George Street which was begun as a track for water carriers carrying water from the Tank Stream to the marine encampment and the hospital - its original name was Spring Row. Then it was humorously altered unofficially to Sergeant-Major's Row, then officially to High Street by Governor King and finally to George Street by Governor Macquarie. (National Trust 1976)
Historical significance: Sergeant Majors Row, Nos. 33-41 George Street, is historically significant as part of the late 19th century development in The Rocks. With the adjacent buildings, Nos. 29-31 George Street, they remain as representative examples of a late Victorian terrace and residential development located in this section of George Street. Constructed in c. 1881 by local merchant, Edward Stanley Ebsworth, as speculative buildings, they were used as single dwellings and boarding houses for nearly 100 years when the use of the buildings shifted to commercial and retail uses which reflects the evolution of the area and development of The Rocks into a commercial and tourist precinct.Sergeant Majors Row meets this criterion on a State level.
Historical association: The site is associated with Robert Campbell who initially leased the land and developed the foreshore area from 1805. It is subsequently associated with his heirs and a number of local land owners and speculators including local merchant, Edward Stanley Ebsworth who constructed the buildings and other buildings in the local area. The terraces are also of some local significance due to their association with Nita Louisa McCrae, a founder of The Rocks Residents Action Group and Green Bans activist who occupied No. 35 for a number of years and presided over group meetings in the building.Sergeant Majors Row meets this criterion on a local and State level.
Aesthetic significance: The group is a good and largely intact representative example of a late Victorian terrace that retains its fundamental form, scale, character, fabric and details. The buildings make a positive contribution to the varied nature of this section of George Street. Together with the adjacent terraces, Nos. 29-31 George Street they form a highly visible and identifiable group that represent a "mid-range" type of development which reinforces the historic character of The Rocks and this section of George Street.Sergeant Majors Row meets this criterion on a local level.
Social significance: The terraces have been occupied by a number of individuals and businesses since their construction. The group has some association with The Rocks Resident Action Group and Green Bans movement through Nita McCrae who occupied No. 35 for a number of years. No. 39 was also occupied by the Nature Conservation Council during the 1980s. Nos. 39 and 37 also provided medical services to The Rocks community during the 1980s. A medical practice continues to operate in No. 37.Sergeant Majors Row meets this criterion on a local level.
Research significance: Sergeant Majors Row at 33-41 George Street is largely intact and, despite replacement of building fabric such as roof claddings and timber work, remains as a good example of the standard late Victorian terrace and that retains its overall scale and internal layout that demonstrates the domestic standards and spatial qualities of the "mid-range" terrace constructed in The Rocks at this time. The site is bounded to the west by a rock cut which was quarried at some stage and remains as a reminder of the early land form and topography of the area and indicates the modifications undertaken during the growth and development of The Rocks.The buildings were constructed using standard building materials and techniques and do not have the ability to provide information that it not readily available elsewhere. Similarly the site may retain below ground resources which may indicate a way of life and situation of the building occupants. However, these would not be unique or rare in the local area.As such Sergeant Majors Row and site meets this criterion on a local level.
Rare assessment: Sergeant Majors Row is representative of a "mid-range" late Victorian terrace in slight contrast to the groups of terraces to the south of the site, in Atherden, Playfair and even Harrington Streets. Similar terraces remain in Gloucester Street, however, that group has been affected by demolitions and works throughout the 20th century. Other terraces constructed in a similar period located to the north of site, in Lower Fort Street, are generally of grander scale, differ stylistically and respond to different site conditions. As such the group are relatively rare in The Rocks, however, there are a number of similarly styled terrace groups in the wider context in Millers Point and in suburbs such as Paddington, Surry Hills and Glebe.As such Sergeant Majors Row and site meets this criterion on a local level.
Representative assessment: Despite change of use, Sergeant Majors Row retains its original form, scale and character and internal layout and remains as an example of a late Victorian residential development in The Rocks. The buildings are good and intact example of a "mid-range" terrace that maximised the use of the site and continues to be part of the social and urban fabric of the local area.Sergeant Majors Row and site meets this criterion on a local level.
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.|
|Developing local, regional and national economies||Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|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||01579||Sergeant Majors Row||10/05/2002||2868||85|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|Within a National Trust conservation area||10499|
|National Trust of Australia Register||7715||05/04/1976|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0327||Sergeant Majors Row||21/03/1978||2128|