Longs Lane Precinct
Statement of SignificanceThe Longs Lane precinct is primarily significant as a unique ensemble of nineteenth century residential buildings, laneways and rear yards in The Rocks, and because it includes the terrace, 103-111 Gloucester Street, which is a very rare extant example in Sydney of an early Victorian Greek Revival style terrace of houses created as total composition. Longs Lane precinct is also significant because : It is indicative of the nineteenth and early-twentieth century residential character of The Rocks, retaining strong associational and geographic links with community services such as shops, and churches. It retains rare examples of early-nineteenth century public laneways in their original scale and orientation. It is a unique ensemble in The Rocks of tenanted residential buildings of varying nineteenth and early twentieth century architectural periods including the Early Victorian, Victorian, and Edwardian. It possesses a unique archaeological potential as a discrete cluster of buildings, laneways, and rear yards of various buildings, relatively undisturbed since 1915, dating from the earliest period of occupation in Sydney. Numbers 117-119 Gloucester and 140-142 Cumberland Streets are rare examples of the early-twentieth century government built worker's housing project initiated by the Housing Board Act of 1912. Longs Lane is a rare extant public right of way known to have existed from the first decade of the nineteenth century. Longs Lane is important as it pre-dates the north-south road system of the Rocks (1810) and was one of the main passageways over The Rocks in the early days of the colony. (Johnson 2000) Carahers Lane is a rare documented site where the existence of slum housing from the-mid to late-nineteenth century can be shown to be associated with the remaining physical fabric, and historical documentation about the landlords/owners. (Clive Lucas Stapleton 1991:94)
Construction Years: 1807 - 0
Physical Description: Long's Lane runs between Gloucester and Cumberland Streets. In 1992 both Long's and Carahers Lanes were conserved and reopened for public access. Long's Lane retains some of its early stone paving along its northern side. With the development of the adjacent archaeological site, the lanes will feed into an even larger network of reconstructed pedestrian ways and the character of the area will be further re-established.
|Lot/Volume Number||Section Number||Plan Folio Code||Plan Folio Number|
Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: The first European settlers erected dwellings on the site soon after their arrival in the colony. In 1807 there were buildings documented in this area. Longs Lane and Carahers Lane were established by this time. While little remains of building development pre 1850s, the layout of the allotments and laneways remain. The buildings in the precinct date between1855 and 1914. Historic photographs demonstrate that this formerly densely populated section of The Rocks boasted a once vibrant community. In 1900, this site combined with the adjacent Cumberland/Gloucester Street 'Big Dig' site (now the YHA development) included some 50 dwellings, 2 pubs, 3 shops and 3 interconnecting lanes which linked the area into The Rocks as a whole. Between 1905 and 1915, the buildings on the 'Big Dig' site were demolished and, in the 1920s, major demolition took place nearby for the Harbour Bridge approach. In the 1950s, several houses to the south of Long's Lane were demolished when the Cahill Expressway was constructed. The Sydney Cove Authority undertook the conservation and restoration of the buildings and rear yards of 103-117A Gloucester and 130-142 Cumberland Streets, the construction of four new sensitively sited and designed infill dwellings, and the conservation and reopening of the two historic laneways, namely, Long's and Carahers Lanes. The work involved the retention of as much of the significant fabric as possible from the various stages of the buildings' and lanes' lives, and was carried out in a number of stages from 1992-97. (Mountstevens 1997) The conservation work carried out on the Long's Lane precinct won the Royal Australian Institute of Architects 1998 Lloyd Rees Award for Outstanding Urban Design.
Historical significance: Long's Lane hold historical significance in that it is one of the few remaining laneways which criss-crossed The Rocks in the nineteenth century. It has rarity as an extant illustrative example of a nineteenth century streetscape, and is readily identifiable because of its association with nineteenth century buildings. Parts of the lane are paved with the original flags.
Aesthetic significance: The Long's Lane Precinct contributes significantly, in particular, to the townscape of The Rocks, and, in general, Sydney. This significance rests on the ensemble of buildings dating from the mid-nineteenth to early-twentieth centuries, together with associated laneways and rear yards.
Research significance: The Long's Lane Precinct is of prime archaeological significance with its continued European occupation from at least the first quarter of the nineteenth century in a relatively undisturbed state. The Long's Lane Precinct is of educational value to specialists and the general public with its ensemble of nineteenth buildings, laneways and rear yards, and its significance is enhanced by the tangible relationship of the buildings and laneways to the documentary and oral historical information. (Clive Lucas Stapleton 1991: 55-58)
Rare assessment: It is also part of an ensemble of buildings dating from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, together with associated rear yards and laneways dating from the early nineteenth century, rare in the Sydney region. (Clive Lucas Stapleton 1991:58 )
Physical condition: The architectural condition of many of the buildings in the precinct is largely original, excepting some demolitions of rear wings and renovations during the 1920s. The laneways retain their very early original alignment and in places their original flags, although there has been restoration of the laneways to keep the surface safe for pedestrians by laying new sandstone flags where required. Archaeological excavations have revealed a large resource with many areas still extant.
|Australian Theme||NSW Theme||Local Theme|
|Building settlements, towns and cities||Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages.|
|Developing local, regional and national economies||Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements.|
|Peopling the continent||Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0436||Longs Lane Precinct||21/10/1980||2332|
|National Trust of Australia Register||8789||Longs Lane Precinct||27/02/1978|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority|
|Within a National Trust conservation area||10499|
|Oral History||Wayne Johnson SHFA||2000|
|Written||SCA||1984||Building Data Sheet CU/04-07, 11-13|
|Written||Grace Karskens||1981||National Trust Classification Card - 130-138 Cumberland Street, The Rocks (part of Long's Lane Precinct)|
|Written||Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners P/L Architects||1991||'Long's Lane Precinct, Conservation Analysis and Interim Conservation Guidelines'|
|Oral History||Kate Mountstevens SCA Archtiect,||1997||Verbal advice|