Save Historic 38 Moreton Terrace, Dongara, Western Australia

NEWS JUST IN | The Irwin Shire Council voted 8-0 on 28 March 2017 not to de-list 38 Moreton Terrace from the Shire heritage list.  Thirteen public submissions were received, all opposing the de-listing, and the Council’s own Heritage Committee recommended Council reject the de-listing request.  The one submission in support of de-listing referred to the Shire’s “oppression”, “tyranny” and “officialism” over an “old residence from the 1950s” where “nothing of real importance happened”.  The minutes of the Council meeting can be viewed here , and the submissions and reports can be viewed here (see Attachment P103). 

Thanks to all who made submissions and otherwise fought the good fight

No 38 Moreton Terrace is a significant heritage-listed building in the main street of the little town of Dongara, on the Batavia Coast of Western Australia.  The local Irwin Shire Council has received a request to de-list the building – that is, remove it from the local heritage list.

38 Moreton Terrace, corner of Moreton Terrace and Point Leander Drive. Image L Baskerville 11 December 2016

38 Moreton Terrace, corner of Moreton Terrace and Point Leander Drive. Image L Baskerville 11 December 2016

Council was receiving public submissions on the de-listing until 19 December 2016, and will consider the request and the submissions made for and against de-listing at its meeting on 28 February 2017.

I made a submission opposing the de-listing, and set out my arguments in a lengthy seventeen-page assessment of the heritage values of the place.  Both the submission proper (a one-page letter) and the seventeen-page attachment (the more interesting document) are attached to this post and can be downloaded and shared.

38 Moreton Terrace, West Wing. Image L Baskerville 11 December 2016

38 Moreton Terrace, West Wing. Image L Baskerville 11 December 2016

Why do I think 38 Moreton Terrace is of heritage significance?  Because, at its simplest, this magnificent old rubble limestone pile, like a good book, can be read and bring to life stories of independent women running their own businesses, of the great hopes and dreams of Edwardian Westralia that were crushed and broken in the Great War, of the old landed gentry and their not-always happy relationships with ‘coloured’ labour, of the 20th century’s great transition from horse power to motor power, of the demise of coastal shipping and the rise of seaside tourism, and so very much more.  These are stories that might be unexpected in a remote beachside village, but which because of that have an added poignancy and capacity to speak to a whole continent.  And, I have to admit, I also think it is significant because I grew up playing in and around this romantic and mysterious old building in a childhood that still seems idyllic, an old building that still survives while so much has been lost to mammon.

But, don’t take my word for it – please read the submission and attachment, and make up your own mind.

38 Moreton Terrace, back of West Wing (left) and South Wing (right). Image L Baskerville 11 December 2016

38 Moreton Terrace, back of West Wing (left) and South Wing (right). Image L Baskerville 11 December 2016

I am sure the Irwin Shire councillors would appreciate hearing from anyone who opposes the de-listing, and wants to see 38 Moreton Terrace in particular, and the heritage assets of the Irwinish people and the Irwin shire generally, conserved and passed on to coming generations. Councillors and Shire planning officers contact details can be found here .

Two useful websites to explore are the Shire of Irwin and the Irwin District Historical Society .

Black Swan (wrongly painted white), in pediment above shop front, corner of Moreton Terrace and Point Leander Drive. Image B Baskerville, 23 August 2007

Black Swan (wrongly painted white), in pediment above shop front, corner of Moreton Terrace and Point Leander Drive. Image B Baskerville, 23 August 2007

Heritage is not about nostalgia, it is our legacy to the future.  Once it is gone, we can’t get it back.  Please help the Irwin Shire Council reach the right decision on 28 February 2017.

Save 38 Moreton Terrace – Submission Letter

Save 38 Moreton Terrace – Submission Heritage Assessment and History



Commons of Colonial New South Wales

This paper was first presented at the Annual Conference of Affiliated Societies of the Royal Australian Historical Society in Ultimo, 8-9 October 1994, with the theme of ‘Knowing Places, Understanding Spaces’ on Sunday Morning, 9 October, 10-10.30am.  It was subsequently published in Knowing Places, Understanding Spaces: Conference Proceedings, RAHS, Sydney 1994: pages 58-66.

 Given the sudden rise of interest in the history of commons, I have re-published the paper here to make it easily accessible.  Readers are advised to take into account the extensive technological changes since 1994, especially the availability online of digitized archives and finding aids, the vast increase in historical materials available through database aggregators such as Trove (neither of which were available in 1994), and the endless re-naming of government agencies and changing of agency locations.


This year [1994] marks the 190th anniversary of the gazetting of the first commons in New South Wales.  It is my intention with this paper to bring these places named ‘commons’ to your attention, to outline a brief history of commons generally in New South Wales up to federation, and to suggest some ways to go about researching the history of your local commons.  Now is an opportune time to begin writing histories of those places named ‘commons’, and to try and assess what such histories could have to contribute to the debates of our time.

Definition of a ‘Common’

So, what is a common?  A dictionary definition will tell us that it is

…the undivided land belonging to the members of a local community as a whole … (and also that it is) the profit which a [person] has in the land or waters of another; [such] as that of pasturing cattle, of fishing, of digging turf, or of wood for fire or repairs.[1]

The English ‘historical ecologist’ Oliver Rackham has traced the historical development of commons in England from early medieval times.[2]  By the early thirteenth century the ‘wildwood’ landscape had largely disappeared from England, and had been replaced by an intricate mosaic of land-use patterns combining urban, rural and ‘waste’, or un-used, places.  Various sorts of ‘protected areas’ were developed to manage particular natural resources such as pasture grasses, building timber, firewood, game animals and wild foods.  These areas were usually named forests, parks or commons.  Over time, local land uses would change and this would be reflected in the landscapes of commons.  For example, some wood-pasture commons in northern England became treeless when grazing came to a region; while on the other hand in eastern England during the sixteenth century, a decline in pastoralism was associated with an increase in the tree cover on commons.

A historian of the law of English commons, G.D. Gadsden, in his magisterial work on the subject, can tell us that the first law relating to commons was made in 1235 to prevent unilateral enclosures of common land by the lords of manors, and that early civil actions such as one in 1480 laid down a principal that a commoner who grazed stock on common land was liable for their trespass upon adjacent, unfenced land.[3]  Three hundred years later, the Inclosure Act of 1773 was made to regulate the management of commons and their enclosure.  This was the first in a series of laws for this purpose, with other major enactments following in the Inclosure (Consolidation) Act of 1801, the Inclosure Act of 1845 and the Metropolitan Commons Act of 1866.[4]  Gadsden makes the point that within this web of central authority, local commons continued to be managed by local manorial courts according to local customs.  There were also several distinct classes of common land that have their own distinct rules.  This regional and functional diversity of commons has, in the past and still today, ensured that certain tensions exist in England between local custom and the standard legal model of a common that Gadsden describes as an ‘English Elizabethan lowland manor’.[5]

By the time of the 1866 Act in England, however, a body of colonial law had begun to evolve that defined, and was specifically directed towards, the commons of New South Wales.  The landscape diversity and changability, as well as the tensions between local usages and central authorities that Rackham and Gadsden described in England, seems to have been partly true of New South Wales by that time.  Although genealogically speaking, the commons of New South Wales are derived from the commons of England, it is worthwhile noting that commons can also be found in places as diverse as France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, the Philippines and Japan, as well as most of the Australian states and territories and many other former British colonies including parts of the United States.[6]  In each place commons have been shaped by local needs and customs.

A Brief Overview of the Historical Development of Commons in New South Wales up to Federation

It may be possible to argue that the first common in New South Wales consisted of the fringes of the settlement in Sydney Cove from which building materials, foodstuffs and living spaces were extracted; or that early reserves such as the Crown Reserve of 161 hectares in the vicinity of Petersham Hill, set aside by Governor Phillip in 1789, constitute commons.[7]  However, the first officially created commons were a series of six areas set aside by Governor King in 1804.  These were the Nelson, Richmond Hill and Phillip Commons, in the Hawkesbury district, and the Prospect Hill & Toongabbee, Baulkham Hills & Northern Districts and Field of Mars & Eastern Farms Commons to the north and west of Sydney.[8]

Early in 1805, the Judge Advocate published an “Epitome of the existing Laws respecting Commons, for the information of all concerned”, as well as the names of three trustees locally elected to manage each common.[9]  The ‘Epitome’ derived from the laws “…used in that part of Great Britain called England”.  It named the Governor as the universal lord of the manor in New South Wales, recognised the feeding of “beasts of the plough, or such as manure the ground” as a ‘universal right’, a “Right of Common … inseparably incident to the Grant of Lands”, authorised the Governor to enclose commons “provided he leaves … sufficient for such as are entitled to it”, and stated that the interests of the Governor, as lord, and of local residents, as commoners, was to be regarded as mutual, with each able to sue the other for damages.  It then set out nine rules regarding the depasturing of stock, digging pits and trenches, and allowing commoners to graze beasts “on the King’s highway”.  The notice also provided for the appointment of trustees able to make local regulations for their commons.

Only a few new commons seem to have been made over the next fifty years: Sydney Common in 1811, Wallambine or St. Alban’s Common in the 1820s and the Wollombi Common about the same time.[10]  Possibly in line with the general trend in England of enclosing and dissolving commons some of the New South Wales commons also began to disappear.  The Prospect Hill & Toongabbee and Baulkham Hills & Northern Districts commons were initially made for a limited period of 14 years, and in 1818 they ceased to exist.[11]  In the 1820s much of Sydney Common was enclosed within the new water reserve over the Lachlan Swamps, and in 1840 the north-western corner was enclosed for the building of Victoria Barracks and nearby housing in Paddington.[12]  The ‘Epitome’ appears to have remained the main legal instrument for the regulation of commons.  Even the Wallambine and Wollembi Commons referred to before were only surveyed, but not actually gazetted until many years later.[13]  This may also be the case for other commons made at other places during this period.

In 1847, the Commons Regulation Act was passed, the first such piece of legislation in the colony.[14]  This Act was intended to overcome certain deficiencies in the law of the ‘Epitome’, and established trustees as bodies corporate, confirmed their right to make regulations and enforce them by fines, grant leases and distrain stock.  The purposes of commons was defined as “…the use of the settlers and cultivators and other inhabitants of [the] parish or district…” (s. 1), and commoners, as inhabitants of such parishes or districts, were to have the same ‘rights and remedies’ as commoners in England.

Following the making of this law, commons were subjected to greater attention by the authorities in Sydney.  The survey of the Field of Mars Common in 1848 was followed by the granting of title deeds to its trustees in 1849.[15]  A similar process of surveying and granting began on other established commons, as did a concurrent process of restricting commonage rights outside of commons.  In 1850 the Colonial Secretary published a notice stating that private land owners adjacent to crown land did not have any rights of common over such unalienated lands except within townsites, and in 1852 this was further restricted to towns having a population of less than 1000.[16]  Between 1854 and 1861, the trustees of existing commons at Pitt Town (formerly Nelson), Wallambine, Ham (formerly Richmond Hill), Wilberforce (formerly Phillip) and Field of Mars published annual accounts, from which it is possible to see something of the workings of a common at this time.  For example, between 1853 and 1855, the use of Pitt Town Common changed dramatically from sheep grazing to timber and firewood taking, and the trustees quadrupled their income from £25 to £92.[17]  This formalisation of local commons management and the restricting of commonage rights by the central authorities to places officially named ‘commons’ continued through the 1850s.  It is possible that the use of resources on commons near Sydney was also becoming more exploitative at this time.[18]

The Crown Lands Alienation Act of 1861 allowed this process of consolidation to turn, after 1865, to the rapid expansion of commons in New South Wales.  The first common gazetted under this Act, and also possibly the first common west of the Great Divide, was made at Bathurst in 1865.[19]  Within two years, commons were being created at a rapid rate.  For example, in December 1867 alone, seventeen new commons were gazetted, mainly on the western slopes and the Riverina.[20]  In the Sydney area, control of the remnants of the Sydney Common was vested in the Sydney City Council in 1866, and the city boundaries were extended to encompass the common in 1870.[21]  The Field of Mars Common, after several inquiries, petitions and much bitter argument, was finally resumed by the Crown in 1874 and subdivided, with the proceeds of the sales going towards the construction of a bridge across the Parramatta River.[22]

The final three decades of the nineteenth century were a time of expansion of the commons estate in the colony and of consolidating the management of commons.  Legislatively, a new Commons Regulation Act in 1873 made some changes, notably prohibiting the leasing of commons, and required annual accounts to be published in the Government Gazette.[23]  Further changes to the law of commons were made in 1886, when commoner’s rights were essentially restricted to pasturage and taking fallen timber and firewood, and 1895, when trustees were empowered to restrict access to common lands by carriers, teamsters, travellers and drovers.  All these changes were consolidated in a new Commons Regulation Act in 1898.  This law governed the management of commons in New South Wales until its repeal by the present Commons Management Act of 1989.[24]  Commons continued to be made across the colony under the Crown Land Alienation Act 1861.  They were categorised as permanent, temporary or pasturage commons, with each having their own distinct characteristics and rules.

An example of the general pattern of making post-1865 commons is Wellington Common.  A Permanent Common of 268 hectares was gazetted in December 1867 between Wellington town and the Macquarie River.[25]  In February 1868 a Temporary Common of two parts, one of about 3750 hectares and the other of 1164 hectares, was gazetted adjoining the river, town and Permanent Common.  At the same time the commoners’ boundaries were defined – that is, those “freeholders and householders” mainly living within the “reserve of account of population of the town of Wellington” were recognised as having rights to use the commons.[26]  This was followed by the election, by the commoners, of trustees to manage the commons, with the results being duly gazetted in March 1868.[27]

One of the earliest acts of trustees was to write a set of regulations for the common.  These generally followed a standard model, providing for the running of meetings of trustees, the appointment of a secretary and a herdsman, commoner’s rights of pasturage, travellers rights of pasturage, rules and fees for using the common and for gathering firewood, and prohibiting the dumping of rubbish, polluting of waterways, or leaving open of gates.[28]  Local variations include, for example, the regulations for Ham Common that provided, until 1880, a schedule of fees for commoners engaged in brick-making on the common.[29]

The bureaucrats in the Lands Department in Sydney maintained a framework of control over all the commons through administering the Commons Acts and their regulations.  The authority for any significant local changes came from Sydney rather than the commoners, a point that can be illustrated by the example of just two months in 1899, when the Government Gazette carried one notice calling for trustees of a common, three notices defining commoner’s boundaries, three reserving land for temporary commons, four applying s.25 of the Act to specific commons, nine describing pieces of land ‘withdrawn’ from commons, and 21 appointing trustees.[30]  A total of 41 commons were the subject of official notices in September and October 1899 alone.

A picture can be drawn from all of this in which commons in country areas are considered desirable by local inhabitants and their establishment is readily facilitated by the central government.  The management regulations, both central and local, were designed to ensure that the resources of the commons, usually firewood and pasture grasses, were conserved by regulating times, numbers and places of grazing, and the removal of wood, timber, soil and other materials.  In order for a common to continue its various functions, trustees had to try and strike a balance between the demands of the commoners, both individually and collectively, and the ability of the commons environment to meet those demands.  In effect, local interests in a common negotiated its management arrangements, and presented these as regulations to the government for approval, which endorsed them and provided for their legal enforcement.

The urban commons near Sydney, however, present a different picture.  Those parts of Sydney Common not included within Centennial Park in 1888 were developed for various recreational uses, such as Sydney’s first zoo, leased out to sporting clubs, or developed as parklands.  In 1905, the two remaining sections of Sydney Common were removed from the control of Sydney City Council and placed under the authority of the Chief Secretary.[31]  The Field of Mars Common had been partly sold-off, and parts of it reserved for parks, before the Resumption Act of 1874 was repealed in 1897.[32]  Both commons had been partly privatised through the sale of land for housing, and partly converted into urban parks, and they had both been removed from local control.  Unlike the active preservation of commons in the urban areas of England after 1866, the commons of Sydney were disappearing, often amid much dissent, from the landscape by the turn of the century.  A similar story for the Pitt Town, Wilberforce and Ham Commons in the Hawkesbury District has been told.[33]

There are many things that I have not talked about in this overview that I would have liked to, especially questions about how the landscapes of commons changed over time.  However, you can see that, generally, commons will date from after 1865, that there were plenty of bureaucratic requirements that created records that can now be studied – provided that they have survived; and that commons fulfilled significant cultural and resource needs in many communities.  This is part of the broader context for the making of commons in New South Wales before federation – a context that should be considered when talking about your local commons.

First: Ask a Question

If you are interested in researching the history of your local common or commons, then you need to begin with a question.  A good starting point is to ask “why am I choosing to study the history of our local common?”.  Your answer may be that it is part of a wider inquiry into your local history, or that it is related to a planned commemoration of an important date or event.  It may be that the information is needed for a townscape or heritage study.  Perhaps there are proposals afoot to ‘develop’ the area.  Maybe you just like the place and would like to know more about it.

You then need to ask yourself “how much information will I be happy with?”.  This question is important to consider, because your accessibility to the archives containing commons records, and the nature of those archives, will largely determine just how much information you can get.

Finally, you need to ask yourself “what am I going to do with this history once I have written it?”.  If your Society has a newsletter, try and get it printed in there.  Perhaps your local newspaper may be interested.  Send copies of your work to the major libraries – the State Library, the RAHS Library and the National Library.  Whatever you do, make sure that other people can be informed by your research.  The best knowledge is knowledge that is shared.

What Records are Available for Researching a History of Commons?

The place to begin is at the common.  What is it that you see when you take a look around and try some ‘landscape reading’?  What does the land that is or was your local common look like?  How are the trees, bush and grassland arranged?  Where are the creeks and swamps?  What condition are they in?  Can you make some educated guesses as to why the landscape looks like it does rather than something else?  Where are the boundaries, the gates, the roads and paths?  Why are they where they are and not somewhere else?  Are there any ruins of buildings or other relics of habitation?  How do they relate to the use of the place as a common?

The next thing is to see if anyone else has already written and published something that may be relevant to what you want to know.  Published local histories are a good place to start, although I have found very few that refer to local commons.  Back copies of local historical society journals and newsletters may reveal something.  Local newspapers may also contain some reminiscences or stories that refer to the common, but the accessibility of such materials will depend upon a combination of whether the newspaper has been indexed and how patient you are.  If your common is still managed by trustees, then they may have some records that you can look at.

Having checked upon what has already been done, it is time to sit down in the archives.  The imprimatur of central authority within which local commons existed can be seen reflected in the availability of records for research.  Overwhelmingly, these are to be found within central archives, most notably the State Library and the Archives Office of NSW.  However, it is possible that a wealth of material compiled by local trustees, especially in places where the local shire or municipal council acted as the trustee, can be unearthed in municipal records or archives.  I would be very interested to hear of anyone’s experiences in this matter.

State and Mitchell Libraries, Macquarie Street, Sydney.

Your first port of call should be the Mitchell Library, and its collection of the Government Gazette commencing in 1832.  These are bound in large volumes by year.  In the early years, a whole year is contained in one volume, but by the 1880s, a volume contains a quarter of a year, and by 1899, only two or three months.  Initially, the sheer number of volumes may be off-putting, but there are some short cuts.  There is an index to each year, and usually to each volume.  Page numbering begins with page 1 on the first issue for the year, and then continues consecutively throughout the year to something like page 4897 in the last issue for the year.

Generally, you should look under the heading ‘Land’, which will then have further sub-headings including, sometimes, ‘commons’ or ‘commonages’.  Sometimes, ‘commons’ is a heading in itself.  Under the sub-headings will be a listing of place-names and page numbers.  Sometimes, place-names themselves are main headings – the system of indexing changes every now and then.  Once you have located a reference to your common, simply go to that page in that year’s volume, and you will find (hopefully!) an official notice regarding your common – often it will be in a table of reserves being made by the government that will include water reserves, public schools, and so on.  Such a notice should tell you the place, county, locality, area (in acres), purpose, and papers number.  For example:[34]

Place | County | Locality | Area | Purpose | Papers

Wellington | Wellington | on the Macquarie River nr Wellington | 657 acres | permanent common | 66-13,994

It is important to note the ‘papers’ number, as this is the number of the Lands Department file that deals with your common.  Other information that can be obtained from Government Gazette notices includes extensions or ‘withdrawals’ of land from the common, appointments of trustees, descriptions of commoner’s boundaries, calling of nominations for trustees, and of meetings of commoners, and the acceptance of local regulations.  The financial accounts of common trustees are also published in the Gazette.

Once you have exhausted the Government Gazette, but before leaving the State Library, it is worth having a look through the Consolidated Index to the Proceedings and Printed Papers [of] Parliament.  These commence in 1856, and are particularly useful if your common was the site of some conflict.  For example, in Volume I of the Index, covering the period from 1856 to 1874, under the heading ‘Field of Mars Common’, there are references to petitions, reports from parliamentary committees and inquiries, reports of real estate valuations of the common land, and other interesting documents, all of which can be obtained at the Library.[35]  It is also worth looking under the general heading of ‘Commons’, but you need to bear in mind that your common may have had a fairly mundane existence, and so never have attracted the attention of parliamentary inquiries!  You should also read through the explanatory notes at the beginning of the volume to understand the meanings of the various abbreviations used.

Land Title’s Office, Queens Square, Sydney

You may like to go along to the Land Title’s Office and obtain a copy of the Deed of Grant issued to trustees for their common.  However, this will not really tell you much more than the Government Gazette notice stating that the deed had been issued except in the detailed description of the boundaries of the common.

Archives Office of NSW, Globe St., The Rocks/O’Connell St., Kingswood

The first thing to say about the State Archives is that most of the records dealing with commons are housed at the Kingswood Search Rooms.  Initially, it is worth perusing the Concise Guide to the Archive’s holdings, particularly under ‘Lands Department – Miscellaneous Branch’ and ‘Surveyor-General’ to get some idea of the sort of records that they hold.  There are some series dealing with particular commons, but these are very few.[36]  The most useful items are the seven volumes of Dedication Registers, which cover the period from 1842 to 1979.[37]  In addition to the details provided in the Government Gazette, the Register may also provide a reference to a catalogue number of a plan, as well as the date of notification, date of grant and remarks and other references to later resumptions and revocations that will help you determine when and why some parts, or all, of a common were lost.

While all these details can help you work out some broad outlines for a history of your common, the colour to fill in the spaces of such an outline will be more elusive.  Having carefully noted all the papers numbers provided in the gazettals and registers, you may find it difficult to actually track down the files in the archives.  In fact, I have yet to successfully trace a single one of the files that I have searched for!

Other useful series include the Parks Register 1867-1950, which provides similar details and may be useful if your common, or part of it, was converted at some stage to a park.  The Registers of Reserves other than Recreation Reserves, 1883-1977, and the Register of Areas Allocated as State Forests and Forest Reserves, c1915-1917, may also be similarly useful.  Precedent Books 1873-1973 may help provide some explanation of why trustees followed a particular course of action.[38]

The point about these registers is that they provide a summary of the legal details of a common, and the important ‘papers number’, which in turn may give you access to the original files dealing with events on your common.

The State Archives also contains one series of records from the trustees of a common, the Wanganella Commons Trust, covering the period between 1900 and 1970.[39]  Included are herdsman’s books, a commoner’s roll, minute books, letter books, ledgers, cash books, and two maps of the commoner’s boundaries in the 1930s.  Although these seem to be the only such records held by the Archives, they give an indication of what sort of records were made by commons trustees and how useful you may find them – provided that you can locate any such records for your local common.

Local Government Records and Archives

I can only offer a most general comment on these.  It was only after 1919 that local councils were required by law to preserve and protect some of their records.  These were minute books, registers of legal documents, legal documents, registers of correspondence, registers of returning officer’s declarations of elections and of polls, and the declarations of returning officers.  Patient searching of minute books may reveal information regarding your local common, as may registers of legal documents.  Returning officer’s declarations may also cover elections of common trustees.

You should also remember that local councils have been abolished, amalgamated, and resurrected over the years, and their boundaries have often shifted about.  If your common has ever been within the jurisdiction of a different council to the present, you may also need to search through their records.  All this, of course, presupposes that you are lucky enough to have found a council that has an extensive and well-maintained archives.[40]


To conclude this paper, I would like to remind you that the historical development of places named commons in NSW began in 1804.  Greater regulation of commons came after 1847, and a broad expansion of the numbers and sizes of commons began after 1865.  By the time of federation, an extensive network of commons existed throughout NSW except in the metropolitan area, where commons, often after much dissent, were converted to other public and private uses.

The main avenues for researching commons history can be found in the Mitchell Library and the State Archives Office.  These records provide a broad legal and administrative history of particular commons.  Records of common trustees may be found among municipal records.

I would argue that now is an opportune time to begin researching and writing histories of commons because questions of cultural identity, and the legacies of past environmental change, are prominent within public debates today.  Commons history can contribute to these debates in a number of ways:

  • it suggests that there is a significant and interesting element of communalism in the settlement of Australia’s landscapes that has long been hidden beneath a focus on the rugged, individualistic pioneer;
  • it suggests that English institutions, such as commons, parks and forests, were not uncritically copied in the colony, but rather were naturalised and shaped by local needs and conditions;
  • it suggests that some environmental problems have been inherited from the recent rather than more distant past, and that attempts were made in colonial NSW to settle within the limits set by the physical environment;
  • it suggests that commons and common trustees have played a role in the development of institutions for local governance and local resource management, and therefore have a role in local histories that has been overlooked;
  • it suggests several new areas for research, for example, why were the commons of Sydney lost to urban development while those in London were retained as parklands and recreation areas?

So, it’s up to you – if you have become interested in the history of commons in your district, now is the time to begin looking, researching and writing.  I would be very pleased to hear of your results.  Happy hunting!

[1] The Oxford English Dictionary, Volume IX, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1933: 690.

[2] Oliver Rackham, Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape, London 1976

[3] GD Gadsden, The Law of Commons, Sweet & Maxwell, London 1988.  The examples are: Statute of Merton 1235, 20 Henry III, c. 4; and Anon, (1480) Y.B. 20 Edw. IV, fo. 10, pl. 10; 17 CBNS 251, n (references in Gadsden: xxxi, xlii)

[4] Inclosure Act 1773, 13 George III, c. 81; Inclosure (Consolidation) Act 1801, 41 George III, c. 109; Inclosure Act 1845, 8 & 9 Victoria, c. 118; Metropolitan Commons Act 1866, 29 & 30 Victoria, c. 14.

[5] Gadsden: Chapter 1 passim.

[6] for more on the international examples, see: E. Ostrom, Governing the Commons: the evolution of institutions for collective action, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1990, for a sophisticated analysis and argument regarding the role of commons in the contemporary world.

[7] LG Norman, Historical Notes on Newtown, monograph, City of Sydney 1963: 1; JF Campbell, ‘The Early History of Sydney University Grounds’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, XVI (IV): 274-276.

[8] ‘General Order’, Sydney Gazette, 12 August 1804: 1

[9] ‘Judge Advocate’s Office’, Sydney Gazette, 20 January 1805: 1

[10] ‘General Order’, Sydney Gazette,5 October 1811; Helen Proudfoot, ‘The Hawkesbury Commons, 1804-1987’, Heritage Australia, 6(4), Summer 1987: 23-25; Government Gazette, – January 1841: 177

[11] Sydney Gazette 1804, op. cit.; see also Figure 14 in Denis Jeans, A Historical Geography of New South Wales to 1901, Reed Education, Sydney, 1972: 83

[12] For more on the dissolution of Sydney Common see: Ian Black, ‘The Sydney Showgrounds: a case study of heritage issues’, in Mari Metzke (ed), Heritage Conservation: local issues and action: Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Royal Australian Historical Society with Affiliated Societies, Sydney, 6-7 October 1990, RAHS, Sydney, 1990: 28-41

[13] Proudfoot, op. cit.

[14] Commons Regulation Act 1847, 11° Victoriæ, XXXI, assented to 2.10.1847

[15] Lynne McLoughlin, The Middle Lane Cove River: a history and a future, Macquarie University Centre for Environmental and Urban Studies, Monograph No. 1, North Ryde 1985: 29

[16] ‘Crown Lands – Commonage Rights’, Government Gazette, 26 July 1850: 1099; ‘Commonage Right’, Government Gazette, 2 November 1852: 1609.

[17] Government Gazette, 20 January 1854: 164 and 25 January 1856: 241.

[18] for example, see Lynne McLoughlin for a discussion of Field of Mars Common.

[19] Government Gazette, 10 January 1865: 69

[20] Government Gazette, 6 December 1867: 3304

[21] Ian Black: 30-31; Sydney Boundaries Amendment Act 1870, 33° Victoræ, IX, assented to 20 April 1870

[22] Lynne McLoughlin: 31-33; see also Consolidated Index to the Minutes of the Proceedings and Printed Papers [of Parliament], 1856-1874, under ‘Field of Mars Common’, NSW Government Printer, Sydney; and Field of Mars Common Resumption Act 1874, 38° Victoræ, 111, assented to 25 June 1874.

[23] Commons Regulation Act 1873, 36° Victoriæ, XXIII, assented to 25 April 1873.

[24] Commons Regulation Amendment Act 1886, 50 Victoria, 15, assented to 24 September 1886, Commons Regulation Amendment Act 1895, 59 Victoria, 12, assented to 22 November 1895, Commons Regulation Act 1898, No. 15 of 1898, assented to 27 July 1898, Commons Management Act 1989, No. 13 of 1989, assented to 18 April 1989.

[25] Government Gazette, 6 December 1867: 3304

[26] ‘Commons, Wellington’, and ‘Temporary Commonage, Wellington’, Government Gazette, 7 February 1868: 378-379

[27] Government Gazette, 10 March 1868: 637, and 25 May 1869: 1375.

[28] for example, ‘Junee Common Regulations’, Government Gazette 6 October 1899: 7580-7582

[29] Ham Common Rules and Regulations made by the Trustees…, 1872, 1880, Mitchell Library (MS Room, Ah 103).

[30] Index to Government Gazette for September-October 1899, in front of Volume September-October 1899; s.25 of the Commons Regulation Act 1898 restricted pasturage rights for bonâ fide travellers to a designated part of the common sufficiently enclosed by a fence.

[31] Sydney Corporation Amendment Act 1905, No. 39 of 1905.

[32] Field of Mars Resumption Repeal Act 1897, No. 9 of 1897.

[33] Helen Proudfoot.

[34] Government Gazette, 6 December 1867: 3304

[35] Consolidated Index to the Minutes of the Proceedings and Printed Papers (Volumes 1-23), First Session of the First Parliament to Third Session of the Seventh Parliament, 22 May 1856 to 25 June 1874, NSW Legislative Council, Sydney.

[36] Concise Guide to the State Archives of New South Wales, Lands Department – Miscellaneous Branch, A(t)(4) Papers concerning Terragong Swamp, 1855-1919 (City 2/1033-34) 2 boxes; A(t)(6) Papers concerning Field of Mars Common, 1863-1874 (Kingswood 7/6056) 1 vol.; A(t)(7) Papers concerning Ham Common, 1867-1874 (Kingswood 7/6056) 1 vol.

[37] ibid, A(t)(28) Dedication Registers, 1842-1979 (Kingswood 11/22028-34) 7 vols.

[38] ibid, A(t)(29) Parks Registers, 1867-1950 (Kingswood 11/22037-38) 2 vols; A(t)(32) Registers of Reserves other than Recreation Reserves, 1883-1977 (Kingswood 11/22035-36) 2 vols.; A(t)(33) Precedent Books, 1873-1973 (Kingswood 11/21985-95, 3/2938) 12 vols.

[39] ibid, A(t)(43 – 53) Wanganella Commons Trust.

[40] for a discussion of local government records, see Ian Jack and Terry Kass, Local Government Records and the Local Historian, RAHS Technical Information Service, No. 7, February 1987, RAHS Sydney.

Surry Hills Academy, Bourke Street, Surry Hills, NSW

This history was originally written in 1995 as part of a heritage assessment of a building for which considerable change, possibly demolition, was planned as part of the redevelopment of the site.  The format follows that often found in heritage assessments in New South Wales of the period, and is drawn from an analysis of the documentary evidence and of the evidence of the fabric of the building.


1.1 Original Land Grant and subdivisions including the site, 1790s-1840s

In 1794, Commissary John Palmer received a Crown Grant of 28.3 hectares on the hills to the east of Sydney town that he named “George Farm”. By 1800, Palmer had acquired an 81 hectare estate in Surry Hills and a 40 hectare estate in Woolloomooloo. In 1808, he lost his public offices because of his support for Governor Bligh during the Rum Rebellion, and then spent several years in England giving evidence to inquiries regarding the coup. Palmer’s business activities were severely hampered, and in 1814 the Sheriff ordered that the Surry Hills estate be auctioned to settle his debts. Surveyor-General Meehan planned the estate subdivision, but few of the streets had been established before the sale took place. Twenty seven lots were sold, including the triangular, 2.42 hectare Block No. 7, to Joseph Underwood, which he in turn sold in 1819 to Edward Riley. This block was bounded by what became known as Bourke Street on the west, Botany Road on the north-east, and blocks 19 and 20 to the south, which were purchased by Captain Richard Brooks and Isaac Nichols respectively. In 1825, Riley suicided, leaving two conflicting wills. Nearly two decades of litigation followed, preventing much further development of the Riley Estate, as the contested land became known .

In 1831, Surveyor-General Mitchell re-planned the Surry Hills street pattern so that it aligned with the city grid pattern, but these new road alignments were contested by many of the land owners, and often ignored in their subdivision patterns. In 1832, a Select Committee of the Legislative Council inquired into and reported upon the “…projected formation of lines of streets on the Surry Hills” in order to divide the estate evenly between the seven Riley legatees. The alignment of Bourke Street followed Mitchell’s plan, and became one of the main north-south boundaries within the estate. Six smaller streets were created as east-west boundary lines, including Short Street .

English: Portrait of Major Sir Thomas Livingst...

Major Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell (1792–1855), Surveyor General of NSW and surveyor of the Surry Hills street pattern in 1831. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brooks subdivided his block in 1831, and Nichols his in 1833. Wealthy Sydney merchant George Hill built his stone mansion “Durham Hall” on a Nichols lot in Albion Street, while another wealthy Sydney businessman, Lancelot Iredale, had his John Verge-designed “Auburn Cottage” built in Bourke Street on a Brooks lot. Both mansions had extensive gardens and summerhouses, adding to the gentry atmosphere of this part of Surry Hills at the time. Kass described this Brooks and Nichols subdivision area as a “nest of gentry” during the 1830s-1860s.

English: durham hall, surry hills, sydney

Durham Hall, Albion Street, Surry Hills, Sydney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1841, one of the wills was proven in the Supreme Court, and control of the Estate passed to trustees to dispose of in order to fund several annuities for the Riley legatees. The trustees had the estate surveyed for subdivision, and began selling off the blocks from 1845.

The Wedge Darke map of 1847 shows Short Street, joining Bourke Street and Botany Street, with its east-west alignment and dotted projection eastwards to South Dowling Street indicating that it is a Mitchell-planned street. The map also indicates a building on the site in Short Street, but no building facing Bourke Street. The Woolcott & Clarke map of 1854 indicates an additional building on the site apparently facing Bourke Street, but the two structures remain separated by a yard. The Bourke Street building also appears to be set back from the building line.

1.2 Development of Allotment 14, Block E 7, Riley Estate, 1849-1995

1.2.1 “Surrey Hills Academy and the ladies seminary”, 1847-1871

In 1849, Allotment 14, Block E 7 of the Riley Estate of 341.4m2, and described as a “…parcel of land and premesis…”, bounded by Bourke and Short Streets, a lane, and another allotment, was sold by the trustees to Thomas Lawrence Dodd of Bourke Street, schoolmaster, for £109 7s 6d . Unlike the time-payment system described by Kass that was developed by the trustees to sell the lots and encourage their development, Mr (later Reverend) Dodd paid the full amount in cash at the time of the sale . The price of the lot indicates that a building of some sort was already standing on the site at the time of the sale, and Dodd’s address indicates that he may have already been living in the building, while his occupation indicates that he was operating the building as a school.

Dodd’s Bourke Street address indicates that he was already living in one of the buildings, and this is confirmed by Directory entries. In 1845, he is listed at a “classical and commercial school, Hutcheson’s street, Surry Hills”. In 1847, he is listed at the “academy” in Bourke and South Streets, Surry Hills. Other entries in this directory indicate that ‘South’ street is a misprint for Short street. At the same time, Miss Dodd is listed at the “ladies day and boarding school, Bourke Street”. In 1851, Thomas Dodd is listed as a schoolmaster, of Bourke Street, along with the Misses Dodd at the ladies seminary in Bourke Street. By 1855, the Misses Dodd are listed at the ladies seminary in Bourke Street, next to the Wesleyan Chapel, with the Reverend James Huston the master at “Surry Hills Grammar School” in Short Street. Two years later, things remained the same, although John Gardener, schoolteacher, is also listed living in Short Street next to the Surry Hills Grammar School.

Thus it appears that the Short Street building was built between 1845 and 1847, and the Bourke Street building between 1847 and perhaps 1849.

The Short Street building was the Surry Hills Grammar School or Academy, and the Bourke Street building the ladies seminary.

In 1861, The Reverend Thomas Dodd, by then of Dungog, mortgaged the buildings to the Anglican Bishop of Newcastle for a loan of £1,250 at 8% p.a . In the same year, The Reverend James Huston was listed as the Principal of the “Surrey Hills Academy” at both 388 Bourke Street and the south side of Short Street . The use of the old spelling ‘Surrey’ associates the school with the earliest days of gentry settlement in the area. The spelling ‘Surry’ only became the standard form during the 1840s . In 1863 the Reverend Huston was listed at 388 Bourke Street, with James Rutledge, schoolmaster, listed at the school, 1 Short Street. In 1864, the Reverend Huston was listed at “Surry Hills Academy”, Short Street, and in 1864 and 1865 James Rutledge was listed as schoolmaster of Short Street. In 1865, the first trigonometrical survey of the city was carried out, and the individual buildings on the site were clearly mapped. The academy or grammar school and ladies seminary is shown as a single brick structure with timber verandahs and a fence dividing the yard. The structure is clearly divided between the Short Street building, the two halves of the Bourke Street building, and a structure joining the Short and Bourke Street wings .

Between 1866 and 1871, Miss Dodd, teacher, and William Bailey, professor of music and dancing, are alternatively listed as occupying the school building in Short Street. Between the late-1850s and mid-1860s, the Misses Dodd’s ladies seminary was operating from “Gayndah Cottage”, in Underwood Street, Paddington, but by 1866 at least one Miss Dodd had returned to Short Street

Thus between 1861 and 1871 both Bourke Street and Short Street were being listed as the site of the Surrey Hills Academy or school. The listings and the trig survey indicate that the two buildings had now been connected and were regarded as one structure. The school appears to have changed its focus in 1865/66 with changes from teachers with religious affiliations to perhaps a more social syllabus – and perhaps also a change from schooling boys and girls to girls only. The school is not listed in the grants made to denominational schools during the 1850s, and appears to have always been a private school, teaching secondary subjects of some kind, without any public funding .

The closure of the school in 1871 is most likely associated with the changing social character of this part of Surry Hills. As the gentry were moving out, lower middle class tradesmen and artisans were moving in. The local environment changed as villa estates such as “Auburn Cottage” were subdivided for terrace housing. It appears that the new residents of the area initiated the demand for the public schools in Surry Hills that developed during the 1870s and 1880s, although by 1871, only one public school was operating in the area from temporary premesis in Bourke Street .

1.2.2 A private townhouse 1871-1895

In 1869, Mrs Florabelle Warren, widow and Hugh MacMaster, builder, purchased the property from the Bishop of Newcastle for £1,210 and seem to have begun renting the Bourke Street (boarding school) building and the Short Street (academy) building separately. The academy was tenanted by the school until 1871, while the seminary was occupied by Mrs Warren and Mr MacMaster, and the boarding school by Mrs Mary Ann Thompson from 1865

It appears that, internally, the whole building could now function as three separate units – with the school facing Short Street, Mrs Warren and Mr MacMaster in the Short Street/Bourke Street (seminary) corner and Mary Ann Thompson in the other Bourke Street section (the boarding school) next to the chapel.

In 1880, Mrs Warren is listed as living at both 1 Short Street and 444 Bourke Street, with Mrs Mary Ann Thompson at 446 Bourke Street, next to the Wesleyan Chapel . It appears that the building was now functioning as two dwellings, with the former academy and seminary as one unit, and the boarding school next to the chapel as the other unit. The Water Board Detail Plan of 1883, updated in 1892 and 1896, shows a building essentially unchanged since 1865 except for the addition of further wooden structures at the back of the academy building, presumably cooking and washing areas and a toilet, and a small wooden building behind the boarding school building that was probably a toilet .

In 1890, Mrs Warren is listed at 346 Bourke Street on the corner of Short Street. There is no separate listing for 1 Short Street or the part of the Bourke Street building next to the Wesleyan Chapel, and the whole structure may then have been regarded as one building or house . Hugh MacMaster passed away in 1882, and Mrs Warren appears to have lived alone in the academy building until 1895, when she sold the site to William Cary, a Sydney businessman and resident of Glebe Point .

1.2.3 Rented premesis 1895 – 1990s

In 1895, Mr AW Cleary was living at 346 Bourke Street (on the corner with Short Street – the former seminary) and operating a dental surgery from the premesis, and a Mrs Molloy was living in 348 Bourke Street (the former boarding school). In 1897, 1 Short Street (the former academy) was occupied by Samuel Parr, accountant, and the following year by a Mr Hood, piano tuner, and these tenants the remained unchanged for nearly a decade. Thus, during the 1890s the whole building became rented residential and commercial premises .

William Cary died in 1906, and the property passed to his heirs Richard and Sydney Herbert Cary, and within a few months they sold the “…land and dwellings known as 346 and 348 Bourke Street and 1 Short Street…” to Emily Baxter of Sydney . Miss Baxter described herself on the land documents as a ‘spinster’, but since 1872 she had run a fashionable ladies college, the “Argyle School”, in Albion Street . Whether she intended this property to become part of the school, or to keep it as an income producing rental property is not clear. The “Argyle School” closed in 1912, and when Miss Baxter had the site brought under the Torrens Title system in 1918, the dwellings were all rented

In 1918 the whole building was valued at £2,000. The deposited plan shows the outline of a single building on the site that appears to be similar to that today . At that time Mr A. Cleary occupied 346 Bourke Street, Mrs A.F. Stanton occupied 348 Bourke Street and Peter Mullin occupied 1 Short Street. All were weekly tenants . Since at least 1910, 348 Bourke Street was operating as a boarding house, firstly under Mrs Hill, then later Mrs Stanton, Mrs Duke and Mrs Taylor, with perhaps Mrs Molloy also operating a boarding house during the 1890s, and possibly even Mrs Thompson since 1865 .

This early and continuous use of No 348 as a boarding house may indicate that this building had enough rooms for this purpose because of an earlier use as the boarding school section of the Misses Dodd’s ladies seminary.

In 1924, the Permanent Trustee Company acquired ownership of the site . In the 1930s, George Gellin and then Mr J. Aguggar continued to operate 348 Bourke Street as a boarding house, while Mr Cleary continued to operate his dental surgery until the late 1930s . Peter Mullin’s tenancy of 1 Short Street had been replaced by 1920 by John McGrath, and by 1925 by Mrs Leslie McGrath, possibly the widow of John. Mrs McGrath occupied the building until the late 1940s . Presumably a succession of tenants occupied the old academy and seminary buildings, and No. 348 continued to operate as a boarding house, until the recent past. However, the lack of directories for this more recent period has limited research on this matter.

In 1951, the Permanent Trustee Company sold the property to Thomas Edward Evans of Darlinghurst, retired. Mr Evans was declared a bankrupt in 1953, and control passed to the Receiver of his estate, who within a few months had sold it to Hepple Harry Clark of Darlinghurst, a garage proprietor

1.2.4 Recent

In 1985, ownership passed to Eileen Clark, presumably a legatee of Hepple Harry Clark, who in 1988 sold the property to Mars Australian Developments No. 2 Pty. Ltd. . The building presently (October 1995) appears to be unoccupied.

Short St_01

Harry Hepple Clark’s Motor Garage, corner of Short and Bourke Streets opposite the Academy buildings, Surry Hills (Photo credit: dck)

South Sydney Council lists the site in its rate records as 348 Bourke Street, but not as 346 Bourke Street or as 1 Short Street . The part of the building facing Short Street still has its street address – 1 Short Street – written in metal figures near the front door. Officially, there is only one building on the site, a situation that has not existed since the 1850s.

060422_DarlinghurstSite_ 022

1 Short Street (grey building, left-hand side), c2010 (Photo credit: dck)

1.2.5. Surveys of the Property

  1. Wedge Darke, Survey of the South Eastern Suburbs of the City of Sydney, Archives Office NSW Map No. 5687, 1847 reproduced in draft South Sydney Heritage Study, Volume 2, p.39n.
    This map shows a structure in Short Street on the site of the academy building. It appears to be that building.
  2. Woolcott & Clarke, Map of the City of Sydney, 1854, reproduced in draft South Sydney Heritage Study, Volume 2.
    This map shows a structure in Short Street on the site of the academy building, and another structure in Bourke Street on the site of the seminary building. The two buildings are not joined, with the present courtyard an open yard between the buildings with access directrly from Short Street.
  3. Trigonometrical Survey of Sydney, 1865, frame F1-K2, Sydney Water Historical Records Unit.
    This map shows the present external structure almost wholly in existence by this time, with the two separate buildings now joined by a brick section, and with timber balconies facing Bourke Street and the now internal courtyard. A fence divides the yard, presumably separating the boarding section from the school section. This is also the only map that names the laneway at the back of the buildings as ‘Sarah Ann Lane’.
  4. Water Board Detail Plans, 1883, with additional information in 1892 and 1896, Sheet 1-64, frame 80064, Sydney Water Historical Records Unit.
    This map shows the building hardly changed since 1865. The only notable changes seem to have been the construction of several small timber outbuildings attached to the back of the academy building, and another wooden outbuilding at the rear of the boarding school building’s yard.
  5. Deposited Plan No. 71388, dated December 1917
    This plan indicates a shaded outline of the buildings that appears to be identical to that shown on the 1883 Detail Plan. The shape of the timber additions to the back of the academy buildings is slightly different, and they are clearly stated as being of weatherboard construction.
  6. Superceded Sewer Detail Sheets (Blackwattle Series), 1931-1939, Sheet Y1, 2nd Edition, frame 3819.
    This map differs from the 1883 Detail Plan only in that the Bourke Street balconies are clearly indicated, and part of a verandah behind No. 348 has been removed.


2.1 Stylistic Analysis

2.2 Interpretation of the Characteristics of the Old Colonial Picturesque Gothick and Old Colonial Regency styles

The picturesque gothick style used in the academy building conveys both religiosity and venerability on a site that, when first built upon the then open heights of Surry Hills, also provided a certain picturesque landscape quality. These characteristics were presumably associated with the literary and aristocratic pretensions of both the school principals and the parents of the boys enrolled at the academy, as well as notable colonial public buildings of the time such as Government House (1834). It was a style suited to preparing the sons of the colonial gentry for a future in public office and commerce.


Government House Sydney, the epitome of Picturesque Gothick in the colony (Photo credit: frizzetta)

The regency style used in the seminary and boarding school building conveys qualities of subtlety and classicism that associated the seminary with the ideals of femininity and beauty prevailing in the gentry classes at the time. Some of the largest mansions in the colony, such as Elizabeth Bay House (1832-38) and Camden Park House (1831+), as well as early terraces in areas such as Darlinghurst and Windsor, were built in this style, emphasising its suitability to ‘home’ making and the proper role that the seminary ‘ladies’ would one day fulfil.

The choice of names for the separate institutions further emphasises the pedagogical roles of these architectural styles when used in this way. An academy is a secondary school or place of study and the cultivation of literature, science, art, etc. A seminary is a training college of place of education. The picturesque gothick academy educated its boys in the higher arts, while the regency seminary trained its girls for graceful domesticity.


  • Keating, C., Surry Hills: the city’s backyard, Hale & Iremonger, Sydney 1991:16-17.
  • ibid, 19; Kass, T., The Builders and Landlords of Surry Hills, 1830-1882, unpub. MA Thesis, University of Sydney 1984: 46 – Keating and Kass both claim that Short Street was gazetted in 1848 as part of this process, but reference to the proclamation cited in their works does not support this claim – see NSW Government Gazette, 8.12.1848, p. 1778.
  • Kass, op. cit., 58-59.
  • Land Titles Office, Book 16, No. 215.
  • Keating, op. cit., 27.
  • Wedge Darke, Survey of the South Eastern Suburbs of the City of Sydney, Archives Office NSW Map No. 5687, reproduced in draft South Sydney Heritage Study, Volume 2, p.39n.
  • Woolcott & Clarke, Map of the City of Sydney, reproduced in draft South Sydney Heritage Study, Volume 2.
  • Land Titles Office, Book 16, No. 215.
  • Kass, op. cit., 79-80, and Land Titles Office, Book 16, No. 215.
  • Low’s City of Sydney Directory for MDCCCXLIV-V. The exact location of this school is unclear, although the present Hutchinson Street is only about 200 metres south of Short Street, in the centre of Nichol’s subdivision. The Wedge Darke map of 1847 clearly shows the street, without a name, and with some five buildings facing the roadway. It is possible that the reference is to an earlier location of Dodd’s school teaching, rather than to a different school that continued to operate after Dodd had opened the academy and seminary.
  • Low’s City of Sydney Directory for 1847.
  • Ford’s Sydney Commercial Directory, 1851.
  • Waugh & Cox’s Directory of Sydney, 1855.
  • Cox & Co’s Sydney Post Office Directory, 1857.
  • Land Titles Office, Book 77, No. 130.
  • The street numbering of Bourke Street has changed several times over the years – No. 388 (1861), 392/394 (1865-6), 444/446/448 (1867-70s) and 346/348 (1890s +) all refer to the Bourke Street frontage of the subject site.
  • Keating, op. cit., 16, f17.
  • Trigonometrical Survey of Sydney, 1865, frame F1-K2, Sydney Water Historical Records Unit.
  • Sands Directory, 1861, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1871.
  • Sands Directory, 1858/59, 1866.
  • Distribution of sums voted for denominational schools, and lists of local boards of denominational schools, NSW Government Gazette, 1850, p152; 1851, p29; 1852, p328; 1857, p1595 and 1861, p1440.
  • Keating, op. cit., 41-42.
  • Land Titles Office, Book 113, No. 97.
  • Sands Directory, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1871.
  • ibid 1880.
  • Water Board Detail Plans, 1883, with additional information in 1892 and 1896, Sheet 1-64, frame 80064, Sydney Water Historical Records Unit.
  • Sands Directory 1890.
  • Land Titles Office, Book 568, No. 884 and Book 815, No. 815.
  • Sands Directory, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1905.
  • Land Titles Office, Book 815, No. 815.
  • Keating, op. cit., 42
  • Land Titles Office, Primary Application No. 21388, dated 30.3.1918.
  • Land Titles Office, Deposited Plan 71388, dated December 1917.
  • Primary Application, op. cit.
  • Sands Directory, 1895-1905, 1910, 1915, 1920, 1925, 1930, 1932/33.
  • Land Titles Office, Volume 2896, Folio 104.
  • Sands Directory, 1930, 1932/33, Sydney Telephone Book, 1935, 1940.
  • Sands Directory, 1915, 1920, 1925, 1930, 1932/33, Sydney Telephone Book, 1935, 1940, 1945, 1950.
  • Land Titles Office, Volume 2896, Folio 104.
  • ibid.
  • South Sydney City Council, pers. comm., 9.10.1995.


The history was researched and written by Bruce Baskerville in 1995 as a component of a conservation plan for the site .

The right of Bruce Baskerville to be identified as the moral rights author of this work is hereby asserted in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968 of the Commonwealth of Australia.