Statement of Significance

T>his entire precinct has many outstanding features and is in toto of state significance. The precinct of buildings on San Jose A venue, Park Street and Badgerys Crescent at Lawson is a rare grouping of early cottages and associated buildings most of which were built within a period of thirty years and exhibit characteristics of a range of building styles from within that period.

The group includes a typical late Victorian village post office, shop, workers cottages, bakery and houses for the wealthier merchants and more powerful members of the developing village making an important and interesting streetscape.

This precinct has high historic significance. Its development is associated with a range of people significant nationally (Joseph Hay, environmentalist, philanthropist and surveyor) and locally (the commercial and real estate entrepreneur, John Geggie and his wife) through to Dr. King in the last forty years. It presents legible layers of land use from the earliest land-grants to subdivision, resubdivision, and later infill. It embraces significant commercial residential and educational buildings that are important in their own right. Within the group are a number of smaller groups of cottages. The three houses from 1 to 5 San Jose

A venue is a coherent group of late nineteenth century cottages which appear to have been built by the same owner for rental accommodation. At 14 to 18 San Jose A venue is a group of three Inter-war California bungalow style cottages which also display a coherence of form and detail which make an important contribution to the streetscape. The pair of houses at 13 to 14 Badgerys Crescent are a representative example of Victorian filigree cottages with their fretwork bargeboards and decorative frieze panels to the verandahs making them more elaborate members of the precinct.

Other buildings in the precinct have individual aesthetic significance. These include Lyttleton at 1 to 2 Badgerys Crescent which is a rare intact example of a Victorian Georgian cottage with its attached shops; Ellamatta at 6 Badgerys Crescent which is a fine representative example of a Federation bungalow built in timber and Dorinda at no. 8 Badgerys Crescent which is another fine Federation bungalow featuring a terracotta and slate shingled roof and polychromatic brickwork.


Lawson, like almost all the townships and villages of the Blue Mountains, developed in response first to the main western road leading to Bathurst and beyond and, after the mid-1860s, to the railway. Before the railway, the Wilson family's Blue Mountain Inn to the south of the main road was the principal habitation and service centre. After the railway station opened in 1867, more grants on both sides of the transport corridor were taken up and a village site was laid aside in a rectangle to the north-west of the station, bounded by the present Hay and Loftus Streets, with an additional square south of the railway around Broad Street. The neat grid pattern of the surveyed village to the north never eventuated and the principal action in creating a more extensive settlement north of the railway carne from the progressive sub-division of the large estates initially held by Joseph Hay, Robert Fitz Stubbs and B.W. Roberts in the parishes of Jamieson and Woodford.

San Jose Avenue is the dividing line between portion 76 of Jamieson Parish (to the west), granted in 1879 to Joseph G .Hay, and portion 5 of Woodford Parish, granted to Robert Fitz Stubbs,a Sydney auctioneer, in 1878. Portion 12 of Woodford Parish (to the east) was acquired, along with portion 11, adjacent to the east again, by B.W. Roberts in 1881.

Joseph or Jose Hay was a Californian who had come to Australia around 1870. He married Eliza Jane Reuben in New South Wales in 1871 and had two daughters, Mary Catherine in 1872 and Christabel Lucy in 1874. From the 1870s until he moved to Western Australia in the late 1890s, Hay was a surveyor with the Department of Lands. Hay is very little known but deserves to be remembered. His precocious involvement with the conservation of the natural environment is outstanding and resulted in his participation in the management of North Lawson Park and South Lawson Park as public reserves. In Western Australia he was the founder of the Gould League of Bird Protection and was a forceful proponent of nature reserves and enlightened legislation (Baskerville).

Hay's estate in north Lawson was called San Jose (and south of the railway his sister, Mary, named her land Santa Cruz, maintaining the physical relationship of San Jose and Santa Cruz in California after a fashion). In 1879 Hay built a substantial cottage on the south-east corner. By 1882 this cottage had been much enlarged and was functioning as San Jose Blue Mountain Sanatorium and private hotel, with a famous garden. The name Blue Mountain referred to the name by which the township was officially known until the name Lawson was adopted in 1879. In the 1890s it became the Palace Guesthouse, also known as the Coffee Palace, and usually referred to as The Palace. The tower, which is the only surviving part of the building, was added at this phase. In 1918 the Misses Wiles leased the property and transferred there their existing girls' school (operating in rented premises on the main road) as the Stratford School for Girls (the sisters came from Stratford-on-Avon in England). The Misses Wiles bought the property in 1924. In 1928 the Anglican Church bought the school and ran it as a school until 1966. After its sale by the church in 1966 it was used as a reception centre and for a time in the 1970s as a small community school, but it was sometimes vacant and in 1980, when it was owned by L. and V. Coleman, there was a disastrous fire, which gutted most of the building. The ruins were substantial and were not demolished until 1992, when, at the request of the Land and Environment Court, the tower was spared. (Lavelle)

The rest of the west side of San Jose A venue (known as The A venue well into the twentieth century) seems to have been sub-divided around 1890. The first lots to be sold were D2 and D3, now 10 San Jose Avenue, abutting the sanatorium to the north, between it and the newly created Park Road. The first owner of this double block was called Butler (L3/16). When the Blue Mountains shire Council was created in 1906, it needed premises and at first rented space in the Mechanics' Institute. In 1908, however, the Council leased 10 San Jose Avenue from Mrs Butler and in 1910 purchased the house to use as chambers. At that time the house bore the name Ingleburn. (Mollenhauer nos 26,27; Bentley 49) In 1915, however, the Council built new Chambers nearby and Ingleburn was partly destroyed by fire. (Bentley 50) It was bought in 1916, and presumably renovated, by George Morehouse. In 1929 Stratford bought it to use as ancillary classrooms and renamed it Avon. It is now a private residence, called Avon.

To the north of Ingleburn, on the northern comer of Park Street, now occupied by 14 San Jose A venue, there was a blacksmith's shop in 1910, run by J. Melville. Behind the smithy on the same lot Dl, there was a bakery which supplied the neighbourhood and the school. The bakery was run by William Page Wilson, a member of the significant family which had built the Blue Mountain Inn and virtually created Lawson. The bakery claimed to be the earliest professional one in the Mountains and was certainly well established by 1905. (Mollenhauer no 22) It survives as 1 Park Road as a private home owned by Mr and Mrs Davies.

The east side of San Jose A venue was part of portion 5 in Woodford Parish, granted to Robert Fitz Stubbs. in 1878. The road just north of the railway, which is now called Badgerys Crescent was already in existence and Fitz Stubbs' land had this road as its southern boundary. Although Fitz Stubbs, with his wife and daughter, built a country retreat in Lawson in 1883 (the well-known Kihilla on Queens Road), he did not retain his earlier 50 acres.When Fitz Stubbs offered his 50 acres for sale within a month of his speculative acquisition, lot 2, the northern portion of 32 acres (13 hectares) was bought by William Day of Pyrmont on 15 June 1878. Like Fitz Stubbs, Day was bent on profit and sub-divided the 32 acres in 1881. The only part of the sub-division in Day's possession was 13 San Jose A venue, which was bought in May 1881 by John Henniker Heaton, but soon passed to the Whitworth family of Parramatta. The Whitworths consolidated the three lots, corresponding to modem house numbers 13, 15 and 17 San Jose Avenue and built a large house called Waratah on 13, which survives in much modified form.

The southern part of the sub-division formed part of the 18 acres (7 hectares) sold on 2 July 1879 to Francis Fahey, a land agent whom Fitz Stubbs no doubt knew in Sydney. Fahey, like Day, at once sub­divided his land, into six 3-acre (1.2 hectare) lots. Five of these lots were sold in August 1879, less than six weeks after purchase.

Fitz Stubbs died in 1888 and his widow left Lawson soon afterwards. The Fitz Stubbs family effectively had no influence on the development of the study area after 1879.

In 1879 and 1882 detailed maps show only one building on the east side of The A venue. This was a store, almost certainly the building surviving behind Clareville (19 San Jose Avenue), although it has been reoriented. By 1890 in contrast, the plan of Joseph Hay's subdivision across the road shows incidentally that Fitz Stubbs' land was 'now thickly built over with Cottages and Stores'. It marks not only the Geggies' store and house (nos I and 2 Badgery Crescent), but also eight other buildings on the west side of The Grand A venue of San Jose (as it was called for a brief ecstatic moment). Although this part of the c.I890 plan is probably impressionistic rather than surveyed, it shows buildings already on the approximate sites on today's nos 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 19 and 27. Of these nos 19 (Clareville) and 27 (Beulah) are certain survivors; most or all of the other buildings shown in c.1890 are likely to have been superseded by later houses.

In 1923 when the large lot on which 13, IS and 17 San Jose Avenue now stand was sub-divided, there were still only eight houses in The A venue, but they were not all the houses of 1890. Beulah (no 27) had sub-divided to the south in 1903: Echo (no 25) and Glenview (no 23) were built on these new blocks. (L3122; Mrs Vera Kleines) There were also major changes in the southern part of The Avenue, which are analysed below under the individual house-site blocks.

The houses of San Jose A venue, east side from south to north, are:

1, formerly Woodlands. This was part of Geggie's 3-acre purchase of 1883, but it was still empty in 1890. The present house was built before 1920 when it was owned by Mary Sophia Duff. By 1927 it was owned by W.E. Ranclaud, who donated it to South Sydney Methodist Mission and renamed it Stonbee in 1930 after the Rev. Stoneham Bowden and Mr Beeson.

3, formerly Merriott Cottage. This was also part of John Geggie's 3-acre purchase of 1883, but Geggie sold this lot to an Ashfield bootmaker, William Chipperfield, who built the present house in 1890. In the 1920s it was available for leasing through the then owner Mrs Denham.

5, Rosari, formerly Cawthorne. This was also part of Geggie's 3 acres of 1883 and the site had a building shown on it in the c.1890 map. The present house was occupied by Bridget Lyttle in 1920. From 1980 it was occupied by the Bulletin artist, George Finey, who died in 1987. Some of Finey's artwork is still to be seen on the steps and side path. Concrete additions were made in the 1930s Depression when there was a road construction camp for the unemployed at Bullaburra. Paddy Hanson (c.1870 - c.1955), an ex-sailor who had come to Australia on the Cutty Sark, which he accidentally failed to rejoin in Newcastle, lived in a corrugated iron and fibro shack at Rosari after World War II.

7, Comara. This is an early house, built immediately after Fanny Eliza Moore bought the newly available plot from Bridget Lyttle in 1888. Fanny Moore was the wife of a well-to-do homeopathic doctor, W. Moore (1831-1911). Moore was the author of 'Man! Know thyself; explains by a few facts the origin of contagious sexual diseases; ... addressed only to those who deem... self-protection from such disorders expedient', third edition, Sydney 1878. Although without formal training, Moore claimed to be able to detect cancer by blood tests of his own devising. He was also the proprietor of electric baths.

Moore had invested skilfully in land on Sydney's North Shore and was, like John Geggie, a significant supporter of the Congregational church in Lawson. He bequeathed one third of his fortune to the Congregational Union when he died in 1911. Although it is believed locally that, under Moore's will, Comara passed to the church for use as a manse, this does not seem to be the case. The first Congregational minister, the Rev. C. J. Cribb, had his own house at Scots Craig, 14 Badgerys Crescent and Comara was in fact owned by a Sydney merchant, Christopher Thistlethwayte, from 1914 until 1920 and then by Ellen Jordan up to February 1927. The ten-roomed house was then bought by the Congregational Union, apparently under a covenant in Moore's will, and the Rev. W.T. Hooker lived there briefly in 1927. The church does not seem thereafter to have used it for accommodating ministers; visiting preachers stayed at Stratford Girls School and the next two ministers had their own houses elsewhere in Lawson. The church finally sold Comara in 1946.

9. The present house is an inter-war infill in fibro, but this large block was, like the others, first built on in 1889, when Emily Elizabeth Wright bought it from Bridget Lyttle. Two houses are shown on the c.1890 map. Emily and her husband Charles, a prosperous printer, retained the houses until they were sold to John Geggie and a Sydney partner, William Brooks, in 1916. Geggie and Brooks divided the land into two in 1922, creating the present 9 and 11, selling 9 to a Manly builder, Thomas Franklin, who retained it until 1940. He presumably demolished it in 1889 and built the present one.

11, formerly Ancona. Like 9, the 1889 house called Ancona was demolished in 1922 or soon after and the present house built by a Crows Nest spinster, Mary Josephine O'Mahony, who held the land until 1942. Miss 0' Mahony ran it as a guesthouse from 1937 until 1941.

13, Waratah. The lots on which the present 13, 15 and 17 now stand were all owned by the Whitworth family of Parramatta in the 1880s: the house Waratah still exists, much altered, on 13.

19, Clareville. This house was built in 1881. Anglican services were held there in 1883. It was owned by Morton Hadden until his death in 1905. His daughter, Mrs Plumb, let rooms in the house until World War I, and from 1919 to 1921 it was run as a guest-house (Silvey 101). It was on a large plot extending east as far as Hughes A venue and was sub-divided in 1931.Behind Clareville there is another house, said by Heather Mollenhauer to have been the Post Office run by Mrs Geggie and to be the oldest building in Lawson. This is almost certainly the store shown on the 1879 and 1882 maps, before the Geggies built their store at 1-2 Badgerys Crescent.

21 seems to be a fairly recent sub-division of 19 Clareville.

23, formerly Glenview. This was built in 1903 on a sub-division of 27 Beulah and was owned by the Haddens and Plumbs ofClareville, no. 19.

25, formerly Echo. This was built in 1903 on a sub-division of 27 Beulah and was owned by the Haddens and Plumbs ofClareville, no. 19.

27, Beulah Cottage. A house was already on this site in c.1890, on the south comer with Fairview Road. Although Beulah is said to have been built in 1896 (Vera Kleines), it is likely to be 1890. (Mollenhauer)

29. Nothing is shown on this site in the c.1890 map but the present house is shown on the 1923 plan. It was owned in 1918, by E. Ede, a local building contractor.

Badgerys Crescent

Fitz Stubbs sub-division.

I and 2, Lyttleton, cottage and store, c.1884, built by John Geggie and his wife. Geggie was a founding member of the local Progress Association in 1893 and became a prominent estate agent with, he claimed, 'the largest list of furnished cottages to let and for sale'. By 1905 W.G. Staples had taken over the Badgerys Crescent premises as the 'Cheap Cash Stores', also known as the 'Popular Stores'. but he moved across the railway in 1907. By 1910 2 Badgerys Crescent had become the Fairfax Store, later Riordan's (Mollenhauer). In 1930 the house and store were occupied by Hannah Hollingsworth (Low, map). Since the 1970s the store building has become an antique shop and is now operating as Badgerys Attic, owned by Dieter Bauer and Jennifer Sattler. (See LNOOI)

3, Alnwick, later Cholderton, built c.1909. Shown as a garage on the 1923 plan.

5, Ellamatta. This house was built by John Geggie in 1914 as his own residence on the former McGibbon land. Geggie died in 1927 and then the house was owned by Thompsons.

7 This was built by Henry Dawson, who had made a fortune gold-mining at Coolgardie in Weestern Australia, for his married daughter, Mrs Edith Grace in 1916. She transferred the northern section of the land to her sisters Phoebe Clara and Rosalie Deane in 1917.

8, Dorinda. This was also built by Henry Deane for his unmarried daughters, Phoebe Clara and Rosalie i 1916

10, Kindilan formerly Nareen (L3/22).

II Infill

12 No information

13, Cicada, owned, and probably built in 1880s by Mrs Fitz Stubbs, presumably the widow of Robert wh sub-divided portion 5. It is on a double block with a tennis court. The next owners were the Edwards family, then the Bennetts. In 1922 it passed to the O'Neills who still own it. It was regularly a guest-hous from the 1880s up to 1937 (Silvey 101).

14 Scots Craig, renamed Lawson House in 1970s. Originally Hunter McPherson's residence, it became t 1906 a guest-house under Miss Shaw. Later it was owned by the Congregational minister, Rev. C.1. Crib Between 1940 and 1955 it reverted to being a guest-house under Mrs Madden, but in the 1970s it became refuge for men under the new name of Lawson House. It is now a residence again. The owner is G.E.Laws.

15 is a modern, battleaxe development.

16, formerly Signal Cottage. Probably built c.1908 by J. Pepper, who offered it for rent.

17, Castledawson, formerly Mount View Cottage, as 16. the present owner is Les Smith.

18, Killara, formerly Kilrea Villa, as 16 and 17. The only one of the three with a servant's room. It was a guest-house as Killara briefly in 1949 under Mrs Hopkins. The present owner is Ms Jill Gunner.

19, Allawah. No historical information. The present owners are Mr and Mrs D. Lock.

20 is infill.

21, Lenaville, available for leasing in 1905 by owner T. Thrutchley. Occupied by a Congregational minister, Rev. T. Geary, in 1932 - 4.

22, Karietanderra, formerly Melrose, available for leasing in 1905 from T. Thrutchley.

23, Glenwood [demolished and replaced], available for leasing in 1905 by T. Thrutchley.

24, Narbethong which became Wallana in 1908 when it became a private school under Lilian Austin: nail changed to Illawarra when Miss M .1. Hoskins, a cousin of the Lithgow and Port Kembla ironmasters, owned it in the 1920s and/or 1930s. (Hoskins, code 191)

25, formerly St Elmo, residence of J.H. Dole, who was President of the Lawson Progress Association fror 1902 and died in 1929.

26 is currently divided into flats.

27 is infill

28, formerly The Rest or Missionaries' Rest The land was bought in 1895 by Sydney City Mission. The house was built in 1899 and missionaries recuperated there until 1930, when it was sold to Miss E. Pepper (d. 1. Pepper who built 16, 17 and 18 in c.1908) (Mollenhauer; Bentley 43)

II Sub-divisions to the east of Frederica Street (not included in the Conservation Area)

29 no information.

30, 31 are twins, although this is disguised by alterations

­32 is a modern fibro house.

33 is a missing number.

34 is a modern fibro house.

35 to 38, at present empty of housing. An older wooden house close to the road was demolished in 1970s, after the owner, Mr Farad, built a new cement-block house further down the large terraced site. Farad died in c.1995 and the cement house has been demolished: its footings are clear. The property is currently (October 1999) for sale. (Medcalf)

39, Sheen formerly Kilgin. Henry Dawson (c.1832 - c.I920) made a great deal of money in the Coolgardie gold-rush in 1894. He invested in Lawson and in 1900 bought lot 7 in the Roberts sub-division. Dawson then proceeded to build Kilgin between 1907 and 1910. It was granted in his lifetime to his married daughter, Mrs Edith Grace, who sold it in 1924 to a widow, Susan Jane Watson, who in 1933 sold it to James and Lizzie Morrow. It has descended to their grandson, Sid Medcalf and his wife Neryl.(Medcalf)

The 1913 sub-division of portion Ilby C. Wills, not included in the Conservation Area, resulted in:

­40,41,42 Dairy Farm, since 1960s Hillside. The original house was built c.1902 by John Pearson (1836­1913) and his wife Martha (1846-1924). It has never left the family. After storm damage to the farm­house in the 1960s, it was entirely rebuilt and two other new houses were erected in the grounds, all occupied by grandchildren. The only evidence of the dairy period left on the property is a wooden outbuilding.

Next Page