Previous page: Art Nouveau in Malvern    Next page: Gascoigne Estate Malvern

Stylish Neutral Bay

The big blocks of land, large rooms with period features, high ceilings and sweeping views of the harbour and skyline are all there.

The name "Neutral Bay" originates from the time of the early colonial period of Australia, where different bays of Sydney harbour were zoned for different incoming vessels.

 

This bay was where all foreign vessels would dock, hence the name Neutral. The Aboriginal name for the area was 'Wirra-birra'. - Wikipedia

Who lives there?

  • Professionals

  • Singles

  • Families with kids

  • Retirees

  • Trendy & Stylish

Neutral Bay's Development

 
Other Neutral Bay Federation Precincts

Notable Heritage Properties in Neutral Bay

Also visit 'At Home in North Sydney' for: 

Neutral Bay's Great Houses

1. Neutral Bay Land Company Estate

 

Architect Walter Liberty Vernon was elected to North Sydney council and formed the Neutral Bay Land Company.

He worked for the provision of water, sewerage and gas, and he began to build a series of large villas on land he had leased from the descendants of the original land speculator.

Vernon and his family settled in Neutral Bay/East St Leonards in Clytha House in Aubin Street, just west of the Neutral Bay Land Company subdivision.

In 1885 he built himself a house called Penshurst.

As the architect Walter Liberty Vernon was designing and constructing his own home ‘Penshurst’ in Neutral Bay in 1884/5 (see below), he was also planning a model suburb for the undeveloped slopes around him.

With his architectural partner William Wardell, and the department store owner Edward Lloyd Jones, Vernon acquired property from John Cooper and land owned by Patrick Hayes on a 90+ year lease.

Several houses, designed by Vernon, were built as speculative ventures by David Jones

Some were featured in the Company prospectus, along with a sketch of ‘Penshurst’, as evidence of the respectability and viability of the enterprise.

penshurst_and_garden_detail.jpg

Left: ‘Penshurst’, Penshurst Avenue, Neutral Bay, (Demolished 1968)

Walter Liberty Vernon’s family home ‘Penshurst’ was one of the most significant buildings constructed in Sydney.

Completed in 1885 of local sandstone and red cedar, it was quite possibly the first house in the city expressing the English Revival style.

Vernon’s ‘Penshurst’ was a forerunner of Sydney’s Federation-era houses.

The name and design of the house, with its Tudor-like half timbered upper level and gable, tall chimneys and overhanging 'oriel' window were a direct reference to the English Revival ‘cottages’ built by George Devey around the medieval manor ‘Penshurst’ in Kent, England, in 1850.

The Neutral Bay Company Estate was one of the first planned suburban developments in Sydney and anticipated the intense interest in garden suburbs that swept the city in the early 1900s.

It was marketed as both a ‘marine suburb’, beause of its proximity to Sydney Harbour with views across the water, and a ‘model suburb’ because this was a place where residents could be assured of a high quality of life and amenity, something planned rather than dependent on chance.

Because of Vernon’s involvement, the suburb had been ‘saved from the indiscriminate builder’ so that each house was well-designed and beautiful.

Each had its spacious garden with the promise of facilities nearby such as a tennis club, a church and harbour baths.

The prospectus announced the presence of a resident medical doctor. Ferries to the city from Neutral Bay were frequent and cheaper than services to other locales.

Many of the present surviving Federation and interwar buildings were built in the period between 1900 and 1920 on the subdivisions of the former leaseholds including Neutral Heights, Montpelier, Colindia, Undercliffe Heights and Urara estates.

 

Neutral Bay is one of the great suburbs

Neutral Bay is a harbourside suburb on Sydney’s lower north shore.

The suburb is located approximately 5km to the north of the CBD in the local government area of North Sydney Council.

Along the main road through the suburb, Military Road, is the main shopping district Neutral Bay Junction, It features many quality shops, restaurants and cafes.

There is a shopping centre and mall with a supermarket and grocery shops.

There are also quality schools nearby on the lower north shore.

DEMOGRAPHICS

The population of Neutral Bay in 2006 was 10,213 people, yet by 2011 the population was 9,387 showing a population decline of 8% in the area during that time - and that's not due to increasing vacancy rates! There's essentially a very limited new supply of dwellings.

According to RP Data research, the predominant age group in Neutral Bay is 25-34 years.

Households in Neutral Bay are primarily childless couples and are likely to be repaying between over $4000 per month on mortgage repayments, and in general, people in Neutral Bay work in professional occupations.

In 2006, 44.6% of the homes in Neutral Bay were owner-occupied compared with 46.0% in 2011, representing a fairly steady result.

Currently the median sales price of houses in the area is around $1.4 million and units around $700,000.

In terms of income distribution, the greatest number of households sits in the $130,000 to $180,000 annualised income bracket.

 

TRANSPORT

The Neutral Bay ferry wharf is located at the end of Hayes Street and the Kurraba Wharf (see my photo above) on Kurraba Point can be accessed by Kurraba Road. Ferries run to the city with a travel time of around 10 minutes.

The Warringah Freeway runs along the western border of Neutral Bay, providing links south to the Sydney CBD and to the north. The road is often very busy during peak hours.

Pete Wargent, PropertyObserver.com.au 

2. Shellcove Rd, Neutral Bay Land Co Group

​A fine, cohesive group of single and double storey Federation houses of large size and district stylisation. Common elements are

  • hipped and gabled roof forms,

  • verandahs,

  • timber shingle cladding and

  • rough cast

  • showcase of Federation detailing.

Location on a curved section of Shellcove Road which is mostly steeply sloping and is formed by the intersections with Wycombe Road and Bannerman Street, the houses of the group are predominantly on the higher, western side, forming a continuous row, with Nos 71 and 73 on the opposite side

  • 64 Shellcove Road, Neutral Bay

  • Bovington, 66 Shellcove Road, Neutral Bay

  • Cossington, 70 Shellcove Road, Neutral Bay

  • 71 Shellcove Road, Neutral Bay

  • Trequean, 72 Shellcove Road, Neutral Bay

  • 73 Shellcove Road, Neutral Bay

  • 74 Shellcove Road, Neutral Bay

  • 78 Shellcove Road, Neutral Bay

Nearby houses (60A & 66 Shellcove Road and 75 Wycombe Road) support and enhance the group.

This area was developed by the Neutral Bay Land Co. in the late 19th century. 

 

3. The (Lower) Shellcove Road Group

 

By the beginning of the 20th century, Neutral Bay and Cremorne were developing as "alternative society suburbs", populated by the kind of people who were attracted to the Arts and Crafts architectural style that was in vogue at the time.[6]

This style was an attempt to get away from mass production and give homes the "human touch". Notable examples soon appeared in the area.

Architects: B.J. Waterhouse, Spain & Rowe

A fine, cohesive group of single and double storey Federation houses of large size and district stylisation.

Common elements are hipped and gabled roof forms, verandahs, timber shingle cladding and rough cast showcase of Federation detailing, such as rusticated stone boundary walls and timber work, which form the finest streetscape on Kurraba Point and one of the more noteworthy near the harbour generally. 

Nearby houses (60A & 66 Shellcove Road and 75 Wycombe Road) support and enhance the group. This area was developed by the Neutral Bay Land Co. in the late 19th century.

Until the mid-1920s BJ Waterhouse's domestic architecture drew on the Arts and Crafts Movement​, with steeply gabled roofs, extensive use of sandstone in the basements, shingle tiles and roughcast exterior wall surfaces.

The Shellcove Road Group consists of: 

 

4. Harrison Street Group

Statement of significance:

An excellent group of Federation houses which form a continuous streetscape of varied and interesting buildings.

This group displays the trend to produce an Australian vernacular architectural style evolved from Queen Anne and Arts and Crafts idioms based on the bungalow form.

Nos 4 and 6 are of particular interest, whilst No 10 is modest but complements the group. No 12 forms a natural boundary to the groups.

 
Lucellen 72 Kurraba Road 2181385.jpg
Mona 132 Kurraba Rd Neutral Bay 2181369.
Neutral Bay Lodge.jpg
Walden 2_75-kurraba-rd_edited.jpg
Wavertree 65 Kurraba Rd Neutral Bay 2181

5. Kurraba Point Conservation Area, Neutral Bay

The name "Kurraba Point" was taken from the point of land on which it is located, between Neutral Bay and Shell Cove. It was part of the suburb of Neutral Bay until 4 June 2010 when "Kurraba Point" was formally gazetted as a suburb in its own right.[7][8]

 

The Kurraba Point Conservation Area is significant:

(a) As an early harbourside suburb that has retained significant elements if its major 19th century development phase with good examples of later periods of development including some fine inter war flat buildings.

(b) For the large number of architecturally distinguished homes some that have a strong relationship with the water and include the works of B. J. Waterhouse, Jeaffreson Jackson and Walter Liberty Vernon.

(c) For its irregular subdivision pattern with irregular street pattern and widths that allied to the topography and plantings and mature trees add to a high quality luxuriant character.

The gardens and landscaping associated with (these) residences are generally extensive and well established which, together with mature trees gives a luxuriant character, especially when viewed from the harbour and Cremorne Point.

Individual houses are usually substantial, mainly detached, two storeys, often with basement (or third storey) levels or attic storeys (both traditional and of recent origin).

Stylistically both Federation Queen Anne and Federation Arts and Crafts style buildings are evident and all the most exuberant features of these styles are present.

For example

conical roofs (No 146 Kurraba Road),

sandstone base courses,

attic windows,

tall rectilinear chimneys,

shutters,

decorative gables with timber fretwork,

shingles and finials,

stucco string courses and

at 29 Shellcove Road, an eyelid dormer.

The large size of much housing means that they appear bulky on long narrow allotments and in Shell Cove Road in particular houses are often only 2m to 3m from the street boundary. 

 

Significant Neutral Bay homes include:

  • Brent Knowle (31 Shellcove Road) is described in its Heritage lising as "a picturesque early 20th century gentleman's residence by the eminent Australian architect B. J. Waterhouse. It is perhaps his most important early work."[10]

  • Gingie (176 Kurraba Road) is a picturesque Queen Anne style house which typifies the area's early development.[11]

  • Gundamaine (39 Shellcove Road) is a Federation Queen Anne residence by the architects Spain and Rowe, with "an exceptionally strong visual streetscape element".[12]

  • Hollowforth (146 Kurraba Road) is described in its Heritage lising as "a dramatic and innovative architectural statement in the shingle style by one of the leading architects of the Federation era, E. Jeaffreson Jackson. Hollowforth joins with a number of Horbury Hunt's commissions to represent the finest examples of this style within the State."[13]

  • Honda (55 Shellcove Road) was the first house built in the area, and one of the first residential developments of the grant to Alfred Thrupp. It is one of the earliest surviving houses on Sydney's north shore.[14]

  • Kurraba House (2 Baden Rd) replaces an earlier home of the same name, which is thought to be the inspiration for the name "Kurraba Point". This house was most likely built in the 1850s when John Cooper began to offer 99-year leaseholds from Thrupps Grant. It has now been converted to flats, and has been Heritage listed.[4][15]

  • Nutcote, where the renowned Australian children’s author and illustrator May Gibbs lived, is now a visitable house museum on Kurraba Point.[16]

  • Once Upon A Time (115A Kurraba Road) is a four storey building, now divided into three apartments, on a steeply terraced site beside the water at the Kurraba Road wharf. The building has parapets all round, and curved walls with curved windows.[17]

  • 9 Shellcove Rd, home of prolific children’s author Leslie Rees and writer Coralie Rees.

 

Above:  23 Wycombe Road, Kurraba Point, NSW

Below:  72 Wycombe Rd Neutral Bay NSW

The Wycombe Road Group

A varied and stimulating group of Victorian and Federation houses of domestic scale forming a corridor along an important street.

They form a significant group of high quality houses which together characterise Neutral Bay and contribute to the qualities of the vicinity. 

 

This is a group of varied houses comprising on the west side, three Victorian houses, two pairs of Queen Ann semi-detached pairs and two substantial Federation buildings.

The east side has a continuous row of Federation single storey houses, culminating in a single two storey house.This building is designed in the various styles.

 

Aubin Street Neutral Bay Federation Precinct