top of page

Previous Page: Haberfield, Garden Suburb    Next Page:  Mosman, Federation Suburb

Ku-ring-gai Federation Heritage

Blue Gum High Forest

Note: Ku-ring-gai Council has about 40 Heritage Conservation Areas;

view most of the listed areas here

Ku-ring-gai residents are fighting redevelopment pressures - Read more....

The heritage of Ku-ring-gai comprises a rare blend of fine domestic architecture within a landscape of indigenous forests and exotic planting and gardens.


Ku-ring-gai is `a municipality of national and cultural significance for its fine collection of twentieth-century domestic architecture, which is of high aesthetic, historic, scientific and social values, benefiting past, present and future generations. 

Many of the older homes are architect-designed and surrounded by attractive gardens.

The established landscape and visual character of Ku-ring-gai need to be preserved and enhanced.

The character of Ku-ring-gai is defined by

  • Large indigenous and exotic trees whose canopies form the skyline, characterise the streets and dominate garden spaces throughout the whole area; and

  • The unique presentation of private gardens which are given due importance in residential settings and designs.

  • Remnants of indigenous forests and Blue Gum High Forests* within the municipality.

Kuringgai locality map.jpg
Ku-Ring-Gai Council has 26 State Heritage listed sites,
and 688(!) Local Heritage listed sites,
safe-guarded by the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society 


There are way too many to examine here, and anyway not all are Federation-era houses.

eg: The Turramurra Ku-ring-gai Avenue Heritage Conservation Area is of historical significance for one of the most prestigious Federation-period streets in the Sydney metropolitan area with 21 heritage-listed houses (see below).

So here are my pick of the Federation-era listed sites in this Ku-Ring-Gai Council area. 


NB The earliest listed local heritage house nominations (Municipality of Ku-ring-gai heritage study, 1987) are not available on the web, and in the Federation era there was a Ku-RIng-Gai Council fire (when?) which destroyed most paper records, especially of building approvals. 

Heritage of Ku-ring-gai

The distinctiveness of Ku-ring-gai lies in the fact that it was developed progressively throughout its history as the needs of the community grew, with input and interaction between residents, architects and development.

Ku-ring-gai is distinctive enough to compare favourably with other exemplary garden suburbs in England and America particularly Bedford Park in London, Letchworth in Hertfordshire, Oak Bluffs in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts and Forest Hills in New York


Many books have been written about Ku-ring-gai's history, its architecture and natural environment; its picturesque quality and the notable residents that have lived and worked in its suburbs.

 - Zeny Edwards

Notable Suburbs and Houses within Ku-ring-gai Council are:

Gracious Gordon

'Gracious' Gordon

Housing in the area consists predominantly of houses on medium to large-sized lots.

  • There are a few unsympathetic alterations or intrusions into the area.

  • The Gordon Precinct is significant in the way it epitomises the area and era in both the excellent, intact nature of its houses, their gardens and street plantings. - Zeny Edwards


Gordon in 1921 was described as

Tulkiyan Exterior-House
Theace, 24 Nelson Street Gordon 13.jpg
Millthorn 38 Nelson Street Gordon
Aberdour (formerly Gortgowan), 23 Nelson Street, Gordon NSW

'Aberdour' is a gracious 1901 Federation Queen Anne residence on 3,300sqm showcasing a sympathetic renovation over two impressive levels.

  • architect thought to be G M Pitt jnr. for William and Bessie Fitzsimons, he was a Macquarie St. dentist

  • Gortgowan named for an estate in Ireland

  • gates were originally part of an 1876 iron fence enclosing Hyde Park, Sydney

  • bay window under an over-sized gable with ornate timber detailing

  • bespoke joinery, palatial interiors

  • superb alfresco entertaining encompassing formal gardens,

  • north-south tennis court and in-ground pool

  • elegant foyer, opulent formal lounge and formal dining room, both with marble fireplaces, 

  • sumptuous master suite with a dressing room, fireplace and honed marble twin ensuite.

  • huge family and casual dining area with a gas fireplace,

  • gourmet Carrera marble kitchen, guest bedroom and exquisite bathroom with a spa bath. 

  • Sold on 24 Jan 2011 for $5,775,000

Rochester, 51 Werona Avenue, Gordon NSW


Rochester has been a local landmark for well over a century. 

Set on approximately 1151sqm, Rochester's formal parterre gardens, circular gravel drive and unique facade are part of Gordon's historical fabric.

  • themed colour schemes in every room offering an incomparable ambience

  • magnificent entrance hall with striking ornate arches, lavishly decorated ceilings throughout

  • imposing formal lounge with bay window, separate dining room with fireplace

  • master bedroom with huge ensuite, including bath and double shower

  • four other bedrooms and bathrooms, including one each in the self-contained downstairs in-law or teenage accommodation

  • beautiful wraparound open front verandah, an enclosed side verandah, office/study and tv room

  • Sold on 05 Dec 2013 for $2,338,000

Read more:

Theace,  24 Nelson Street, Gordon NSW

Gordon mansion sells for record $6 million

Domain - Anna Anderson  DEC 17, 2015​

The leafy suburb of Gordon, on Sydney’s upper north shore train line, has a new property price record:

  • The grand, heritage-listed residence Theace, at 24 Nelson Street, has sold for $6.05 million.

  • The sale trumped Gordon’s previous record, set in 2010, when Aberdour, the Queen Anne Federation residence on 3236 square metres across the road, at 23 Nelson Street, sold for $5,775,000.

  • The pool at Theace, 24 Nelson St, Gordon. Photo:

  • That record was almost beaten in August when a six-bedroom McIntosh Street house, on half the land size of Aberdour, sold for $5.75 million.

  • All three properties come with the obligatory tennis court, pool, modern extension and at least double-car garaging.

  • Theace has the largest land holding, its exquisitely landscaped gardens covering 3550 square metres.

Veteran property developer Peter Icklow, who is chief executive of Monarch Investments Group, and his wife, Kea, paid $330,000 for the house in 1983.

  • A few months later they paid $215,000 for the neighbouring property.

  • Since then, the property-savvy couple have restored, renovated and extended the house across the former boundary, tripling the size of the original house, designed by Oliver Harley in 1904. 

  • Mr Icklow said it had taken 12 months to sell the home. “

Tulkiyan, 707 Pacific Highway, Gordon NSW


Tulkiyan was designed by Bertrand James Waterhouse, an architect who was popular for his residential work (he was also responsible for the design of Nutcote, the home of painter May Gibbs).

  • He designed Tulkiyan in the Arts and Crafts style that he favoured in much of his work.

  • Tulkiyan was built on part of a land grant that went back to 1823. The land changed hands many times until it was acquired by the Donaldson family, who commissioned Waterhouse to design the house.

Tulkiyan stayed in the hands of the Donaldson family until 1994, when it was bequeathed to Ku-ring-gai Council. Tulkiyan has a state heritage listing.


December 2017 Newsletter:

Tulkiyan, the State Heritage Listed 1913 Gordon house owned by Ku-ring-gai Council, has been closed to public access since 2012.

  • From 2004 the house had been opened to the public for open days and group visits run by the Friends of Tulkiyan volunteers, who included a number of KHS members....

  • Last year (2016) Ku-ring-gai Council made an Agreement with the Historic Houses Association of Australia (HHAA) to administer Tulkiyan with a view to reopening for public access.

  • An accident with the hot water service inside the property has since damaged part of the house and affected its State Listed contents. These materials are soon to undergo extensive remediation and conservation work.

  • Tulkiyan is a valuable piece of local heritage which should be properly restored, and managed to continue its role in describing the local history of Ku-ring-gai.


'Lush' Killara

Killara is often described as 'a lush haven', 'a quiet retreat', and an area of 'solid respectability'. 

  • Killara was the ultimate garden suburb, free of shops and offering a lush retreat from the commercialism of the city where many of its residents worked.

    • The blocks of land were subdivided into large allotments that often exceeded an acre (4046 square metres) in size.

    • Most of the houses were substantial and in proportion to the land; many were mansions designed to suit the lifestyle of the moneyed gentry who lived in them.

    • The suburb developed around the railway station opened in 1899, between Lindfield and Gordon. 

  • Killara consists of an area of residences ranging from single-storey 1920s bungalows in the northern section, two-storey flats near Killara Station, large 1920s and 1930s mansions in Stanhope Road, large 1920s and 1930s houses in the central section of the precinct and more modest 1930s and 1940s as well as post-World War II houses in the eastern section of the precinct. 

  • Most significant Federation houses:

    • Woodlands (formerly known as Inglewood) 1 Werona Avenue, Killara​ (1884)

    • Currawinya, 27 Powell Street Killara​ (1901-1920)

    • Fairlands, 65 Springdale Road Killara (1903)

    • Fane Edge, 663 Pacific Highway Killara (1901-1920)

    • Goondee, 33 Killara Avenue Killara (1901-1920)

    • Lange, 49 Springdale Road Killara (1901-1920)

    • Misrule (including outbuildings), 36 Greengate Road Killara (1904)

    • Poitiers, 66 Springdale Road, Killara (1901-1920)

    • The Oaks, 517 Pacific Highway Killara (1907)

    • Yilleen, 28 Springdale Road Killara (1901-1920)



Poitiers, 66 Springdale Road, Killara (1904)


Built in 1904, Poitiers was once the home of Bert Oldfield for which the nearby ovals have been named. Tightly held for 40 years, Poitiers is an iconic Killara estate with a magnificent 1,906m2 site and a wide 35m frontage.

Upon entry, the beauty of the classic architecture is immediately evident with rich timber joinery, soaring ceilings with decoration and several original fireplaces. Sweeping across a substantial single level it boasts a decadently proportioned ballroom-sized formal lounge and music area and large formal dining.

Mooralbeck 29 Stanhope Road, Killara (1904)

Tucked completely away in ​dress-circle Killara, with the feel of a country estate, the gravel driveway opens to reveal the grand C1904 Mooralbeek estate plus a second significant contemporary home.

  • Generations have enjoyed the landmark Federation which rests N/E facing, high on the block bordered by a game-ready tennis court. 

  • Stunning Arts and Crafts Federation, timber floors, soaring ceilings, picture rails

  • Large entry vestibule welcomes, gracious library or sitting room with original fire

  • Light filled formal lounge room wrapped in windows, banquet-sized formal dining

  • Lovely sunroom, panelled walls, stunning games/billiard room with gas fireplace

  • Exquisite joinery, casual dining rests by the near new designer stone topped kitchen

Woodlands, 1 Werona Avenue, Killara​ (1884)


Ethel Turner’s ‘Woodlands’ - the home of the children’s author...
Woodlands' at Killlara is best known as the family home of acclaimed Australian children's author Ethel Turner
(1870 - 1958).

  • It was within the walls of the two storey Victorian era home that Ethel wrote her most famous work 'Seven Little Australians' and its sequel ‘The Family at Misrule’.

  • The house was built around 1884 but was remodelled during the Federation period with further additions during the 1920s. The owner wished to remove these latter rather unsightly additions at the rear of the property that would enhance ‘Woodlands’ heritage significance and thereby increase its value in a high conservation area and heritage conscious real estate market. 


'Leafy' Lindfield


Lindfield contains residential housing of California bungalow and federation style, in double brick and tile construction. Australian native bushland in Garigal National Park and Lane Cove National Park borders the suburb.

  • The houses tend to be separate dwellings (91%) which are

    • generally situated amongst a garden and tree-dominated landscape,

    • often set back from the road,

    • within tree-lined streetscapes.

    • Families reside in most of the houses. The early houses were built close to the North Shore railway line.

    • Nelson Road (Heritage declared) contains a significant collection of Federation Houses both renovated and even grand.

  • Lindfield consists of an area of mostly single-storey 1920s bungalows.

    • East Lindfield: consists of an area of single-storey 1920s and 1930s bungalows in the west section and two-storey 1930s and 1940s houses in the east section of the precinct.


Most significant Federation houses:

  • 1901-1920 Rathlyn 5 Ortona Road, Lindfield​

  • 1901-1920 Mignon 8 Treatts Road, Lindfield

  • 1901-1920 Quiraing, 25 Highfield Road, Lindfield

Quiraing, 25 Highfield Road, Lindfield NSW


‘Quiriang’ c. 1900, is a splendid Federation residence which retains the traditional elegance of its grand origins accentuated with unrivalled luxury

  • Estate sized land parcel with rear lane access

  • Elevated street presence privately set behind exquisite Peter Fudge designed landscaping enjoying a privileged north to rear aspect

  • Classic central hall introducing stunning Brushbox floors, soaring pressed metal ceilings, leadlight, corbel archway, magnificent fireplaces, grand spaces

  • Resplendent updates and additions utilising outstanding quality throughout

  • Formal lounge and banquet sized dining room for impressive entertaining and elegant occasions that showcase the finer things in life

  • Spacious casual living and dining bathed in ambient light, a natural hub for family life with seamless indoor/outdoor flow to the terrace and pool

  • Brilliant entertainer’s kitchen, marble bench tops, custom cabinetry, premium fittings, two Miele pyrolytic ovens, wide gas cooktop, two dishwashers, Qasair range hood, large breakfast bar, walk in pantry

  • Six large bedrooms, versatile layout offering a seventh bedroom if desired, each presenting its own unique style such as verandah or balcony access, master with walk in robe and richly appointed ensuite

  • Three superbly renovated stylish bathrooms, marble features, floor heating, two full family bathrooms, large fitted internal laundry with outdoor access

  • Outdoor entertaining and very private and spacious landscaped surrounds beautifully illuminated for evenings making it perfect for large parties

  • Last sold for $1,390,000 on 28/10/2003


'Pleasant' Pymble

“Pymble is more family focused, very much so,” says Jill Smith from Savills Cordeau Marshall Gordon.

  • “Pymble Public is a very popular primary school and a lot of people want to be within its catchment area.”

  • There’s also Pymble Ladies College and more than a dozen other schools within a 30-minute drive of Pymble Station.


There are excellent examples of individual houses of merit, including the Walter Burley Griffin-designed 'Coppins' on the corner of Telegraph Road and Graham Avenue.


Federation Style Heritage on Telegraph Road, Pymble

From 1820 Telegraph Rd marked the main timber getting route through Pymble and Matthews grants towards Stoney Creek Rd (now Mona Vale Rd).

Telegraph Road

Carinya, 37 Telegraph Road Pymble​: epitomises Upper North Shore Federation glory – it is enormous, retains all of its heritage-protected features, and is very exclusive.

  • Amazingly, you would not necessarily realise the estate was there –

  • its 102 metre frontage gives the impression that you’re walking past a well-heeled school, or several different houses (which, to some extent, you are, as Carinya offers two houses over three titles).

Read more:

40 Telegraph Road Pymble animation.gif
Redriff_53 Telegraph Road Pymble Animati
Sandon, 31 Telegraph Road Pymble

An iconic residence, this grand Federation c.1908 home is privately set on 3,128sqm of lavish park-like gardens cascading to a tennis court and pool and capturing uninterrupted city skyline views.

  • Timeless formal living to a classic marble verandah and elegant formal dining

  • Traditional study plus beautiful family room, nursery and rumpus with city views

  • Modern kitchen with two ovens, gas cooking and superb butler's pantry

  • Timeless bedrooms, built-in robes, classic bathrooms, divine vintage powder room

  • 12 foot ornate ceilings, leadlight windows, bay windows and original fireplaces

'Claremont' 40 Telegraph Road, Pymble


C 1897. A Landmark Queen Anne Mansion set in a parklike one acre

  • A gorgeous old home with a relaxed lifestyle, tons of land for the kids to roam and loads of privacy to protect you from the bustle of the modern world!

  • Charm and character from and era past, yet superbly restored to enjoy the modern lifestyle.

  • High ceilings, large rooms, open fires and return verandah’s

  • Grand entry with the original tessellated tiles, stunning formal lounge and banquet dining

Redriff, 53 Telegraph Road, Pymble

World class Federation residence with panoramic city views.

  • Privately nestled on almost 4,000 sqm of park-like grounds. Positioned in one of Pymble’s best streets, amongst prestige homes.

  • This exceptional world class mansion is simply breathtaking from the first impression to the last.

  • Showcasing a grand sense of scale with exquisite finishes and fittings, it is simply incomparable in its level of luxury & extraordinary attention to detail.

  • Some of the many captivating features include high patterned ceilings, stained glass windows, open fireplaces, enchanting return verandahs and spectacular city views.

Alister Brae

Alister Brae 24 King Edward Street Pymble

  • The first owners of ‘Alistair Brae’, Samuel and Annie Head, bought the land in 1904 and built a house typical of the Queen Anne Federation style, naming it to commemorate Annie’s maiden name, McAlistair. Nothing is known of the architect because all plans were lost in Ku-ring-gai Council fire.

  • ‘Alister Brae’ has sandstone foundations, garden walls and paving.

  • ‘Alistair Brae’ shows a strong Scottish influence in the interior joinery and decorative glass, and in the well-crafted timber on the wide return verandah. a picturesque turret above the corner bay brings an added dimension to the landmark slate roof of this gracious Queen Anne style house.

“Alister Brae”. 24 King Edward St.
Alister Brae 24 King Edward Street, Pymb
“Alister Brae”. 24 King Edward St.
“Alister Brae”. 24 King Edward St.
“Alister Brae”. 24 King Edward St.1
“Alister Brae”. 24 King Edward St.
“Alister Brae”. 24 King Edward St.
“Alister Brae”. 24 King Edward St.
“Alister Brae”. 24 King Edward St.
“Alister Brae”. 24 King Edward St.
“Alister Brae”. 24 King Edward St.
“Alister Brae”. 24 King Edward St.
“Alister Brae”. 24 King Edward St.
“Alister Brae”. 24 King Edward St.
 Clooneen, 149 Livingstone Avenue, Pymble 

  • (Was) a Federation Landmark

  • (Was) a true grande dame on 2778 square metres of estate surrounds, Clooneen had been lovingly restored and enlarged to become one of the most distinguished landmarks amid many prestige homes and the leafy environs of one of Pymble's best streets. 

  • Sold for ​$2,625,000 on 02 Jun 2011

Court approves demolition of historic Pymble home for retirement village

September 30, 2019


A community campaign to stop a century-old Pymble home from being turned into a retirement village has been lost following a legal challenge. - David Barwell, North Shore Times 

On 8 May 2018 Council resolved to make an interim heritage order over 149 Livingstone Avenue, Pymble. On 11 May 2018 the interim heritage order came into effect.



  • A heritage assessment has been prepared for the local heritage listing of 149 Livingstone Avenue, Pymble.

  • The assessment found that 149 Livingstone Avenue, Pymble did not reach the threshold of significance for local or State heritage listing.

RECOMMENDATION: That Council does not proceed with the process for the heritage listing of 149 Livingstone Ave

The State Government had placed an interim heritage order on a century-old home in Pymble, which was set to be bulldozed for a controversial retirement village development.

  • Plans submitted to Ku-ring-gai Council last year proposed to demolish the property at 149 Livingstone Ave to make way for the construction of 19 seniors housing villas.

    • Residents turned out for a rally outside the house in Pymble last year to oppose the development.

    • The proposal, submitted on behalf of Goldfields Central, sparked a petition by more than 100 residents amid concerns about the potential impact on the character of the suburb.

    • Similar concerns were raised by Ku-ring-gai Council, which rejected the plans and requested the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) place an interim heritage order on the property.

    • The OEH approved the request on May 10 — meaning the owner will have to apply to the Heritage Council of NSW to carry out any works on the property. The order runs for a 12 month period.


“You can’t prune a medium-sized tree in your own back yard but apparently knocking down a heritage house for development is no problem,” Pymble resident Boru Tumulty said at the time.


Coppins, 29 Telegraph Road Pymble

(Historic: 23-29 Telegraph Road, Pymble)
“Coppins” is a landmark estate at Pymble. 

  • It is an example of the Art Deco/Prairie style. 

  • The vast Telegraph Road property includes a significant stone house designed by Walter Burley Griffin in 1936 as his last and largest residential commission in Australia.

  • Griffin planned the building in 1935 shortly before he left for India, where he died two years later.

  • It traded for $6.1 million in 2001. 


'Sleepy' Roseville:

Roseville contains many fine examples of Federation, Inter-war and Californian bungalow housing styles complemented by fine gardens and leafy streetscapes.


  • Little subdivision or redevelopment has occurred.

  • East Roseville consists of an area of single-storey 1920s and 1930s bungalows in the west section close to Babbage Road and two-storey 1930s and 1940s houses in the eastern section​​