• Jon Ruwolt

The steadfast allure of Sydney’s Federation homes

By Danielle Giannopoulos Editorial Producer Domain.com.au March 27, 2020


As the name suggests, Federation architecture was conceived in the decades before and after Australia’s Federation in 1901 as a departure from British designs.

Breezy timber lattice verandahs were built for enjoying our warmer weather, and waratahs and kookaburras featured in stained-glass windows celebrated our native flora and fauna.

More than 100 years later and much to the delight of buyers, Federation houses still remain in Sydney due to diligent heritage protection.

Tim Smith, director of heritage operations at Heritage NSW, says history-rich homes are vital to our community, and it’s no surprise that they remain popular with buyers.

“People like heritage character and are drawn to suburbs that have those fabulous design details, materials and craftsmanship that add so much to a place and its feel,” Smith says.

Heritage-listed Appian Way in Burwood is home to some of the finest in the inner west.


On the North Shore of Sydney, Kuring-gai Avenue in Turramurra ranks alongside pockets of Wahroonga and Killara, that they proudly sport some of the best Federation heritage homes on the upper north shore, while on the lower north shore there are Federation homes of a grand scale in Mosman and Neutral Bay.


Smith says studies of community attitudes to heritage-protected Federation homes suggest the homes do retain their value over time and investing in their restoration only increases their market appeal.

  • He says home owners often assume owning and maintaining an older house requires more effort, but those who are drawn to the charm of living inside an original Federation home will find it’s not the case.

  • If you’re aware of the council’s guidelines and don’t have dramatic renovation plans, the experience of owning a part of Australian history is only a pleasure.

“If you look at them as an asset not as a difficulty, I think it changes people’s perspective on the opportunity.”

'Lauriston' Russell Lea NSW

Where period splendour meets contemporary elegance:


The current owners purchased the property in 2006 because of its substantial land size and period features.

  • “We adore historic houses with Federation and Victorian features.

  • They are built to last and they exude a grace and majesty that modern constructions can never begin to emulate,” the vendors says.

They were keen to keep the home’s handsome facade, with the traditional slate roof, verandah with timber detailing and leadlight windows, well maintained.

  • A new open-plan living area, kitchen, bathrooms and main bedroom have given the house a greater footprint.

“I love the history surrounding the house and its name, Lauriston. Years ago, former owners turned up and asked for a tour of the house. A butcher’s family had grown up here and they were very thankful that we had retained many of the features including the stained-glass windows.”

  • A magnificent example of Federation architecture, this grand family residence stands proudly amid beautifully landscaped gardens on an impressive 701.9sqm corner block.

  • Built c1908 and displaying fine craftsmanship throughout.


Gallery of Lauriston, 2 Lenore Street Russell Lea NSW


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