Millers Point auctions raise over $2 million for new public housing
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MEDIA RELEASE Millers Point auctions raise over $2 million for new public housing
Housing NSW Chief Executive Mike Allen today announced that the auction of 99 year leases for two historic homes at Millers Point last night realised a total of $2.23 million.
“121 Kent Street went under the hammer for $980,000 while 44 Argyle Place sold for $1.25 million,” Mr Allen said.
“The highly successful lease program has so far realised $34.13 million and all money raised is being invested in new social housing units.
“The initial program was to sell the leases on 16 properties in Millers Point as part of the Inner West Social Housing Strategy.
“Proceeds from these auctions went to building new social housing in suburbs such as Concord, Abbotsford and Camperdown, as well as the 88 architecturally–designed, environmentally sustainable units located on the block bounded by Lilyfield Road, Balmain Road and Edward Street, Lilyfield.
“Following the success of the first 16 properties, a further 20 vacant, high-value properties in Millers Point are being put up for auction under the 99-year lease program.
“Revenue raised from extending the lease program will partly fund the social housing component of the Cowper Street Glebe Redevelopment Project,” Mr Allen said.
Mr Allen said the Millers Point lease sales program has directly funded the development of more appropriate housing to meet the current and future needs of social housing tenants.
“The program has also reduced the very significant maintenance liability to Housing NSW of these State heritage-listed properties. This would have cost Housing NSW millions of dollars in restoring and maintaining the properties to the standard required by the heritage authorities, further reducing the ability of Housing NSW to provide accommodation for people in need.
“The houses themselves will be renovated and cared for by the new owners under the supervision of the NSW Heritage Council. The new owners themselves will enjoy living in a beautiful, heritage house, which they have restored to its original intended, residential function,” Mr Allen said.
Agents, Andrew Stewart and Lorraine Crawford, from Di Jones Real Estate said they were delighted with the results.
“These character-filled terraces have the CBD and the world’s most beautiful harbour on their doorstep, with their future as State heritage listed properties secure,” Mr Stewart said.
3 August 2011“The next two properties up for auction are 94 Kent Street and 58 Argyle Place in September.
“Leasing these properties will ensure their restoration and allow us to use the money on more appropriate homes for those most in need,” Mr Allen said.
THE HISTORY OF 94 KENT STREET AND 58 ARGYLE PLACE, MILLERS POINT
94 Kent Street, which became know as ‘Toxteth’ in the early 20th century, is a mid 19th century townhouse of Colonial Regency appearance, comprising two storeys with an attic, single and double storey rear skillions, carriageway and stone flagged courtyard. It is located on the western side of Observatory Hill on the site of the extensive stone quarry that ran the length of the present Kent Street, below Observatory Hill. The site originally included stables and a coach house. The property underwent some refurbishment works in the late Victorian era and again during the late 20th Century.
The land on which the house is located was first acquired by John Terry Hughes, via a crown grant from the Governor Sir Richard Burke, in 1835. The land was subject to a series of subdivisions, and the site of the current house was purchased in 1869 by David Brown (1820 – 1889). Brown was originally a yeoman farmer from the Manning River on the North Coast of NSW, where he and his wife Sarah had raised their eight children. In 1864 Brown established the merchant firm of David Brown and Son with his son Alexander, which operated from nearby Sussex Street. Brown became well known and respected in Sydney as a produce merchant and commission agent.
The house was built for David Brown by the prominent Sydney builder Alexander Dean (1827 – 1905). It was originally numbered No. 50 and was known as ‘Kilrea House’, after the birth place of Sarah Brown, near Derry in Ireland. The earliest listing of the property in the City Council’s assessment books described ‘Kilrea’ as being of brick and slate and having three floors and ten rooms.
Brown sold the property in 1876 to Fredrick Gibbins, a ship’s captain, commission agent and produce merchant. Gibbins and his wife Catherine, along with several children, occupied the property until 1885, by which time it was numbered No. 94. Gibbons was involved in a variety of business enterprises in the 1870s and 1880s, including oyster culture leasing at Newcastle and in the Hawkesbury. In 1906 he joined forces with other oyster merchants and formed the firm Woodward, Gibbins & Comino, which dominated the oyster market in NSW. Gibbins also bought and sold considerable parcels of land in Sydney and Taree as well as sailing vessels. When Gibbins sold the property in 1885 it was advertised as “a commodious, substantial, well finished and valuable residence.” At that time the property had an excellent view and access to the harbour, as demonstrated by a number of historic photos and paintings from the 19th Century.
William Alexander Curphey (1832 – 1893), a master mariner, purchased the property in 1885. Curphey captained ships sailing between Sydney and Pacific Islands in the 1860s and 1870s for the Queensland Steam and Navigation Company. Following Curphey’s death in 1893, his second wife and a daughter from his first marriage continued to reside
at the property until 1905. The property, including the rest of Millers Point, had been resumed by the Government in 1901, following the outbreak of the Bubonic Plague. Upon the departure of the Curpheys in 1905, the property was occupied by the Wulf family from 1905 to 1932, and the Isles family from 1932 until the mid 1950s. The Wulf and Isles families were both involved in stevedoring and transport.
58 Argyle Place is one of a group of five substantial four-level early to mid Victorian terraces, built between 1843 and 1848 by Captain George Grimes, a whaling captain, on part of the grounds of his original home, the c1831 ‘Grimes Cottage’, which still stands at No. 50 Argyle Place. Together they form one of the earliest and most significant terrace groups surviving in Sydney.
The terraces are of brick construction with stucco exterior finish, lined in imitation ashlar. The group are of particular historic interest because of the amount of original fabric and significant documentary evidence of their development in the form of early sketches by artists such as Conrad Marten in 1843, and very early photographs dating from the late 1850s and early 1860s.
Grimes was born in 1801 to Charles Grimes, the Second Surveyor-General of NSW, and Elizabeth Matthews, a convict who had arrived in the colony in 1792. Grimes became a seafarer, and by the 1830s was a master mariner and the commander of the Barque Woodlark. In 1834 George Grime married Mary Underwood, the daughter of James Underwood, shipbuilder, merchant and distiller. They had nine children between 1834 and 1850, and their first home was ‘Grimes Cottage’ at 50 Argyle Place.
Grimes progressively built Nos. 52 – 60 Argyle Place from east to west commencing with No.s, 52 and 54 in 1842. The buildings are early examples of investment in residential property by a local resident, and demonstrate a pattern of local development (building in stages as money permitted) that was to become common in Millers Point. Grimes’ terraces were amongst the first quality dwellings to be built in Millers Point. No 58 originally had a single storey Georgian style verandah similar to that surviving at no. 60 Argyle Place, and a shingle roof (converted to slates in the 1850s). It was also originally served by a coach house and stable. Two storey Victorian style cast iron verandahs were added to No.s 52 – 58 between 1865 and 1880.
The occupants of No. 58 are recorded as including in 1851, Edward Cook, a Solicitor; in 1857 Alfred Charles Delehery, a shipping reporter; in 1859 Joseph Bottrill, a merchant clerk; in 1861 Charles Macdonald, a wine and spirit merchant; in 1863 George Grimes (Junior), a merchant; in 1867 Maurice Ickerson, a merchant; 1879 – 1886 Thomas Playfair, a Justice of the Peace; in 1887 P T Bull, a bookseller; in 1889 Arthur James Harrison, a sergeant of police; and from 1897 it commenced operating as a boarding house under the management of John Fitzgerald for more than thirty years.