In Sutherland Shire, we’re blessed with many historic buildings that offer a window into our past and a view of our future.

How would we understand the history of early Australia if The Rocks hadn’t been preserved? History is all around us. We see how our forebears used buildings and construction for leisure, and to control the climate within the walls of the structures they built.

The few remaining Georgian and Federation properties in the Shire give us a glimpse into how life was lived when these buildings were first inhabited and more easily understand the history of Sutherland Shire. We’ve chosen a few examples below.

Caringbah South: Fernleigh

This Georgian residence at 44-46 Fernleigh Road was built for an early settler to the district in 1821. In fact, Sutherland historians believe it to be the first residential property constructed in what is now Sutherland Shire.

In 1860 the owner (assumed to be John Connell Laycock (himself a descendant of John Connell of Kurnell) sold it to the Hon. Thomas Holt MLA, who had been acquiring pastoral land in NSW and Queensland from the 1840s. This purchase alone reminds us that much of Sutherland Shire was devoted to agriculture and poultry farming for much of its history.

Previously known as York House, then Mandalay, the home was named Fernleigh in 1888.
Fernleigh is an elegant Colonial home, constructed from local sandstone with a deep wrap-around verandah and a slate roof. Over the years, it has suffered many additions and indignities including Victorian chimney pots, a ballroom, and an Art Deco bathroom. At one stage during its chequered career (while owned by the Alcocks/Alcott family from 1948) it housed a private zoo that included a monkey, an orangutan, a deer, kangaroos, emus and other assorted animals. It is still a notable residence, the 7-bedroom 2-bathroom home changing hands most recently in 2006 for $1,850,000.

Caringbah South: Rellum residential

As Australians and Australian architects fell under the influence of Hollywood glamour, the Spanish Mission (Inter-War Spanish Mission) gained popularity. Architects in the 1920s and 1930s believed that this style, with its arched loggias and light-coloured applied stucco, was ideally suited to the Australian climate; at least, in Sydney where summers can be punishing. In Sutherland Shire, a prime example is at 4 Frangipani Place. Believed to have been built at some time between 1930 and 1943, the home exhibits typical Spanish Mission style with terracotta roof tiles and triple-arched upper verandah.

Caringbah South: Terraces and former stables

These historic buildings at 28 &32 Water St date from around 1889 and are built in the Victorian Georgian style. This architectural style was a continuation of the early Georgian style in which many of Australia’s early buildings were constructed, with symmetry and pleasing proportions. With the advent of better-quality supplies in the Victorian era, construction was modified to include high-quality bricks or locally quarried stone, slate shingles or the modern roofing material of corrugated iron sheeting. These Water St terraces also incorporate the newer features of bull-nosed verandah roofing, cast iron columns, brackets and fringe, and cedar woodwork.

Dolans Bay: Our Lady of Mercy Convent

This building at 742 Port Hacking Road South, Dolans Bay, dating from the key Inter-War period, is a rare example of Federation Bungalow style and set on the waterfront.

Established by the Sisters of Mercy, Parramatta, the convent housed nuns who staffed the school at Cronulla from 1935. The school itself was relocated to Burraneer in the 1960s.

In this building, we note the locally quarried sandstone, stone columns, wrap-around verandah and terracotta-tiled roof.

The site of the convent was part of the Thomas Holt estate that extended from Botany Bay to Port Hacking.

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Michael & Rhiff Larkings

Michael & Rhiff Larkings

As a specialist team, focused on Caringbah South and the surrounding suburbs, we've been providing real estate services for over 20 years. With numerous real estate awards to our name, we're in the top echelon of licensed real estate agents in the Sutherland Shire. We regularly set new street, suburb and area sales records. Most importantly, we understand that real estate is a ‘people’ business where the development of relationships and trust, with both our clients and purchasers, is vital to achieving your all-important sales result.

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