‘No historic significance’: time’s up for this 95-year-old brick beauty in Thirroul

The Federation home was built on a double block off Redman Avenue 95 years ago. Picture: Adam Mclean
The Federation home was built on a double block off Redman Avenue 95 years ago. Picture: Adam Mclean

The fate of a 95-year-old Thirroul home earmarked for demolition will be decided by a higher planning power, following an influx of submissions to Wollongong City Council. 

The brick federation home, set on a double block, is partly hidden behind a wisteria-covered fence at 57-59 Redman Avenue. 

A development application proposes to demolish the house and outbuildings to make way for a modern two-storey home, cabana and pool.

The two blocks would be joined to allow construction across the dividing boundary.  

According to the DA, lodged last month by Redfern’s Virginia Kerridge Architect, the home would include four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a three-car garage and a rooftop terrace.

The application was elevated to the Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel after council received more than 10 submissions and – prior to the DA being lodged – a request for the site to be considered worthy of a heritage listing, according to a council spokesman. 

An architect's rendering shows the new owner's preferred home, made of modern concrete, timber and steel.

An architect's rendering shows the new owner's preferred home, made of modern concrete, timber and steel.

Property records indicate the 1391 square-metre property sold to Skydive the Beach principal Tamahra Prowse for $2.78 million on December 17, 2016. 

In a statement of environmental effects lodged with council, Ms Prowse’s architect deems the house to be “of no heritage significance”. 

However Thirroul resident Christobel Thorley, who once lived in the house and is among those who have lodged a submission in response to the DA, disagrees. 

In her submission, she details some of the history of the home, which was built in 1923 by local “master craftsman” William Langdon. Its first occupant was Sydney loco engine driver John William Henderson and his new bride, Frances Cooke. 

“Older long-time residents in Thirroul remember Mr Henderson as working for the railways. One tells of playing in the yard with the Henderson children during the 1940s and said that Mr Henderson used the enclosed verandah on the north side to organise timetables for the trains to and from Sydney,” Ms Thorley wrote, adding that the home retained its original exterior and fireplaces in its living room and kitchen. 

“This fine brick Federation home on two blocks of land, is the last of its kind in the area. There are a number of people in Thirroul and Austinmer who know this property and would be very disappointed to see it pulled down. There are no doubt many more stories associated with the house and it would be extremely sad to lose this important part of Thirroul’s history.” The IHAP meeting date is to be advised.