Burwood Federation House ‘Tilba’

Tilba, 92 Liverpool Road, Burwood

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Iconic Burwood house to be bulldozed

30 Mar 10 @ 03:56pm by Lana Lam

Iconic Burwood house to be bulldozed

Tilbar on 92 Liverpool Rd Burwood Heights is set to be bulldozed

A majestic early 20th century house in Burwood Heights will be demolished after a last-minute plea to protect the building as a heritage item failed this week.
A 40-day emergency protection order on Tilba, a large, two-storey Federation-style house at 92 Liverpool Rd, ended on Tuesday and no extension was granted by the Planning Minister Tony Kelly.
Urban Apartments director George Elias, who bought the 1650sqm block last year, was granted approval by Burwood Council to bulldoze the house last December but had to halt this when the emergency order was granted to allow for an assessment of Tilba.
A spokesman for Mr Kelly said officers from the Planning Department’s heritage branch had found Tilba was “not of state heritage significance’’ and no interim heritage order would be granted which would have protected the house for another 12 months.
Burwood District Historical Society president Jon Breen, who has been at the forefront of a campaign to save the house, said he was “pretty gutted’’ by the decision.
Burwood Mayor John Sidoti was planning to call an extraordinary council meeting for Wednesday night to discuss the house.
“We’re looking at advice at what we can do,’’ he said.
“It’s just totally wrong. Once an item is gone, it’s gone. It’s sad.’’
Mr Elias, who bought the house and land for $2.8 million, said he was pleased with the decision.
“I never expected to have a clear run,’’ he said.
“I expected a few hiccups because this place has been painted and renovated nicely.’’
He said the previous owner and representatives from the Planning Department visited the house last Monday to assess the possible heritage value of the building.
“(The previous owner) changed the floorboards, the chimney, ceilings, the balcony, the fireplaces,’’ Mr Elias said.
“So basically, the place was changed. He renovated it to suit his taste and lifestyle.’’

Mr Elias said he would not be sending in the bulldozers this week.

“No, there’s no reason, no rush to knock it down tomorrow.’’
He said he had “no plans yet’’ for the site and has yet to lodge a development application.
“I’d like to work with the community rather than find a reason to create animosity.’’
Strathfield State Labor MP Virginia Judge said she would be following up the issue.
“I will be asking Burwood Council some serious questions as to why this property was not placed in a conservation zone,’’ she said.

Fight to save Tilba underlines heritage neglect

92 Liverpool Road Burwood


March 22, 2010
Tilba, the 1913 Edwardian-style Burwood Heights residence, faces demolition. Its new owner, the developer Farah Elias, wants to build a three-storey unit block.
Its fate rests with the Planning Minister, Tony Kelly, who has given Tilba a 40-day reprieve to assess its heritage merits, following public concerns expressed through the local member, Virginia Judge.
Tilba represents an early skirmish in the unfolding battle across Sydney between those who want ever more housing and those who seek to preserve what we value.

Virginia Judge ... fighting to save Tilba from demolition.
Virginia Judge … fighting to save Tilba from demolition.

Virginia Judge … fighting to save Tilba from demolition.
It is among hundreds of worthy houses that at the very least contribute to the character of the suburb. Many would argue that it does more, and ought to have been listed long ago by Burwood council on its local environment plan.
But Tilba, and many like it, face the prospect of virtual overnight demolition, now that private certifiers are allowed to approve demolition and development, all without notifying neighbours.
This has been allowed by the heritage and planning laws, initially sought by the then planning minister Frank Sartor in 2007, which passed through Parliament last year under Kristina Keneally’s stewardship.
The five-bedroom Liverpool Road house that sits on a 1650-square-metre block sold last November for a record $2.8 million. Most people inspecting it assumed its meticulous restoration would lead to a new family taking up residency, following in the footsteps of its first occupant, produce merchant Alfred Berwick.
Tilba sits on the ring of properties surrounding one of Sydney’s most renown streetscapes, the National Estate-listed Appian Way.
Appian Way was a model housing estate conceived by a wealthy steel industrialist, George Hoskins, who turned eight hectares of land known as Humphreys Paddock into an estate of 36 spacious, low-set bungalows surrounding a village green. Its development coincided with the garden city movement, the urban planning approach founded in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard in Britain.
About 30 of the original houses still stand within the Appian Way.
While the Appian Way is somewhat protected, surrounding houses have no such surety. Indeed, the last comprehensive heritage study undertaken by Burwood Council was in 1986. Only about 250 of its 5500 houses are on its heritage list.
Many other councils have similarly neglectful heritage lists, which often involved little more than a survey done from behind a car windscreen some three decades ago. These were done shortly after the National Trust hit its strides after the Wran government’s 1977 heritage legislation.
Camden, which has the pioneer spirit deep into its veins, protects just 100 properties. Only 120 houses are protected across the Cooma-Monaro shire.
Hunters Hill ranks among the thorough councils, with almost 600 properties on its list, along with Ku-ring-gai’s 700 and Woollahra’s 800.
Jon Breen, the president of the Burwood Historical Society, is hoping for a mayoral minute from John Sidoti, and council support at tomorrow’s meeting, which might just help save Tilba

Tilba, 92 Liverpool Road

  • After purchasing the carriageway block from W.G. Robinson, Mrs Webb commissioned a new house. The architect is uncertain, as no building applications or building committee minutes survive for the former Enfield Council. The house was valued at £2,500 in later Enfield rate books, making it one of the most expensive houses in the area.
  • The new house in Liverpool Road, which the family named Tilba Tilba, is likely to have been complete (or nearly so) when Tilba Tilba in Lily Street was offered for sale in September 1909. Alfred and Clarice Berwick lived in ‘Tilba Tilba’ Lily Street Enfield, and moved with Mrs Webb to the new house in Liverpool Road.
  • By 1928 Alfred Berwick appears to have changed his name to Allan Cleveland Berwick, but otherwise the family lived quietly at Tilba (by this time the house name had been abbreviated). Enfield Council approved a subdivision of the property on 13 November 1928. Lot 1, containing Tilba Tilba, fronted Liverpool Road, while Lots 2-6 fronted Elm Street. Lot 2 contained a stable with a fibro extension. Emily Webb died on 14 October 1929 and the house passed to her daughter Mrs Clarice Berwick. Mrs Berwick retained several of the subdivided blocks, including sufficient land for a tennis court.
  • The Berwicks resided at Tilba until at least 1941. By 1946 the property had been sold and the Berwicks moved to 35 Lindsay Street Enfield. Anton Kasimir Grondahl-Grant purchased the property and moved there with his wife Sophie Virginia Grondahl-Grant by 1946. In about 1950 the Grondahl-Grants sold an Elm Street block to local builder Raymond Robinson, who built a house on it. The Grondahl-Grants subdivided the house into two flats about 1954. After Anton Grondahl-Grant’s death in 1955 Sophia Grondahl-Grant sold the property to café proprietor Jozef Domalewski and his wife Dorothy Concetta Domalewski. The Domalewskis had married in Sydney in 1953.


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