Three generations of architecture sitting side by side are to make way for units along Rockdale’s busy Bay Street leading down to historic Botany Bay. A simple 1800s workers’ cottage, a free standing Victorian villa complete with original slate roof, and a brown brick Federation have been vacated and await demolition surrounded by a fence of doom, in an area that has the highest expansion rate for unit building currently in the state. A DA to turn the site into 19 strata units was lodged in December 2013 by applicants J & M Faddoul Pty Ltd, at a building cost of $3,275,000.

Rockdale Council seems to find no heritage value in these items that have stood for more than a hundred years and overlooked the constant march of progress stemming up from Botany Bay and down from the town centres where Thomas Saywell’s famous steam tram once traversed. Instead more and more units have now become the order of the day. Even a now rare workers’ cottage can’t stand in the way, nor a stunning double storey Victorian villa with many ornate original features, reminiscent of the recently lost Griffith House on the grounds of nearby St George hospital.

It seems an unnecessary shame that buildings like this are allowed to be felled continuously in this so-called enlightened age, in fact the rate of heritage loss seems to be increasing as large swathes of Sydney are rezoned for unit development, a trend which will no doubt spell the end for many similar buildings especially in areas such as Rockdale, where councils simply don’t have a clue as to their duty of guardianship, choosing rather to tow the Liberal state government line of urban renewal at all costs.

Rockdale Council is currently assessing another potential overdevelopment on the nearby Darrell Lea site on Rocky Point Road. The chocolate factory is to make way for between 350 and 600 dwellings, rising over the 3.3 hectare site in towers up to 12 stories high, within a LEP that currently allows four. In order to accommodate this scale of development, the land would have to be rezoned to R4 high density residential, a move which Rockdale Fifth Ward Ratepayers Association disagrees with, citing privacy, traffic congestion, and lack of amenities (there is no rail station nearby). However Rockdale Council has already adopted a motion to support the planning proposal, meaning residents may just be left as innocent bystanders in the process. Long live democracy in Australia… At least the developers have theirs.

All images by Inheritance. Click on gallery below for slide show.

East West elevation of 93-97 Bay St Rockdale.

East West elevation of 93-97 Bay St Rockdale.

North South elevation of 93-97 Bay St Rockdale.

North South elevation of 93-97 Bay St Rockdale.

Photo render of the development, 93-97 Bay St Rockdale.

Photo render of the development, 93-97 Bay St Rockdale.

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  1. June M Bullivant OAM says :

    With the NSW Government obeying the Federal Government and the local Government doing the same, heritage fighters are fighting an up hill battle to stop this, I hope that they have a local petition going, the next state election is only 12 months away, the need to be loud and vocal is necessary, due to the fact the the Government want to Build, Build, Build, also to Sell, Sell, Sell, all government assests (which belong to the people) and Destroy, Destroy, Destroy, our Heritage, our Environment, our Drinking water, our openspaces. The NSW Government is selling off Crown Land for development, it is a disgrace.

  2. Dorothy says :

    Developers are certainly having their way with these new ‘complying development’ laws that are in now, It appears that nothing is safe. There are now very easy ways to side-step local councils for approval and go straight to the ‘top’ – and there appears to be very few applications being knocked back. It’s all about the $$$. Many of the developers appear to be from other cultures where living in concrete bunkers on top of each other is the ‘norm’ and we Australians appear to be just sitting back and allowing it to happen. We will have nothing left to show we were here and nothing to show of our history. Such a shame to see those houses at Botany disappear – what stories they could tell, and how good would they look if restored? So much better than what is being proposed. Makes you wonder how our utilities and infrastructure will be able to cope with the dramatic increase in population in the condensed area of Sydney. We seem to be concentrating on building slums of the future – and none of these new buildings will be built well enough to last as long as the homes and buildings they are replacing. Our heritage organisations are toothless tigers unable to stop this tidal wave of development that is hitting Sydney and its suburbs.

  3. inheritanceorg says :

    According to council’s website, the status of this DA, with a Reference Number of DA-2014/190, is currently still ‘under assessment’… Interesting that the fence of doom has gone up and demolition has already begun in earnest. We have contacted council for explanation and are making further enquiries.

  4. Chris Garner says :

    I just stumbled across your site as I am looking into the growing developments in my area. I’m part of a group that is opposing the Darrell Lea development. (

    I’m posting a link to your site on the page. Keep up the good work!

    • inheritanceorg says :

      Thanks Chris, likewise… I fully support your cause regarding the Darryll Lea overdevelopment. Situated so far from railway transport and non-compliant with the height zonings, it is purely a greedy money grab by a failed business family who couldn’t make a quid out of confectionary… perhaps they gave up on the business just waiting for this rezoning to come through, an easier way to get rich.

  5. inheritanceorg says :

    The status of this DA is still to be determined. The developer took council to court but the details are unclear at this stage.
    It has also come to our attention that a nearby Masonic Hall owned by council will be sold off, probably as a development site. We will investigate further.

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