Buildings and Houses

Cottage at St Marys, owned by Mr Luxford
Penrith City Library Photographic Collection ©

There are a number of small cottages within St Marys many of which are likely to have been built by the men employed in the various industries described in this report. Examples may be seen at 20-24 Princess Mary Street, 6-8 Sainsbury Street, 102 Saddington Street , 57 & 58 Saddington Street, 65 Pages Road, and 14, 16 & 37 Pages Road.

Historical Information Relating to the Development & Layout of these Sites
There is little historical information about the development of housing for the employees of the early industries of St Marys. It is likely that many lived in small slab or weather board houses which have long since disappeared, and no records have been kept of these modest dwellings.

Detailed research has not been undertaken to try to determine who originally occupied the remaining small cottages or when they were built. This would be a time consuming process with no guarantee of informative results and was considered to be outside of the scope of this project.

Physical Evidence
The remaining cottages include examples built of slab (eg. 6 Sainsbury Street), weatherboard (eg. 20 & 22 Princess Mary Street and 14 & 16 Pages Road), brick (57, 58 & 102 Saddington Street, 24 Princess Mary Street and 65 Pages Road) and one believed to have been built of mud-brick (8 Sainsbury Road).

Of particular interest in the illustration of the early character of the town are the remnants of early post and rail fences associated with 8 Sainsbury Street, 16 Pages Road and 37 Pages Road.

Cottage at 37 Pages Road, St Marys
Penrith City Library Photographic Collection ©
Mimosa, Pages Road, N.W. corner of Putland Street, St Marys
Two storey late Victorian villa built for Andrew Thompson
Penrith City Library Photographic Collection ©

This elaborate two storey Victorian villa is located on a site bounded,by Pages Road, Sainsbury and Putland Streets.

Historical Information Relating to the Development & Layout of these Sites
Mimosa was built in 1894 as the home of Andrew Thompson. It was constructed by a local builder, James Sainsbury, at a cost of almost 3,OOO pounds. (1)

Later in that decade (1897) Thompson also purchased Edwin Cox’s property, Lenore, for 2,550 pounds and established this as his country residence (2).

Physical Evidence
Mimosa is still standing and appears to be in a sound condition. It retains much of its original external detailing and stands within a mature garden bounded by the original palisade fence.

At the western end of Sainsbury Street the original stables to the house now from part of a motor workshop. This two storey building is constructed of vertical board and batten slabs and features a projecting gablet over the central loft door. Although numerous additions have been made on the western side the original structure is largely intact.

Thompson’s country house, Lenore, has been demolished.

Conservation and Management

Most of the houses associated with the early development of St Marys are under private ownership. Their conservation is therefore largely dependent on the good intentions of the owners, and this should be encouraged by informing the owners and occupants about the importance of their house and by offering advice and/or assistance with regard to appropriate conservation measures.

The majority were also identified as part of the Penrith Heritage Study and have therefore been recommended for inclusion on the schedule of a heritage LEP. These include Bronte (Penrith Heritage Study, Inventory Item No. SM 11), Mimosa (SM 22 & 23), Four Winds (W 5), and a number of cottages (SM 20, 24 & 25). Immediate action should be taken to include the cottages at 102 Saddington Street and 65 Pages Road on the inventory of heritage items. The latter should be incorporated within listings for the sites of Thompson’s and Page’s Tanneries respectively.

Industrial Buildings & Tanning Pits
The only other standing buildings known to have been associated with the development of the early industrial sites of St Marys are the receiving shed on the site of Thompson’s Tannery and the stable or bootmaking factory on the site of Page’s Tannery.Both of these buildings are currently in private ownership.

While the general site of Thompson’s tannery was identified by the Penrith Heritage Study (Item No SM 8) no individual items were noted. Both Thompson’s receiving shed and the nearby cottage are being well maintained and no immediate threats to these buildings are apparent, but action needs to be taken to ensure their long-term conservation. Immediate action should therefore be taken to, include the receiving shed, cottage, tanning pits, and the area identified as having a high potential for significant archaeological remains as part of an individual listing for this site, and to include these items on the schedule to the proposed heritage LEP. Particular attention should be paid to the prevention of further rubbish deposition in the remaining pits at the rear of 92 Saddington Street.

Both Farrell’s house and the remaining tannery building, have been identified within the inventory listing for the site of Page’s Tannery in the Penrith Heritage Study (SM 26). The out-building is probably one earliest buildings within the town (c.1870) and is an important remnant of the industrial development of the site. It is currently in a poor condition and is in need of immediate maintenance.

A detailed analysis of the condition of the building has not been undertaken, but there are several areas which require immediate attention. Of particular concern is the severe cracking to the western gable end and over the right hand window to the main facade. Fine cracks are evident to a number of other areas and several bricks have fallen away. Part of the corrugated roof sheeting has been lost and the timber shingles exposed to this area are badly deteriorated. The area below this part of the roof has consequently been affected by falling damp and the attic floor is beginning to show signs of rot.

If the building is to survive it will require immediate maintenance. A detailed inspection would identify specific areas requiring attention, but particular care should be taken that no works are undertaken which would diminish its significance. Because of the importance of the building as one of the few remaining structures 4hich are known to have been associated with the development of the area’s early industries it is recommended that the current owners be given some assistance in the preparation of a conservation plan for the building and in undertaking any conservation works arising out of this plan. If the site of Page’s Tannery is to be incorporated into the walking trail along the South Creek Corridor as an historic site consideration should be given to the possible acquisition of this building as part of the interpretation of the site.

Dan Brell’s cottage on the corner of the Great Western Highway and Gipps Street
Quarry Hill (St Marys); ca 1920
Penrith City Library Photographic Collection ©


  1. National Trust of Australia (NSW) – Listing Proposal
  2. Nepean Times 4 December 1897