2-10 Rockwall Crescent, Potts Point. Sydney, New South Wales

This row of four terrace houses, hidden in a Potts Point sidestreet would have to be one of the most interesting in Sydney. Standing at 3 storeys with an additional attic level and English style basement, they create, along with their neighbouring rows, a truly impressive Victorian streetscape that would certainly not look out of place in inner London. There are a few key things that set this terrace apart – the prominence given to the roofs; the Italianate style of the faceted bay which rises through the centre of the facade of each house; and the skillful reservation in which ornament is used. All these things give symmetry, lend the row a sense of grandeur and elegance as well as donate significant rhythm to the street.

Terrace Houses: 2-10 Rockwall Crescent, Potts Point. Sydney, New South Wales

Ornament on these terraces is unusually reserved and refined for the period. Mostly in the mannerist style it focusses on the key features in the party walls and faceted bay. Elsewhere, decoration is limited to string courses. Complexity is instead achieved through the myriad of roof elements. The large gable roof with dormer windows (possibly later converted attic spaces), the half pyramid hexagonal roof of the bay window and the small trapezoid roofs created as the bay window cuts through them. The gable roof is framed by the raised blades of the party wall which extends in spectaular ball capped finials on either side of each house. Tall chineys at the roof’s peak appear to extend to the heavens.

The upper storey has two double hung windows spaced between a blank wall which is detailed by a pair of string courses above and a cornice below which doubles as an extended ledge. The bay oriel has similar treatment with taller windows facing in each direction. Below them is another string course and a moulded cutaway rectangle cartouche.

The party wall extends to the street to meet large rendered gateposts with a cast iron palisade fence are connected to the terrace via the stairway which leads up to the ground floor and creates the lower courtyard space and other intimate exteriors. Cast iron lacework is used very sparingly, in this case on the ground floor private verandah and stair balustrade.

I am fairly certain that guess given the mannerist elements of the design and the size of this terrace’s construction that it built around 1889 or shortly afterward.

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  • ANNETTE: My family lived in 102 Victoria St for many years. I was born into this home and it housed my family of 7....
  • admin: Many thanks for pointing out the error Ian ! Should be fixed now.
  • Gutter Cleaning: I actually cleaned the gutters on that old building once. Shame to see such an beautiful building...
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