Hillview at risk

Under threat: Hillview in Turramurra
Under threat: Hillview in Turramurra
KATHY COWLEY

FOKE has grave concerns for the future of Turramurra’s ‘Hillview’ and the ‘Hillview Heritage Conservation Area’ that borders Pacific Highway, Kissing Point Road and Boyd Street.   

Neighbours living near ‘Hillview’ have told the FOKE Committee that they fear Hillview’s owner the NSW Health Department, is planning to sell the property. FOKE is writing to MP Alister Henskens asking him to confirm or deny this. Regardless, it is obvious that the NSW Government has failed to provide the necessary funds to maintain the historic buildings and FOKE fears that this budget starvation is causing ‘demolition by neglect’.

‘Hillview’ is a collection of historic buildings that were once renowned guest houses dating back to the 1890s as Sydney folk travelled to Turramurra on the newly opened railway line to holiday there for health respites. The property includes two ‘guest’ houses and a historic garage referred to as the ‘Stables’ as well as a croquet lawn, stone fence with remnants of exceptionally elaborate iron gates and row of significant trees.  

‘Hillview’ is one of Ku-ring-gai’s most significant sites and was named because of its magnificent view lines to the Blue Mountains and Botany Bay. Today it celebrates excellent views to Pymble’s Sheldon Forest, one of Ku-ring-gai’s most significant Blue Gum High Forests and Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forests.

Regretfully Ku-ring-gai Council’s staff recommended that the proposed Hillview Heritage Conservation Area not be extended. However  on 12 June nine of the 10 councillors adopted the resolution to extend and list the Hillview HCA.  This area includes the old Commonwealth Bank, two Federation shops with their attractive roof lines and chimneys, and the original 1890s chemist on the corner of Kissing Point Road and the Pacific Highway.  

‘Hillview’ is still one of the largest remaining sites in Ku-ring-gai in public ownership, and is too important to lose. Sydney celebrates other heritage precincts that have been adaptively reused such as the North Sydney’s Coal Loader, the Alexandria factory in Alexandria, and Sydney’s ‘Rocks’. 

Surely such a significant Sydney site as ‘Hillview’ has the potential to be transformed into a thriving community open space precinct with cafes, and its heritage buildings adaptively reused?

Between the NSW Government and Ku-ring-gai Council not only has ‘Hillview’ been rezoned for five storey apartments, but also the Little Village Park, opposite Hillview and adjoining Turramurra Railway Station, which, if realized, will destroy the site’s heritage significance.  

Hillview’ and its extended Heritage Conservation Area are worthy of state heritage listing and are too important for Ku-ring-gai and Sydney to lose.

ACT NOW: Please contact your councillors and MPs to save our precious Sydney Heritage from sale and redevelopment.

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