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No 10 Crescent Street: Federation with extensive leadlight.

'Slum-less, lane-less and pub-less'.

What a description for a suburb in 1902!

Haberfield Model Suburb! The name, to those who know the place, savors(sic) of magic. Where, but a few years ago, wide-reaching paddocks and grazing country, with stretches of heavily-timbered land, met the eye, there is now to be seen a splendidly-ordered and artistically-planned residential area, thickly studded with charming residences; one of the most picturesque spots outside the city boundary.’ Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW: 1870 - 1907), Wednesday 22 May 1907, page 34, 35.


Haberfield is a Federation era suburb that still retains many of the original features of Australia’s first planned ‘garden’ suburbs. It is an incredibly valuable repository of architectural and town planning artefacts, in the design of houses and precincts within the suburb. In Haberfield the aesthetics influencing the way suburbs and houses would be planned and built from the time between Federation and 1930's are clearly evident.  This is when most of the urban development of Haberfield occurred and it had a profound influence on urban development in the Interwar years.


Haberfield is a research repository of Federation-era architectural details, house layouts, garden design and street and garden planting. There are very few suburbs in Australia where the aesthetic of streets, shops and single-storey houses in the Arts and Crafts and and early California Bungalow styles has been retained with such integrity. It is amazing to think that the entire post code of 2045 was added to the Register of the National Estate in 1991. 


In Haberfield there is a gallery of beautiful exemplars of Federation leadlight.

European History

The European history of Haberfield began not long after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. Most of what is now Haberfield was granted by Goveror Philip Gidley King to Nicholas Bayley in 1803 (480 acres or 194 hectares) who then sold it two years later to Simeon Lord. Lord named the estate ‘Dobroyde’. When Lord’s daughter Sarah married Dr David Ramsay the Dobroyde Estate became part of Sarah’s dowry. The land became known as Ramsay’s Bush and while it became well known for its gardens and nurseries after the depression of the 1890’s it eventually became known for the vagrants, unemployed and aboriginals who ‘camped’ there.

In April 1885 Atchison and Schleichner released the first subdivision of the Dobroyd Estate (Ashfield) at the southern end of Dalhousie Street, St Davids Road and O’Connor Street (then Dobroyd Street) and Parramatta Road (opposite Ashfield Park). In October they released the second subdivision of the Dobroyd Estate with lots on Wattle Street, Walker Avenue (then known as The Avenue) and Alt Street (then known as Tenandra Street), Ramsay Street and Parramatta Road. Initial land sales appear top have been slow possibly because of the depression of the1890's. Some of this area was also subdivided gain in 1908. The M4 East extensions have wiped out the original Wattle Street lots. These subdivisions generally had smaller frontages than those that were built later because, around the turn of the 19th century ,people, events and movements aligned.

in 1901 Margaret Ramsay offered her part of the estate for sale. The ‘garden suburb’ movement significantly influenced urban design. Richard Stanton, a property developer and real estate agent from Summer Hill saw the opportunity to purchase the estate and to develop his ideal of the garden suburb. Haberfield, as he named the area, was to become the ‘slum-less, lane-less and pub-less’ garden suburb that would radically differentiate itself from the inner city suburbs as close as Leichhardt on the other side of the Hawthorne Canal.

Stanton’s first subdivision of the ‘Haberfield Estate’ occurred in 1901. It was to be a planned development and a model of vertical integration for Stanton who purchased the land, developed and subdivided it, sold it, supplied the architect(s), the materials and the builders. ‘Villas to be erected to suit purchasers with choice of Design and Allotment’ and a covenant of £400. All this produced a relatively uniform style of housing which is now referred to as ‘Federation’ and Haberfield now demonstrated the integrated aesthetic of a garden suburb; unique architect designed brick cottages, ¼ acre blocks surrounded by greenery and a streetscape enhanced by street tree plantings. The estate was also helped by the tram that ran down Ramsay Street and it was not that far from the railway station at Summer Hill. This was to be an area for the middle class who wanted fresh air, to get away from the overcrowding of the inner suburbs, and sewerage and the pleasure of an inside toilet that would avoid the need for rear lanes for the night soil carters that were also prevalent in the inner suburbs.

The garden suburb was born and Stanton purchased further Ramsay estates in 1903 and these were soon on the market. In all Stanton released four subdivisions on which approximately 1500 houses were built. He had achieved success with the concept of the planned garden suburb and many more followed. He developed the garden suburb further for working class people in Rosebery where there are 3353 Californian Bungalows that still have a one storey covenant. 


Others in the real estate game were all too willing to exploit Stanton's successs. Edward Pierson Ramsay and Margaret Ramsay owned the between Ramsay Street and Wattle Street (approximately 69 acres or 28 hectares) and sold this to The Bank of NSW in 1904 who sold the land to the Haymarket Permanent Land Building and Investment Company Ltd in 1905. They created several subdivisions as part of the Dobroyd Point Estate Haberfield (using the name Stanton had given to the area).


Raine and Horne moved in and subdivided the Dobroyd Park Estate in May and October 1905 in the area of Empire, Yasmar and Dalhousie Streets and then Ramsay, Park and Alt Streets. Atchison and Schleichner moved in and released the Dobroyd Point Estate with the first subdivision of Dobroyd Parade, Learmonth, Crescent, Dudley and the northern end of Kingston Street. Further subdivisions in Kingston and Waratah Streets in occurred in 1911. In 1912 they released the second Dobroyd Point Estate in the area of Dobroyd Parade, Mortley, Chelmsford, Minto, Crane and Loudon Avenues and Waratah and Boomerang Streets.  By 1915 most of the land in Haberfield had been subdivided and sold and most lots, but not all, had been built on before the end of World War 1. Houses were constructed on the remaining land between the wars which is why there are some interesting houses interspersed with the largely Federation homes.

Heritage in Lead and Glass

Haberfield still retains a lot of the leadlight installed in the Federation houses at the time of their construction. ‘Leadlight’ and ‘Federation’ are almost synonymous in some ways. It was though, a suburb in transition from the aesthetics prevalent at the end of the Victorian years to those that arose with the birth of Australia as a new nation. In Federation homes leadlight was frequently used in the front doors, sidelights and transoms. Frequently there were ‘bull’s eye’ windows with a circular panel of leadlight. Leadlight was used less frequently in windows facing the street and there are some wonderful examples of casement and double hung windows with leadlight in a variety of styles in Haberfield. It is integral to the architectural detailing of the Federation period. It also reflected the aspirations of the original owners. Leadlight looks wonderful from inside houses but it also makes a statement visible from the street: we have enough money to afford this beautiful stuff. One of the unique things about Haberfield is that it is still possible to wander through many of the suburbs precincts and observe rows of beautiful Federation houses complete with their leadlight. Haberfield is important today because it houses in situ a rich collection of this decorative art.

If people are planning to renovate or build consideration must be given to The Ashfield Development and Control Plan for the Haberfield Conservation Area Part C7 (2007) that specifically refers to the windows and doors of the heritage houses in Haberfield. The photo's included in this site provide not only provide an invaluable record of the leadlight that currently exists in Haberfield but an indication of the leadlight designs and styles to be used in sympathetic renovations and extensions.

Windows and Doors

2.22 Description

A great variety of window shapes, sizes and styles are found in Haberfield. The location and shape of the windows individualise each house. Windows can be positioned in the centre or to one side of a wall; they can be mounted flush or projecting from the wall. Windows are either double-hung sash or casement opening. They are typically rectangular in shape and of vertical proportion. Bay and oriel windows are sometimes used, and highlights and side lights are typical in Federation houses. A small circular or semi circular decorative window is an architectural feature often used in the principal part of the house. Occasionally other shapes are used. Casement windows, often with matching transoms, are usually located at the front, with simple sash windows being used at the sides and rear. Windows reflect the relative importance of the room to which they belong. The use of bullnose sill bricks and arch-shape header brickwork is characteristic. The extensive use of decorative glazing and coloured glass is an important feature. Multicoloured or textured glass are used in the upper fanlights to doors and windows. Leadlight glazing in Art Nouveau designs is prominent. It was expensive and is generally limited to windows facing the street where it could be admired by passers-by. Windows and external doors are made of timber and are invariably painted. Doors frequently feature decorative mouldings with the detail painted in contrasting colours.

2.24 Controls

a) Original doors and windows are to be kept, maintained and repaired when necessary. Where necessary authentic reconstruction is encouraged.

b) Original leadlight and coloured glass panes are to be kept and restored, matched or reconstructed where necessary.

And, in recognition of the above, are following photographs of the leadlight of Haberfield.

Date of Observations and photographs taken: October/November 2017


I must acknowledge the invaluable work of Vincent Crow. The information he has included in his three books 'Tours of Haberfield ; Past and Present, Parts One, Two & Three' has enabled me to date the construction of many of the houses in Haberfield. Later I hope to work through the images of leadlight and associate them with specific dates to get a better understanding of what styles and influences occurred and how they evolved through the first half of the century. 

An early map of Haberfield (c.1850) showing Parramatta Road, Ramsay Street, Yasmar Avenue and Waratah Street.

A sketch showing Louisa Ramsay's holdings in 1885. She owned all the land enclosed by Ramsay, Waratah and Dalhousie Streets as well as a portion of land at the eastern end of Ramsay Street and what is now Hawthorne Canal. (NB Her name is spelt LOUSIA RANSAY, LOUSIA RAMSAY & LOUISA RAMSAY).

Interesting...this land described as 'unhealthy' was on part of Louisa Ramsay's land near Hawthorne Canal. It also shows that Edward Ramsay was the owner and Occupier of land next to Louisa's. The reason for the land being described as unhealthy is not stated but would more than likely be cause of the pollution in Long Cove Creek before it was turned into the Hawthorne Canal..

The First subdivision in 1885 of the Dobroyd Estate was associated with Ashfield.

The Second Subdivision of the Dobroyd Estate in 1885. As with the first the blocks were smaller in both area and frontage than those developed later in the garden suburb.

Map from Stanton & Son (c.1915) showing the four subdivisions of the Garden Suburb

Federation leadlight in its fantastic almost romantic glory in Dudley Street (1915). It seems hard to comprehend how such a beautiful thing was built in during World War 1.

An Art Deco house in the Federation suburb; Northcote Street.

Tree lined streets such as Tressider Avenue are a Feature of Habberfield.

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