Conservation Management Plan excerpts

The Conservation Management Plan (“CMP”) was prepared by Jeff Madden & Associates, Architects, Balmain, New South Wales. Selected excerpts are as follows:-


Cleveland House, erected 1823–4, is of State Significance as it is perhaps the oldest surviving large, freestanding house in central Sydney. It is one of only a small number of surviving private houses of the period in the County of Cumberland, even though it has been deprived of its once substantial grounds and outbuildings.

Cleveland House is of State Significance for its association with Daniel Cooper, an emancipated convict and prominent businessman and landowner who built the building, and Francis Greenway, New South Wales’ first Government Architect and an important early Sydney architect who is thought to have designed it.

Cleveland House is of State Significance as a rare surviving example of a finely proportioned and detailed Regency-style house built in two stories with a wide ground floor verandah supported on turned doric columns. The L-shaped plan and the two fine entry doors are particularly unusual features.

Cleveland House is of State Significance as both internally and externally it retains much of its early form, character and detailing.

Cleveland House is of State Significance for its contribution to the local street and townscapes.

Early Land Ownership

The land on which Cleveland House stands (within Section 408 of the Parish of Alexandria) was originally part of a
10-acre grant to Charles Smith on 28 December 1809 by the Acting Governor, Lt. Col. Patterson, (1) for the purpose of cultivating a kitchen garden to supply in part the Sydney Market (2). The grant was confirmed by Governor Macquarie on
1 January 1810, who directed in the grant that the land be henceforth “known by the name of Cleaveland Gardens” (3)

Smith apparently cultivated the land, advertising produce for sale in the Sydney Gazette on 26 March 1814, but little more is known of the land until it was mortgaged to Thomas Clarkson (4) in January 1817 for 92 pounds. Smith appears to have defaulted on the mortgage and on 24 March 1818 the Supreme Court foreclosed on the property in favour of Clarkson, who was vested the land.

Clarkson sold the land to Robert Lathrop Murray in April 1819 for 180 pounds, who in turn sold it to Daniel Cooper on 9 September 1819 for the same price (5).

It is probable that Charles Smith resided on the land he was cultivating, but there appears to be nothing in the various deeds of sale prior to 1819 indicating any buildings on the site. The advertisement of 14 August 1819 described the land as:

“All that very valuable estate situated near the turnpipe at Sydney, enclosed by a substantial 4
railed fence, containing near twelve acres, more or less, commonly called the Cleaveland Gardens”.

Daniel Cooper

Daniel Cooper arrived in the Colony as a convict in January 1816 and was pardoned absolutely in 1821. By the eary 1820s he had established himself as a successful businessman and property owner in the Colony. From available documentary evidence it appears that he built the substantial house on the site, now known as Cleveland House, and that Francis Greenway was the architect.

Various newspaper articles between 1825 and 1829 referred to Daniel Cooper’s occupation of the house (8) and Cooper wrote to the Colonial Secretary from the house on two occasions in 1827 (9). However, by 1828 Cooper had become estranged from his wife Hannah and on 25 August 1828 concluded a deed of formal separation. The deed vested Cleveland House, together with its coach-house, stables, other buildings, gardens, yards, etc., to his trustees, together with other property described therein, but permitted his wife to reside there for the rest of her natural life. Also contained in the deed was an inventory of furniture, silver and effects, which were to remain in the house for Hannah’s use.

Hannah Cooper did not remain in the house for very long, preferring to reside in the house known as Manchester Arms on the corner of Park and George Streets, also given to her by Daniel under the deed. The house was advertised for lease in the Australian on 17 July 1829.

Between 1829 and 1855 the whole of the 10-acre property was retained around Cleveland House, which was let mainly for residential purposes, but it served in the 1830s as a school. At this time the house enjoyed views to Cockle Bay and the City.

After Hannah’s death in 1836, Daniel Cooper remarried. He moved to England in 1831, never to return to the Colony.

On 24 May 1847 Cleveland House and other property was transferred to James Cooper (10).

Architect and Construction

On 14 August 1823, Francis Greenway, by then in private practice, placed the following advertisement in the Sydney Gazette:

“Notice: carpenters, masons and bricklayers who will enter into a contract according to the
principles laid down by Mr. Greenway, the Architect, may see the drawings, specifications, and
construction at his office, George Street, of a house now building for Mr. D. Cooper Merchant on
Friday and the following week.”