Highroyd Preservation, Annandale

National Trust Award Commendation 2009

Highroyd Preservation

Highroyd is one of the renovated mansions built by Young to create a style for his new suburb of Annandale (which has its own history). The original Builder, John Young, has a fascinating background. 

Caught up by the real estate boom and bust cycle in the early 1900’s it was converted into flats and then painstakingly restored by the current owners back to its original form and detail over many years from 1989 until the present day.

Highroyd is historically and architecturally significant and stands as a fundamental contribution to the streetscape between No. 258 and No. 272 Johnston Street, Annandale. This group is known as the “Witches Precinct” (National Trust Listing, Leichhardt Council Listing).   John Young owned and constructed all the original buildings of the precinct, including Highroyd.  Young was responsible for the shaping of North Annandale’s skyline and built 8 grand buildings in row, some which have been demolished. 

Highroyd underwent enclosure of the front balconies after it was converted into five flats.  The detailed cast iron posts, balustrades and friezes were removed and the verandas enclosed by brickwork.  The scope of works involved demolition of the front facade, revealing the original veranda area. Extensive detailing of the front veranda stone work and new ironwork balustrade and frieze work. Restoration of the original veranda tessellated tiles. Detailing and erection of the 4 x gargoyles on the spire.  

A highly skilled project team was necessary due to the specialised construction and scaffolding that was required to restore this building back to 19th Century detailing, while retaining such original elements that remained intact.  New reinforced concrete beams were cast in situ replicating the original edge detail. Wagga Iron Foundry supplied the iron work, balustrade, columns and frieze work.  The builder, Goanna Constructions, erected complex scaffold and formwork. Care and attention to detail was crucial in the finished building and to retain the original elements.  The gargoyles were designed and cast by Hugh Reedman after many hours of consultation and research into size, shape and fixing method with difficult access. 

The restoration of Highroyd supports heritage issues as it highlights the feasibility of restoration. It demonstrates that a heritage listed and significant building can still be practical in current lifestyles.  In addition, the project demonstrates that the ability to work with more than one approving authority is actually possible!