Inner West Council

Haberfield

Haberfield, post code 2045, is located 9 kilometres west of the Sydney's Central Business District. Via Parramatta Road Haberfield abuts the junction with the Hume Highway and one block west opposite are the stately palms in historic Ashfield Park

The suburb's topography is fan shaped. It bounded on its east by Hawthorne Canal, on the west by Iron Cove Creek Canal and historic Parramatta Road forms the suburb's southern boundary.  At the northern pit of the peninsular is Dobroyd Point, a small area fronting Iron Cove which is part of Sydney Harbour.

When first established in 1901 Haberfield was marketed as the ‘Model Suburb'. Being based upon the City Beautiful Movement, Haberfield soon become known as the ‘Garden Suburb' by the early decades of the 20th century.  Today Haberfield retains its key ‘garden suburb' concepts in its tree-lined streets, neighbourly gardens and period architecture.

The entire suburb is heritage-listed as a Conservation Area and is part of the Register of the National Estate of Australia

The Haberfield Association Inc. established residents' group dedicated to encouraging community spirit and appreciation of Haberfield's heritage value.

More information about the population characteristics of Ashfield are available on our online Community Profile and Atlas.

Commercial Area

Post World War Two immigration brought a considerable Italian influence into Haberfield.  Whilst now declining, this layer remains evident in the local shops along Ramsay Street, close to the intersection with Dalhousie Street.  Many local businesses have received awards for excellence.  Notable examples include a traditional Italian bakery, pasticcerias and gelaterias, chocolate and cheese shops, two hand-made pasta premises, as well as many numerous cafes, coffee shops and Italian restaurants.  The supermarket attracts visitors from all over Sydney for its Italian delicatessen as do the many speciality food and homewares shops

For more information about Haberfield's Commercial Area please visit http://www.ashfieldbusiness.com.au/.

History

Haberfield is the tangible evidence of the vision of early town planning advocate and real estate entrepreneur , Richard Stanton.  The suburb's name arose from Mrs Stanton (nee Nicholls) family's connection with Lord Haberfield, Major of Bristol in the early 19th century

Aboriginal Culture

The Haberfield peninsular was originally home to indigenous peoples of Port Jackson, being the Wangal clans of the Eora language group. There are no known artefacts or pre-contact archaeology of their occupation.

Early European Settlement

Today the suburb of Haberfield corresponds to the original 1803 Sunning Hill of 480 acres granted to NSW Rum Corps Ensign Nicholas Bayley.  This was acquired by emancipist Simeon Lord, then the largest landowner in the colony and a member of the Board deciding the location of main roads, including the Great South Road (Liverpool Road).  Lord renamed the estate ‘Dobroyde' after his after his Lancastershire origins.

When his daughter Sarah married Dr David Ramsay in 1825, Lord gave the land as a wedding present but with strict conditions.  Thus the land remained tightly held by the family until the beginning of the 20th century. Dr Ramsay and his son Edward were keen gardeners, and belonged to the Linnean Society and Australian Museum.  Haberfield street names, such as Percy, Lord, Dalhousie, commemorate the Ramsay era

Oldest daughter, Mary Louisa married Alexander Learmouth in 1850.  On the ridge to the west of the Ramsay's ‘Dobroyde Homestead', they commissioned early colonial architect John Bibb to design ‘Yasmar House', being Ramsay spelt backwards.  ‘Yasmar' was deliberately sited amongst its ‘gardensque' designed gardens and arboretum, that continues to this day.

Following her death, Sarah Ramsay's heirs began selling land to Richard Stanton, the first 50 acres being between Deakin and Waratah Streets.  Stanton was inspired by early the early town planning movement which sought to regulated uses and building types, and example he had seen in England and the USA.  Stanton was a co-founder  of the Town Planning Institute with John Sulman ,and the Real Estate Institute.

As three times Major of Ashfield Council, he also witnessed the negative impacts of unregulated and ad-hoc subdivision and poor building practices that gave rise to overcrowding, and outbreak of bubonic plague in The Rocks.  Stanton's ‘Model Suburb' ensured fresh air, no over looking and access to natural sunlight with a marketing ,line of being "slumless, laneless and publess".

Starting in 1901 this model included sewerage, hence no longer needing rear lanes, cavity brick walls to rid the salt damp, and providing public infrastructure of nature strips, public trees stone kerbs and gutters.  Stanton controlled all aspects from subdivision, providing finance and buyer terms, building materials through to designing the gardens, as well as the houses.  His first architect was Wormal whilst Spencer Stansfield is accredited with designing the bulk of all the Stanton estate houses.

Stanton was also an ardent Federationist and so early Haberfield streets commemorate members of the first Australian Federal Cabinet - O'Connor, Kingston, Deakin, Barton, to name a few.  Because of these names and having commenced in the same year Australia became independent, Haberfield is also known as the "Federation Suburb'.

Stanton's model suburb was so successful it was quickly copied by other developers.  By the 1930s Haberfield had been completed with house types from the earlier Queen Ann and Arts and Crafts styles, followed by early Inter-war Bungalow style.  All Haberfield houses however continue to incorporate key ‘garden suburbs' and spatial principles initiated by Stanton.

Heritage

Haberfield is important because it encapsulates multiple aspects of significance, including aesthetics, historic, scientific and social meanings. 

These multiple values were already recognised as early as 1972 by the National Trust of Australia (NSW).  In 1980 a State Commission of Enquiry found that Haberfield held such integrity and intactness to warrant its statutory listing on the Ashfield Local Environmental Plan, and was proclaimed a Conservation Area in 1985.  The Federal Government also duly recognised Haberfield when the entire suburb was included on the register of the National estate in 1991. 

The seminal Haberfield Development Control Plan (DCP) was drafted in the mid 1980s to guide how change may occur and affirmed by Council in 1995.

The Haberfield DCP guides how additions and alterations to both houses and commercial properties can occur to ensure change retains Haberfield's multi-layered significance.  Most important is maintaining the low single-storey house scale with traditional hip and skillion roof forms, and remaining ‘within their garden' setting.  Other aspects include low see-through front fences, side driveway wheel strips, plus retaining side and rear setbacks with lots having 50 % soft landscaping.  Colour scheme should be appropriate to the architectural style and era of a building. The DCP also guides looking after its streetscapes and trees and public elements

Throughout the Haberfield Conservation Area are several noteworthy public buildings.  First and foremost is evidence of the Ramsay era - ‘The Yasmar Estate' which still retains its original 185-187 Parramatta Road entry, and a place on the NSW State Heritage Register.  In 1904 the Estate was acquired by the Grace Family (of the Grace Bros Department Store), who were also keen gardeners.  During World War Two the Estate was requestioned for Officer Quarters.  Then in 1946 the Yasmar Estate was resumed for a Boys Home, gradually upgraded into Court and detention facility.  In 2006 Yasmar was declared a Crown Reserve

Also on the State Heritage Register is ‘St David's Church Hall (1862), Ramsay graveyard, and Church (1868)', the 'Relay test Centre' in St David's Road, Derrylin house in Deakin Ave, and Stanton's own house The Bunyas (1906) designed by architect J Spencer Stansfield.  Other public buildings of note include St Oswald's Church (1927) building and interiors designed by architect J. Berchamp Clamp who was Walter Burley Griffin's partner, the Haberfield Post Office (1912) whose naming confirmed the suburb as Haberfield from its early Dobroyde name, and whilst of the 1950s era the new St Joan of Arc Church is recognised for its architectural merit.  Several commercial and houses are individually noted on the Council schedule.  Haberfield contains good representative examples of architectural styles from throughout the 20th century in addition to being known for its predominant ‘Federation' and ‘Bungalow' architectural styles.

See these for more information on the history and heritage of Haberfield.

  1. Dictionary of Sydney is a referred site under the auspices of the University of Sydney and the City of Sydney Council. There are individual entries for ‘Haberfield' and ‘The Yasmar Estate'.