Inner West Council


Why is Haberfield special?

Haberfield is a special place and designated a heritage conservation area for a number of reasons:

The federation suburb

Haberfield was established as an estate in 1901, the year of Australia's Federation. It was built following the overseas Garden Estate movement, which was a reaction to closer, 'unsanitary' settlements of the earlier suburbs. When establishing the estate, Richard Stanton used the slogan "Slum-less. Lane-less. Pub-less." This indicated that he was designing a 'genteel', residential suburb of freestanding brick houses that did not need back lanes because every house was sewered.

The architecture

Each house in Haberfield was an architect-designed 'detached' double-brick house i.e. no terraces, on its own block of land of typically, 50' x 150' (15 m x 45 m). More than 700 of the houses were designed by the same architect, J. Spencer-Stansfield. No two houses are alike, although there are many common themes throughout the suburb. The roofs were either slate or the distinctive orange, unglazed Marseilles tiles. All had front verandahs although some have since been converted into extra rooms. Many feature ornate timber details, leadlight windows and distinctive tile patterns on verandahs and in bathrooms.

The streets

The first few streets in Haberfield were given names of the members of the first Federal Cabinet, viz. Barton, Kingston, Forrest, Turner, Deakin, and Dickson. The whole suburb was developed by the 1920's.


Haberfield was the first suburb in Ashfield recognised as a Heritage Conservation Area. This means that all new buildings, or external alterations to existing buildings, must be in keeping with the character of the suburb. It has an active community based organisation, The Haberfield Association, which is active in protecting and promoting the heritage qualities of the suburb.

There is a specific Interim Development Assessment Policy that responds to the unique qualities of the garden suburb and aims to protect its special qualities.