Federation Housing in Strathfield

By Cathy Jones

Federation Period c.1895-c.1915

As the 1890s economic depression of the eased by the mid-1890s, expressions of Australian nationalism gathered strength culminating in the proclamation of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901 (Federation). With more favourable economic conditions, building activity recommenced. The development of Sydney suburbs was assisted by improvements in transport in Sydney, in particular the expansion of the Sydney tram system into the suburbs, which included a service at Enfield. Motor cars appeared on streets in the early 1900s but by the end of this period cars were increasingly mass produced and affordable. Cars gradually replaced the horse and buggy.

The idea of the ‘garden suburb’ – involving a house on a large piece of land – was the model for residential and suburban development in Sydney, and especially Strathfield. By the late 1890s, Australian architecture and building echoed trends in England, Europe and the United States. Architecture combined a variety of styles. Many of these styles are evident in Strathfield in designs of the Federation period.

Federation style housing is featured in many parts of Strathfield Municipality. Heritage conservation areas such as Redmyre Road and Churchill Avenue are primarily federation period.

Federation Queen Anne

50 Churchill Avenue Strathfield. Photograph Strathfield Council 1986.
50 Churchill Avenue Strathfield. Photo Strathfield Council 1986.

The Federation Queen Anne style was the dominant style in Australian residential architecture.  This style is asymmetrical with an ensemble of varied roof shapes.  These houses are brick with painted timber detailing and elements and typically set within a picturesque garden.  These houses feature a verandah with timber posts and ornamental brackets, balustrades and valances.

Federation Queen Anne is featured prominently in the Churchill Avenue, Homebush Road and Redmyre Road Heritage Conservation Areas.

Federation Arts and Crafts

The Federation Arts and Crafts is represented in Strathfield, though less frequently than the Queen Anne and Bungalow styles. The roof is a dominant element, featuring gables and/or hips of medium to steep pitch and prominent eaves.  These houses have tall, tapering chimneys and bay windows.  Pebblecast stucco was commonly used as a exterior wall finish, together with other materials having earthy, natural colours and textures.  Gardens are an important element.

Federation Bungalow

86 Albyn Rd Strathfield. Photograph 2005.
86 Albyn Rd Strathfield. Photograph 2005.

There are many examples of Federation Bungalows in the Strathfield Local Government Area.  This style appears late in the Federation period and the design represents a transition from the more ornate Queen Anne style into the Interwar period that followed.

Bungalows are generally free standing, single storey houses, occasionally with rooms in the roof space, set within informal lawns and gardens.  These houses are traditionally constructed in brick with timber floors, roof construction and deep shady verandahs and wide eaves.

Articles on the following Federation style properties:


Apperly, R., Irving, R., Reynolds, P., A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture, Angus & Robertson, 1995

Fox and Associates, Strathfield Heritage Study, Vol. 1 and 2, Strathfield Municipal Council, 1986.

Jones, Cathy., About Strathfield Municipality, 2nd Edition, 2007

Jones, M A, Oasis in the West: Strathfield’s First One Hundred Years, Allen and Unwin, 1985.

Sagazio, C (ed), The National Trust Research Manual, Halstead Press, 2004


Cathy Jones.  (c) Cathy Jones 2011

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