Some of the earliest European settlers farmed in this area. By 1823 John Farrell and by 1833 Martin Burke both had farms adjacent to the ocean. Beside the shores of Pittwater were James Macdonald, Robert Melville and Richard Porter, between these two groups, was Robert Henderson. By 1881 Farrell’s grandson, Johnny Farrell, owned 280 acres at Newport.
The area came to be called Newport from about 1880. Charles Jeannerett and George Pile built a wharf, the Newport Hotel and subdivided land for sale. They gained the mail contract and all goods for the area would be unloaded at the wharf. Jeannerett also encouraged day trips to Newport either by coach from Manly or by steamer from Sydney, refreshment being provided at the hotel. In 1881 he hosted a visit by the royal Princes, Albert and George, who came overland from Manly and then went aboard at Newport to travel down theHawkesbury River. Nearby Bayview House, later Scott’s guest house, provided accommodation and recreation.As road transport improved and beach holidays became popular so Newport expanded, particularly on the ocean side. In the 1920s and 30s it was still largely a holiday location and many houses were empty for much of the year.Since the 1950s the area has become a residential suburb of Sydney.
“The town of Newport extends right from the main road to the shore of Pittwater about half a mile. It has been laid out on a grand scale, the allotments being mostly half an acre to three-quarters of an acre each. The main street (the Queen’s Parade) is one hundred and thirty-two feet in width, the other streets one chain. The deep-water channel of Pittwater passes the property right alongside the shore, and ends just above. The largest steamers can lie alongside the wharf at low tide. A spacious hotel has recently been built, the roads have been formed, and the steamers for the Hawkesbury and Brisbane Water make it their head quarters. Arrangements have been made to establish a Public School. A central site has been reserved for a post and telegraph office. A considerable trade has already sprung up, and as it is even now the centre of a very considerable population, the terminal point of an extensive system of river traffic, a favourite fishing locality, and a favourite place for yachting, and being more-over close to the ocean beach, Newport cannot fail to become very shortly a favourite watering place, and a town of considerable importance.”
Mills, Pile & Gilchrist, Description of Newport, Pittwater and Hawkesbury Lakes, c. 1881.
NEWPORT LOCALITY & DESIRED CHARACTER
The Newport Locality was occupied by farming settlements from the early 1800s, and was a port for coastal steamers in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The Newport Hotel built in 1880 attracted visitors from Manly by coach and Sydney by steamer. As the road improved and beach holidays became popular, Newport expanded. Until the 1950s, Newport remained largely a holiday location with few permanent residents. Residential development and permanent occupation of dwellings increased from the 1950s.
Since this time, the locality has developed into a predominantly low density residential area, with dwellings built along valley floor, plateau and slopes. The locality is characterised mainly by one and two storey dwelling houses on 500-1,300 square metre allotments (some blocks may be smaller), increasing to 950-1,600 square metres on the plateau and slopes. The residential areas are of a diverse style and architecture, a common thread being the landscaped, treed frontages and subdued external finishes. Medium density housing adjoins the Newport Commercial Centre along Ocean and Foamcrest Avenues, and in pockets along Kalinya Road, Gladstone Street, Livingston Place, and Queens Parade.
The locality is serviced by the Newport Commercial Centre on Barrenjoey Road, north of Bardo Road and South of Coles Parade, and neighbourhood retail centre at Kalinya Street. The locality also contains the Newport Primary School, Newport Arms Hotel, and recreational facilities including the Newport Bowling Club and several reserves.
The eastern side of the locality is dominated by the beach and adjoining headlands, with its recreational facilities including Newport Surf Life Saving Club. Whilst the western side is dominated by the Pittwater waterway and its nautical uses. Public pedestrian access around the Pittwater frontage is difficult and should be enabled and enhanced in future developments.
Houses and vegetation in the vicinity of Burke Street, Bungan Head Road, Prince Alfred Parade, Queens Parade and Myola Road, indicative of early settlement in the locality, have been identified as heritage items.
The locality is characterised by the steep slopes to the north and south, and valley floor. Due to the topography, significant views can be obtained through all points of the compass. Conversely, the slopes and ridge tops of the locality are visually prominent. Substantial tree growth has been established, although the locality contains few natural reserves and bushland areas.
The natural features of the locality result in a high risk of bushfire, landslip, flood, coastal (bluff) hazard, and estuary wave action and tidal inundation.
The major roads within the locality are Barrenjoey Road, Prince Alfred Parade, Beaconsfield Street, Irrubel Road and Myola Road. Barrenjoey Road which forms a distinct barrier between the east and western sides of the locality, is the primary access road to the northern suburbs of Pittwater. Few pedestrian/cycle links and pathways exist within the locality.
The Newport locality will remain primarily a low density residential area with dwelling houses a maximum of two storeys in any one place in a natural landscaped setting, integrated with the landform and landscape. Secondary Dwellings can be established in conjunction with another dwelling to encourage additional opportunities for more compact and affordable housing with minimal environmental impact in appropriate locations. Any dual occupancy dwellings will be located on the valley floor and lower slopes that have less tree canopy coverage, species and habitat diversity and fewer other constraints to development. Any medium density housing will be located within and around commercial centres, public transport and community facilities. Retail, community and recreational facilities will serve the community.
Future development is to be located so as to be supported by adequate infrastructure, including roads, water and sewerage facilities, and public transport.
Future development will maintain a building height limit below the tree canopy and minimise bulk and scale. Existing and new native vegetation, including canopy trees, will be integrated with the development. Contemporary buildings will utilise facade modulation and/or incorporate shade elements, such as pergolas, verandahs and the like. Building colours and materials will harmonise with the natural environment. Development on slopes will be stepped down or along the slope to integrate with the landform and landscape, and minimise site disturbance. Development will be designed to be safe from hazards.
A balance will be achieved between maintaining the landforms, landscapes and other features of the natural environment, and the development of land. As far as possible, the locally native tree canopy and vegetation will be retained and enhanced to assist development blending into the natural environment, to provide feed trees and undergrowth for koalas and other animals, and to enhance wildlife corridors.
Heritage items and conservation areas indicative of the Guringai Aboriginal people and of early settlement in the locality will be conserved.
Vehicular, pedestrian and cycle access within and through the locality will be maintained and upgraded. The design and construction of roads will manage local traffic needs, minimise harm to people and fauna, and facilitate colocation of services and utilities.
Newport’s coastal setting is what contributes most to the distinctive character of the commercial centre. Responsive, energy efficient buildings will support and enhance this relaxed, beachfront character and its outdoor lifestyle, contributing to a unique sense of place. Contemporary design solutions within the commercial centre will respond to Newport’s climate and setting, including providing shade and shelter to streets and entries, generous private outdoor spaces, openings that capture ocean breezes, and shade elements.
Natural Environment and Heritage
The Newport Locality includes vegetation areas, threatened species, or areas of natural environmental significance. Land affected in the Newport Locality is shown on the natural environment maps held in the offices of Council.
Land affected in the Newport Locality is shown on the Heritage Map held in the offices of Council.
Desired Character Within the Newport Commercial Centre
- Diversity rather than uniformity of building type and style is a desirable part of the existing character and is encouraged to continue. Strategies to achieve this include modulating buildings in both the vertical and horizontal plane, and enabling a variety of fenestration, awning treatments and roof forms. This diversity, including the mix of new and remodelled buildings, will be unified by the streetscape and public domain treatments.
- At the topmost level of buildings, setbacks to front, sides and rear will break down the overall scale of the street, support view sharing, and will also provide useable roof terraces and garden areas. Views from the upper slope down and across the roof scape will be significantly improved by thoughtful roof design. The permeability of the centre will be further improved by both protecting and creating views through and between buildings.
- Building orientation, internal layouts, the location and design of balcony and courtyard areas, should all optimise people’s ability to use and enjoy the spaces.
- The architectural character will be expressed strongly through the design of facades, including shading and screening devices, lightness and transparency of materials, and elements that promote natural ventilation.
- Shop fronts will be largely transparent, with large openings, connecting directly with the footpath areas, to contribute to a sense of permeability.
- Building users will benefit from terraces, balconies and openings with a pleasant outlook, while the space benefits from passive surveillance and from being attractively edged.
The desired future character for the commercial centre includes an increased diversity and range of retail, commercial and community activities for the Newport community. Barrenjoey Road and Robertson Road will be consolidated as the primary retail streets, and the role of Robertson Road as an activity hub for the village will be enhanced. Further development of shop top housing will enliven the village, particularly at nights and weekends, and increase the retail customer base. The Newport Commercial Centre will have increased patronage from visitors as well as local residents, due to:
- A range of small scale commercial, professional and residential uses on Seaview Parade, Foamcrest Avenue and the western portion of Coles Parade, distinct from the primary retail ‘main street’ focus on Barrenjoey Road and Robertson Road.
- Retention and enhancement of the clusters of cafe/dining uses on Barrenjoey Road and Robertson
- Active land uses on highly visible sites at the northern and southern ends of the commercial centre, with a high degree of interaction with the public domain.
- The retention and enhancement of special character sites and uses that contribute to Newport’s identity including beachfront areas, the openness of the Bramley Avenue car park, the church and the community facilities at the southern end of the villa
- Consolidation of the community focus of the Bowling Club / Croquet Club site with new, diverse community and recreational uses.