Bellevue Hill - building a suburb

The Cooper's Bellevue Hill-Bondi Estate, last of the large scale releases of the Cooper estate, was released as three subdivisions between 1912 and 1919. The 1912 release was centred on a newly constructed estate road named ‘Birriga’ – eventually the route taken by the extension of the Bellevue Hill tramway to Bondi Beach. Agents promoted the outlook available from the estate – with views to both harbour and ocean – with emphasis also on the comparative proximity of the tram terminus, and the announcement of the up-coming extension of the tram route. See also: Bellevue Hill and Cooper's Bellevue Hill-Bondi Estate.(PDF, 11MB)

Drainage problems delayed agreement with Council and hampered construction work - the steep terrain compounded problems already posed by the fragile, sandy soil, easily subject to wash-away and collapse - but the estate was eventually rewarded when, despite a property downturn, 148 of the available 227 allotments were sold at the December 1912 auction for a total value of nearly £37,000.

This series of photographs of the construction of Birriga, Bundarra and Banksia Roads, and Benelong Crescent, show the scale of works as cuttings and embankments re-arranged the natural landscape into a network of roads and building sites. In one image a road gang appear in miniature, dwarfed by their surroundings, and in others views of Rose Bay and the harbour can be seen in the background.

AlI photographs from Woollahra Libraries Digital Archive. Cooper's Bellevue Hill-Bondi Estate subdivision plans from the collections of the SLNSW.