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Architectural Styles

Rockdale City Council is concerned about protecting the heritage of the local area, and has undertaken a comprehensive Heritage Study to identify every residential building in the City by its architectural style:

Victorian Circa

1840 - 1890


1890 - 1915

Californian Bungalow

1915 - 1940

Between the wars

1928 - 1940

Post war

1940 - today

The information has been compiled into a colour coded map which can be seen in full at Council's City Development Department.

Many of the city's significant buildings have been included on Council's Heritage List and more will follow.

The information below explains and illustrates the major periods of development in the City.


The Victorian Style (1840-1890)

The Victorian Style (1840-1890)


Buildings dating from the 19th century (specifically between 1840 and 1890) are known as Victorian. Many public buildings of this style were built in the City of Rockdale, as were private homes (including large mansions, villas, smaller houses, terrace houses and farm houses).

Some Victorian architecture remains in the City, though the style comprises only 10% of the total number of buildings in the area. Victorian houses have the following external features:

  • Single storey (usually)
  • Double fronted (with one room projecting forward)
  • Verandah stretching across the front of the building (featuring patterned tiles and cast iron decoration)
  • Slate and/or corrugated iron roof (if it hasn't been replaced)
  • Rendered painted brickwork walls (some may have been built of stone or timber)
  • A number of chimneys

Interior characteristics include high ceilings, elaborate cornices, ceiling roses and marble or timber fireplace surrounds.

Where to spot Victorian architecture


  • Victorian House Museum at Lydham Hall
  • Rockdale Station
  • Arncliffe Station
  • Along Forest and Wollongong Roads (various mansions)
  • Throughout the residential areas of Rockdale, Arncliffe, Carlton and Bexley (villas)

View a map detailing the Distribution of Victorian buildings (1840-1890) in the City.

The Federation Style (1890-1915)

The Federation Style (1890-1915)


Federation architecture flourished near the end of the 19th century and continued up to 1915. The style is well represented in the City of Rockdale by a number of buildings, including Bexley Primary School and Arncliffe Public School.

Federation houses have the following external features:

  • Red brick walls (though some were built of stone, and several of timber)
  • Matching red Marseilles patterned terracotta roof tiles
  • Slate roofs (corrugated iron was usually used for the rear roof section)
  • A verandah under the main roof, featuring decorative timber work and floor tiles
  • Casement and headlight windows at the front.

Where to Find Federation Architecture


  • Several local public buildings, include rows of shops
  • The Schools of Arts at Rockdale, Bexley and Carlton
  • The fire station and old post office in Arncliffe
  • Individual detached and semi-detached houses throughout residential areas.

View a map detailing the Distribution of Federation buildings (1890-1915) in the City.

Californian Bungalows (1915-1940)

Californian Bungalows (1915-1940)


Californian Bungalow is the term used to describe houses built between the First and Second World Wars, when demand for housing was high. Some 20% of the current total of buildings in the City are Californian Bungalows.

These houses are mostly single storey, made with red bricks and red terracotta roof tiles. Like Victorian and Federation houses, Californian Bungalows have tiled verandahs, decorative timber work and headlight windows at the front of the house, and a corrugated iron roof at the back. Unlike Victorian and Federation houses, they usually have a driveway and a garage for a car.

Where to find Californian Bungalows


All over the City of Rockdale, as in-fill housing between Victorian and Federation homes, with concentrations in Brighton, Bexley and Arncliffe.

View a map detailing the Distribution of Californian Bungalows (1915-1945) in the City.

'Between the Wars' Styles (1928-1940)

'Between the Wars' Styles (1928-1940)


Between the First and Second World Wars, several architectural styles flourished. Extensive in-fill development between older houses took place all over the City (especially during the 1930s) and Californian Bungalows continued to be built, while new housing estates opened (such as those in Kingsgrove) and Art Deco flats and shops were developed.

This style of housing is largely represented by single storey homes built on large blocks. Between the Wars style homes feature:

  • Double front with hip roof and a verandah or porch
  • Walls made of dark liver coloured bricks featuring geometric patterns in the brickwork to the front of the house
  • Roofs of dark red-brown glazed tiles
  • Casement windows and front doors featuring lead light in geometric or Art Deco patterns.

These houses usually have one fireplace in the living room, and ceilings featuring Art Deco designs.

Where to find 'Between the Wars' styles


  • Flats, particularly near the Rockdale Railway Station
  • Art Deco rows of shops at Kingsgrove and Bexley
  • The Rockdale Town Hall (also Art Deco)

This style is distributed widely throughout the city, in the form of further in-fill developments, with large concentrations in Kingsgrove.

View a map detailing the Distribution of Between the Wars (1928-1940) buildings in the City.

'Post War' styles (1940-today)

The Post War style encompasses all the development in the City of Rockdale after the Second World War. The period's earlier housing styles are simple and modern in design, and made from either weatherboard, asbestos cement or brick veneer. Redevelopment, from three storey walk up flats to town houses, villas and dual occupancies followed later. Even more recently, high density/rise housing has been constructed in parts of Brighton Le Sands and the Rockdale Town Centres. The 'Post War' style is also used to identify older properties which have been modernised since 1940.

For more information, go to Contacts, links and further reading.




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