$4.8m price tag in Old Sydney might be worth the history alone

Windmill St Terrace 1

The heritage-listed terrace house at 69 Windmill Street, Millers Point, was once a pub called The Hit Or Miss. You may have read that it sold earlier this year for $4.8m. It’s close to the harbour, but perhaps more importantly, it’s a stunning old building.

I walked by it during a lunch break this week, a windswept day that saw dry winter leaves hit up against its stunning white façade. It’s a great looking home, more recently converted into apartments, apparently still with sandstone interiors and four-metre pressed metal ceilings, as per the most recent selling agent, McGrath Real Estate.

Windmill St Terrace 2

Beauty and beverages

The three-storey terrace – as it is – was built in the 1880s in the Victorian Italianate style, and also has painted rendered masonry walls, ornate cornices, timber joinery and a corrugated galvanised iron roof. You can see the Harbour Bridge from the top floor, says the ‘for sale’ ad. 

The original site, which is listed at 175 square metres, was granted to Irish-born labourer Thomas Stevens, according to government research. Stevens had been sentenced to serve 14 years in Australia as a convict, arriving in Port Jackson on ‘The Pilot’ in 1817. 

He didn’t serve his full term, however, and by 1830 had been freed. He got a job, married Catherine Larkins (also an Irish convict) and they had a son, Patrick. They would eventually have six children, says the Pioneer Association.

No.6 or 69?

Stevens is said to have purchased the land for their home at No.69 (back then listed as No.6) from George Banks in 1836 and by 1845 a (then) two storey house had gone up. Rate books actually show two buildings on Stevens’ lot, a substantial masonry building fronting the street and a timber house at the rear.

Millers Point

A second iteration

Following Thomas’ death in 1850, his widow Catherine turned their residence into a public house (a pub!) which she named the ‘Hit or Miss Hotel’ and ran.

She died in 1867, as per the Pioneer Association. 

Almost 30 years later, a case was heard on a suit arising from the will of Stevens and once this was resolved, the home was rebuilt.

Grandson J.M.Stevens and a number of family members acquired the adjacent land, building a tenement block residence and the new Hit or Miss, which was finished in 1899.

Some of the salvaged materials appear to have been used in the block at the rear and part of the ground floor hotel walls, it says in government notes. Yet, no tender notices have been located other than one for the supply of 10,000 bricks in 1898. 

The sales ad called the property a renowned landmark building of architectural significance, primed for sympathetic restoration. It’s certainly worth all the sweat and tears that have gone into it.

The current median price in Millers Point is $1.9m, as per REA Group.

You can read more about Windmill St here.

The Rocks_Observatory Hill
The view further up, on Observatory Hill.
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