Rosemont was once many acres in extent with elaborate, highly structured gardens (Tanner, 1990). It is now a little less than 1 acre divided approximately 60:40 between grounds and house. (Heritage Office file, 1981). The garden is formal with a 3 tier fountain dominating a circular carriage drive in front of the house. The grounds include displays of roses, azaleas, large camphor laurels and fig trees on the boundaries (Media statement, Minister for Planning & Environment, 19/3/1984)
Rosemont is a two storey sandstone house of early Victorian character with an Edwardian character in the later additions. The external sandstone walls and chimneys are painted. The main roof is slate and the verandah roofs iron and copper. The main elevation is symmetrical with two bays projecting forward and an encircling cast iron Ionic colonnade from the Peter Nichol Russell Foundry. At the sides of the house there are balancing single storeyed verandahs supported on cast iron pilasters with frieze. The verandahs are sandstone flagged with some concrete sections. The eastern verandah has been extended to match the original (RNE, 1991).
Internally much original joinery survives, including six panelled doors and elaborate skirtings, but has been painted. Some marble fireplaces and some plasterwork survive, though substantial alterations are evident. The joinery is elaborate in the main rooms with breast panelling to the windows (National Trust, 1981).
The main staircase and present entrance hall date from the twentieth century. An upper balcony has been formed above the present colonnade with 1880 balustrading. The house has 80 squares with ten bedrooms. A servants' wing extends to the north west and there are several other brick additions. A servants wing was built joining the main house to the original kitchen wing (RNE, 1991).
The house is separated from the servants' quarters and offices by a flagged sandstone courtyard. This was joined to the house in 1914 when a second storey was partially added to the rear section.
The original property of 80 acres (mostly to the south of the house) has been reduced to less than 1 acre. The original entrance was from Ocean Street, but that section of garden and drive was subdivided off in the 1970s (RNE, 1991).
Its most recent subdivision occurred in c.1980 when apartments (Rosemont Gardens) were constructed along the former drive, west of the house to Ocean Street.
Sir Raymond & Lady Burrell, guided initially by architect Espie Dods and landscape consultant Gai Stanton, have since then rearranged the house and garden with a revised entry through a southern (formerly service) courtyard, which has been given formal emphasis by paterres and trellises. The main rooms have a northern outlook towards the harbour, now enhanced by an understated sequence: grass terrace by the house, stone steps, tennis court and swimming pool.
Old trees including an evergreen magnolia/bull bay (Magnolia grandiflora) and new perimeter planting provide a sense of privacy and enclosure while lushly planted 'secret' pathways provide detail and interest (Tanner, 1990).
Source:NSW Heritage Branch
14 Rosemont Avenue, Woollahra, NSW