Lilyvale is located on 176 Cumberland Street in The Rocks, Sydney. You can’t miss it, as it seems oddly out of place with highrises looming over it. For such a unique building it has surprisingly very little in the way of an interesting storyline.
Lilyvale was built in c.1847 for innkeeper Michael Farrell.
The cottage is a three storey double-fronted brick residence built with traditional load-bearing brickwork. Timber was used for the framed floors and roof. Attic rooms can be found under the gabled roof and are lit by three dormer windows. Inside Lilyvale is the original cedar staircase which leads to the upper-level rooms.
The style of the building reflects New South Wales introduction of the 1837 Building Act by Legislative Council and the subsequent Act of 1845 which was based on the London building Act of 1709. The legislation was aimed mainly at fire prevention and resulted in many structures being built in a similar style to that of London architecture of the time.
Mr Farrell purchased the land on Cumberland Street in 1838 with the intention of building a gentleman’s residence. Over the years the building has been used as a tavern and a boarding house and has gone through several name changes such as the Cumberland Hotel, Clare Tavern, and Athol Blair.
In 1903 the Farrell family sold the property to the Crown. During the 1980s the building had a face-lift with the original paint colours being re-applied and minor restoration work completed. Today, Lilyvale stands as a fine example of Colonial Regency freestanding domestic architecture and one of the few remaining examples in the city centre. Lilyvale is currently a restaurant.