photo by Scott Robertson

Site Overview

site name:
Duration Cottages (Permanent)
other/former name:
Peace Officers Quarters
Staff Cottages
Walter Bunning
date of commission:
date of completion:
Forrester Str., Griffiths Str., Maple Str., Viney Str., St. Marys NSW 2760
Residential / Housing (RES)
current use:
Private Housing
(The site is no longer staff housing controlled by an institution, but has been sold as individual dwellings.
protection status:
State Heritage Inventory (including the parks)
editor fiche:
Noni Boyd in 2005
download fiche:
Fiche (Pdf)


The 32 permanent duration cottages are more substantial than the larger group of 200 temporary duration cottages built south of the railway line at St Marys, and the examples of Duration Cottages that survive at Lithgow and Bathurst. Nearly 1,000 houses were built adjacent to the various munitions factories across NSW in 1942-43. These permanent duration cottages were intended for the security officers rather than factory staff. These cottages were known as duration cottages as the accommodation only available, for the duration of their employment, to those employed in the war effort at the nearby munitions plants.

There are three groups of houses within the subdivison, two larger groups, each of 12 houses fronting a central park. The third smaller group, fronts the semi-circular park at the western end of the subdivision. Mature trees on the site appear to have been retained in the two central parks. The layout of the vegetation is largely as shown on the plans and perspectives published in Bunning’s 1944 report recommending post-war housing models.

As is shown on the published plans a variety of house forms were built, although the palette of materials was the same. Each residence had a brick chimney, a hipped corrugated iron roof, a weatherboard (timber) dado, to sill height above which was asbestos sheeting. The triangular gable was likewise clad with weatherboards, rather than with asbestos sheeting. This detail would have been designed to avoid wastage of materials. The porch were screened with simple uprights, two configurations of which survive. Today the houses largely open directly onto the shared parkland in the centre.

The interiors of the houses have not been inspected, however the Penrith Heritage Advisor noted that the houses originally contained compact built in kitchens.