Photo: Max Dupain

Site Overview

site name:
Maytone Avenue Group (nr.2)
Sydney Ancher
other/former name:
Ancher House II
date of commission:
date of completion
2 Maytone Avenue, Killara, NSW
protection status:
Ku-ring-gai Local Environmental Plan 2012


At the end of World War II, Sydney Ancher purchased six allotments in Maytone Avenue, Killara in order to construct a house for himself and his family and to sell the remaining lots with a condition that he design the houses for the lots. In total, he designed four houses across these allotments between 1945 to 1963.

The first house was his own family home, spread across two lots on the low side of the street. It is a simple rectangle containing three bedrooms and an open-plan Living/Dining Area. Connecting the house to the garage is a roofed loggia which provided useable living space without creating additional floor area. The house has a pitched hip roof to comply with local council regulations even though Ancher’s initial scheme was for a flat-roofed house.

Next was the Hamill house which sits on the high side of the street and perches on top of a magnificent rock outcrop out of which grows the painted brick wall of the terrace that runs across the front of the house. The pergola and flat roof over the terrace give the impression that the entire house is flat-roofed but there is a low-pitched tile roof covering the house to again comply with the council regulations.

The third house was Ancher’s second family home. A long framed, but roofless, terrace addressed the street and the Living Room, the Kitchen and a bedroom opened onto it. The Living Room extended back to open onto a north terrace, as did the master bedroom. The lower level contained two more bedrooms and the entry into the house. The fourth was the Cairns House.

Three main ideas of these small post-war houses were the maximisation of space in the living area of the house (as the room had to function as the only family living and dining space in the house), the maximisation of outdoor living areas in the form of terraces and courtyards, and, finally, the external appearance of the house from the street.

Text adapted from an entry by Scott Robertson in Australia Modern: Architecture, Landscape and Design 1925-1975 (2019, Thames and Hudson).