Hunters Hill NSW
The Chalet is a rare survivor. It is a prefabricated timber house imported in 1854 from Hamburg, Germany, one of four such houses ordered by a young Swiss immigrant to Australia named Leonard Etienne Bordier. When erected at Hunters Hill and offered for sale in 1855 they were described as “spacious houses with verandahs nearly all round, built in the most substantial manner of wood, well and strongly framed together, erected on high stone foundations and covered with slates, well ventilated, painted and papered all though in suitable and handsome patterns.” Each house contained nine rooms, with a staircase leading to a very large attic.
The Chalet is the last one standing of Bordier’s Hamburg houses. It was the home of noted Australian artist Nora Heysen (1911-2003) from 1954 until her death in late 2003 and was photographed soon after Nora’s death and prior to its sale. These pictures show that the house retains significant original decorative detail, including scalloped fascia and verandah detail and original door furniture. The photo documentation also provides evidence of the pre-fabricated origins of the house, ceiling timbers numbered with Roman numerals.
Robert Irving, John Kinstler, Max Dupain Fine houses of Sydney, Methuen Australia, Sydney, 1982
Joanna Nicholas ‘The Chalet, Hunters Hill’, Insites, issue 40, Spring 2004 pp. 4-5