Tulkiyan is an Arts & Crafts style suburban villa designed in 1913 by architect B.J. (Bertrand James) Waterhouse (1876-1965) of Waterhouse & Lake Architects. The house was built for Mrs Mary Donaldson and her husband William, a Sydney merchant. It remained in Donaldson family ownership and occupation for 80 years, with minimal alterations to furnishings and building fabric. When the last of the family, Miss Mary Donaldson, died in 1994 aged 91, Tulkiyan became the property of Ku-Ring-Gai Council.
As a house museum, Tulkiyan illustrates the early 20th century fashion, taste and lifestyle of an Edwardian family on the affluent upper North Shore of Sydney. The largely intact interior is furnished with most of the original contents of the house. Furniture bought from David Jones in 1913 was simply updated in 1930 through the replacement of worn carpets and a re-covering of dining chairs. The original front garden layout also remains, along with remnants of early plantings, including lily pilly trees on either side of the main gate. Tulkiyan’s asymmetrical form, gables, shingle roof, wall finishes and bay windows are also typical of the period and the dark stained timber joinery of the interiors, decorative plaster ceilings and Art Nouveau style gas fireplaces are all synonymous with the Arts and Crafts architectural style.
Tulkiyan is listed as an item of State significance on the NSW Heritage Register. This photographic documentation was undertaken after Miss Donaldson had bequeathed the property to Ku-Ring-Gai council but while she retained tenancy.
Ryder, J, From Nutcote to Elwatan: the art and architecture of B.J. Waterhouse, Mosman, NSW: Mosman Art Gallery, 2004.