About St Brigid's

Where is St Brigid's located?

The site is located at 548 New South Head Road, Double Bay and is legally described as Lot 1 in DP 1126161. It measures approximately 2769.5 sqm and accommodates the St Brigid’s building, which is an item of local environmental heritage.

St Brigid’s is a two-storey building set within Blackburn Gardens, part of the broader (Council owned) Redleaf Estate. It was built in 1897 and holds cultural and community significance in the Woollahra area as one of the few surviving mid-nineteenth century harbour foreshore grand mansions.

The site has a steep grade from south to north (sloping toward the harbour), and a frontage to New South Head Road. Due to the grade, however, the building is barely visible from the road. There are various trees and landscaping features on the site, which are all proposed to be retained.


Are there any heritage aspects of St Brigid's?

St Brigid’s is a heritage item under Woollahra Local Environmental Plan 2014(External link)and has high community and cultural significance.

Development Application

Why has Council lodged a DA for st Brigid's?

Council proposes to re-purpose the Council-owned St Brigid’s building and adjoining part of Blackburn Gardens at 548 New South Head Road. The building was previously used as the Woollahra Council Library; however, has been vacant since the library relocated to a purpose-built facility in Double Bay in May 2016.

The proposal includes:

  • the conversion of St Brigid’s into a community art gallery on the top floor (New South Head Road level)
  • some modifications to the base building to allow for future use, yet to be determined by Council, on the ground floor (Blackburn Gardens level)
  • the installation of a new lift on the western side of the building, in Blackburn Gardens.
On 24 September 2018, Council resolved to endorse the use of the first floor at St Brigid's as an art gallery/cultural space, in accordance with the Council resolution of 29 May 2017.

Links to the Council meeting minutes are available on this site, in the 'Important Links' section.

What does the DA propose?

The proposed development is for the change of use of the former Woollahra Council Library within St Brigid's to a community space. The DA seeks consent for:
  • Internal alterations and refurbishment to the first floor to accommodate a community art gallery on Level 1.
  • Internal alterations and refurbishment to selected parts of the ground floor.
  • New amenities and mechanical/electrical services across both floors.
  • External works including new steps, windows and doors.
  • New external lift (located externally to the south west side of St Brigid's) in Blackburn Gardens providing independent external access across both floors. Street access to the lift is available via an elevated covered bridge walkway.
  • Replacement of existing street boundary fence with a new steel fence and gates, and a new 1.8m timber fence to neighbouring property at 550 New South Head Road.
  • Hard landscaping works including the widening/replacement of sandstone paving, realignment/reconstruction of an existing retaining wall and relaying the existing sandstone nib garden wall. 
  • Landscaping works including the salvaging and replanting of Kentia Palms and excavation of the roots of the Grevillia Robusta for the new lift shaft. 

Where can I view the proposal?

You can read the proposal on Council's main website.

You can also view the proposal by visiting Council’s Customer Service Counter between 8am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

Who is determining the development application?

The DA will be determined by the independent Woollahra Local Planning Panel.

If you make a submission, we will advise you in writing of the meeting date, time, and location. 

You are welcome to attend the meeting and you will be given the opportunity to verbally present a summary of your submission before a decision is made.More information about how DAs are determined can be found on Council's main website.

How do I receive updates on the DA?

To stay up to date on the St Brigid's DA, register on Your Say Woollahra

You only have to register once to take part in this and other open Council community consultations. 

How to Have Your Say

How can I make a submission?

Information about how to make a submission to the development application for St Brigid's - First Floor Community Art Gallery can be found on this page or on Council's main website

What happens to my submission?

All submissions to this DA must be received by 13 February 2019 to be included in Council's report. 

Council's assessment officer will prepare a report that includes an assessment of the development, any objections and a recommendation for approval, conditional approval or refusal.

What did the previous community consultation involve?

On 30 August 2017, Council invited key stakeholders from cultural organisations to an information and consultation session regarding the use of St Brigid's as a community art gallery. 

25 people attended the consultation. The group discussed topics including what types of:
  • exhibitions might be provided
  • community engagement/outreach programs might support the exhibition program
  • equipment the space might require.
The group also discussed how Council might develop and grow and arts and culture audience. 

The feedback informed the concept of the community art gallery and helped Council create the proposed plans.