Whitlam’s family home threatened by redevelopment
THE childhood home of former prime minister Gough Whitlam is under imminent threat of being levelled by bulldozers.
Historical advocates are calling for Ku-ring-gai Council and the National Trust to save the home from its "pending doom", after it was revealed there is no local or state heritage protection over the property.
The home at 1456 Pacific Hwy, Turramurra, was built by the former prime minister's parents Fred and Martha in 1921 when they moved to the upper north shore - and was offered as a wedding present to Gough and Margaret Whitlam.
A development application was submitted to Ku-ring-gai Council for the demolition of the home and the construction of a five-storey residential building including 38 units, after it was sold for $1.4 million in 2017.
National Trust Conservation Director Graham Quint was saddened by news of the demolition.
"It is a great pity when local councils are preparing heritage listings for historical homes that the history of the residents as well as the architectural value is not as considered," Mr Quint told the Advocate.
"There are exceptions, of course, like Nutcote - the home of May Gibbs."
"In the United Kingdom the cultural significance of the homes of the Beatles are recognised for example, whereas we've found out just today that the former home of Angus Young of AC/DC fame will not be heritage listed by the local council."
The development application said an assessment of the property saw no heritage significance.
"They have been altered and do not contribute to the setting of the heritage item adjacent," the report by Urbis planning said.
"The proposed development is considered to be appropriate given the existing character of the area."
Historian Christopher Russell called for the Federal Government to save the property "due to its connection to a former prime minister".
"I am quite sure the federal and state governments or National Trust could put money into restoring this home back to its original state, otherwise history will be lost to time."
Edward Gough Whitlam was born in the Melbourne suburb of Kew on July 11, 1916.
His family moved to Turramurra in 1921, after his father Frederick Whitlam became the Deputy Crown Solicitor for the NSW Government.
The former prime minister attended school at Mowbray House and then Knox Grammar School up until 1926, when his father was transferred to Canberra and he transferred to Telopea Park Intermediate High School, where he was known for editing the school magazine, The Telopea.
Whitlam became a member of parliament on February 17, 1953 where he was recognised as one of the most articulate members of government, according to federal government reports.
Whitlam led the Labor Party to power for the first time in more than 20 years in 1972, before controversially losing his position as PM when the governor-general dismissed Whitlam amid the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis.
He died on October 21, 2014.