Old Surrey House & The Priory Group


City of Albany

Place Number



9 Thomas St & 55-59 Burt St Mt Clarence & Albany

Location Details

5-11 Thomas St - Surrey House, 55-59 Burt St - The Priory

Other Name(s)

Old Surrey House

Local Government



Great Southern

Construction Date

Constructed from 1841

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List Adopted 27 Oct 2020

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
RHP - To be assessed Current 13 Aug 2004

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Municipal Inventory Adopted 30 Jun 2001 Category A
Local Heritage Survey Adopted 27 Oct 2020 Exceptional

Child Places

  • 15447 The Priory

Statement of Significance

Old Surrey has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons: The place, built c1841, is among one of the oldest extant residences in Albany. The place is associated with James Newell and George Weston well-known early settlers to Albany; Newell, originally sent to Australia on convict transportation, the first owner of the land and Weston, a carpenter, who bought the land off Newell and built the house. The place is a fine and rare example of a Victorian Regency style cottage using locally sourced stone for its coarse faced stone walls and now situated in mature garden setting. The place is associated with The Priory on adjoining lot in Burt Street

Physical Description

Some of the notable features of this place include: • Set on large property with much landscaped garden • Livingstone Palm trees in the grounds are some of the old exotic species introduced into the landscape • Single storey in part with two storey wing • Coarse faced stone walls – painted • Wooden framed windows of multi panes some with architrave surrounds of cement render others with quoins • Entry door shaded by gabled porch • Long rectangular design Some obvious modifications include: • In 1999 the house colour was pink, the paint work covers natural stone walls • Gabled porch


The history of Old Surrey is closely tied in with that of the neighbouring property, The Priory. In March 1837 King William the Fourth of England granted four acres of land in Albany to Yeoman James Newell for a peppercorn rental, witnessed and sealed by Sir James Stirling, Governor and Commander in Chief of the Colony. This was the land on which Old Surrey was built. Newell was one of 14 English labourers from East Anglia who were convicted in 1816 on charges of rioting for a pay rise of one shilling. The labourers were originally sentenced to death but the sentence was commuted to transportation to NSW for 14 years. After serving his time, Newell came to the Swan River Colony and settled in Albany where he was granted this land. In 1841 James Newell sold two acres of the land to George Weston, a carpenter, for £20. Weston built a stone cottage on the property, later called Old Surrey. It is said that the cottage was later used as the gatehouse and stable for the much larger house built on the adjacent property – The Priory. Over the generations Old Surrey has had a number of owners which has led to extensions, renovations and other changes that have threatened the built integrity of the home. However, in 1976 a new owner Ray Ellis took on the project of returning Old Surrey to some of its former glory. A 1976 report on the renovation was written by historian and playwright Tom Hungerford who said: The old two storey Georgian style cottage faces a long gentle slope of garden in front and is backed by the climb of the land up through an almost primeval stand of trees and undergrowth thick with wildflowers. It is credited with having been the coach house and servants quarters of the much bigger house, The Vicarage (now known as The Priory), which was built on the other half of the original four acre site and which still stands alongside Old Surrey although sadly modernised. The old dwelling originally consisted, on the ground floor, of an entrance hall, a long low living room and kitchen and outhouses; up the staircase, angled in one corner of the living room, are two irregular shaped attic bedrooms with many paned windows down to floor level. In more recent times two bedrooms have been added to the ground floor. With outer walls of fieldstone and an unobtrusive entrance porch, the additions look as if they might well have been part of the original design. Until less than a year ago this lovely old home had been permitted to fall into a state of almost irretrievable decay…..What Mr Ellis has done… has turned a 136 year old ruin into one of the show places of Albany.


Integrity: Moderate Authenticity: Moderate




Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Albany Advertiser "Real Estate Liftout". 1994
TA Hungerford; "Newspaper Article on Old Surrey.". City of Albany 1976
P Madivgan & L Johnson; "Correspondence based on Oral History Interview with Dr H Copeman-property owner". 1994
Heritage TODAY Site visit and Assessment 1999
PR 8679 "Step Back into History 􀂱 Historical pamphlet produced by owners of Old Surrey". Battye Library 1980

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use RESIDENTIAL Single storey residence
Present Use RESIDENTIAL Single storey residence

Architectural Styles

Victorian Regency

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall STONE Local Stone

Historic Themes

General Specific

Creation Date

17 Mar 2000

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

09 Dec 2021


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.