West, an Essex millwright, was transported to NSW in 1801 as a convict. Governor Macquarie granted West some 40 acres to the west of the creek that fed into Rushcutters Bay. The estate was known as Barcom Glen.
West erected Sydney’s first water-powered mill on his land in 1812. The mill was located off Boundary Street in Lindsay Lane (where the A is on the map above), downstream from a dam he built near Liverpool Street. He built a house and established an orchard by the mill just north of Liverpool Street.
Three generations lived at Barcom Homestead until the house was acquired by St Vincents Hospital in 1863. West also ran cattle on his property and operated a dairy - Macquarie donated a cow from the Government herds in appreciation of West’s milling operations, which continued into the 1890s.
In the 1820s, Governor Darling made 15 small grants at Darlinghurst and Potts Point to powerful civil servants to build homes. One of the earliest residences in the precinct, Craigend, was one of these homes.
Craigend was a fine house built by NSW Surveyor-General Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1828-31, and stood on about 4 hectares in the area bound by Victoria Street, Surrey Street and Kings Cross Road.
Land around Rushcutters Bay Creek was swampy and consequently West’s Estate was one of the last estates to be subdivided in close proximity to the city. The good water supply coupled with the undesirability of much of the area for residential development saw development of industry. Produce such as fruit, meat and butter were refrigerated in Barcom Street near the back of St Vincents Hospital on the premises of T.S. Mort, where ice was made, hence Ice Street.
The conservation area also incorporates part of the Riley Estate, the eastern boundary of which runs long the alignment of Little West Street. The Riley Estate was subdivided from the 1840s. The earliest residential subdivisions and development occurred in the vicinity of Craigend, along Surrey Street by the 1850s.
Improvements in William Street in the 1850s, coupled with the gold rushes, encouraged development in the area. St Vincents Hospital moved from Potts Point to Darlinghurst in 1870. Barcom Avenue was surveyed in the 1880s.
Early plans show the Barcom Glen divided into large allotments either side of Barcom Street. The Barcom Glen Estate was subdivided for auction sales from 1880-81.
The south-western section of the area was subdivided for sale in 1883, including allotments fronting Leichhardt Street (formerly Campbell Street). At this time a weatherboard building is indicated at Barcom Street.
Rushcutters Creek ran along the south-eastern edge of the area, later resumed for road purposes, and Boundary Street was formed.
The Darling Heights Estate, bounded by Victoria, Surrey and Caldwell Streets, was subdivided in the late 19th Century.
The area surrounding Lindsay Lane was subdivided with allotments south of Boundary Street in 1913 as the Barcom Homestead Estate.
Royston Street was a later overlay, subdivided from the Craigend Estate after the demolition of Craigend in 1921, and sold in 1923 and originally called Mitchell Court.