The Glover Cottages, built in the 1820s by freesettler stonemason Thomas Glover (who also worked on the South Head Lighthouse, Hyde Park Barracks and St James’ Church) are reputed to be the first semi-detached cottages built in Sydney. They are a rare surviving early example of Colonial Georgian architecture based on forms seen in English rural cottages and adopted for urban buildings in Australian colonial towns. Known for years as ‘The Ark’, the cottages are perched above Kent Street on a rock shelf that probably resulted from stone quarrying in the area in the early 19th century. As with many buildings in Millers Point constructed before the streets were formally planned, the line of the cottages follows the curved rock ledge. The Glover Cottages survived the extensive demolition that took place in The Rocks and Millers Point following successive outbreaks of bubonic plague between 1901 and 1910. They were retained for public housing, then restored in the late 1970s as office buildings. Today they are home to the NSW branch of the Australian Institute of International Affairs.
A beautiful building but obviously substantially altered internally, the individual cottages have been opened up into one, the first floor ceiling removed and a mezanine added.