Many ageing baby-boomers are living in under-utilised houses after their children have left home. They do not want to move into an apartment, but are unable to find alternative, more compact accommodation in their established neighbourhoods. Some of the best examples of this more compact form of housing were developed in the 1960’s through to the early 1980’s. such as the separately titled townhouses developed in Holder the early 1980’s.

Aerial Photo Holder Townhouses.jpg

Blocks 6-23  Section 40  Holder

No. of units 18

Date of Construction early 1980's


  • Highly efficient site planning

  • Maximizes individual privacy while presenting a welcoming façade to the public domain

  • An attractive and consistent design aesthetic which has been maintained over 35 years

Cornish Place is a group of 18 townhouses designed and constructed by Gary Willemsen around a cul de sac in the Weston Creek suburb of Holder. Located immediately behind the local shops, the site slopes gently to the northeast and the houses are set out in two staggered groups either side of the street. Each house has one of its two major façades with an optimal northeast orientation.

Each house has the same tri-level plan that responds to the land slope. The entry, dining room and kitchen are on the mid level and are accessed from a semi open courtyard. The living room and master bedroom suite are situated several steps lower, with access to a good sized terrace and garden. Two further bedrooms, a bathroom and study are located on the upper level. As is typical of split level designs of this era, the interplay of levels results in a sense of space and visual complexity that belies the relatively tight floor plan.

The staggered siting and use of wing walls create a sense of separation and privacy

that is rarely achieved in attached developments. Each title is c. 475m², which is generous for townhouses. 

The houses are consistent in form and materials. Bold trapezoidal end walls of bagged and painted brickwork extend right to the ground or terminate in courtyard walls. The long facades are primarily glazed with timber framed window units and some sections of weatherboard cladding. There are two components to the roofs, a steeply pitched tiled roof faces the cul de sac and an unseen flat metal deck roof covers the upper level. This cleverly reduces the impact of the two storey sections and presents a much lower scale to the public domain. The bold form combined with simple restricted palette of materials combine to create an elegant and simple composition.


Each house has a double carport with a simple flat roof facing the street. This partially conceals the front courtyard and consistent landscaping incorporating a mix of native and deciduous trees and shrubs contributes to the consistency and elegance of the development.


Despite the fact that the houses are on individual titles, 35 years on, the consistency of design has been maintained with the only major changes being subtle differences in trim colours.