Monday 18 January 2016

Denbigh, Cobbitty, NSW


421 The Northern Road, Cobbitty, NSW 2570
Lot 2001  DP 1139483

Denbigh Homestead c.1990 (Camden Images)

History and Description

The original owner of Denbigh was Charles Hook, who had been imprisoned by the rebel government for supporting Governor Bligh's attempt to control the military in New South Wales. Hook had suffered greatly over the previous events and was in his fifties when he received his grant in 1812 by Governor Macquarie (Bligh's successor). The grant consisted of 1100 acres in the Parish of Cook, located at Cobbitty between the Cowpasture Road and Bringelly Road (later Northern Road). During 1818, Hook and his wife stayed at nearby Macquarie Grove while their own house was being built. The construction of Denbigh house was completed c1822 and Hook began clearing the surrounding land for agricultural use. He died in 1826.

In 1826 the property was growing wheat (60 acres) and maize (23 acres). It was described as including 'a large dwelling house and other convenient out-houses on the farm'. Aborigines held 'tribal rites' in the adjacent paddocks after the house was constructed. A dense grove of olives was planted west of the house pre-1826. A small vineyard was established on a hill to the north of the house pre-1826. A number of mud huts clustered around the main building, surrounded by a 7-8 foot paling fence (all now vanished)(Godden Mackay Logan, 2007, 27).

The property was then purchased by parson Thomas Hassall who began extending the homestead in 1827. It took four and a half years to complete major renovations on the house and service buildings. After its completion, Hassall was joined by his wife and children (Helen Baker, 'Denbigh - Historic Homesteads', Australian Council of National Trusts,1982).

Denbigh homestead resembled a scattered village surrounded mostly by an enclosed landscape with a half circle of hills, five acres of gardens consisting of an abundance of fruit trees, a vineyard and an orange grove with magnificent views from the hills. Together with a wide extent of country, churches were clearly seen at nearby Camden, Narellan and Cobbitty (Hassall, Rev, James S. in 'Old Australia, Records and Reminiscences from 1784', Brisbane, 1902) (SHI)

Condition and Use

Former use was as a working farm & Clydesdal horse stud, dairy farm, vineyards, Ayrshire cattle stud.

The current use is as a working farm & Hereford stud. (SHI)

Heritage Significance

Denbigh is of State significance as an intact example of a continuously functioning early farm complex (1817-1820s) on its original 1812 land grant. It contains a rare and remarkable group of homestead, early farm buildings and associated plantings with characteristics of the Loudon model of homestead siting within an intact rural landscape setting fundamental to its interpretation. The large collection of early farm buildings is perhaps the most extensive and intact within the Cumberland/Camden region.

It has historic associations with pioneering Anglican minister Thomas Hassall and its relationship with the early Heber Chapel and the township of Cobbitty. The estate is significant as an early contact point between Aboriginal and European culture and is of social significance for the descendants of the Hassall and Macintosh families. It retains its historic views across the valley to Cobbitty in the west.

The place is of scientific significance for its potential to reveal, through archaeology, evidence of both early European farming practices and aboriginal occupation. The significance of Denbigh is considerably enhanced by the extent to which it has retained its form, character, fabric and rural setting (Heritage Office).

The Denbigh estate is of exceptional cultural significance for its historical, aesthetic, social and technical values. (SHI)

Denbigh is of historical significance on a state level as an intact example of continuously functioning early farm complex on its original 1812 land grant. (Heritage Office draft)

Heritage Listing

LEP Listing No 48

REP Listing No 48

Heritage Act - State Heritage Register Listing No 01691

National Trust of Australia register No 7311

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State Heritage Inventory Click here