Saturday, 11 July 2020

Studley Park Narellan. NSW

Studley Park

Payne's Folly, St. Helen's School, Campbelltown-Camden Grammar School
Camden Valley Way, Narellan, NSW 2567
Part Lot 1 & 5, DP 859872
Studley Park House - Camden Grammar School, Narellan c1909 (Camden Images)

History and Description
1888-1902 Payne era - Studley Park

On 2 October 1888 businessman William Charles Payne bought the combined property of 200 acres from Thompson for 1400 pounds. He authorised AL & G. McCredie of Sydney to construct the house, stables and a granary/engine house. The engine house reportedly contained a steam traction engine and a dynamo which provided electricity to the house.

A lengthy article in the "Australasian Building and Contractors News" 20/7/1889 described the project. It called the house a 'picturesque looking villa-residence, in a light Italian style'. A rendered drawing view of the house from the west incorporated the two-floor plans produce by the McCredie's at the time of construction (SHI)

Payne named the property 'Studley Park'. Ray Herbert writes that Payne named it after a property near where his father-in-law lived at Ripon in England. There is no evidence Payne intended Studley Park to be a self-supporting farm. What is more likely is that it was established as a country retreat. Many such estates were built around the outskirts of Sydney during the latter half of the 19th century. The opulent mansion bankrupted Payne: he sold it in 1902, and it became Camden Grammar School. (SHI)

A few decades later it was transformed into an art deco playground for the sales manager of 20th Century Fox. The period of ownership of Studley Park House by AA (Arthur) Gregory in the 1930s is represented by its remaining 'Hollywood' style internal finishes and is supported by high-quality, contemporary photographs. Gregory was the representative of the US film company Twentieth Century Fox in Australia. (SHI)

During World War 2, it was resumed as the Eastern Command Training School for the army (Richardson, 2010).

Condition and Use
In 2009 the house was sold to a private owner and the golf course land was transferred to the care, control and management of Camden Council (Lisa Howard, Camden Council pers.comm., 14 December 2010).

Heritage Significance
Studley Park House is an excellent example of Victorian Italianate architecture, enhanced by its prominent location and open landscape setting. It is one of the last 'country estate' dwellings to be built in the Camden/Campbelltown area and is representative of the work of the Sydney firm of architects AL & G McCredie.

Studley Park is a place of State significance for its aesthetic and visual qualities associated with a beautiful nineteenth-century country house and its setting and for its historical associations with important uses and historical themes of twentieth-century development around Sydney. (SHI)

The site has natural heritage value in retaining two areas of regenerating remnant (endangered ecological community) Cumberland Plain Woodland including a population of the nationally endangered shrub species, Pimelea spicata. (Read, S., 2005)

Heritage Listing
Camden LEP   I133
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 00389
Register of the National Estate 3240
National Trust of Australia register 10045

Read more
State Heritage Inventory Click here

Thursday, 12 March 2020

New Art Exhibition Opens at Camden Art Gallery

'Portraits of Camden' Exhibition Opening


A new art exhibition, 'Portraits of Camden', was opened in Camden at the Alan Baker Art Gallery in John Street on Thursday 12 March 2020 by Camden Mayor Theresa Fedeli.

The cover of the exhibition catalogue 'Portraits of Camden' that is open between March and August 2020.. 

The exhibition 'Portraits of Camden' celebrates the second anniversary of the opening of the gallery.


Camden Mayor Theresa Fedeli opens the 'Portraits of Camden' exhibition on Thursday 12 March 2020. (I Willis) 


The exhibition celebrates the contribution of Alan Baker to the Camden art scene in the early 1970s  through the Camden Art Group.

The Camden Art Group met in the classroom of Ken Rorke at Camden Public School in John Street Camden.

The assembled audience at the exhibition opening was addressed by an original member of the Camden Art Group Nola Tegel.

Original member of the Camden Art Group Nola Tegel tells the audience stories about how Alan Baker guided the budding artists in the art works. (I Willis)


The artworks hung at the exhibition are a variety of subjects in charcoal drawn by Alan Baker at the Camden Art Group sessions.

A keen art enthusiast admires the artwork of Alan Baker at the 'Portraits of Camden' exhibition opening. (I Willis)

A guest at the exhibition opening writing their thoughts on Mr Rorke's classroom blackboard in the gallery. Ken Rorke initiated the Camden Art Group in the 1970s. Workshops and lessons were held in his classroom at Camden Public School. (I Willis)

The 'Portraits of Camden' exhibition runs from March to August 2020 at the Alan Baker Art Gallery. The gallery in located in the 19th century gentleman's town house Macaria in John Street Camden.


The assembled have dispersed for refreshments and eats after the formalities have finished at the exhibition opening in the Macaria forecourt in John Street Camden. Macaria is a wonderful 19th century gentleman's townhouse. It is one of the few 19th colonial buildings open to the public in Sydney's south western suburbs. (I Willis)
The Alan Baker Gallery is located at 37 John Street, Camden. 


Read more about Alan Baker and the Camden Art Group in Camden History from those budding young artists who participated in the lessons and workshops in the 1970s. 

The signage the fronts the Alan Baker Art Gallery in the 19th century gentleman's town house of Macaria in John Street Camden. (I Willis)