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

Read more

State Heritage Inventory Click here

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Allenby, Rossmore, NSW


661 Bringelly Road, Rossmore, NSW 2557
Lot 2  DP  546020

Allenby Rossmore c2000 (SHI/Tropman)

History and Description
Traditionally styled brick homestead. Darker brick to façade and leadlight french doors indicate remodelling c1930. Brick to rear is older. Main roof bellcast with gabled extensions at sides (towards rear). Good verandah with simple timber posts and brackets.
Well set back from the road in attractive grounds. Excellent iron gate not original with picketing by owner either side forming characteristic local splay. (State Heritage Inventory)

Condition and Use
The building retains good integrity. (State Heritage Inventory)

Heritage Significance
One of the local government area's few early twentieth-century homesteads. Retains architectural interest despite alterations. Remodelled façade has interest of its own. Historic associations with local dairying family (State Heritage Inventory)

Heritage Listing
Camden LEP No I139

Read more
State Heritage Inventory Click here
Camden Heritage List Click here

Sunday 3 January 2016

Sydney Water Supply Upper Canal, NSW

Sydney Water Supply Upper Canal

Mount Annan/Currans Hill/Catherine Field/Leppington
Camden LGA, NSW

Upper Canal built in the 1880s  (WaterNSW)

History and Description

The Upper Canal is an engineering marvel and is entirely gravity fed. It is probably the most important engineering heritage item in the Camden LGA.

In 1867, the growth of Sydney coupled with recurring dry seasons, brought into sharp focus the pressing need for a water supply, which was larger and more reliable than the existing Botany Swamps source. This lead the Governor (Sir John Young) to appoint a special Commission to investigate how an adequate long term supply might be achieved. (SHI)

The Water Supply Canal consists of tunnels, open canals and aqueducts that convey water 62 km from Pheasants Nest to Prospect Reservoir, entirely by gravity. The canal passes under part of the Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan via a 686 metre tunnel.  (ABG, Mount Annan)

When the Upper Nepean Scheme was commissioned in 1888, it diverted water (which previously would have flowed down the lower stretches of the Nepean River to Camden and Penrith) into the Upper Canal, by means of which it was conveyed to Prospect Reservoir and thence to Sydney

The Upper Canal was built between 1880-88 after more than a decade of investigation into schemes to provide Sydney's fourth source of water supply.

The Camden Water Supply Works were completed and officially opened in November 1899, rating commencing from 1st January 1900.

This scheme, first proposed in 1869, harnessed the headwaters of the Nepean River and its tributaries, the Cataract, Cordeaux and Avon Rivers, to ensure a reliable, high-quality water supply for the rapidly growing city. (State Heritage Inventory)

The canal provides water for Camden, Campbelltown and Liverpool, also Wilton, Appin and Douglas Park. Until 1960 when the Warragamba Dam was completed, the Upper Nepean system supplied most of Sydney's water. It is a remarkable engineering feat which will continue to supply this most precious resource for many years to come.

The Sydney Water Supply Canal is managed by the Sydney Catchment Authority. It runs through the centre of the Australian Botanic Garden and supplies most of the irrigation water for the Garden.

The canal is mainly cut through natural sandstone bedrock but some sections, especially where it passes through shale, are lined with sandstone, brick or cement. It is believed that sandstone quarried from the north face of Mount Annan was used for this purpose and as capping on the brick aqueduct south of the tunnel. (Australian Botanic Gardens, Mount Annan)

The canal drops just 50 metres in elevation over 54 kilometres after the Nepean and Cataract tunnels - just 0.1 percent grade - a marvellous feat of engineering following the earth's contours.(WaterNSW)

Condition and Use

The canal is in good condition. (SHI)

Apart from the decommissioning of the Lower Canal, which nonetheless still remains a distinct entity, the whole of the Upper Nepean Scheme remains largely intact and performs the same functions as originally intended. (SHI)

Heritage Significance

An early water supply canal built 1880-1888 and still in use today. (SHI)

It has functioned as a unique part of the main water supply system for Sydney for over 120 years, and apart from development in supply and improvements has changed little in its basic principles since the day it was completed, except for the decommissioning of the Lower Canal in the 1990s (now owned by Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water).

It provides detailed and varied evidence of engineering construction techniques prior to the revolution inspired by reinforced concrete construction. Although concrete was later used to improve the durability of the System, much of the earlier technology is still evident along the Canal.

The scheme possesses many elements of infrastructure which are of world and national renown in technological and engineering terms. (SHI)

Heritage Listing

Camden LEP Item I122
State Heritage Inventory
State Heritage Register Listing No 4580004

Read More

State Heritage Inventory Click here
The Upper Canal - WaterNSW Click here
125 Years of the Upper Nepean Scheme Click here
The Upper Nepean Scheme on Wikipedia Click here
Engineers Australia and Prospect Reservoir Click here
Camden Heritage List Click here

Macarthur Bridge, Camden. NSW

Macarthur Bridge 

Nepean River Crossing,
Camden Bypass, Camden. NSW

Macarthur Bridge view from Nepean River floodplain c2015 (I Willis)

History and Description
The Macarthur Bridge is a 26-span, 3380 feet (approximately 1.12 km) long concrete structure that carries the Camden Bypass across the Nepean River and its flood plain. The bridge was built between 1971 and 1973, originally to carry Hume Highway traffic, on a flood-free alignment around Camden.

The bridge was an important piece of economic and social infrastructure for the local area. The new bridge allowed the diversion of coal trucks from the Burragorang Valley coalfields  away from Camden's main street from 1973. Coal trucks then travelled along Druitt Lane and over the Macarthur Bridge to the Glenlee Washery at Spring Farm. These events also co-incided with the 1973 Three Cities Plan for the region which planned for major urban growth for the area.

The bridge has become an important piece of engineering heritage in the local area.

In 2002 the NSW Minister for Transport replied to a question from Dr Elizabeth Kernohan, Member for Camden, about the bridge. The Minister stated
I am advised that Macarthur Bridge was built in the early 1970's on the basis that most of the long distance traffic would use the F5. I am advised that the primary function of the Macarthur Bridge was for use as a flood relief route. It was built parallel to the Cowpasture Bridge at Camden to take the full traffic load when the Cowpasture Bridge is impassable.
I am advised by the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) that the bridge referred to was not specifically designed to be widened at a later date. (NSW Parliament, 8 May 2002)
The Camden Bypass
The Camden Bypass is the former Hume Highway alignment between the localities of Cross Roads and Camden. It is marked as State Route 89. The proper route is from Cross Roads, skirting Camden via the Camden Bypass and ending at Remembrance Drive, another part of the former Hume Highway near Camden South.

The  Camden Bypass was in turn bypassed in December 1980 when the section of what was then called the South Western Freeway (route F5) from Campbelltown to Yerrinbool was opened. It has grown in importance as a major arterial road linking the Hume Motorway, WestLink M7 and M5 South Western Motorway interchange at Prestons, near Liverpool, with Camden.

Macarthur Bridge approaches from southern end at Camden South c.2006 (
Open to traffic and construction details  
The official plaque on the bridge states:
Macarthur Bridge.
The bridge was designed by the staff of the Department of Main Roads and is the longest structure built by the Department since its inception in 1925. Length (Overall) 3380 feet comprising 26 spans each of 130 feet long. Width between kerbs 30 feet with one footway 5 feet wide. Piled foundations (max 90 feet deep) were constructed by the Department's Bridge construction organisation. Piers and superstructure by contact by John Holland (Constructions) Pty Ltd. Total cost of bridge £2,600,000.
RJS Thomas Commissioner for Main Roads
AF Schmids Assistant Commissioner for Main Roads
GV Fawkner Engineer-in-Chief
FC Cook Engineer (Bridges)
Department of Main Roads, New South Wales
Open to traffic on 26 March 1973

Heritage Listing  
None at present

 Read More
State Route 89 on Ozroads Website Click here
State Route 12 on Paul Rands Website Click here

Saturday 2 January 2016

Menangle Railway Bridge, NSW

Menangle Railway Bridge, NSW

Main Southern Railway, Menangle, Gilead, NSW 2571
Menangle Railway Bridge built in 1863. c1880s (Engineers Australia)

History and Description
The Menangle Railway Bridge is the oldest surviving rail bridge in New South Wales, and was built under the direction of John Whitton. It was opened in 1864. It is a tubular girder bridge constructed by New South Wales Railways Department.

The ironwork was made at Sir Morton Peto and Co.'s factory at Birkenhead, England; and shipped in two vessels at Liverpool, England.

The approaches for distance of 980 feet on the northern side, and 440 feet on the southern, are of timber in bays of four upright and two battering piles, secured by wallings and bracings, with openings of twenty-five feet ; the ballast and permanent way is laid on planking, resting on double longitudinal girders with traverse joists.

The iron girders rest on four oval stone piers of eighty feet by twenty feet at the base, tapering off to fifty-two by twelve, with vertical openings and surmounted by an impost course. The whole of the stone used in their construction was obtained from a sandstone quarry about a mile distant on Camden Park.

The girders are surmounted by a roadway composed of ironbark planking, on which the rails are laid; the height between the roadway and the ordinary level of the river is sixty-five feet. The total cost of the viaduct was about £80,000. (Illustrated Sydney News 16 June 1864)

Condition and Use
The bridge is currently used by the double track of the Main Southern Rail Line.
Physical condition is good.(State Heritage Inventory)

Heritage Significance
The Menangle Railway Bridge is the oldest surviving rail bridge in New South Wales, The bridge is of national, if not international, significance as there are few such bridges still in use in the United Kingdom.

The 1863 Menangle Railway Bridge constructed in 1863 over the Nepean River is one of the most historic bridges in Australia because (a) it was the first large iron bridge in New South Wales and the largest bridge until the 1889 Hawkesbury River Bridge (b) it has a dominant appearance in a rural landscape (c) it shares in the enormous benefits, social and commercial, that the Main South Railway has made to New South Wales in 140 years and (d) it was a technically advanced design for its time and received international recognition in 1872.

The Menangle rail bridge is the oldest surviving bridge on the State rail system and is of highest significance in the development of railway technology in the State.The bridge is one of two identical bridges constructed for the NSW Railways, the other being over the Nepean River at Penrith. (State Heritage Inventory)

Heritage Listing
New South Wales Regional Environment Plan Hawkesbury - Nepean REP No. 20
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register Listing No 01047

Read More
State Heritage Inventory Click here
Andrew Allen's The History Buff Click here
Institute of Engineers Australia Click here
Camden Heritage List Click here

Sarah Tiffin's Cottage, 39 John Street, Camden. NSW

Sarah Tiffin's Cottage

Mrs Larkin's Cottage
39 John Street, Camden. NSW

Sarah Tiffin Cottage. 39 John Street, Camden. NSW. c2013 (Google Images)

History and Description

A small Georgian brick cottage constructed for Sarah Tiffin in the early 1840s. It had a corrugated iron hipped roof, brick chimney and a timber posted verandah at the front.
It has a front timber posted verandah with timber board floor, a six panel entrance door with a highlight window and twelve pane double hung timber framed windows. There are flat arches above the windows and doors. The front fence is made of sandstone. The building is three bays wide.

It was also the home of Captain Willie Larkin, a prominent citizen and Mayor of Camden. (State Heritage Inventory)

Its side wall was attached to the stables of Macaria alongside which were demolished early 1973 to make way for the current Camden Council headquarters in John Street Camden.

Condition and Use

The cottage is in good condition and is currently used by as a retail outlet.

Heritage Significance

The cottage retains good integrity and fair intactness. (State Heritage Inventory)
It is probably one of Camden's first buildings and because of its intact architectural quality, this is a house of considerable importance. (Australian Heritage Places Inventory)

Heritage Listing

Camden LEP Item I46
State Heritage Inventory  
Australian Heritage Places Inventory   Record Identifier: 3227

Read more

State Heritage Inventory Click here
Australian Heritage Places Inventory Click here
Camden Heritage List Click here

Camden Post Office, NSW

Camden Post Office

135 Argyle Street, Camden. NSW
Lot 2  DP 193308

Camden Post Office NSW c2013 (Google Images)

History and Description 

Warmington and Ward note the original Camden Post Office dates from 1882 in the era of Colonial Architect James Barnet, and that this early core was buried beneath Edwardian additions (under the aegis of architect Walter Vernon), which have been dated at 1898 (the post hall, mail and service rooms, quarters), and 1910 (telephone exchange). However, the original building is still visible from some viewpoints, albeit concealed from Argyle Street by the later addition. The brickwork of the rear single-storey section is different in colour (darker) to the brickwork on the front two-storey section, and the roof of the rear section is corrugated galvanised steel sheeting.

The post office occupies a prominent site in Argyle Street, the main shopping precinct. It has a broad alleyway to its immediate north-east, with its north-east entry apparently designed to develop a diagonal reading, common in Federation composition.

The post office is an example of a Late Victorian (1882 core by Colonial Architect James Barnet) and Federation Free style (1898, 1910 additions by New South Wales Government Architects Walter Vernon and George Oakeshott), and is, therefore, a composite building with the original post office typology compromised. The Federation Free Style envelope includes the breakfront postal hall added around the original building, plus the later 1910 telephone exchange. (Australian Heritage Place Inventory)

Condition and Use 

Maintains its original use as a post office.
The building is in good condition.  (State Heritage Inventory)

Heritage Significance 

Camden Post Office, the original component of which dates to 1882, with later works the most substantial of which date from 1898, is of historical significance. It is located in a historic centre which dates from the earliest years of settlement in New South Wales, and is of considerable importance in terms of early Australian developments in wool in particular, following the original land grant to pioneer John Macarthur in 1805. The first post office operated locally from about 1841. The current post office, while associated with the comparatively later history of the town, is still of nineteenth-century origin, with its establishment and subsequent development reflecting the needs of postal services in Camden. Although an evolved building physically and architecturally, it remains evidently a historic postal building. Its prominent location in the main town strip of Argyle Street also enhances this aspect of significance.

Aesthetically, Camden Post Office, although a composite building, is significant for its strong streetscape presence, with a handsome façade and detailing to Argyle Street. More broadly, the building also contributes to the historic character of central Camden and features in tourism promotional material celebrating the town's diversity of architectural styles (Australian Heritage Places Inventory)

Heritage Listing 

Camden LEP I13
State Heritage Inventory
Australian Heritage Places Inventory Record Identifier: 106176

Read more

Camden Post Office on the Australian Heritage Places Inventory Click here 
New South Wales State Heritage Inventory Click here
Camden Heritage List Click here

Orielton, Harrington Park, NSW


179 Northern Road, Narellan, NSW 2567
Part Lot 7, DP 270613

Orielton Homestead c2000 (CamdenAdvertiser)

History and Description

Edward Lord was granted 655.5 hectares in the Parish of Narellan that he then named Orielton Park in about 1815.

In 1834 Orielton was noted in letters written by David Waugh as being a productive farm. By 1835, 93 hectares of Orielton Estate was amalgamated with the neighbouring Wivenhoe.

In 1847 it was purchased by John Perry who later subdivided a portion of the estate and leased the main property to Charles Thompson, Clerk of the Bench to Camden Court. During the whole of this early period the estate seems to have been used mainly for grazing, with some limited agriculture.

In 1863 Abraham Davy of Harrington Park purchased Lot 1 of Orielton Farm (24 hectares) from three Sydney businessmen who had earlier purchased the estate - John Lait of Sydney, James Ryan of Emu Plains and James Jones of Sydney.

During the early 1870s the sport of coursing (the pursuit of live hares by greyhounds across the countryside) was introduced to Orielton which became a popular activity at both the Orielton and Harrington Park estates. By the 1870s Harrington Park House had established a reputation as a gentleman's country seat, with "hospitality, picturesqueness and the hunt bringing interesting associations to the English eye".

In 1874, Harrington Park and Lot 1 of Orielton was purchased by William Rudd Snr, a grazier of Houtong Station in the Lower Murrumbidgee who changed the perceptions of Orielton and Harrington Park as a "gentleman's seat" to that of a graziers property. Rudd also gained control of the remaining parts of Orielton estate. Harrington Park and Orielton remained within the Rudd and Britton (descendant) families until 1933 when it was sold to Arthur and Elaine Swan. By 1938 the Swans has also purchased all the remaining parts of Orielton, and managed the two farms as a single entity.

During World War Two the Camden district was the scene of much military activity, and Orielton was occupied by the army for training and residential purposes. Since 1944 Orielton has been owned by the Fairfax family who also own nearby Harrington Park. The Fairfax family resided at Harrington Park, and Orielton was managed as part of the Harrington Park estate. The subdivision of Harrington Park in the 1990s for urban development has visually encroached upon Orielton estate, although the original grant and its management for grazing can still be understood in the broader landscape of the Narellan valley.

Homestead Group and entry drive:
The main homestead group focuses on the east and south with open rural land as its traditional address. The existing entry to Orielton follows the Old Northern Road easement in a north south direction curving sharply to the north west. At this point the drive is bordered by old pines and to the south is Narellan Creek. Towards the homestead group is evidence of previous hedges and remnant gardens formalised to the south. Located west of the main homestead is a dam. An old well structure remains near the top of the north ridge.

The homestead consists of an early building with a large complex of additions. To the east of the main house is the stables and horse agistment area. To the north of the stables is evidence of an earlier garden or entry that orientates to the east. (State Heritage Inventory)

Condition and Use

Former use was a farming estate, while current usages is a residence.

Orielton is rare as a relatively intact estate with its main homestead group still in its traditional rural context. (State Heritage Inventory)

Heritage Significance

Orielton: outline of significance:
- It still retains its quintessential landscape character - based on the traditional juxtaposition of homestead area, with its dominant garden, and cleared pastureland beyond;
- Its historical relationship to other nearby early grants (Harrington Park, Wivenhoe and Kirkham) and its place in the development of the local area can still be appreciated;
- It has associations with some notable people;
- The place retains its historical local prominence and serves as an important local landmark; (State Heritage Inventory)

Heritage Listing

Camden Local Environment Plan    No 48
State Heritage Register  No 01693

Read more on Orielton Homestead  Click here
Camden Heritage List Click here