Saturday 31 December 2016

Gledswood Curtilage under review

Gledswood Homestead

900 Camden Valley Way, 
Catherine Field, NSW 2171

Gledswood Homestead and gardens in the 1980s (Supplied)

Gledswood curtilage under review 

The owners of Gledswood Homestead, Caldla Pty Ltd,  have applied to the NSW Heritage Council to change the curtilage around the historic farm homestead. This means that they want to reduce the amount of land around the homestead that is considered essential to maintain its heritage significance.

 In 2006 the Gledswood Homestead and curtilage were listed on the State Heritage Register under the Heritage Act 1977. In 2006 it was felt necessary to protect the historic integrity of the property that a total curtilage of 45.5ha was necessary to protect the integrity of this state and nationally significant historic property.

The NSW Heritage Office defines curtilage as:
‘The area of land surrounding an item or area of heritage significance which is essential for retaining and interpreting its heritage significance’. (Warwick Mayne-Wilson, Heritage Curtilages, Sydney: Heritage Office, Department of Urban Affairs & Planning, NSW Government, 1996)

In 2011 Heritage consultants Goddin Mackay and Logan stated:
 Gledswood is of State Heritage Significance and demonstrates a rare, highly intact cultural landscape derived from the earliest land grant. (GML, Gledswood SMP Sept 2011, p.115)

The changes to the curtilage can be viewed here

The Gledswood homestead and the gardens are listed on:
  • ·         The Register of the National Estate (Place ID 3252 & 3253; Registered (21/03/1978)) by the Australian Government Click here and here
  • ·         The State Heritage Register (Listing No 01692; NSW Government Gazette 22 Dec 06) by the NSW Government
  • ·         The State Heritage Inventory (Database number: 5051540) by the NSW Government
  • ·         The Local Environment Plan 2010 (21 Feb 92) by Camden Council

 In 2016 the NSW Heritage Inventory states:
Gledswood is an early 19th century farm estate that has close associations with the Camden area which is the birthplace of the Australian wool industry. Built by James Chisholm in c.1830, Gledswood remained the Chisholm family residence for 90 years. A prominent feature at Gledswood is an outstanding colonial garden that was expanded in 1870. The garden featured in Horticultural Magazine (1870) and was romanticised by Hardy Wilson in 1920. The intense and continual interest in gardening at Gledswood has made Gledswood a prominent contributor to the art of gardening within NSW.
Gledswood has historical significance for its association with the early development of
Australia's wine industry. James Chisholm junior planted a vineyard in 1830, and in 1847 vinedressers from Germany were imported to work it. A convict built cellar under the homestead was capable of holding 20,000 bottles of wine (Everett, 2004)
Gledswood Homestead in 1997 (Camden Images)

 Historical significance

The state of significance for Gledswood states that it has a prominent role in the development of the wine industry and the foundation of the Australian wool industry. The property has an outstanding colonial garden that has been extensively written about by a number of notable authors.

Governor Macquarie granted Huon de Kerilleau  the 400 acres (162ha) which became 'Buckingham; as from 1 January 1810, and he called it Buckingham after the Marquis of Buckingham, who had some part in arranging his discharge Huon de Kerilleau employed convicts to quarry stone on the property and start his building programme. Their first project was the small cottage where they were chained each night. Then they went on to the coach house and the servants' quarters (Carroll, Brian,
The Hume Australia’s Highway of History a Heritage Field Guide, p. 31).

Maintenance of Gledswood Homestead

One visitor to Gledswood had this to say about the maintenance of Gledswood homestead by current owner Caldla Pty Ltd. Minzo007 on TripAdvisor stated:

From the car park this farm looks lovely and rustic but closer inspection shows that the heritage buildings have been seriously neglected. No wonder there are ghosts: the former owners would be turning in their grave! The interior and exterior of the old homestead needs renovation or maintenance. Surely as a building built in the early 1800s this place should qualify for heritage listing and therefore the requisite care? The current owners seem to be more interested in weddings and conferences to the detriment of preserving the unique history.  (

 Threats to heritage

The intention of the principals of Caldla Pty Ltd in 2013 was clearly flagged. The variation of the curtilage is intended so that the block 1203 can be sold off for housing allotments.

 While the Australian Government listing may have been made at the height of the heritage boom in Australia, the listing on the State Heritage Register in 2006 is far from this position. The NSW government seems to care little for heritage in this state. This application appears destined to repeat the same mistakes that were made with significant heritage properties in Campbelltown, where their curtilage was all but destroyed. One example is Blair Athol.   

This is a simple case of rent seeking developers compromising the heritage values associated with Gledswood homestead for profit and monetary gain. 


The current curtilage is necessary to maintain the heritage significance of the homestead and outbuildings.  Minzo07 (TripAdvisor) has drawn a damming conclusion based on the actions of the current owners towards the heritage values of the Gledswood homestead. This application needs to be rejected. The curtilage for Gledswood needs to stay at levels approved in 2006.

Do you agree with this?

If you have any views on this matter you can express then by writing to:
Heritage Council of NSW
Locked Bag 5020
Parramatta NSW 2124
by  5 January 2017

Or speak to 
David Hoffman, Heritage Officer at the Heritage Division, OEH, on (02) 9873 8582 or

Thursday 22 December 2016

Menangle Rotolactor

Menangle Rotolactor

The rotolactor was a piece of industrial modernism introduced at Camden Park in 1952 by Edward Macarthur Onslow.

The idea came from the USA in the 1920s and the first rotolactor was built in New Jersey shortly after then.

Construction started in 1950 and completed in 1952. It had a capacity of 1000 cows a day and could milk 50 cows a day on a rotating platform.

The rotolactor was a huge tourist attraction for Menangle with up to 2000 visitors a week.

The rotolactor suffered from technical problems and closed in 1977. It opened shortly after this but finally closed down in 1983.

Menangle Rotolactor on Camden Park closed in 1977 and was a huge tourist attraction to the village (Camden Images)

This postcard from the collection of the Camden Museum shows the view scene by a visitor the facility. (Camden Images)


Brian Walsh, Milk and the Macarthurs the dairy history of Camden Park, Camden: Belgenny Farm Trust, 2016

Friday 9 December 2016

A view of Menangle

A view of Menangle

Menangle resident Laura Egan-Burt writes:

Tucked away in the back of The Menangle Store, in a dilapidated room that houses the beautiful, original baker's oven is a lovingly curated photographic display.

Past members of the Menangle Community Association, with the leadership of the late Maurice Blackwood, collected photographs and memorabilia from residents. They then spent countless hours creating a visual representation of our beautiful village.

The group held a travelling roadshow featuring the display. Some of the venues visited included libraries and museums. They also formally presented to politicians and councillors, highlighting Menangle's unique and important history.

The Menangle Community Association would like to thank The Menangle Store for  volunteering as the ongoing venue for the display.

Images by Laura Egan-Burt

See more

Laura says that you can see the display  at The Store, 2 Station Street, Menangle. 

As well as the display there is the Menangle Walking Tour available  @ 

Thursday 8 December 2016

St John's Church Camden considering selling land

St John's Church Camden 

Considering selling land for development

St Johns Church at the end of John Street on the hill above the village in 1890s reflecting its Englishness across the countryside. C Kerry (Camden Images)

St John's Church is Camden's most important heritage icon. It is disappointing to hear that church authorities want to sell off some of their site.

The church site, including the Rectory, is part of the foundational story of the township of Camden and its District. The church has played a fundamental role in place making and building community identity over the past 150 years or more. St John’s Church is the moral and emotional heart of the Camden township.

The church is an integral part of the story of the Macarthur family. The church is still, as was in the past, part of the historic vista from Camden Park house to the Camden village. There are representations of the church in engravings dating from Andrew Garran’s Picturesque Atlas of Australasia (1886).

The church is part of the England landscape aesthetics that was so evident during the Interwar period in the Camden township. Writers like William Hardy Wilson, Ure Smith, Eldrid Dyer and others have written in lyrical fashion about the importance of the church to the Englishness of the Camden village.

The church is set within a fine group of other ecclesiastical buildings that includes the Rectory (1859) and church hall (1906), together with the cemetery in a rural landscaped environment resplendent in native and exotic mature trees, fence lines, paths and memorials.
Central to the town plan was the siting of the church of St John's as the Sydney Herald of 14 February 1840 noted that 'on the greatest elevation of the adjacent hills it is proposed to erect a church, the situation for which will be highly picturesque and commanding'. By the time ofthe sale of the town allotments, the church was under construction and was the main feature of the incipient township prominently sited on the highest point overlooking the principal street, John Street. 
At the same time as clearing land for the new township in 1835, James and William Macarthur appealed to their neighbours and employees for help in founding a church (Anglican). By September 1835, 644 pounds had been collected, with the majority (500 pounds) coming from the Macarthurs. 
The church and the rectory are a legacy from the 19th century Camden gentry and other members of the community who funded its original construction. It is very easy to destroy the integrity of the church precinct along Menangle Road, which has remained intact from the church’s foundation.

Read more 

about St Johns Church and its precinct on the Australian Heritage Database:

There are a number of stories appearing the local press and other material.

 Read more:

St Peter's Anglican Church, Campbelltown
It sobering to thing about what has happened adjacent to St Peter's Anglican Church at Campbelltown. Land next to the church was  sold off by the NSW State Government for development in September 2015. The land is zoned for up to 10 storey tower block  which would overshadow the St Peter's Anglican Primary School next door.  Read more on this development here and here

Monday 5 December 2016

Review Camden LEP 2010 Phase 1 Minor Amendments

Review Camden LEP 2010 Phase 1 Minor Amendments

Argyle Street Camden 1940 (Camden Images)

Camden Council voted (12 July 2016) to put on public exhibition minor amendments to the Camden LEP 2010 following a Gateway Determination by the Department of Planning and Environment.

Camden Councils website states

The Planning Proposal seeks to improve the overall operation and accuracy of the Camden LEP (2010) by making changes which are administrative or low impact in nature with respect to the following:
  • Administrative review of Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage); 
  • Comprehensive review of LEP Mapping;
  • Review of LEP clauses & exempt development provisions;
  • Review of Land Use Table; and
  • Review of Schedule 1 (Additional Permitted Uses)

Camden  Council has a number of relevant documents on exhibition:

Comments can be emailed to