Heritage

Manar House, Outbuildings and Garden

Item details

Name of item: Manar House, Outbuildings and Garden
Other name/s: Redesdale
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Landscape - Cultural
Category: Historic Landscape
Location: Lat: -35.3 Long: 149.6742
Primary address: Kings Highway, Manar, NSW 2622
Local govt. area: Palerang

Boundary:

Kings Highway (Goulburn Road), Manar, 20km north-west of Braidwood.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Kings HighwayManarPalerang  Primary Address
Goulburn RoadBraidwoodPalerang  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

Manar, dating from the 1830s and 1840s, is a good example of a Georgian homestead with outbuildings. Additionally, the garden reflects well the characteristics of a homestead garden in the Arcadian style as defined by the Commission's type profile (RNE Criterion D.2). Built in the early part of last century, Manar is an early homestead in the region with a long association with the pastoral history of the area (Criterion A.4). The location of the homestead within the garden and the relationship between the two give Manar important aesthetic qualities (RNE Criterion E.1).

A largely intact garden of the 1840s, well planted although now partially overgrown. The drive and orchard areas although possibly of different dates complement each other particularly well and nicely demonstrate the planning and planting of a substantial mid nineteenth century homestead garden. (from nominators). A very well known early homestead and garden which presents a most charming and friendly atmosphere (National Trust).

The property was granted to Dr Anderson in 1826, and has remained in the Gordon family since 1842. It is one of the most sophisticated colonial bungalows in Australia. With its compliment of outbuildings, graveyard etc., and its continued occupation by the one family it is amongst Australia's most significant country houses.

The site comprises a largely intact and very interesting pastoral assemblage of landscape elements including an unusually large 1840s ornamental garden as an integral setting to the 1841 villa and earlier (mid 1830s) Dr Anderson weatherboard cottage. Many of the existing plants appear to be from about this early period and since Hugh Gordon was known to have brought material from both his native Scotland and the Macarthurs' at Camden Park, many of these early plantings have particularly interesting provenance. A relocated 1840s Clint, Sydney brass sundial made for Hugh Gordon for Manar adorns the more recent (1950s) sunken terrace near the house.

Original driveway has been modified though the ground formation is still apparent. The property has association with notable early colonists (eg. Matthew Anderson was colonial surgeon and medical superintendent). Evidence of direct application of John Claudius Loudon writings to design of garden. (Heritage Study, 1995)
Date significance updated: 06 Jan 98
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Branch intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: Hugh and Mary Gordon (owners)
Builder/Maker: Thomas Palethorpe (gardener), Hugh and Mary Gordon (owner)
Construction years: 1834-1845
Physical description: The property now known as Manar was originally taken up by Dr Matthew Anderson (Colonial Surgeon at Parramatta) in the 1820s. Anderson called his property Redesdale. In about 1834-35 he had a weatherboard cottage built, with a separate stone kitchen to the rear.

In 1841 Hugh Gordon bought the property shortly after his marriage to Mary nee Macarthur, daughter of Hannibal Macarthur of "the Vineyard" Parramatta. Gordon had the main house built adjacent to the older cottage , apparently using convict labour. Gordon built the staircase in the house to resemble that at his home Manar in Scotland, and called the Australian holding Manar. The property has been held by Gordon descendants since that time.

HOMESTEAD
The weatherboard cottage, now the dining room, has a hipped iron roof and a verandah draped with wisteria (Wisteria sinensis). The main part of the house built following Gordon's purchase of the property is of stucco-rendered stone and rubble and there is square brick paving to the verandahs (the bricks were made on the property from moulds still in existence).

The house is Georgian in style and symmetrical about its main façade, though not on others. This front façade has a recessed verandah flanked by two projecting rooms, each of which has a shuttered casement window; the verandah has three timber columns. Manar's hipped roof is iron clad and there are attic rooms with dormer windows, an elegantly curved staircase leads up to these rooms from the entrance hall.

A particular feature of the interior is the high quality cedar joinery which is still intact. Gordon put in a graceful curved stair, copied from the one in his own house in Scotland, and had plans to add a second storey but this never eventuated so the upstairs remains as attic rooms. He later turned the older cottage into a dining room by knocking the rooms into one.

There are a number of stone outbuildings, including a woolshed and stables, the latter having barge boards featuring carvings of horse heads. The Stables were built by William Forbes Gordon, son of Hugh Gordon, and were badly damaged by fire in the 1950s. Mr Deuchar Forbes Gordon rebuilt them, retaining the original front.

Very few alterations have been done to the house - the shingle roof was replaced by iron, a French window in the little sitting room was replaced by a sash window and during the late nineteenth century the drawing room was enlarged by taking in a bedroom. Recently a more convenient kitchen replaced the original detached one.

Building Material: Stone and rubble plastered to a stucco finish, cedar joinery

GARDEN
Manar's garden is important. The large, well planned garden with a great variety of trees, hedges and wandering walks, was laid out by Hugh Gordon with assistance from Hannibal Macarthur of "The Vineyard" Rydalmere, Parramatta sending seeds, cuttings and plants.

Today the garden remains much the same. It consists of two main areas: the drive and ornamental garden area, and the orchard area. A sinuous drive leads through what appears to have been an avenue of English elms (Ulmus procera) underplanted with evergreen shrubbery to the house. Shrubs include hardy evergreens, box (Buxus sempervirens), Indian hawthorn (Raphiolepsis indica), laurestinus (Viburnum tinus) and perhaps privet (Ligustrum sp.). The box rather than edging the drive appeasr to have been planted, at least near the entrance gate, in circles around the elms. The senescent boundary planting of Scotch pines may have been intended as protection for the slower growing plants. The areas to either side of the drive are now a tangle of elm suckers, laurestinus and seedling Indian hawthorns and privet.

Shortly after the entrance gates the drive forks but only the right fork is now used. This curves toward the house and terminates in a gravelled area in front of the original cottage to the east of the later house. The left hand fork to the drive is now grassed over and partially obscured by later insignificant plantings along the tennis court. The two forks presumably formed a large irregular loop but the line of the left hand fork has now been obliterated. The tennis court is well screened by the overgrowth along the drive.

Oaks, elms and Scotch pines (Pinus sylvestris) form the backdrop to the garden, which has been described as an interconnected series of spaces formed by copses of trees.

Trees include a far-spreading English oak (Quercus robur) from c.1850, a large Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum), honey locust trees (Gleditsia triacanthos) and colonies of English elms (Ulmus procera).

Away from the house, in a section of the grounds crossed by several paths, is the former orchard, near which is the old gardener's cottage. Hedges form the boundary to this part of the garden. The orchard garden is approached by a straight path leading directly from the front door of the original cottage between two handsome mature cypresses (Cupressus sp.). A third cypress, perhaps one of another pair originally, is planted a little further down the path.

If the drive was planned originally as a loop this path must have cut across it. That this path relates to the original cottage may indicate that it and perhaps the orchard, predate the addition. The curving approach drive visually relates to the later house and may date from its construction.

The orchard, now partially grazed, is a roughly rectangular area divided by perimeter and cross paths (now grassed over) into four sections. A derelict slab gardener's cottage terminates one of the cross paths. The surviving orchard planting consists of ornamentals as well as fruit trees: bay laurels (Laurus nobilis), cypresses (Cupressus sp.), Scotch firs (Abies sp.) at the corners of the plots. A hedge of Indian hawthorn now grown wild borders the orchard on the outer (northern and eastern) sides.

A good stout old fence of split palings encloses the drive on the western side of the garden.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Very few alterations have been done to the house - the shingle roof was replaced by iron, a French window in the little sitting room was replaced by a sash window and during the late nineteenth century the drawing room was enlarged by taking in a bedroom. Recently a more convenient kitchen replaced the original detached one.

Apart from the partial destruction of one fork of the driveway and the insertion of the tennis court the garden layout has been little altered since the 1840s. The areas flanking the drive are severely overgrown (1981) and require restoration by the removal of suckers and seedlings, privets etc. The orchard is also in urgent need of restoration - or at least stablisation to protect the existing plantings and remains particularly the gardener's hut and the remains of paths and hedges. The garden about the house is well maintained (National Trust/AHC, 1981)
Date condition updated:17 Jul 02
Modifications and dates: original building c1834-5, additions 1841, modifications 1950s- the Stables were badly damaged by fire in the 1950s. Mr Deuchar Forbes Gordon rebuilt them, retaining the original front.

Very few alterations have been done to the house - the shingle roof was replaced by iron, a French window in the little sitting room was replaced by a sash window and during the late nineteenth century the drawing room was enlarged by taking in a bedroom. Recently a more convenient kitchen replaced the original detached one.

History

Historical notes: The property now known as Manar was originally taken up by Dr Matthew Anderson (Colonial Surgeon at Parramatta) in the 1820s. Anderson called his property Redesdale. In about 1834-35 he had a weatherboard cottage built, with a separate stone kitchen to the rear.

In 1841 Hugh Gordon bought the property shortly after his marriage to Mary nee Macarthur, daughter of Hannibal Macarthur of "the Vineyard" Parramatta. Gordon had the main house built adjacent to the older cottage , apparently using convict labour. Gordon built the staircase in the house to resemble that at his home Manar in Scotland, and called the Australian holding Manar. The property has been held by Gordon descendants since that time. (National Trust/AHC, 1981)

Mr Thomas Palethorpe (Pailthorpe) was assigned to Hugh Gordon of Manar as a gardener. He married Frances (Fanny) Powell, a maid to Mary Macarthur (herself daughter of Hannibal Hawkins Macarthur) at Manar in April 1843. Hugh and Mary Gordon were witnesses to the marriage.

The Palethorpes lived and worked at Manar until 1852, when they moved to Braidwood. Thomas and family planted acres of trees (of all kinds) around the homestead and created a 'magic' garden in which large mature trees survive today.

Hugh Gordon wrote to his brother James at Manar in Scotland "Do send me a quantity of seeds and all kinds of garden flowers, particularly heartsease, firs, ashes, oaks, hawthorns, beeches, elms and every tree that grows at Manar, nothing excepted, do send me every sort of seed you can think of. Also carnations and wallflowers, seeds of, some of the roots of the finest kinds of roses, asters, lily of the valley, rhododendron, laurels, in fact every seed that comes from Scotland." (Letter of 17/3/04 from Mrs Shirley Austen, nee Palethorpe, HO, 2004)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Ethnic influences-Activities associated with common cultural traditions and peoples of shared descent, and with exchanges between such traditions and peoples. Scottish building and design practises-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Clearing land for farming-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Marking the transition from pastoralism to agriculture-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes and countryside of rural charm-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Gardens and landscapes reminiscent of an 'old country'-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes and gardens of domestic accommodation-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Significant tree(s) providing rural amenity or character-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Housing farming families-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Housing for farm and station hands-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Grants of land for farming-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working on pastoral stations-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - colonial homestead-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - colonial period-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in a rural homestead-

Recommended management:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan 199122 Nov 91 1639848
Heritage study     
National Trust of Australia register  135605 Apr 76   
Register of the National EstateNom. 01/08/1977.00115921 Oct 80 AHC 
Register of the National Estate 01420321 Oct 80 AHC 

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Tallaganda Shire Rural Study1995 Clive Lucas Stapleton & Partners  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Cox, Philip, and Stacey, Wesley, "The Australian Homestead", Melbourne @@ 1972. @@ Griffiths, G.Nesta, "Some Southern Homes of New South Wales", Sydney @@ 1976.
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW) (Peter James, for)1981Nomination form to the Register of the National Estate

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2920758
File number: 001159


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