Heritage

Riversdale

Item details

Name of item: Riversdale
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Farming and Grazing
Category: Homestead Complex
Location: Lat: -34.7345281261 Long: 149.7387467090
Primary address: Maud Street, Goulburn, NSW 2580
Local govt. area: Goulburn Mulwaree
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT4  220299
LOT1  714378
LOT368  750015
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Maud StreetGoulburnGoulburn Mulwaree  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
National Trust of Australia (NSW)Community Group 

Statement of significance:

Riversdale is a colonial complex of State significance. Its location represents the early foundation of Goulburn town. Its form represents a typical example of the early Australian Colonial house complex with associated gardens, paddocks and outbuildings, together forming an autonomous suburban unit. Of the outbuildings, the stone barn is particularly important for being the only surviving building of the first settlement of Goulburn Plains, established in 1828 and later superseded by the new settlement of Goulburn. Further, the complex of house and outbuildings (including stable) reflects the way of life of the nineteenth century era.

Riversdale, having functioned as inn and a school as well as a residence, has a notable connection with the area's social history over a lengthy period. Its major association is with the term of residence of the Twynam family. Edward Twynam made substantial contributions to the opening up of the south-western regions of the Colony. His family made an important cultural contribution to the life of the district. Riversdale was the second property acquired by the National Trust of Australia (NSW) with the specific purpose of conservation (1992).

Riversdale is an excellent example of a building constructed in the Old Colonial Regency style. It also reflects very well the typical characteristics of wayside inns built during the 1830-1880 period. Riversdale is notable for its decorative qualities, its fine craftsmanship and its finished workmanship throughout.

Riversdale also has historic and aesthetic significance for its partly intact early colonial garden , which has been restored and supplemented since 1967 by National Trust volunteers. Significant plantings remaining are fruit trees planted in the 1840s including a medlar (Mesiplus germanica) which are still in use, an early black locust/false acacia tree (Robinia pseudoacacia), an 1850s line of elm trees, and early Aleppo, Canary Island and Monterey pine trees, holm oaks, honey locust, Irish yew and funeral cypresses.
Date significance updated: 12 Oct 00
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

Builder/Maker: John Richards
Construction years: 1828-1840
Physical description: Garden and grounds
The property comprises about 10 acres on the outskirts of the town. Riversdale has a partly intact early colonial garden , which has been restored and supplemented since 1967 by National Trust volunteers, mainly of shrubs, perennials, bulbs fruit and shelter trees (the latter, both coniferous and broadleaf)(Stuart Read, pers.comm.).

Significant tree plantings remaining are fruit trees planted in the 1840s including a medlar (Mesiplus germanica) which are still in use, an early black locust/false acacia tree (Robinia pseudoacacia)(most likely from a former shelter belt), an 1850s line of elm trees behind (north of) the homestead (Ulmus procera), and early Aleppo (Pinus haleppensis), Canary Island (P.canariensis) and Monterey pine (P.radiata) trees, holm/holly/evergreen oaks (Quercus ilex), honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)(also possibly from a former shelter belt), Irish yew (Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata') and funeral cypresses (Cupressus funebris).

Three espaliered apple trees remain from 1918 and the garden reached its peak in the Twynam period of 1872-1969 (Read, 2001, 23).

An old well remains (1840s?).

Barn:
The stone barn is considerably earlier (1828) than the house and is the only surviving building of the 'Old Township' of Goulburn as sited by Macquarie.

House:
Riversdale is a single storey, Colonial Georgian cottage with two wings forming a courtyard at the rear. It is built of brick with an iron roof, (originally shingle), timber floors and cedar joinery. The doors are 8-panelled, double molded cedar and the windows are the usual small panes of glass held in cedar glazing bars. The internal handling of space dates from about 1840. It was built on land granted to Mathew Healy in 1830. Architectural Style: Colonial Georgian. Building Material: Brick with iron roof, timber floors, cedar joinery, 8-panelled doors, double molded cedar.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The stone barn behind the house is probably one of the oldest buildings in Goulburn* .
* (The National Trust, Listing Proposal: 1)

2010-10/2012: Restored garden (by volunteers over two years) wins 'best overall' category in local garden competition, 10/2012.
Date condition updated:05 Jul 00
Modifications and dates: It is very difficult to date the extensive modifications and alterations to the building which have taken place apparently all through its lifetime. L. J. Buckland was continuing a tradition of direct interference with the fabric when he began his restoration works on the National Trust's behalf in 1967 - 68
(Proudfoot, 1983: 8)

Possible modification dates are 1875 - 1967 when the kitchen was probably moved to the east wing of the main house from an outbuilding and this wing modified to accommodate both it and two servant's rooms upstairs. The Western wing was also modified, and may have even been partly rebuilt. Verandahs were added on the Eastern side of the house and the corner room at the extreme south- eastern corner.

(Proudfoot, 1983: p4)

1967 the National Trust reconstituted the Lindesay Garden Group as the National Trust Garden Committee, with Diana Pockley as chair. This Committee's work was broader, including work on replanting the grounds of Experiment Farm cottage, Parramatta, Old Government House, Parramatta and Riversdale, Goulburn. (Simpson, C., 2003)

From the 1830s-50s Riversdale was a coaching inn right next to the old stock route and road to Sydney. This is less obvious today with the re-routing of the main road (Hume Highway) to the east, loss of the boundary fence on the west (old road-side) and rather 'bucolic' current driveway/entrance setting.

1830s - hops were grown and ale brewed for sale in it in its Inn phase.
1840s - oldest remaining plantings (fruit trees including medlar), the black locust/false acacia tree and a well (probably) date from this decade.
1850s - schoolhouse period - most remaining old plantings date from this period. The line of elms at the rear (north), mixture of pine species.

1872-1969 Twynam family period - most of garden remains from this 'peak' period.
1969-2001 National Trust period - volunteers added fruit trees, bulbs, perennials and shrubs to the garden, creating a cottage garden and shrubbery areas full of typical species used in the 19th century in country gardens.
1918 espaliered apple trees planted (remaining) Read, 2001)

2010-2012: volunteers rescue and replant garden - which wins 'best overall' category in local garden competition (NTA, 10/2012 e- news).
Further information: The site of Riversdale is situated at the Northern edge Old Town of Goulburn. This plan was surveyed soon after Governor Darling had gazetted his 1829 Town Planning Regulations, which were introduced as a measure to standardise the establishment of towns in the Colony and facilitate the survey and scale of town allotments, each of which was to be of a standard size and shape.
(Proudfoot, 1983: p4)
Current use: National Trust Property/house museum
Former use: Hotel/ Inn - Victoria Hotel, Prince Albert Inn, Boarding School, Residence

History

Historical notes: Riversdale is on an 1830s grant, on part of the site chosen by Governor Macquarie for the future town of 'Goulburn Plains' (Read, 2001, 23). In 1828/29 allotments were surveyed for a town and a design was prepared by R. Dixon, Associate Surveyor. In 1832 Governor Bourke visited the area and selected another site (the present Goulburn town) to the south-east.

From 1833 to 1837 grants and purchases to Matthew Healy were made on condition of erecting a building within 2 years.
Said to be the oldest stone structure built in the township of Goulburn, the stables at Riversdale were built by Matthew Healy in 1832 (Bligh, 2011). In the 1830s Riversdale's garden included hops for the ale brewed on site (Read, 2001, 23).

In 1837 Healy sold 3 parcels of land to John Richards, who then left it to his wife, Ann Richards. In 1840 Ann Richards appointed trustees and shortly after married Benjamin Gould. In 1848 there was an advertisement placed by Gould in the Goulburn Herald on 5 August 1848 for a verandah dwelling of 14 rooms and stabling for 13 horses. Richards ran the building as a coaching inn (Bligh, 2011).

In 1853 Riversdale became a boarding school under David Patterson of Sydney College but soon closed because of an unfortunate riding accident.

Fruit trees surviving may date back to in the mid-1800s. One black locust/false acacia tree (a specie used for fast-growing shelter belts) remains from that period and the other of Riversdale's oldest trees date from the 1850s schoolhouse period - a line of English elms at the rear (north), a mixture of pine species, including an Aleppo and a Monterey pine and a long-needled pine, likely to be a Himalayan or chir pine (Pinus roxburghii)(Read, 2001,23).

In 1856 the property was sold to Thomas Bowen, occupation grazier, who sold it the following year to Henry Wilson. Wilson sold it to John Fulljames, a stock and station agent in 1860 and Fulljames added to the property, purchasing eight allotments in addition to the original three.

During the 1850s Riversdale changed hands several times. It appears during the 1860s and 70s the house and its site were leased. R. H. Blomfield's family were there during 1870 - 72. During this time John Fulljames, a stock and station agent consolidated the property by adding the surrounding allotments. Fulljames leased the property in 1870s to, and finally sold it to, Edward Twynam in 1875.

Reviewing the occupation of the site up to 1875 and Twynam's purchase opens the possibility of the Mounted Police during the 1830s and 1840s. It is possible the establishment of a Wayside Inn on the site during the 1840s on Wayo St, closest to the ford across the Wollondilly River. A ford continues to be used, but appears to have changed its location to a point further west by 1845.

During the Twynam era which lasted 92 years, from 1875 to 1967, Riversdale achieved its essential character and its garden was expanded, reaching its peak of development. The garden was created by two generations of gardeners, it was once a haven for a family of eight where lavish garden parties were held. The Twynams with their six children created a substantial garden of trees, shrubs and perennials, some of which were sourced from other Southern Tablelands gardens such as Lanyon and Tuggeranong (ACT). An important part of the garden were raised vegetable plots with trellises of beans and asparagus as well as an orchard of stone fruit.

When Edward Twynam died in 1923, his daughter Alice 'Joan' Twynam (1882-1967) took over the house and garden, using it as a genteel boarding house until shortly before her death, when the family sold it to the National Trust of Australia (NSW). During her time at Riversdale, Joan continued to develop the garden, including planting a medlar (Mespilus germanica) and an espaliered apple (Malus domestica cv.) planted by her brother Ned, which, although fragile, survives today (Bligh, 2011).

In 1967 the National Trustof Australia (NSW) reconstituted the Lindesay Garden Group as the National Trust Garden Committee, with Diana Pockley as chair. This Committee's work was broader, including work on replanting the grounds of Experiment Farm cottage, Parramatta, Old Government House, Parramatta and Riversdale, Goulburn (Simpson, C., 2003).

In 1967 the garden was redesigned by Jean Friend in the style of Gertrude Jeckyll (English Arts & Crafts garden designer, artist, and author) popular after the second world war. The formation of a talented committee ensured the property went from strength to strength. A Victorian cottage garden was established full of greys and greens, lavender and silver, with highlights of pink, yellow, white and red, and heritage roses. Fruit trees were added to the surviving orchard. In the early 2000s the property was leased for a short while as the Trust attempted to resolve the perennial problem of attracting ongoing funding for maintenance of the highly significant heritage in its care. This proved unsuccessful and the experiment was terminated, but not before the committee had resigned. And then one of the worst droughts in living memory struck. Goulburn's water table dropped below the level of the Riversdale bore and the town was on level 5 water restrictions (Loftus, 2013, 22).

Since the Trust took over the property, local members and others have tried to maintain the integrity of its garden, but ten years of drought took a toll. Large trees and special plants died and its beauty faded. The toughest plants struggled on. The Trust employed Debbie Sibbick as new Property Manager and provided support and encouragement. The Friends of Riversdale group was formed as a committee of local volunteers who look after the house and garden. Working with other committee members, 'work for the dole' crews, The Mens' Shed, the 'We Love Goulburn' group and the Southern Tablelands Vintage Farm Machinery club who manage the paddock area. An autumn 2011 appeal raised $25,000 which provided resources to protect the garden by installing an irrigation system. One hundred olive trees (Olea europaea var. europaea cv.) were planted to screen unsightly neighbouring buildings and a pergola was constructed. Soon the reestablishment of the important historic feature of heritage fruit trees and a substantial raised vegetable garden will take place. So in 2011 after years of drought and neglect, Riversdale's garden has been restored (Bligh, 2011).

In 2009 a new committee was formed and volunteers swung into action in 2010. Gravel paths were unearthed and new planting began, transplanting all and sundry from other parts of the garden. The garden now abounds with lamb's ear, catmint, larkspurs, peonies, delphiniums, poppies, sweet peas, lavenders, melianthus (honey flower), salvias, roses and flag iris, alliums and perfumed Lilium candidum. Since winning the Goulburn district Lilac City Garden Competition Judges' Special Award and Best Overall Garden in October 2012, it has attracted more attention.

At the beginning of 2013 over 500 people gathered to hear a special Mass in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Catholic Diocese of Goulburn. The gardens were the site of Goulburn's first Catholic Mass, held there in 1833 (Loftus, 2013, 22).

Volunteers Ray Shiel has made Riversdale's vegetable garden his responsibility and has transformed it, along with the viability and appeal of the properyt. It provides the kitchen and catering team with produce for soups, pie and sandwich fillings, chutneys and pickles that are bringing funds to the property, and re-establishing the property's long tradition of sustainable self-sufficiency. Ray has set up links with groups including the local TAFE School of Horticulture and Primary Production and Goulburn's Permaculture Group, giving demonstrations and workships and supplying the Homestead Markets (on the third sunday of each month (Loftus & Giles, 2014).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 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'-
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. Farm homestead-
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. Hotel accommodation-
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 Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
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 Granting Crown lands for private farming-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Indicators of early town planning and the disposition of people within the emerging settlement-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Private (independent) schooling-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Edward Twynam, Surveyor-General of NSW, 1870s+-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Riversdale has association with the earliest plan of Goulburn (1829 , Old Goulburn now North Goulburn), and with the early town uses. It also has an association with notable citizens. The Healy/ Richards/ Fulljames/ Twynam allotment was the only major private construction of the Old Town, with the added value of its public function as an Inn and rest house. The property is capable of demonstrating a past way of life, which has significance in the City of Goulburn, the southwest of New South Wales, and for the long period of stable occupation by one notable family. It has in the past been recognised as 'cultural house', which made a positive contribution to the social life of the town and district. The Riversdale sight is further enhanced by its proximity to the Police Barracks, and later the Goulburn Goal, Riversdale also has associations with early figures in Goulburn's development ie Healy, Gould, Levy, Fulljames and Twynam, and the Mounted Police Establishment alongside. (Richards, 1997: Vol. 1, p 41)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Riversdale has come to represent a typical example of the early Colonial suburban house. Its architectural form original materials are both typical and evocative of the mid- nineteenth century Colonial period. The surviving outbuildings associated with the house, particularly the stone barn which pre-date it, provide excellent examples of early service buildings attached to a gentlemen's residence. Riversdale setting on the edge of the Goulburn, slightly detached from the town and close to the Wollondilly River, enhances the autonomous quality that the property possessed throughout its history. (Richards, 1997 1: 43)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The site now embraces some of the land originally used by the Mounted Police stationed at Goulburn. The building formerly connected with this use have now disappeared, but their location is indicated by the early plans. There may have also been earlier buildings, now gone, associated with Riversdale. This endows the site with archaeological significance and potential for archaeological investigation. (Freeman, 1997: Vol.1, p 44)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Riversdale rarity is its historical, social and environment association with the construction of Goulburn as a Town.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Riversdale has come to represent a typical example of the early Colonial suburban house. Its architectural form original materials are both typical and evocative of the mid- nineteenth century Colonial period. (Richards, 1997 1: 43)
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

Restoring the house and garden to its original state in an effort to represent the conservation and preservation of Riversdale's property and history will promote historical awareness among the community.

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementReview a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementCarry out an Archaeological Assessment 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0150401 Mar 02 541451

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Riversdale View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Riversdale View detail
WrittenBligh, Michael2011Riversdale Garden lovingly restored
WrittenHelen Proudfoot1983Riversdale: Conservation analysis
WrittenLoftus, Ros2013"Riversdale - ready to grow for another hundred years", in 'Trust News Australia' 2/2013
WrittenLoftus, Ros and Giles, Dawn (joint property managers)2014'Ray Shiel - Restoring Self-Sufficienty to Riversdale'
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW)2000State Heritage Inventory form
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW) Classification Card - Riversdale
Management PlanPeter Freeman pty Ltd1997Riversdale, Goulburn. Conservation Management Plan.
WrittenRead, Stuart2001'Riversdale' (entry) in 'A tour note book' from "the Off the Beaten Track"
WrittenSimpson, Caroline2003Some Women of the National Trust, in "National Trust Reflections"
WrittenThe National Trust of Australia (NSW)1991Heritage Properties in Australia.
WrittenTracey, Michael and Jennifer, Heritage Archaeology2001Archaeological Assessment and Monitoring, Riversdale, Goulburn, NSW

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

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5051270
File number: 10/23970; S90/06129


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