Port Macquarie Government House Site | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Port Macquarie Government House Site

Item details

Name of item: Port Macquarie Government House Site
Other name/s: Government House Site at Port Macquarie, Old Government House Port Macquarie
Type of item: Archaeological-Terrestrial
Group/Collection: Government and Administration
Category: Government House
Location: Lat: -31.4292236605 Long: 152.9127985660
Primary address: 2 Clarence Street, Port Macquarie, NSW 2444
Parish: Macquarie
County: Macquarie
Local govt. area: Port Macquarie-Hastings
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Birpai
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP581307
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
2 Clarence StreetPort MacquariePort Macquarie-HastingsMacquarieMacquariePrimary Address
School StreetPort MacquariePort Macquarie-Hastings  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Port Macquarie-Hastings CouncilLocal Government 

Statement of significance:

The archaeological remains of Government House, Port Macquarie are a rare example of the official residence of the Commandant of a place of secondary punishment in Eastern Australia and of a local magistrate in a regional centre in 19th century New South Wales. The house was both the symbol of authority and centre of administration at Port Macquarie in its evolution from penal settlement, to convict depot and free settlement, to self-governing local community. The officials who occupied the house played an important role in the administration of the convict system in New South Wales and in the development of law and order on the boundaries of settlement in a period of major expansion.
In its first phase of occupation, Port Macquarie was an important component of the convict system as regularised after 1815 and one of a small number of places of secondary punishment, the locations of which were specifically chosen for their remoteness, inaccessibility and exploitable natural resources. In its second convict phase Port Macquarie was unique as a depot reserved for 'specials', invalids, the insane and infirm. The town made an effective transition from convict settlement to local urban centre, playing an important role in the development of its region.
Archaeological remains, buildings and historical documents are complementary resources for the compilation of an authentic account of the penal system in New South Wales and Australia and the archaeological remains of Government House, Port Macquarie are an integral component of this research process. (Annable, Betteridge, Marks & Morris, 2003: 99)

The significance of Port Macquarie and of its Government House should not be considered solely in relation to the present State of New South Wales. In historical terms, the Colony of New South Wales at the time the penal settlement at Port Macquarie was established included parts of the State of Queensland and Norfolk Island. The settlement must also be considered in the context of the operation of the convict system throughout the Australian colonies and of the policies and objectives of successive British governments in relation to law, order and the punishment of offenders. (Annable 2001: 1)
Date significance updated: 12 Jan 04
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: Government of NSW
Builder/Maker: Government Convicts
Construction years: 1821-1826
Physical description: Archaeological site containing the remains of the Port Macquarie Government House.
- brick and sandstone footings of house, including courtyard and wings
- brick barrel drains
- square brick drains
- brick paving
- cellar and cellar steps
- some post holes (verandah, and outbuildings)
- animal bones, pottery sherds, glass fragments, buttons, coins
(CMP)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Condition excellent. Archaeological potential high
Date condition updated:19 Jul 01
Current use: archaeological site
Former use: government administration; holiday accommodation

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Administering the convict system-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Isolating 'special' convicts-
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 public servants and officials-
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. Accommodating travellers and tourists-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. An emancipist community-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Providing public offices and buildings-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Aaron Muron Bolot, architect-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
As one of the few remaining sites with strong associations with the convict system, Port Macquarie is important in the history of the early European settlement of Australia.

Port Macquarie, established in 1821, was the first designated place of secondary punishment in the Colony of New South Wales. Designed to deal with repeat offenders who could not be accommodated within the existing convict structure, the aim of such settlements was to subject prisoners to isolation, severe discipline and hard work.

The establishment of places of secondary punishment represented a significant development in the creation of a comprehensive penal system by the British government.

The location of the settlement and the disposition of its original buildings were designed by Governor and Mrs Macquarie. Governor Macquarie was directly involved in the program of building works drawn up for the settlement.

Port Macquarie has a close association with Governor Macquarie who was instrumental in the establishment of the place and with his wife Elizabeth, who together determined the choice of siting and design of the penal settlement.

As a domestic residence, Government House has a close association with successive Commandants of the penal settlement and their families including Capt Francis Allman, Capt John Rolland and Capt Archibald Innes and with the Resident Police Magistrates of the free settlement and their families.

As the centre of government penal administration and of the local magistracy, Government House has close associations with the population of Port Macquarie both bond and free and with many significant local residents (Annable 2001: 1-2).
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The penal settlement at Port Macquarie was designed on picturesque principles under the guidance and influence of Governor Macquarie and his wife Elizabeth. It was the only penal settlement to be so designed. Views to and from the water were key elements of the plan.

The siting of Government House and of the surviving St Thomas' Church represent, in built form, the close connection perceived in the 19th century between government and the church, and between penal policy and the reform of the offender.

Many of the buildings and much of the infrastructure built by convict labour continued in use throughout the 19th century making a substantial contribution to the development of later communities (Annable 2001: 3-4).)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Considerable interest is now being expressed by Australians in the convict system as a part of their history. Much research is being undertaken into the part that the convict heritage has had in shaping Australian identity and the development of its liberal and democratic institutions.

Convict labour is now understood as an integral part of the economic history of Australia as an immigrant society.

The settlement at Port Macquarie was one of a range of convict establishments, the physical remains and documentary records of which are complementary parts of the history of the convict system throughout Australia (Annable 2001: 2-3).
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Government House was an integral part of a planned settlement. The site has the potential to contribute to an understanding of the settlement as a whole and to comparative analyses of its place in relation to other establishments within the convict system.

The quality and extent of the archaeological remains of Government House demonstrate a way of life associated with the penal settlement of Port Macquarie and the later development of civilian settlement.

The archaeological remains of Government House, together with its associated artifacts have the potential to contribute to an understanding of the working of the settlement at Port Macquarie and the role of the occupants of the house in its administration and general life.

Government House is a significant element in the range of buildings constructed for a large-scale penal settlement and has the ability to contribute to an understanding of the totality of the convict system in Australia.

As the home of successive Resident Police Magistrates the site has the potential to contribute to an understanding of the development of free settlement at Port Macquarie.

Existing structures, archaeological remains and historical documents are complementary sources for the compilation of an authentic account of the penal system in New South Wales and Australia. Archaeological remains are an integral component of this research process (Annable 2001: 3).
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Port Macquarie was the only designated place of secondary punishment to be established during the period of the Assignment System in the present State of New South Wales and the first such place to be established in Australia at this period.

The archaeological remains of Government House are the only known surviving example in New South Wales of a ‘government house’ in a distant settlement, built for the use of government officials.

The archaeological remains of Government House, Port Macquarie are older than the surviving building fabric at Port Arthur and the Second Settlement at Norfolk Island, also places of secondary punishment.

The archaeological evidence at Port Macquarie is not duplicated in the existing range of heritage convict sites at Sydney, Parramatta and Newcastle.

The penal settlement of Port Macquarie was designed on picturesque principles, the only penal settlement to be so designed.

Government House is one of the two main elements of the picturesque composition of the penal settlement, the other being the existing church of St Thomas. The physical reality of the surviving archaeological remains of Government House allows this relationship to be rediscovered, experienced and interpreted (Annable 2001: 4).
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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementPort Macquarie Former Government House Ruins CMP, prepared by Annable, Betteridge, Marks & Morris for NSW Heritage Office, dated March 2003. CMP endorsed by Heritage Council 8 September 2004, expires 8 September 2009 Sep 8 2004
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 0151703 Aug 01 1205837
Heritage Act - Icons Project Nomination for SHR listing  12 May 04   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Management PlanAnnable, R., Betteridge, C., Marks, C & Morris, C2003Port Macquarie Former Government House Ruins
WrittenRosemary Annable2001Government House - Statement of Significance

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: 5051533
File number: H00/00547H02/00064,H04/00091/8


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