House and Grounds 'Trevenna' | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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House and Grounds 'Trevenna'

Item details

Name of item: House and Grounds 'Trevenna'
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 60 Madgwick Drive, Armidale, NSW 2350
Local govt. area: Armidale Regional
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
60 Madgwick DriveArmidaleArmidale Regional  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

"Trevenna" clearly demonstrates National significance due to its association with John Horbury Hunt and its ability to assist in the understanding of the history of Australian architecture. The ability of "Trevenna" to contribute to the understanding of changes of changes to the social structure in rural Australia combined with the condition and integrity of the place clearly demonstrates a high degree of regional and local significance.
Fine spacious grounds of fine lawns set on brow of hill overlooking City of Armidale. Winding gravel drive with Avenue planting of cypresses, redwood, oaks and elms. Landscaped grounds from the 1890's in the English gardenesque tradition including mature exotic species providing impressive vista from house to city below. Trees include Himalayan cypress, pines (radiata, stone and canary island), oaks and elms. Sunken garden and period tennis court add to the elegant setting of the fine Horbury Hunt designed house. Virginia creeper growing on walls of house. The grounds are considered to have regional significance.

"Trevenna" is highly significant for its close association with the life and work of John Horbury Hunt. A number of Hunt's noteworthy buildings, both domestic and public, were built in the New England region around the time of "Trevenna's" construction, including arguably his most important domestic work - "Booloominbah". The proximity and relationship of "Trevenna" to "Booloominbah" enhances "Trevenna's" significance. The residence is located within the original curtilage of "Booloominbah" but at a respectful distance to maintain the privacy of both houses. The garden of "Trevenna" has many of the original plantings. Particularly the trees that are now well established and form a structural landscaped framework around the house. This framework is now missing from "Booloominbah". The "Trevenna" garden may reveal some of the strategies and landscaping features that could have also existed and been used around "Booloominbah".

"Trevenna" is clearly representative of the domestic architecture of Hunt. The residence has been designed in a unique style at a time when residential design was trying to break free of the Georgian mould. The design features include natural local materials of timber, rock (basalt) and brick. There are aspects of the design that reveal the innovative and unusual nature of Hunt's work such as the number of different arched openings that are located at random internally and externally without consideration of a theme or relationship to each other.

"Trevenna" therefore presents an excellent opportunity to aid in the discovery and understanding of information on the developments of domestic architecture in Australia in the latter part of the 1800s into the 1900s.

The ability for "Trevenna" to assist with the understanding of changes to the social structure of rural Australia since the late 1800s adds to the significance of the place. The design features of "Trevenna" clearly reflects the class social structure of the day by separating the owners from the servants and service areas on each level of the residence. The changes to the layout and staffing of the house have the possibility to demonstrate changes to the social structures.

The continued use of "Trevenna" as a residence for around one hundred and twenty years has resulted in in "Trevenna" being in excellent condition. The integrity of the structure is sound with only minor alterations to the exterior of the building. Although there has been extensive interior remodelling, many of the original design features are extant.
Date significance updated: 28 Oct 13
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: John Horbury Hunt
Construction years: 1889-
Physical description: Outstanding late nineteenth century mansion. Various influences evident including the American Shingle style, Queen Anne and Arts and Crafts. Complex form with four very different elevations. One and two storeys with high pitched slate roof. Tall brick chimneys. Stone foundations and stone rubble walls. Brick arches to ground floor openings. Many different window shapes and types with painted timber frames. Limited use of verandahs. Set in large grounds with long formal driveway and beautifully planted gardens.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
In good condition with a high degree of original fabric intact externally in an intact setting.
Date condition updated:03 Jun 11
Modifications and dates: 1962 - repairs and alterations
1967 - roofing repaired
1980's - further renovations incuding kitchen refit
1988 - rewiring
1996 - hail storm damage repairs
2007 - external painting
Former use: Original use:Residential Previous use:Residential Previous use:Residential


Historical notes: Philip Wentworth Wright was a grazier based at Bickham in the Hunter Valley. In 1885 Wright purchased a parcel of approximately 90 acres of land from Joseph Pearce who in 1882 had purchased it from F.R. White. The land was transferred to Wright's wife Eliza Jane in 1887. John Horbury Hunt was commisioned to design the house to be built on the site. Wright intended to retire to Armidale, however died in 1890 before the house was built. From 1888 to 1890 Hunt produced a series of designs for the house. Work on the final design commenced in about 1890 and was finished by March 1892. Mrs Wright died in 1909 at the age of 89. "Trevenna" passed to her grandson William Plumpton Wilson , who was married to F.R. White's daughter - Florence who died in 1960 and she willed "Trevenna" to the University of New England. The house until this time had been used as a residence. At a meeting on 14 August 1961 it was resolved to use "Trevenna" as the residence for the Vice Chancellor. At a Finance Committee meeting on 29 May 1962 repairs and alterations were confirmed and a contract for the changes was awarded to Mr W.M. Bartimore. The roof was repaired in 1967, further renovations were carried out in the 1980's and the building was re-wired in 1988. It was nominated along with "Booloominbah" to be listed the Register of the National Estate in 1976 and was actually listed on 21 March 1978. It was listed as Heritage Item by Armidale Dumaresq Council on 30 July 1993.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The house has historic significance as it dates from the key period of development for the Armidale region.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The house is associated with prominent architect John Horbury Hunt and nearby "Booloominbah", and also with the Wright and Wilson families and the University of New England.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The house is an outstanding example of the work of John Horbury Hunt and the North American shingle style. It also has influences from the Arts and Crafts and Queen Anne styles.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The house demonstrates the social standing of its owners by way of the separation of the owners private area from the service and servant areas.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
There is potential for further research and in particular oral histories by interviewing past residents, visitors and/or users of the house. Extensive documentary evidence research has already been undertaken and is included in the Conservation Management Plan.
SHR Criteria f)
The house is rare in its design and style which were distinctive and innovative at the time it was built.
SHR Criteria g)
The house is a representative example of a late Victorian grand house
Integrity/Intactness: High Externally - Medium Internally
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.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanArmidale Dumaresq Local Environmental Plan 2012I23507 Nov 12   
Local Environmental PlanAmend No.717530 Jul 93   
Heritage study 0175   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Armidale Heritage Study19900175Perumal Murphy Pty LtdVM Yes
Armidale Heritage Study1990 Perumal Murphy Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenLee Scott & John Carr Architects2007Trevenna - Conservation Management Plan
WrittenPerumal Murphy Wu1990Heritage Inventory Sheet

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: Local Government
Database number: 1010175

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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