Strath | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Heritage

Strath

Item details

Name of item: Strath
Other name/s: This Property Has Been Misnamed ‘Mount Pleasant’ In Recent Decades: -
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Homestead building
Primary address: 296 Ophir Road, Stewarts Mount, NSW 2795
Parish: Mount Pleasant
County: Bathurst
Local govt. area: Bathurst Regional

Boundary:

HOD No: 5051620
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
296 Ophir RoadStewarts MountBathurst RegionalMount PleasantBathurstPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

A significant and large Pastoral homestead, with interesting battlement type defences, the house in part dates back to the very earliest period of private building construction in Bathurst. It is of considerable significance historically also through association with an early Governor of Bathurst and for a short period Governor of the Colony Mr. Major General Stewart.
Social significance also relates to the continued family ownership of this property through five generations.
See Item 5063379 for information on Dry Stone Wall along Ophir Road.
Date significance updated: 18 Apr 16
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.

Description

Construction years: 1834-
Physical description: A substantial two storied old colonial Georgian residence of face brick under a gabled iron clad roof
with a crenulated tower at one end and small paned shuttered French casement windows. The building has considerable alteration since its construction including enclosure of the front verandah and loss of symmetry.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The Stewart’s conservation approach is to maintain the house as they have always done, and conserving in particular those parts of the building which pertain to the original ownership of Peter’s great great grand father Major-General Stewart
Date condition updated:20 Dec 05
Modifications and dates: 1834 Date of Construction.
In 1870s much of the house (perhaps half) was demolished and materials reused on the neighbouring house called the ‘Mount’ or Abercrombie House as it is now known.
1950s Various alterations including Kitchen Fit out.
Further information: This is the private home of Mr. and Mrs Peter Stewart, and it is their most important requirement that this privacy be requested and that visitors are only to visit the house at their private and personal invitation.
There is to be no public access.
Current use: Private residence
Former use: Private residence

History

Historical notes: From Trove: Bathurst Free Press 1854

This old and meritorious officer expired after a short illness, on the 8th. of April, at Mount Pleasant, Bathurst, at the advanced age of 85 years. General Stewart was a younger son of William Stewart Esquire, of Strath, Caithnessshire, Scotland, and grandson of Captain Donald Stewart, an officer of Prince Charles Edward's army, and a zealous adherent to the cause of that unfortunate Prince.

General Stewart entered the service, as ensign in the 101st. regiment (by purchase) on the 10th. of March, 1794, and, on the 1st. of September the following year, was promoted to a Lieutenantcy. Upon the reduction of that regiment he was immediately removed to the third regiment (the Buffs), with which corps he completed his regimental services, extending over a period of thirty-five years. On the 25th. of January, 1799, he was promoted, by purchase, to a Captaincy, and on the 13th of March, 1805, he was gazetted to the rank of Major. His appointment to a Lieut.-Colonelcy followed on the 16th. of August, 1810, and having speedily attained the rank of Colonel, he, in 1830, received that of Major-General.

***
In April 1825 Lieutenant Colonel William Stewart, a veteran of the Napoleonic wars, arrived in Sydney. He was a personal friend and Comrade in arms to Gov. Darling.
On 3rd May 1825 he was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor and also made a member of the Legislative Council. Between the departure of Gov. Brisbane and the arrival of Gov. Darling, a period of 18 days, Stewart acted as Governor of the whole Colony.
He was Lieutenant Governor from 1825 to 1827.
In August 1825 Major Morisset, the Bathurst commandant, reported the existence of a ‘confederation among runaway convicts, called Bushrangers, for the purpose of robbery and murder’. It was Lieutenant-colonel William Stewart, as Acting Governor, who in December 1825 formed such a police corps and dispatched them to Bathurst. They were known as Stewart’s Police. They were volunteer force acting under W.H.Suttor. The activities of this force were in great measure responsible for a period of comparative quiet during the next few years. Ref 5

Governor Wall continued to govern the Bathurst settlement until Major General Stewart arrived two years later (1828).
Then the Bathurst settlement was governed for a time by Stewart.

Bathurst was growing strongly under the Squatters who took the leading life in these Colonial times. Development of self government was carefully managed by the Squatters. In 1828, a Council formed from this powerful squatting class, were given strong powers including the ability to veto the Governor’s decisions, if they so wanted.
(Originally the Governor chose the Council members himself, but by in 1842 this Council became two thirds elective). On this background it was natural that it was the Squatters who were the principal builders of the buildings that have survived from this period in Bathurst.
The earliest buildings include the original portions of the 1830's homesteads of Walner, Westbourne, Blackdown, Alloway Bank, Ardsley, Rainham (1833) and Strath, (the home of Major-General Stewart).

Col. William Stewart had an original grant of approximately 3200 acres. He then added to this through purchase, initially receiving approval to purchase 9,600 acres from Sir Thomas Brisbane, and then receiving a further authorisation for an additional 200 acres from Darling. Ref 3.
Later he expanded his overall purchases to 11,848 acres. (Ref 5)
In 1827 Colonel Stewart departed for India with his regiment, but was keen to permanently settle in Bathurst and so returned in 1832, leaving the Army with the rank of Major-General, and settling permanently in Bathurst on his estate.
The house he built there was called Strath.
On his return from India, apprehensions of the concerning possible attach by Bushrangers local on the roads to the early goldfields, or concern for local Wiradjuri unrest led Major-General Stewart to erect a battlemented defensive screen on his brick house

Today only approximately 40 percent of the original house remains. When James Horn built the ‘Mount’ or Abercrombie House as it is known today, he took many of the materials from Strath.

Strath was later remodelled and added to General Stewart died at his estate on the 8th April 1854 and is buried there in a private graveyard.


The property has remained in the same families’ hands for five generations passing first to James Horn Stewart, then to Athol Stewart who had no sons, and five daughters. With no sons to inherit the property according to the law
of the times the house then passed to Athol Stewart’s brother Albert Stewart.
However Athol first held a ‘clearing sale’ in which most of the house contents were dispersed.
Albert then passed the property to his son James, who made arrangements for his sister Roselyn Jamieson to have a ‘lifetime’ lease of the house. During her time in the house she made various alterations and additions to suit herself and her family. These alterations included the filling of the cellar, and additions that caused the house to loose its symmetry.
Today the house is owned by James’s son Mr. Peter Stewart.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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. Early Pastoralists house-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Lt. Colonel William Stuart-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
It is of considerable significance historically also through association with an early A significant and large Pastoral homesteadGovernor of Bathurst and for a short period Governor of the Colony Major General Stewart
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Unusual design feature of protective battlements. Similarly stone wall remains along road boundary may have had defensive purpose.
Strong Ethnic influence of Scottish ancestry
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Important continuous occupation by five generations from Colony Major General Stewart to Great Great grandson today.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Very rare building construction from the earliest period of private settlement west of the Divide.
Integrity/Intactness: Considerable altered overall with approx 40% of the original house standing, but still containing important original details by first owner Major General Stewart
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.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanStrath25219 Nov 14   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Bathurst Regional Council Heritage Review2005F/N 17Hickson in assoc. with Bathurst Regional CouncilB.J. Hickson Yes
Bathurst City Council Heritage Study1990A581Hughes Trueman LudlowHughes Trueman Ludlow No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 1989Bathurst Heritage Study
WrittenBroadbent, James and Hughes, Joy.1992The Age of Macquarie
Oral HistoryConversation with Mr & Mrs Peter Stewart2002 
WrittenGreaves, Bernard1976The Story of Bathurst
WrittenTheo Barker1992A History of Bathurst Vol 1

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: 1080303


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