Mw002 : Bebeah | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Mw002 : Bebeah

Item details

Name of item: Mw002 : Bebeah
Primary address: 60-64 The Avenue, Mount Wilson, NSW 2786
Parish: Irvine
County: Cook
Local govt. area: Blue Mountains
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
60-64 The AvenueMount WilsonBlue Mountains IrvineCookPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

Criterion (a) Historic
Bebeah is one of the foundation homes established in Mount Wilson by 1880. It retains its extensive curtilage, which represents the estate created by Edward King Cox from two separate properties. Despite changes to both the house and garden over the long and very important period of the Sloan family ownership for most of the twentieth century, Bebeah retains a striking amount of historical integrity. One of the three Cox houses in Mount Wilson, Bebeah shares the State significance of Withycombe, formerly George Henry Cox’s Beowang (MW 017) and exceeds the importance of the third Cox residence, Balangra, now re[erected on a different site as Sefton Cottage (MW 018)

Criterion (c) Aesthetic
Bebeah is a fine example of a substantial Victorian retreat in the Gothic style. Set in extensive gardens, it features steeply pitched roofs, a generous verandah, decorative barge boards and balustrading.

The cottage serves as a counterpoint to the main house, its simple form reflecting its original purpose as a caretaker’s residence.
Date significance updated: 28 Jun 04
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

Designer/Maker: Ambrose Thornley Junior
Construction years: 1879-1880
Physical description: The main house at Bebeah is a substantial single-storey house in the Victorian Gothic style set well back from The Avenue amid a substantial garden

The house has a steeply pitched hipped roof with dormer windows and fretwork barge boards. A verandah is on the north, east and south sides of the north wing.

The roof of the house is corrugated steel and the walls are clad with beaded weatherboards. The verandah has stop chamfered posts with a rectangular section which are embellished with reproduction astragal brackets. The balustrade is based on a cross braced pattern.

Sandstone steps with a spandrel of rockfaced sandstone lead to the front door. Louvred shutters are used on the windows.


Facing Waterfall Road near the southeast corner of the site is Bebeah Cottage. It is a single storey splayed weatherboard cottage with a corrugated steel roof. A four panelled door flanked by 2 over 2 pane double-hung windows opens on the front verandah. An addition at the north end of the cottage breaks the original symmetry. There is an awning verandah on the north side of the house. The brick chimney has heavy corbels.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good
Date condition updated:28 Jun 04
Modifications and dates: Front door and sidelights replaced
Crazy-paving to verandah
There have been major changes to the garden in recent years.
Current use: Private Home
Former use: Private Home

History

Historical notes: Three Mount Wilson properties were built by members of the Cox family. These were grandsons of William Cox, the Windsor-based entrepreneur, magistrate, builder and farmer who created the first road across the Blue Mountains in 1814. William Cox acquired extensive lands in the rich Mulgoa Valley, near Penrith, where three of his sons established significant estates. Edward Cox built the grandest of these Mulgoa houses, Fernhill, and lived principally there until his death in 1868. Edward’s son, Edward King Cox, a member of the Legislative Council like his father, succeeded to Fernhill and continued to live there until he died in 1883. (Currey, 68-9)

Edward King Cox, like two of his cousins, bought land in Mount Wilson in or just before 1880. The land on which Edward Cox built Bebeah was part of allotment 34, originally purchased by Sir Alfred Stephen, who did not build there but continued to enjoy his mountain retreat Alphington at Faulconbridge: the other part of allotment 34 was sold to Richard Wynne of Wynstay (MW 001). Cox also purchased the undeveloped allotment 35 to the south from William Hay, allowing for the extensive garden development of Bebeah. (LPI)

Although Jesse Gregson later recalled that Bebeah was built before Yengo (which was certainly built in 1878), this seems to be a lapse of memory, since Edward Cox did not acquire allotment 34 until November 1878 (LPI) and Bebeah probably dates from 1879-80. The architect was Ambrose Thornley, junior, based in Sydney, with offices in York Street: Thornley’s drawing of the house still exists, although its whereabouts are uncertain (James, Fraser & Mack, 36).

Edward Cox died in 1883 and after a long interval his estate sold Bebeah in 1902 to Ivie James Sloan, a second-generation Scottish grazier at Cowra with strong family connections with Bathurst and a friend of James Cox, Edward’s cousin, who had a holiday house at Mount Wilson (Balangra: see Sefton Cottage, MW 018). (Currey, 70-1)

Ivie Sloan retired from his sheep and cattle breeding on the Lachlan and lived principally at Bebeah with his wife and unmarried daughter, Marjorie. Ivie died in the 1930s, but his wife stayed on until she died in the 1950s and Marjorie then succeeded until her death in 1984. Under the Sloans’ long ownership, there were numerous changes to the house and the garden. The last of these alterations involved reroofing the house and making extensive renovations under the direction of the architects Jocelyn and Gilling, who had also designed the present house of Wynstay (MW 001) in 1922-3 (National Trust inspection 332 notes)

At some stage early in Sloan ownership, during one of the periods of uncertainty about the future of the public school, an attic room with a dormer window was converted into a private schoolroom, with vertical wooden boarding, reached by a new staircase. (James, Fraser & Mack, 37) This schoolroom had been superseded by Old Wynstay under the Wynne governess in the early 1930s. (Warliker, 48)

Miss Marjorie Sloan, as her friend Helen Gregson remembered well, ‘had an intimate knowledge of the wide range of plants which grew in her garden and the bush’. The game of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory was created by the Sloans around their ‘garden beds on the lawn shaped like stars and moons’. The rhododendrons were famous and the raspberries enviable. Under the dining-room window there was a bed of Lily of the Valley and the drive was lined with waratahs on one side and maples and daffodils on the other. The large vegetable garden was maintained in the 1930s by Bert Kirk, brother of Syd and Tom. (Warliker, 25-7)

The property is now owned by a prominent renovator and further changes have been made to the house and grounds.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation (none)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Bebeah is one of the foundation homes established in Mount Wilson by 1880. It retains its extensive curtilage, which represents the estate created by Edward King Cox from two separate properties. Despite changes to both the house and garden over the long and very important period of the Sloan family ownership for most of the twentieth century, Bebeah retains a striking amount of historical integrity. One of the three Cox houses in Mount Wilson, Bebeah shares the State significance of Withycombe, formerly George Henry Cox’s Beowang (MW 017) and exceeds the importance of the third Cox residence, Balangra, now re[erected on a different site as Sefton Cottage (MW 018)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Bebeah is a fine example of a substantial Victorian retreat in the Gothic style. Set in extensive gardens, it features steeply pitched roofs, a generous verandah, decorative barge boards and balustrading.

The cottage serves as a counterpoint to the main house, its simple form reflecting its original purpose as a caretaker’s residence.
Integrity/Intactness: Moderate
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 PlanLocal Environmental Plan1991MW00227 Dec 91 183 
Heritage study MW002   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Blue Mountains Heritage Review2003MW002Jack, Hubert, Lavelle, MorrisRIJ, PH, CM Yes
Technical Audit BM Heritage Register2008MW002Blue Mountains City CouncilCity Planning Branch No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenC H Currey1968Mount Wilson, NSW: Its Location, Settlement and Development
WrittenHelen Warliker1990A Mount Wilson Childhood
WrittenHugh Fraser, Bruce James and Alexis Mack1969The settlement of Mount Wilson
WrittenNational Trust of Australia, NSW1984Inspection 332, Mount Irvine and Mount Wilson, 6 May

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

rez
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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1170576


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