Mw027 : Yengo | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Mw027 : Yengo

Item details

Name of item: Mw027 : Yengo
Other name/s: Stone Lodge
Primary address: 11-19 Queens Avenue, Mount Wilson, NSW 2786
Parish: Irvine
County: Cook
Local govt. area: Blue Mountains
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
11-19 Queens AvenueMount WilsonBlue Mountains IrvineCookPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

Criterion (a): Historical
Yengo is a highly significant member of the group of foundation houses at Mount Wilson. Of the original eight, Yengo and Dennarque are the only ones built in stone, although Yengo is a less pretentious dwelling than the two-storey Dennarque. With its spacious grounds, built up by subsequent purchase, and its dominant position on an eminence highly visible from The Avenue, Yengo has always been an stately mountain home, although for its first quarter-century it was occupied only in summer by the Gregson family. Thereafter, it has been a principal, permanent residence for successive owners of distinction, the Gregsons, the art-potter, Fred Mann, and the present Piggott family. The entire property has high state significance.

Criterion (b): Association
Jesse Gregson, who created Yengo and its important garden between 1880 and 1919, was a significant industrialist and expert on the coal industry and its labour relations: as well as his work for the Australian Agricultural Co. (a principal coalmine owner), he served on the Royal Commission which led to the coal Mines Regulation Act of 1896. In his earlier career in Australia, in the pastoral wing of the AA Co., Gregson had been a significant pioneer of rabbit-proof wire fencing and of freezing works. His botanical hobby led him to become an important collector of specimens in the Mount Wilson area, which are preserved in the New South Wales Herbarium, and created the splendid garden at Yengo with the assistance of successive directors of the Botanic Gardens. Jesse Gregson's significance at the state level is recognised by the entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography by Robin Gollan. The next owner, Fred Mann, is signficant at the local level as a craft potter who not only produced fine work but also instilled appreciation of craftmanship among the young of Mount Wilson between the wars.

Criterion (c): Aesthetic
Yengo is an excellent and intact example of a Victorian Georgian house. The unusual asymmetric front relates well to the garden which was deliberately designed not to have an axial relationship to the house. The garden displays a large collection of mature trees and shrubs of high ornamental value arranged in extensive spaces artfully conceived for variety and elegance, adorned with more recent sculptural arrangements which have their own importance and have for the most part respected the historic nature of the garden.

Criterion (f): Rarity
The house at Yengo is a rare example of a hill-station residence of fairly modest proportions but constructed solidly in stone. The only other Victorian house built of stone at Mount Wilson is Dennarque, which is much more of a mansion than Yengo.

Criterion (g): Representative
The garden at Yengo is a fine example representative of the late Victorian landscaping of Mount Wilson.
Date significance updated: 12 Jul 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: Possibly Frederick Reuss
Builder/Maker: Probably James Nutman
Construction years: 1878-1880
Physical description: Yengo is a fine and substantial Victorian Georgian single-storey house which successfully fulfils the original brief that it should meld into the garden. Constructed of sandstone, it has a hipped roof of corrugated steel. A verandah with an awning profile roof wraps around the east and north sides and is supported on rectangular section posts. The sandstone chimneys retain most of the original glazed terracotta pots.
The front door opens to the east verandah and is flanked on one side by three 2 over 2 pane double hung windows and on the other by 2 similar windows. French doors with louvred shutters open to the north verandah.
On the west side of the house is a weatherboard wing with a steeply pitched roof and a sandstone chimney. It has 2 over 2 pane double hung windows with 2 panelled shutters.
The garden retains speciments of the original vegetation, especially Eucalyptus viminalis, E. blaxlandii and E. fastigata. The front boundary visible from Queens Avenue has exotic plantings, including conifers such as Cedrus deodara, Cupressus sempervirens, Sequoia sempervirens and Chamaecyparis lawsonia. There are also in the garden good mature examples of plane, oak, chestnut and maple. The south-west lawn is bounded by shrubberies, a laburnum walk and a large Western Red Cedar, Thuja plicata.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good
Date condition updated:12 Jul 04
Modifications and dates: Verandah reconstructed under direction of Hugh Fraser using original specifications.
Rear courtyard walls built in the1970s
1970s cottage to west
Current use: Private House and Garden
Former use: Private House and Garden

History

Historical notes: Allotment 17 of the newly sub-divided Mount Wilson was bought in April 1870 by A.J. Stopps, who did not clear or develop the 7½ acres (Land & Property Information, Vol. 250 fo.156). Jesse Gregson, an English lawyer who had come to Australia in 1856, who had become General Superintendent of the Australian Agricultural Company in succession to Edward Merewether, was introduced to the hill station by Merewether (Fraser, James and Mack, Settlement of Mount Wilson, 1969, 29). Gregson related in his later memoirs how Merewether's 'accounts of the scenery and the climate induced me to follow his example' in 1878 (Gregson, Memoirs, Mitchell Library, ML MSS 1382, 89). After a false start, Gregson purchased Stopps’ 7½ acres in 1879 (LPI, Vol. 250 fo.156).
Gregson immediately began to clearing of the land and to build a substantial cottage in stone like Merewether had done at Dennarque. The house was ready for occupation at the end of 1880. The architect is not identified in Gregson’s memoirs and architectural opinion does not favour the speculation that Merewether’s architect Reuss also designed Yengo. It is, however, likely that James Nutman, the Dennarque contractor, was employed by Gregson. (Fraser etc., 30)
A kitchen wing with accommodation for servants was built at once, separate from the main L-shaped cottage, but was soon joined on to form a characteristic Mount Wilson U-shaped house. From 1880 onwards until 1905, the Gregson family went to Yengo every summer from the company house in Waratah at Newcastle, ‘generally going there from early December and remaining till April’. The year-round caretaker from 1881 until his death in 1900 was Mr W. Smith, who became a friend as well as a ‘faithful servant’ to Jesse Gregson. The widowed Mrs Smith stayed on as housekeeper at Yengo until 1905, when she returned to Ireland. Her husband was succeeded in 1900 by Syd Kirk, one of seven celebrated sons of Robert Kirk: Kirk had been working at Yengo under Smith and he proved just as reliable a caretaker and overseer. (Gregson, Memoirs, 99, 100, 113)
When Gregson retired from the AA Company in 1904 after an important period in the labour relations in the coal industry, he was dubious about living through the mountain winter at Yengo and he advertised it for auction on 15 March 1905. There were no bidders and Gregson changed his mind about the desirability of living in Mount Wilson all the year round. The advertisement, however, by Hardie and Gorman in the Sydney Morning Herald gives an uncommonly full description of the property. The house in 1905 was already roofed with tiles (not the shingles claimed by Fraser, James and Mack) and contained a hall, dining-room, sitting-room and five bedrooms. The servants’ wing had the kitchen, laundry, ironing-room, two pantries, a storeroom and a servant’s room. There was an underground cellar. Well away from the main house were the wooden stables (now Cherry Cottage, 21-23 Queens Avenue, MW 029) and the milking bails, roofed with corrugated iron. (Sydney Morning Herald, 14 January 1905, 19)
Jesse Gregson and his family lived in Yengo until Jesse’s death in 1919 at the age of 81. The garden which he created over the years with the help of Charles Moore and then J.H. Maiden, successive Directors of the Botanic Gardens in Sydney, interacted with the single-storey house and its wide verandah and extended over the increasing area of the property, as neighbouring land was acquired by Gregson (LPI, Vol. 250 fo.131). In old age Gregson ‘practically lived in the garden in summer’ (Helen Gregson, addition to Jesse Gregson ,Memoirs, 142). In earlier years he had been a keen and knowledgeable botanical collector: Maiden recalled after Gregson’s death how Jesse had an intimate knowledge of the Mount Wilson area and from the early 1890s systematically collected flora and sent to the Botanic Gardens dried specimens of many plants unknown or little known to botanists at the time; Gregson's specimens are still preserved in the Herbarium at the Gardens. He also experimented widely in exotic plantings, keeping a professional record of successes and failures. (Maiden, letter to Sydney Morning Herald, 6 August 1919; Australian Dictionary of Biography, IV 297)). His grand-daughter later recorded that ‘It was said Grandfather kept a yearly record of the growth of these trees by getting Syd [Kirk] to shin up them to measure their height!’ (Warliker, A Mount Wilson Childhood, 17)
When Jesse Gregson died in 1919, his only surviving son, Edward, took over Yengo. Edward had graduated in Arts at the University of Sydney in 1903 and then went to America to study Mechanical Engineering. He had worked at Charles Jefferson’s Mica Insulating Co in New York State and became attached to Jefferson’s daughter Margaret. When Edward Gregson returned to Mount Wilson in 1919 to become a farmer, orchardist and botanist, Margaret followed in 1920. They married and lived at Yengo until 1923, when Wyndham (MW 033) was built and Yengo was sold. (Warliker, 5, 17-18)
The purchaser of Yengo was Fred Mann, the bachelor son of the Manns of Dennarque. Mann remained at Yengo, which he renamed Stone Lodge, until 1952, living well and hospitably, looked after by a housekeeper, Mrs Foley. The principal change which he made to the Gregson house was the removal of the broad front verandah on the grounds that it made the house dark: Helen Gregson applauded its replacement ‘with a flagstone terrace with flowers and wisteria plants’. (Warliker, 18) The house remained without its verandah for half a century until the present owners, Bruce and Anne Piggott, reinstated it in the 1970s.
Fred Mann was a well-known craft potter and converted the Gregson stables into a studio with a kiln. This is now a separate property called Cherry Cottage (MW 029).
The garden has continued to flourish within the Victorian layout of the 1880s. In the last thirty years, since the 1970s, the Piggotts have added a great deal, particularly shrubs, garden ornaments, a sculpture park and a wild-life reserve.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 (none)-
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]
Criterion (a) Historical
Yengo is a highly significant member of the group of foundation houses at Mount Wilson. Of the original eight, Yengo and Dennarque are the only ones built in stone, although Yengo is a less pretentious dwelling than the two-storey Dennarque. With its spacious grounds, built up by subsequent purchase, and its dominant position on an eminence highly visible from The Avenue, Yengo has always been an stately mountain home, although for its first quarter-century it was occupied only in summer by the Gregson family. Thereafter, it has been a principal, permanent residence for successive owners of distinction, the Gregsons, the art-potter, Fred Mann, and the present Piggott family. The entire property has high state significance.

Criterion (b) Association
Jesse Gregson, who created Yengo and its important garden between 1880 and 1919, was a significant industrialist and expert on the coal industry and its labour relations: as well as his work for the Australian Agricultural Co. (a principal coalmine owner), he served on the Royal Commission which led to the coal Mines Regulation Act of 1896. In his earlier career in Australia, in the pastoral wing of the AA Co., Gregson had been a significant pioneer of rabbit-proof wire fencing and of freezing works. His botanical hobby led him to become an important collector of specimens in the Mount Wilson area, which are preserved in the New South Wales Herbarium, and created the splendid garden at Yengo with the assistance of successive directors of the Botanic Gardens. Jesse Gregson's significance at the state level is recognised by the entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography by Robin Gollan. The next owner, Fred Mann, is signficant at the local level as a craft potter who not only produced fine work but also instilled appreciation of craftmanship among the young of Mount Wilson between the wars.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Yengo is an excellent and intact example of a Victorian Georgian house. The unusual asymmetric front relates well to the garden which was deliberately designed not to have an axial relationship to the house. The garden displays a large collection of mature trees and shrubs of high ornamental value arranged in extensive spaces artfully conceived for variety and elegance, adorned with more recent sculptural arrangements which have their own importance and have for the most part respected the historic nature of the garden.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The house at Yengo is a rare example of a hill-station residence of fairly modest proportions but constructed solidly in stone. The only other Victorian house built of stone at Mount Wilson is Dennarque, which is much more of a mansion than Yengo.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The garden at Yengo is a fine example representative of the late Victorian landscaping of Mount Wilson.
Integrity/Intactness: High
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 Plan1991MW02727 Dec 91 183 
Heritage study MW027   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Blue Mountains Heritage Study1983MW027Croft & Associates Pty Ltd & Meredith Walker  Yes
Heritage Study Review, Blue Mountains1992MW027Tropman and Tropman  Yes
Blue Mountains Heritage Review2003MW027Jack, Hubert, Lavelle, MorrisRIJ, PH, CM Yes
Technical Audit BM Heritage Register2008MW027Blue Mountains City CouncilCity Planning Branch No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 1870Certificate of Title, Volume 250, fos 131, 156
WrittenC H Currey1968Mount Wilson NSW: Its Location, Settlement and Development
WrittenHardie and Gorman1905Advertisement to sell Yengo, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 January
WrittenHelen Warliker1990A Mount Wilson Childhood
WrittenJ H Maiden1919Letter to Editor, Sydney Morning Herald, 6 August
WrittenJesse Gregson Memoirs
WrittenRobin Gollan1970"Gregson, Jesse (1837-1919), in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4

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: 1170590


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