Mw018 : Sefton Cottage | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Mw018 : Sefton Cottage

Item details

Name of item: Mw018 : Sefton Cottage
Other name/s: Balangra
Primary address: 21 Church Lane, Mount Wilson, NSW 2786
Local govt. area: Blue Mountains
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
21 Church LaneMount WilsonBlue Mountains   Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Criterion (a) Historical
The origins of the cottage and its garden as part of James Cox’s Balangra in 1882 give Sefton Cottage a small part of the historical significance which resides in Sefton Hall, as the local level.
Date significance updated: 22 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.


Construction years: 1882-1882
Physical description: Although Sefton Cottage contains part of James Cox's Balangra of 1882 (see MW 019), this has been thoroughly obscured by subsequent renovations. It is now a single-storey verandahed house of fairly modern aspect. The garden is largely a creation of the 1960s, with expansive woodland, incorporating much older eucalypts, and displaying a wide selection of alpines and shrubs, approached along wide steps in the cultivated sections
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:22 Jul 04
Modifications and dates: The original house of 1882 has been entirely obscured by extensions and renovations
Current use: House and Garden
Former use: House and Garden


Historical notes: The Cox dynasty has left a highly significant heritage on nineteenth-century properties in the Hawkesbury, the Mulgoa Valley, Mudgee and Mount Wilson. Three of the grandsons of the original William Cox, who is most widely remembered for cutting the first road over the Blue Mountains in 1813, acquired land at Mount Wilson 1882, buying from the original grantees. Edward King Cox built Bebeah, George Henry Beowang (Withycombe) and James Dalrymple Balangra.

James Dalrymple Cox, the brother of George Henry, was a grazier at Cullenbone near Mudgee who found a cottage at Mount Wilson a convenient staging post between Mudgee and Sydney. He bought part of William Hay’s extensive holdings, adjacent to Nooroo, where Hay had already in 1880 built his own mountain retreat and at once, in 1882, Cox built his own cottage which he named Balangra. Like Nooroo, Balangra was approached not from Church Lane but from The Avenue and the fine stone gate-posts built by James Cox survive to puzzle tourists travelling up The Avenue.(Land & Property Information, Vol.241 fo.237; Fraser, James & Mack, Settlement of Mt Wilson, 39; Currey, Mount Wilson, 70)

Cox had a competent gardener and quickly established attractive plantings. In the 1890s Balangra was described as ‘embedded in laurel hedges, ferns and flowers. The numberless bright flowers attain a beauty of form and colour that testifies what the advantages of good soil, suitable climate and the hand of a careful gardener can do for English flowers in Australia.’ (Hamilton, quoted by Raines, Gardens of Mt Wilson, 6-7) Some of these Cox plantings, the elms, lindens, araucarias, pines and two huge Rhodendron arboreum survive.

The property came on the market when the bachelor Cox died in 1910 and was bought at the end of that year by Marcus Clark, the successful Sydney retailer. In 1911 he dismantled Balangra cottage, although the gateway on The Avenue still bore that name at the end of 1911 (Lithgow Mercury, 13 Dec. 1911). The sitting-room of the cottage was converted into a rather spectacular billiard room some 100 metres from the new house, Sefton Hall (MW 019)

The remainder of Balangra was re-erected on the west end of the property and was used as a residence for the Clark family gardener until the 1950s. The property was sub-divided in the 1960s and Sefton Cottage took on a separate identity. The garden around that part of the original Balangra estate had probably remained largely native woodland under the Clarks and there are still many mature eucalypts. A new garden was, however, developed over the last forty years, taking advantage of many of the older trees. (Raines, Gardens of Mt Wilson, 12) Under the present owner, catering services of some sophistication are offered, with outdoor eating facilities.

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)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The origins of the cottage and its garden as part of James Cox’s Balangra in 1882 give Sefton Cottage a small part of the historical significance which resides in Sefton Hall, at the local level.
Integrity/Intactness: Fair
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 PlanLEP1991MW01827 Dec 91 183 
Heritage study MW018   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Blue Mountains Heritage Study1983MW018Croft & Associates Pty Ltd & Meredith Walker  Yes
Heritage Study Review, Blue Mountains1992MW018Tropman and Tropman  Yes
Blue Mountains Heritage Review2003MW018Jack, Hubert, Lavelle, MorrisRIJ, PH Yes
Technical Audit BM Heritage Register2008MW018Blue Mountains City CouncilCity Planning Branch No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Certificate of Title, Volume 241, fo 237
WrittenAnon1911Impressions of Mount Wilson in Lithgow Mercury, 13 December
WrittenC H Currey1968Mount Wilson, NSW: Its location, settlement and development
WrittenElizabeth Raines1998A brief history of the gardens of Mount Wilson, circa
WrittenHugh Fraser, Bruce James and Alexis Mack1969The Settlement of Mount Wilson
WrittenJim Smith2001Impressions of Mount Wilson - Lithgow Mercury, in Mount Wilson Historical Society Bulletin, 7 April

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

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1170598

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