Hitchen House | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Hitchen House

Item details

Name of item: Hitchen House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: S31° 42.613’ Long: E148° 40.207’
Primary address: 62 Miller Street, Gilgandra, NSW 2827
Local govt. area: Gilgandra
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
62 Miller StreetGilgandraGilgandra  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The Hitchen house is a surviving Victorian residence and early 20th century butchery near the centre of Gilgandra. The house and butchery have direct associations with Bill Hitchen and his brother Jack. Bill was instrumental in conceptualising and leading the Coo-ee March of 1915 that gave volunteer recruitment in Australia a new energy following the Gallipoli campaign in World War I. The house is a generally intact example of a Victorian cottage. The house and butchery have local historical, historical association and aesthetic significance, representativeness and a moderate degree of integrity.
Date significance updated: 23 Mar 09
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

Physical description: The Hitchen house is a simple Victorian cottage with symmetrical frontage and a transverse gable roof. The cottage walls are clad in boards and battens and the gable ends in weatherboard. The frontage features two double hung windows. The front of the building protected by a bullnose verandah with timber valances.

The adjoining butchery is a very narrow building constructed in brick with a prominent rectangular parapet and skillion verandah.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The building appears to be well managed and in good condition.

The site is considered to have low archaeological potential.
Date condition updated:23 Mar 09
Modifications and dates: Replacement of original windows – c.1950s
Current use: Museum
Former use: Residence and Shop

History

Historical notes: The Village of Gilgandra was proclaimed on 8 December 1888, and a sale of Town Lots was held by the Crown at Coonamble on 23 October 1889 (Jackson 2005:46-47). By 1891 95 persons were living in 19 dwellings at Gilgandra (Dormer 1983:16). The construction of the Dubbo to Coonamble railway line in 1902 led to a rapid increase in the development of the town. The railway supported the establishment of a viable agricultural industry and a solid sleeper cutting and milling industry. This encouraged immigration into the district from other districts of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, and increased prospects for employment. As the population increased more government and commercial services moved into the town.

The commercial centre in Miller Street grew through the early and middle years of the 20th century. Many new retail and commercial premises were constructed in the 1930s,1940s and 1950s, giving Miller Street a distinct Art Deco character. The western side of Miller Street contains a number of buildings constructed in the Federation and Edwardian eras after the construction of the Dubbo to Coonamble railway line.

William (Bill) Hitchen was born in Mudgee in 1872. Some time before 1900 he moved to Gilgandra with his brother Richard (Dick) and established a plumbing business, specialising in the installation of windmills. Dick commenced trading as a butcher in a shop adjoining Bill’s house in Miller Street. By 1915 Bill was trading with his son and had established a branch of his business in Dunedoo. W.T. Hitchen & Son were agents for Buzacott and Alston windmills. (Cameron 1996:29)

A very civic-minded man Bill Hitchen was a member of the Gilgandra Progress Association, Parents and Citizens Association, Gilgandra Hospital Board, Gilgandra Jockey Club, Lodge Warrumbungle No.277, Gilgandra Recruiting Association and Gilgandra Rifle Club (Cameron 1996:29). He took a leading role in organising the Coo-ee March in 1915 and as Captain of the Rifle Club and member of the Recruiting Association he took a lead role in preparations. (Meredith 1981:11) He was known affectionately to the Coo-ee Marchers as Captain Bill. Apparently a publicly shy man Bill Hitchen left speechmaking on the Coo-ee March to others, including former Methodist Minister John Robert Lee. Despite his age of 43 in 1915 and business responsibilities in Gilgandra he enlisted with the other Coo-ees. He was retained by the armed forces for a few months to help organise other marches.

Bill Hitchen embarked with the Kookaburra marchers from Tooraweenah. He fell ill on the voyage and was sent to England ‘where the severe winter undermined his health’. He died at Harefield Park Hospital, London on 3 September 1916. “The news of ‘Captain Bill’s’ death threw Gilgandra into a state of gloom, because for a month prior to this, he had been reported as improving. As a mark of respect the Gilgandra business people closed their establishments from 12 noon to 2:00pm on the following day. He left a widow, three sons and two daughters.” (Cameron 1996:29)

The former Hitchen house in Miller Street has been restored as a museum.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages (none)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences (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]
The Hitchen house is a surviving Victorian residence and early 20th century butchery near the centre of Gilgandra. It has local historical significance.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The house and butchery have direct associations with Bill Hitchen and his brother Jack. Bill was instrumental in conceptualising and leading the Coo-ee March of 1915 that gave volunteer recruitment in Australia a new energy following the Gallipoli campaign in World War I. It has local historical association significance.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The house is a generally intact example of a Victorian cottage. It has local aesthetic significance.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The house and adjoining butchery are representative of the development of Gilgandra in the early 20th century.
Integrity/Intactness: The buildings have a moderate degree of integrity.
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 Plan I5009 Dec 11   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Gilgandra Shire Community Based Heritage Study2008 Ray ChristisonRay Christison Yes
Gilgandra Shire Community Based Heritage Study2008 Ray ChristisonRay Christison Yes
Gilgandra Shire Community Based Heritage Study2008 Ray ChristisonRay Christison Yes
Gilgandra Shire Community Based Heritage Study2008 Ray ChristisonRay Christison Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenBack to Gilgandra Week Committee1974Back to Gilgandra Week
WrittenBartley, Betty2005Gilgandra Early Commercial Records
WrittenCameron, R1996The Kookaburra March through Mendooran and Dunedoo
WrittenMeredith, J.1981The Cooee March

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: 1590140


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