House - The Grange | NSW Environment & Heritage

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House - The Grange

Item details

Name of item: House - The Grange
Other name/s: House (former farm building)
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 47 Renwick Street, Wyoming, NSW 2250
Local govt. area: Gosford
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
47 Renwick StreetWyomingGosford  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The former Stable on Renwick Street at Wyoming has significance for its association with Frederick Augustus Hely, the colony's Principal Superintendent of Convicts and early landowner in the north Gosford region, after whose farm "Wyoming" the area was named. It has rare regional historic and social significance as one of the first buildings on the Central Coast, associated with the early settlement of the region. It has rare state historic aesthetic significance as a design by the architect John Verge, and as an early convict-built structure. The second oldest building in the Central Coast. Although modified, its significance has not been reduced and is an important streetscape element.
Date significance updated: 20 Jul 14
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.


Designer/Maker: John Verge
Builder/Maker: W & A Sidebottom
Construction years: 1836-
Physical description: Located on a greatly reduced block along street alignment. To south is hotel/motel accommodation, to the east and west hotel car parking. Under threat from encroaching development and road works. Although obscured from view from the street by boundary planting, the house remains an important streetscape element with its prominent roofline. Mature trees to immediate surrounds. Mature Morton Bay Fig, and timber framed entrance with early iron gate to south. Single storey sandstone residence, formerly a stable. Pick-axed and rough hewn stone blocks, cement patching to some sections. Dominant hipped roof has modern profile steel sheeting. Modern fibre cement boxed eaves. Sections of roof in poor repair on north facade, allowing water penetration. Stone and modern face brick chimneys. To southern side is a series of stone segmental arched openings and solid timber doors. Early stone piers to east. Windows are generally timber framed multi-paned double hung. Timber panelled front door. Skillion roofed extensions to south and north facades have timber framed construction, stone columns. Hipped extension to southern side has fibre cement cladding and similar windows.
Modifications and dates: Retains scale and form but has been modified with boxed eaves and steel profile roofing. Skillion Roof extension to north and south and a hipped extension to southern end. Original stables structure modified for residential use.


Historical notes: By 1841, Hovenden Hely (son of Frederick and Georgina), was managing his late father's estate at Brisbane Water. After a period in the 1840s during which he was involved in one of Ludwig Leichhardt's expeditions, Hovenden returned in 1849 to administer "Wyoming" and act as magistrate on the bench at Brisbane Water.
During the 1850s Hovenden moved into politics. He represented the Hunter River District in the first Legislative Assembly in the years 1856 and 1857.
Hovenden married in England in the late 1850s, and later returned to Brisbane Water. Financial problems began to afflict Hovenden, and eventually he was dismissed from the Bench. In 1865 he was declared bankrupt. Hovenden died at Waverton, Sydney, in 1872. His mother, Georgina Hely died in Brisbane, in 1866.
Descriptions of Wyoming in this period appear to be scarce. Timber, in the form of logs, would be cut at Wyoming, or further north along the Narara Valley, and brought by Bullock Wagon to Narara Creek. There was at least one small sawmill operating in Wyoming in this period.
The Coming of the Railway: The 1880s
Real estate speculation was rife in the district during the 1880s. Across the Gosford District, large numbers of town and farm estates were promoted vigorously. The "Wyoming Estate" was no exception. The high level of interest in the District was driven largely by the construction of the railway line through Gosford.
The roads locally were terrible, either dustbowls in the dry or quagmires in the wet. Transport of timber by Bullock Wagon and produce by Dray was terribly slow. Railways provided faster transport for goods and people to major centres such as Newcastle and Sydney.
The real estate promoters began to get excited in 1880, when Parliament passed the 'Public Works Loans Act 1880', by which approval was granted to construct the 'Homebush to Waratah Railway' in four stages. The contract for the construction of the Gosford to Waratah section was awarded in August 1882 to Messrs Amos and Company.
Navvies lived in tent camps along the right of way the built. The main implements used to build the line were picks, shovels and horse-drawn tip drays.
The Railway opened from Newcastle to Gosford in 1887. A small station, the closest to "Wyoming", opened at Narara at this time, and consisted of a platform, and a loop goods siding. The duplication of the railway line from Gosford to Niagara Park opened in 1911.
On 21st September 1881, Hardie and Gorman held an auction of Wyoming Estate at their rooms in Pitt Street, Sydney. The advertisement published a few days before stated " This property is situated close to the proposed route of the Northern Railway, which will open up all the splendid country around Gosford." It was also anticipated that "Purchasers at Gosford may fairly anticipate the same rise in the value of the land on completion of the sanctioned railway to Newcastle, just as experience has proved in other similarly situated localities where improved communication has followed."
The subdivision map almost told the truth when it was said that Wyoming had "water and rail communication with Sydney". Narara Creek was shown with some small wharves in the vicinity of today's Wollong and Kirrawee Streets. An inscription on the map stated that the Creek was "navigable for vessels of 150 tons burthen", right up to the wharves.
This was probably correct in 1881, however when the railway causeway was built across Fagan Bay (the entrance to Narara Creek), masted vessels could not make their way into the creek. The exception to this was the small schooner "Venus", which ingeniously used a hinged mast to clear the railway bridge. Other small flat-bottomed scows were probably dragged up the Creek by a small steam launch.
The pre-causeway scene was well described in the Town and Country Journal on 23rd April 1881, (a few months prior to the auction of Wyoming):
"Here a wharf is built close to the crossing, and the stranger, riding from Gosford along this road, over several hills and valleys, is not a little surprised when he suddenly comes to a sharp turn, and sees a bowsprit of one of these vessels projecting across the road, the hull and masts hidden by the dense forest which lines the banks of the creek. To one unacquainted with the geography of Narara Creek, the sight of a vessel in such a position makes him fancy he is labouring under some ludicrous hallucination".4
Over many years Narara Creek became unsuitable for navigation, and gradually silted up.
Wyoming Estate was sold in 1887. The census of 1901 listed 12 families living in and around Wyoming. Names found at that time included Pateman, Sotzenbach, Doak, Battista, Olsen and Harris. One lady listed, Charlotte Ashby of Wyoming Bush, was a descendant of the Walkeloa Clan of the Wannugine Nation of the Guringai tribe. She was also the daughter of James Webb, first white settler of Brisbane Water. The Guringai tribe lived in the area before the coming of white settlers.
Mary Anne "Granny" Pateman was very highly regarded as a midwife. She attended births throughout the district, and she was driven around in a horse and buggy after age forced her off her horse. Mary Anne Pateman was the eldest daughter of another district midwife, Catherine Medhurst. Catherine, at her death in August 1894, was mentioned in newspaper articles as "The Oldest Sydney Native". Born on New Years Day 1799 in Backrows, Dawes Point, Sydney, Mrs Medhurst lived in the Gosford District and Wyoming for 60 years, and had 11 children.

In March 1913, a steam boiler explosion caused great destruction at Charles Tilbury Parson's sawmill, which was located near the corner of Cary Street and Henry Parry Drive. In the explosion Samuel Pateman and Ernest Higgs, both aged 20 years, died.
World War I left its mark on Wyoming, with the reported deaths of three enlistees. Irvine Fleming (Flem) Campbell was killed in action at Gallipoli in June 1915. Henry Albert Campbell died of wounds in Belgium in November 1917. Frank Goldsmith was killed in action in October 1917.
The Campbell family owned the former Hely Homestead during this period. Hugh Campbell was a former policeman turned storekeeper and publican who owned the Royal Hotel in Mann Street Gosford in the early 1880s. He died in 1915.
The 1920s-1940s
William F. Appleton, of Wyoming Street appears to have owned the first telephone in Wyoming in 1922. His phone number was 87. By 1930, the Gosford network had a grand total of six telephone subscribers in Wyoming.
The subscribers were: J.F. Dodd #87 (he owned Mr Appleton's former property); R.M. Dodington #76; A.E. Goodwin #126; T.S. McDonald, Dairyman, #102; W.H. Murray of "Hartlepool", #195; and finally A.E. Wimble of Jarrett Street, #201.
Mrs Nancy Gillies Brown (nee Haynes) was born at "Lynhales" citrus orchard in 1927. Her father, Jesse Haynes came to the valley in 1920. He purchased around 32 hectares on which he planted 4 different varieties of oranges, grapefruit, lemons and mandarins. Jesse also grew stone fruit such as peaches and plums, and a few apple and pear trees. Other crops were grown for domestic use, and a few larger ones were grown for sale at market at Gosford every Thursday. These included peas, potatoes, beans and watermelons.
Draft horses were used to pull a variety of farm vehicles and implements. Ploughs broke the earth. Pesticides were sprayed from carts equipped with spray equipment. Ripe fruit was picked and collected in tip drays. Poultry were kept as a means to fertilise the citrus trees and raise extra money. "There was very little capital from citrus" recalls Nancy.
Families recalled by Nancy Brown (nee Haynes) included the Neils' (who owned "The Grange"), Murrays' (on the corner of Renwick and Day Streets), Walshes', McSweeney, Morgan, Smalls', Whites', Griggs', McDonalds' and Sonters. "The Sonters had an apple orchard and they were the most beautiful eating apples, called "Sonter's brilliance". Mr Sonter used to sell his produce every day at Gosford. Every day he would make the journey by horse and cart.
Children had a great life in the Wyoming Valley. Cricket was a popular pastime. Picnics were common. Family sing-songs around the piano were popular. Many Wyoming children attended Narara Public School and later Gosford High School.
The valley "was a tranquil green haven", Nancy recalls. "Of late afternoon and early morning, spirals of wood smoke could be seen slowly coming from chimneys of the homes, tucked away amidst the orange trees".
Electricity did not come to Wyoming until the late 1930s. A "Gloria" petrol pressure lamp was used in the Dining Room. Other rooms relied on kerosene lamps and candlepower. Windows and doors were never locked when you went out. Few cars were seen. Most transport was by pony, or sulky and "Shanks' pony" (walking). Ruth Joyce (nee Haynes) recalls the small black bus run by the Compton family between Gosford and Ourimbah.
In the 1930s Renwick, Day and Government roads were all dirt. The Pacific Highway was redirected through Wyoming in this period.
The Depression saw many men passing through the area "humping bluey" while looking for employment.
World War II saw many local men join the forces. One Wyoming resident, Ronald Haynes, lost his life during the Fall of Singapore on 8th February 1942, on the day that 23,000 Japanese soldiers attacked.

The 1950s-60s
Wyoming Progress Association was very active during the 1950s. Local issues tackled by the Association included the poor state of local roads, kerbing and guttering, provision of playgrounds, and the lack of a public telephone at Wyoming. The telephone request was refused by the PMG because there was a public phone at Gosford, only 1 and a half miles distant.
Alan Davidson Park
One of the major needs recognised for the Wyoming area was a sports and recreation area. In 1958 Gosford Shire Council commenced negotiations with S.J. Mounser of Renwick Street to acquire land for this purpose. A local committee was appointed to oversee development of the recreation area.
By Xmas 1958 Bulldozing began on the former Mounser farm. In January 1959 a working bee of Gosford District Cricket Association members, supported by local firms, transported a large amount of Wamberal Soil to the sportsground. Playground equipment was installed, and the Narara Cricket Club constructed a shed with a council grant of Fifty Pounds.
In the late 1960s major redevelopment of the "Alan Davidson Park" took place, comprising a main sports oval (cricket & football); a secondary sports oval; a football and hockey field, amenities and car parking.
Alan Davidson, for whom the Park is named, is a famous Australian Test Cricketer. Growing up at Lisarow and Niagara Park, Alan was a Bank Clerk in Gosford when in 1948 he was invited to play cricket in Sydney. He went on to a very successful test career. In 44 Tests from 1953-1962 he took 186 wickets and made 1,358 runs.
Australian Reptile Park
Around 1950, Eric Worrell opened the Ocean Beach Aquarium at Umina. Snakes were a big attraction there, and in 1950 Worrell received a request to produce snake-venoms for the Commonwealth Serum laboratories in Melbourne.
The Umina site proved to be too small to cope with demand. In 1958, a much larger site was developed on former farmland beside the Pacific Highway at Wyoming. The Australian Reptile Park continued to develop its venom production for use in antivenins. Later, the Park began milking other venomous animals, including the funnel-web spider.
Between the 1960s and 1990s the Park grew to be arguably the most famous Central Coast tourist attraction. At its height, the Wyoming site boasted numerous reptile displays, native animals, picnic areas, walks, a steam ride-on railway, souvenir shop and restaurant.
In the mid-1990s, a decision was made to relocate the Australian Reptile Park to Somersby. Crocodiles, turtles lizards and snakes were carefully transported from Wyoming to Somersby.
"Dino" the Diplodocus (later known as "Ploddy")
A life-size Diplodocus (now known as "Ploddy) was constructed in early 1963. "Dino", built of concrete and steel, is probably the oldest "big thing" beside a road anywhere in Australia. By comparison, The "Big Banana" at Coffs Harbour was not opened until December 1964. "Dino's" name apparently derives from "Dino", the pet dinosaur in the 1960s cartoon series "The Flintstones".
When the Australian Reptile Park relocated to Somersby in 1996, "Dino" became the star of a parade through the streets of Gosford. At the time of the move to Somersby, "Dino" acquired the new name through wide publicity as "Ploddy". Craned onto the back of a truck (without its feet, which reportedly caused distress to Wyoming schoolchildren!), the 30-tonne dinosaur very slowly made the journey up Kariong Hill to his new home. "Ploddy" is seen daily by thousands of F3 Freeway users, and is heritage-listed.
Wyoming changes during the 1960s-1990s
In the early 1960s, subdivision of orchards close to the Pacific Highway gathered pace. One such subdivision was the "Sunland Estate", which was formerly the orchard of Len Sonter. This Estate was opposite the Alan Davidson Park, off Renwick Street. Local businessman George Joyce had purchased the land to breed and run cattle, and build a "ranch-style" home. The land was sold in turn to developer C.H. Degotardi. This company subdivided the land into 182 building lots and constructed new roads. A company spokesman stated "This is one of the few remaining areas within travelling distance of Sydney where excellent home sites can still be purchased for as little as 350 pounds per block".
Pockets of the old citrus orchards were still worked in Wyoming up until the 1970s. "Warrawilla" was a farm run by John (Jack) Moore, in Maiden's Brush Road. The property grew Navel and Valencia Oranges, Grapefruit and Lemons. As subdivision of Wyoming proceeded in the 1960s, pressure to sell the remaining orchard land grew. In the 1970s Landcom purchased the Moore property for a new housing development.
Recent times at Wyoming
For a long time, Wyoming residents had to venture into Gosford for their shopping. In 1972, Wyoming Village Shopping Centre, a complex of 30 shops opened. Costing $1 million dollars, the development boasted air-conditioning, a supermarket, specialty shops, C.B.A. Bank, and later, a T.A.B. This initial complex was extensively remodelled in recent times.
A small village shopping centre opened in Maiden's Brush Road in 1982, and was designed to cater for rapidly growing Landcom residential development (400 blocks had just been released in the immediate vicinity), and Adelene Retirement Village. Adelene Retirement Village opened in May 1979. Henry Kendall Retirement Village opened in 1985.

Part of an elaborate farm complex designed by architect John Verge on property of Superintendent of Convicts, Frederick Augustus Hely. The complex estate consisted of a homestead "Wyoming", stables and a guard house which no longer remains.

"The Grange" is the second oldest building of the Central Coast. Built by assigned servants under the direction of stonemasons W & A Sidebottom, the stables display masterful masonry skills. The stone construction is dry and the pit sawn cedar is mortised. The building was originally 100 meters long with four rooms and 7-10 stables of which only 3 survive. It is believed that dungeons were built below.

Hely's assigned convict servants, William and Abraham Sidebottom, were the stonemasons who constructed the stables. Their mark is inscribed on a stone set into the walls. Assigned servants were important to landowners such as Frederick Hely in the early colony. A source of cheap and skilled labour, the assigned servants on the Wyoming Estate at the time of the 1837 General return of Convicts numbered at least 27 persons. The average age of assigned servants on the property was 31 years.

The property was named by Catherine Sarah Granger, an owner between 1925 and 1939. The building is at present used as a house and has undergone substantial modification.

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. Homestead-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Association with F A Hely-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The former Stable on Renwick Street at Wyoming has historic significance for its association with Frederick Augustus Hely, the colony's Principal Superintendent of Convicts and early landowner in the north Gosford region, after whose farm "Wyoming" the area was named. It has historic significance as one of the first buildings on the Central Coast, associated with the early settlement of the region. It has rare state historic aesthetic significance as a design by the architect John Verge, and as an early convict-built structure. The second oldest building in the Central Coast. Although modified, its significance has not been reduced and is an important streetscape element.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The former Stable on Renwick Street at Wyoming has historic significance for its association with Frederick Augustus Hely, the colony's Principal Superintendent of Convicts and early landowner in the north Gosford region, after whose farm "Wyoming" the area was named. It is the work of one of the most significant Architects of the period John Verge and it is associated with the period and works of convict-built structures.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The former Stable on Renwick Street retains many of the distinguishing design features and the materials of the original design despite adaptations. The architectural character and significance has not been reduced and it is an important streetscape element with landscape planting and fencing to protect the amenity and design which is capable of interpretation.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The former Stable on Renwick Street at Wyoming has social value for the community as one of the rare surviving structures from the convict period and the local research and early records have been prepared and recorded to document this significance by various groups and agencies.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The convict period would imply that the site has potential to reveal importance early evidence subject to investigation.
SHR Criteria f)
The former Stable on Renwick Street at Wyoming has great rarity value as one of the first and surviving buildings on the Central Coast, associated with the early settlement of the region. It is the only known work of the prominent architect John Verge, and one of the few surviving convict-built structures in the region and currently the second oldest building in the Central Coast.
SHR Criteria g)
The structure retains sufficient layout and design features to provide interpretive value as a stable.
Integrity/Intactness: Fair/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.

Recommended management:

Recommend retention on the Gosford City Council LEP. A Conservation Plan required prior to any proposals for alterations or additions which may alter or reduce the significance of the house. All materials not originally painted such as stone or face brick should remain unpainted. Those materials which originally had a paint finish may be repainted in complimentary colours. Window and door openings should not be enlarged or filled in. All future alterations should consider the retention of the form, scale, character and remaining curtilage of the house. Consideration should be given to the creation of a Conservation Zone that would recognise and conserve the relationship between items 178, 179 and 177 together with Narara Creek. Immediate attention is required to roof deterioration and water penetration.


Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Statutory InstrumentList on a Local Environmental Plan (LEP)20 Jul 14
Statutory InstrumentNominate for State Heritage Register (SHR)20 Jul 14
Recommended ManagementConsult with owner and/or community20 Jul 14
Recommended ManagementDevelop a Statement of Heritage Impact20 Jul 14
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education20 Jul 14


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan 21521 Dec 12   
Local Environmental PlanGosford LEP 201419911 Feb 14   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Gosford Heritage Study1999177Graeme BrookesGBA No
Gosford Community Based Heritage Study2013 David Scobie Architects Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images


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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1620191

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