Mungeribar Group including Silo | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Heritage

Mungeribar Group including Silo

Item details

Name of item: Mungeribar Group including Silo
Other name/s: Mungeribar Homestead and Wool Shed
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Homestead building
Primary address: 1315 Ceres Siding Road, Narromine, NSW 2821
Local govt. area: Narromine
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
1315 Ceres Siding RoadNarromineNarromine  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

A significant site as the place of early settlement by Mr. Thomas Bragg and wife, who were important leaders in their community and exemplar pastoralists.
Clearing the land and setting crops with great rapidity they were awarded the prize for the best mixed farm in NSW in 1891; they carried out experimental farming into wheat crops for the Government and the benefit of all regional farmers; were early encouragers of Share farming methods, practiced and developed rotation farming methods, were at the forefront of wool and wheat farming methods, displayed great self sufficiency in the construction of dwellings and other buildings on the site, were forward thinking with regards to the effects on the environment and reserved sections of timbered land. They set an example for all in the manner in which Country life could be lived and enjoyed, providing for community picnics and outings, celebrations (eg end of WW1) , country sport (tennis , golf) and homestead life (extensive gardens and impressive two storied home) .
The Mungeribah Silo is significant in its own right also as the first of its kind erected in the West, and the first above ground silo to be filled in 1907.
Date significance updated: 22 Apr 03
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 Mungeribah group consists of the Homestead, which was burnt out and is in ruins, a nearby Silo, Shearing Shed and Shearers quarters and amenities. The Mungeribah Homestead and its associated outbuildings is set in a large home paddock which contains with many older trees, purpose planted, including Wilgas, Eucalyptus, Kurrajongs and Rows of Peppercorn trees.
The Homestead has been largely destroyed by fire which has completely removed the roof and timber structure from the house. The house is constructed in brickwork which has been painted. The building is two storeys in height and an imposing structure with a large entrance porch. One of the bricks near the verandah is the name T Bragg 1912. The brickwork is generally in English Bond with broad rendered banded sections at sill level, head level and mid way between. These bands are decorated with a small symmetrical patterns, in diamond shapes. The large porch is supported on brick piers joined by low walls , and again using render at the top of those walls as a decorative element. Timber posts supported the verandah above with a long half rounded timber valance between the posts. The posts are a generous 150mm square. Other detail on the porch that is of interest includes a 45 degree projecting window , once in lead light glass, supported on large timber bracket. The front door which is set to one side of the porch has side lites, fan lite and highlights, the doors themselves and the glazing are now missing.
In side the main entrance room there was once a large staircase, but only remnants of it remain as all the timber work is either burnt out or charred.
The house generally looks beyond repair.

At the side/back of the house there is an in-filled porch, lined with timber frame and horizontal boarding , and with aluminium windows at the ground floor; while the upper verandah or balcony was still open.
The homestead’s roof is almost all gone, with only exposed rafter with brackets on the outer posts, all in a Federation style still standing. The roof was a large gable ended structure before the fire.
A number of the chimneys on the main house survive and they were decorated with rough cast render relieved by an occasional projecting corner brick, and complete with chimney pots.
The original windows upstairs are in pairs, and are tall and elongated in shape. The verandah must have afforded very extensive views over the property in this flat landscape.
The garden around the house was extensive once and well developed. Close by the house are some early planting of Oleander bushes and large Australian Cedar trees.
Further out are many rows of Kurrajongs, that area are so extensive that were once possibly planted as a useful crop for the animals.
There are some smaller timber frame and clad and brick buildings forming the outbuildings dispersed in the garden at the rear of the house. The small outbuildings have straight gable ended roofs, with box gutters where there are two gables together; gables ends are lined and decorated with vertical battens.

Other building structures around this homestead include tank stands, windmill, small corrugated iron clad storage shed or tack room and a tube and wire structure that probably was covered with shade material as an outdoor shade house or garden folly.
A large aviary is known to have contained pheasants and peacocks. It is a long elongated meshed-in and timber framed structure which stands off to the north side of the house.
Other remnants in the garden indicate a once elaborate landscaped area and include several round circles of brick edging for garden beds and the remains of a fountain.
Also a small pergola and a number of patches of clusters of cactus plants and related succulent plants, which are scattered around. Mungeribah Silo: possibly first major railway based silo built in the West, this concrete lift-form structure consists of a group of towers approximately 35 metres high with a corrugated iron clad structure surmounting the central section. The silo is positioned beside the Rail line and the Mitchell Highway.

History

Historical notes: Mr. Thomas Bragg, with his wife, and his brothers Messrs. Arthur and William Bragg, and his wife’s father, Mr. A.G. Keith of Cootamundra arrived in the Dubbo district in 1884. They called at the Dubbo District Lands Office to take up a selection of land. Thomas was aged 27.
An area of about 15,000 acres was taken up in blocks of 2,500 each, and the part taken over by the Braggs was so thickly timbered that, as the saying goes, a dog couldn’t bark on it.
The Braggs arrived on the site of their future home in a waggonette, in which they camped until a clearing was made to erect a dwelling. This consisted of a rude split slab cottage of two rooms, but when it was learnt that each selector had to occupy his or her own property, the structure was moved, so that when the inspectors and surveyors arrived they found the house exactly on the alignment, with Mr. Bragg living in one half and his wife in the other.
In 1888 a pise dwelling was erected and Mr. Bragg named his new abode “Allington,” but in reply to a request from the Railway Commissioner in 1893 the name Mungeribar, meaning “Footprints,” was chosen and adopted.
Mr. Bragg grew his first crop of ten acres of wheat in 1888, in a year when only 9 inches of rain fell. Luckily it fell at an opportune time, when water was being carted five miles, and the crop grew to 3 feet in height. The implements used to thresh his crop were primitive, a wooden flail and a crude sieve having to serve the purpose.
The rapidity with which the country on Mungeribar was cleared and improved could not be illustrated better than by the fact that in 1891 Mr. Bragg was awarded the first national prize for the best mixed farm in N.S.W. of more than 640 acres in size.
The awards continued over the year and from 1900 until his death in 1921 he carried on experimental plots for the Department of Agriculture and had as many as 300 varieties of wheat in at one time for the use of the late Mr. William Farrar. His samples were always of the best, and so highly was his work regarded when the proposal was made to start a Government farm at Narromine leading experts said that this was quite unnecessary while Mungribar existed. (Note - Mr. William O’Neill was involved in a push for a Government Farm in Narromine in 1911. Trangie Research Station was established in 1909).
He was one of the first two graziers in the west to net against the rabbit. The western side of Mungeribar was done first to hold back the invasion which came in 1889.
The secret of his success were first and foremost clean seed, also clean horse feed, intelligent spelling of paddocks, fallow and thorough cultivation.
He welcomed sharefarmers, and from their advent in 1914, assisted them to become prosperous by placing the latest machinery and the best of horses at their disposal, as well as building for each man and his family a brick cottage with its own water supply.
In 1912 he built for himself and his family a two storey red brick residence situated on the main road 10 miles from each of the towns Narromine and Trangie, and, roughly, 300 miles from Sydney.
(Note - When he was building his mansion and his tenant farmers’ homes, he made the main part of the bricks on his own place, and used his own forest to provide the timber. From the Obituary notice of Mr. Bragg in the Dubbo Liberal 1921).
The homestead is surrounded with shrubberies and a wealth of blooms, a very fine orchard and vegetable garden, avenues and plantations of trees. Roses, which thrive to perfection in this soil, were cultivated by Mrs. Bragg, who had as many as 146 varieties at one time in the ground.
On the western side of the homestead was planted an area of 10 acres of kurrajong trees, 100 trees to the acre, and this young forest is an unexpected surprise to the visitor to Mungeribar today.
The house is lighted from an electric plant, and six lines of telephones connect the main parts of the property as well as various rooms throughout the house, which is on to the Narromine Exchange.
A reserve of timbered land is set aside for recreation purposes nearby, and this, besides being a sanctuary for the wild birds of the bush, is used at week-ends, by numerous visitors. Adjoining it are private golf links and tennis courts.
Since the death of Thomas Bragg, his son Clarence has carried on the standards set by his father. Under his regime 6 miles of new steel post fencing have been erected near to headquarters, and he has renovated some of the station buildings to conform with more advanced ideas.
The woolshed is near the Mungeribar railway siding so it is an easy matter to get the clip away, three men being able to load a full truck in three hours. The 12 stands and other machinery in the shed are driven by a steam engine, now forty years old and as good as new. (shed built 1909).
Clydesdale horses, Berkshire pigs, Merino and crossbred sheep, shorthorn cattle and poultry were all bred. It is stated that it was a sight to see as many as 40 teams of Clydesdale horses breasting the harness at harvest time.
Mungeribar is watered by tanks, well and six sub-artesian bores.
Mr. and Mrs. Bragg loved to entertain friends and children. Each year the Church of England Sunday School held a picnic on his estate.
In 1918 to celebrate the end of World War 1, a huge picnic was held for the school children of the district who were transported out to Mungeribar by train, almost a thousand commemorative medals were presented to the children present. The special medal depicted the Manor House on one side, and the Bragg name and date on the other. No doubt many of these medals are still around. (The Local History Room has one).
(Pastoral Review, 1928).

Mrs. Clara Louisa Bragg died in April, 1936. Her obituary states -
“There can be no doubt that it was Mrs. Bragg’s companionship during the early years of struggle that contributed to Mr. Bragg’s subsequent success. Ever by his side, her example was ever a source of inspiration to him. She had been in the area for 50 years and had been ever willing to assist all worthy causes.

The property was sold in 1940 to Ron McConochie, who later sold to Mrs. B. Lindsay. After some years the Lindsays split the property up and sold to several people. Mr. E. Haley secured the homestead portion. Later it returned to Mrs. Lindsay.

In 1981 John Walton bought the homestead portion for $250,000, he partially restored the home for $180,000 for use as a guest house and restaurant which he opened in 1987.

Mr. Walton sold the place by auction on 5 December, 1990 to Mr. and Mrs. Vinceno Graffeo, and Mrs. Graffeo’s son Martin Comensoli.
They put in a Development Application to Council in December, 1990 to develop the Manor as a Guesthouse and Tourist Facility. This business was closed by the Graffeo’s in November 1992.
Several weeks before the fire the Graffeo held an auction for items in and around the home. The house itself was on the market when the fire occurred. The Manor was being sold because of illness in the family.
The Manor burnt down on 4 August, 1993.

The Manor and adjoining land were sold in November, 1995 to Mr. David Newby.

On 21 August, 1998 Mungeribar (comprising “Kansas Plains” 917 ha, “Warrawoona” 1031 ha and “Mandalay 441 ha was again put up for auction. Obviously it was passed in as Mr. Newby still owns it today.

Silo in the Narromine District
The silo illustration on this page (Sydney Mail 26. 6.1907, page 1638) should be of interest to our many farming readers. It represents the filling of the first above ground silo erected on the Mungeribar Estate, Narromine by Mr. Thomas Bragg. The workd was witnessed by a number of prominent pastoral and business men. The crop was grown, cut, and placed in the silo for a shade less that 4/- per ton. This enterprise is a distinct step forward, and those interested in the future of the west should not miss its true significance. It is the first silo of the kind erected in the west, but from the inquiries since made and resolutsions expressed it is eveident that, now that a commencement has been made, others intend following Mr. Bragg’s example, and insuring themselves to some extent against the dread effects of the drought. Further refernece to the silo will be found in our agricultural column. (Haven’t got this section of the report. Is this the shed still standing behind the home east of the burnt out Mungeribar Manor?).
Wool classing at Mungeribar -1909
Mr. J.M. Bragg of Mungeribar has signified his willingness to give a room and other assistance in forming a wool classing class at his place in connection with the Technical Education Department. It is believed that a good number of students in the above district will enroll, and if arrangements can be made Mr. V. Payten, the Dubbo Instructor, will attend Mungeribar 3 times a week to give lessons. (Dubbo Liberal - 24 February, 1909)

Wool classing - Mungeribar - 1909
Out of 15 who took the class the following passed - Keith Bragg, Jack Carter, R. Barlow, C. Webb, F. Stevenson, J. Butter, H. Dugan, L. Ward, G. Barden, F. Tomlinson, A. Butter and A. Barlow. It will be necessary for these students to take another term to enable them to fully qualify for the further examination to obtain a wool classers certificate. (Dubbo Liberal 10 November, 1909)

Shearing at the Mungeribar - 1909
Mungeribar shed has been going on for the past 7 weeks, the rain having checked operations. An up to date shearing shed has taken the place of the old one, situated close to the homestead, and it is fitted with 12 Wolseley’s machines and all modern improvements. Between 9 -10,000 of the station sheep are being put through, under the personal supervision of Mr. Thomas Bragg, which are cutting on an average 11 lbs. Mr. V. Payten from the Technical Department is acting as wool classer, and speaks most highly of the fleeces. Several small holders are also having their sheep cut here by contract. Mr. Bragg is more than pleased with the shearers, who are a most capable, clean and steady body of men. (Dubbo Liberal 18 September, 1909)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use (none)-

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanNarromine LEP 2011I609 Dec 11   
Local Environmental Plan - Lapsed  20 Dec 88   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Narromine Community Based Heritage Study200216/2160016Barbara Hickson in association with Narromine Local History GroupB.J. Hickson Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
PhotographB.J. Hickson2002Mungeribar Group

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: 2160016


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