Retford Park Mansion | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Retford Park Mansion

Item details

Name of item: Retford Park Mansion
Type of item: Built
Location: Lat: 0 Long: 0
Primary address: Old South Road, Bowral, NSW 2576
Local govt. area: Wingecarribee
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Old South RoadBowralWingecarribee  Primary Address
3km East of BowralEast BowralWingecarribee  Alternate Address


Designer/Maker: Morrow and de Putron (1907)
Construction years: 1887-1907
Physical description: A large Victorian mansion built of sandstone and plastered, with a slate roof and an exterior colour scheme of Portuguese pink with white trimmings, it is of Italianate design which followed the general style of Retford Hall at Darling Point (built by E.Blacket for Samuel Horden). It is a two-storeyed rectangular house surmounted by a square tower of 4 storeys, with verandahs on both levels around the front and halfway along each side and an elaborate porte-cochere which is almost Latin cross in shape. It is supported by 10 slim fluted, iron columns with Ionic capitals headed by a cast-iron frieze with fret of swastika and wheel. The window immediately above the porte-cochere is decorated with a handsome stucco entablature in the classic manner; the stucco decorations on the upper portion is simpler but no less formal. The verandahs on both levels are supported by similar columns headed by a matching frieze. The cast iron railings with wooden handrails have a frieze at the top incorporating the Greek anthemion design.
At the rear there are two projecting wings facing each other. The one on the right when looking from the house contains the kitchen and other offices on the ground floor and several servants'rooms on the upper. The left-hand wing was added in 1907 by Samuel Hordern II to support large water tanks to ensure a good supply of water to the garden.

Modifications and dates: No structural alterations have occured except a bedroom has become a bathroom and a sash window has become double doors. New mantlepieces have been installed in the hall - Italian inlaid marble, eighteenth century; and in the sitting room, English carved pine and limewood, eighteenth century. Eastern back wing containing the water tanks added in 1907, thus ensuring a good water supply for the garden.
English gardener John Codrington in 1966 remodelled parts of the garden. Swimming pool and pavilion added by Guilford Bell about 1969.
Further information: Registered by the Australian Heritage Commission.
Listed in the Local Environmental Plan for Wingecarribee, 1989.
Current use: Residential
Former use: Residential


Historical notes: Originally known as Broomfield, the property was subdivided in 1880 and
Samuel Horden I, co-propieter of Anthony Hordern and Sons, one of the largest
retail firms in Sydney at the time, bought 760 acres which he named Retford
Park. Here he built Retford Park Mansion in 1887.
The architect was Albert Bond who had a long association with this branch of
the Hordern family, having designed most of the Anthony Hordern and Sons
buildings in the Haymarket in Sydney, and, later on the New Palace Emporium
on Brickfield Hill.
The Eastern wing, added in 1907, was designed by the architects Morrow and de
Putron, a firm much favoured by this generation of the family. Morrow and de
Putron had already designed Retford Hall for SamI, and later were to design a
country house for Tony, to be called Milton Park, as well as warehouses for
Anthony Hordern and Sons in Sussex St, an extra storey for the New Palace
Emporium, and next door to Retford Hall, a city house for Lebbeus to be known
as Hopewood House (demolished in the 1960s).
The Horden family continued here until 1960 and it was bought, in 1964, by
the present owner, James Fairfax, who has direct associations with the
Fairfax publishing family business which was a major force in Australian
publishing until recently. James Fairfax is also recognised as an
informed and active collector of art works of all kinds and Retford Park
houses a considerable portion of his notable collection.
The large garden was developed by Lady Hordern, wife of Sir Samuel Hordern.
It was remodelled in 1966 by English gardener, John Codrington. A swimming
pool and pavilion were added in 1969.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences (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)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
This item is assessed as historically significant statewide.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
This item is assessed as aesthetically significant statewide.
SHR Criteria f)
This item is assessed as aesthetically rare statewide.
SHR Criteria g)
This item is assessed as aesthetically representative statewide.
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 PlanWLEP 2010I15216 Jun 10   
Local Environmental Plan - LapsedWingecarribee LEP 1989 12 Jan 90 00700288
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Wingecarribee Heritage Study1991WI0152JRC Planning Services  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Graphic   Cavanough J., et al., ' Gardens of the Southern Highlands', 1988
Written  Australian Council of National Trusts, "Historic Buildings of Australia:1",ì 1977.
Written  National Trust listing proposal.

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: 2680152

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