Gilbulla (Anglican Conference Centre) | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Gilbulla (Anglican Conference Centre)

Item details

Name of item: Gilbulla (Anglican Conference Centre)
Other name/s: Gilbulla Memorial Conference Centre
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Mansion
Location: Lat: 0 Long: 0
Primary address: 710 Moreton Park Road, Menangle, NSW 2568
Local govt. area: Wollondilly
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
710 Moreton Park RoadMenangleWollondilly  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Gilbulla has State significance through its associations with the initial pastoral expansion of the area ("Wild Cattle" were reputedly found in the vicinity). It has significant links with the Macarthur family extending back to its establishment as part of John Macarthur's estates in the initial decades of the 19th century. In the final years of the century it became home to the Macarthur-Onslows maintaining the family association for another four decades. Gilbulla has additional significance arising from its various subsequent roles as a Red Cross centre during WWII and as an Anglican conference and retreat centre which commemorates the role of chaplains during the War. The Main House is an outstanding example of a Federation Arts & Crafts residence on a grand scale. Designed by the notable architect Sir John Sulman, it is part of an important group of Sulman designed buildings around Menangle and represents a body of work on a par with the work of John Horbury Hunt..
Date significance updated: 21 Apr 06
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

Designer/Maker: Sulman
Construction years: 1817-1899
Physical description: An imposing two storey Federation Arts & Crafts residence set in extensive landscaped grounds. Gilbulla carries on the aesthetic tradition of eccentric country residences established by John Horbury Hunt with "Saumarez" (Armidale) and Booloombimba (Armidale). Horbury Hunt and Sulman became the chief proponents of the Arts & Crafts movement in Austalia, both of them being heavily influenced by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright in America, and took the style to its apogee in NSW. The main house at Gilbulla comprises:

. a single storey, slate roofed verandah to the east, north & (part of) the west elevations supported on truncated columns;

. gabled and half gabled slate roofs with numerous tall chimneys finished with roughcast render;

. half-timbering detail to main north & east gables;

. projecting first floor balcony above ground floor porch to north elevation with truncated turned timber columns and timber shingles (similar to the Menangle Village Store);

. larger first floor balcony to east (garden front) elevation; and,

. parapeted projecting bays to east and west elevations (with black edging contrasting with white roughcast render).

The building is characterised by asymmetrical massing punctuated by a variety of rendered chimneys with decorative terra cotta pots. The use of organic materials, such as timber shingling, provides a strong contrast the roughcast finishes and the variety of materials and finishes combine in an overall picturebook eccentricity that is typical of both the Arts & Crafts style and the work of Sulman. The site also contains a gate house, dairies and a number of outbuildings, also in the Arts & Crafts style.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good.
Date condition updated:21 Apr 06
Modifications and dates: The Main House has been extended to provide dining facilities. The complex as a whole consists of buildings of different forms, components, materials and styles.
Current use: Conference centre and accommodation
Former use: Private residence/farm

History

Historical notes: Gilbulla was part of the Macarthur estates from the early years of the 19th century. From 1818 there was a small cottage on the property which was situated near an early Cobb & Co coaching route south. By the 1890s the cottage had been demolished to make way for a more imposing residence, the present Main House built by Major-General the Hon. J.W. Macarthur-Onslow as a home for his family. In 1932 he exchanged house with his unmarried sister, Sibella, who was then living at nearby Camden Park. She was the last Macarthur occupant of the house and was known as "The Lady of the Manor of Menangle". Sibella had wide community interests and worked actively for her 'causes' which included support for the Kimberley Plan for Jewish colonisation in Australia and Red Cross Activities. After her death in 1943, Gilbulla became one of the Red Cross's rehabiliation centres and during this occupation the Long House was constructed. In 1949 the Church of England acquired the house and present grounds from Camden Park Estate as a conference and retreat house which was also a memorial to the wartime work of the clergy of the Church of England, particularly the chaplains during WWII. Sydney clergy at the time provided the labour to build a log chapel. Local timber was used with the bark intact for all except the east wall which is plate glass, and the interior was furnished simply. Additional conference facilities were added in 1978 and a new dining wing in 1981.

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)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Pastoralism in the Wollondilly-
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 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. Country villas-
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 Land Grants to the Macarthurs-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Gilbulla has State significance through its associations with the initial pastoral expansion of the area ("Wild Cattle" were reputedly found in the vicinity). It has significant links with the Macarthur family extending back to its establishment as part of John Macarthur's estates in the initial decades of the 19th century. In the final years of the century it became home to the Macarthur-Onslows maintaining the family association for another four decades. Gilbulla has additional significance arising from its various subsequent roles as a Red Cross centre during WWII and as an Anglican conference and retreat centre which commemorates the role of chaplains during the War. The Main House is an outstanding example of a Federation Arts & Crafts residence on a grand scale. Designed by the notable architect Sir John Sulman, it is part of an important group of Sulman designed buildings around Menangle and represents a body of work on a par with the work of John Horbury Hunt..
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Gilbulla has State significance through its association with the Macarthur family and the establishment of their Camden and Menangle estate. The site has additional significance through its association with the architect Sir John Sulman.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Gilbulla has State significance as an outstanding example of a Federation Arts & Crafts residence on a grand scale. Designed by the notable architect Sir John Sulman, it is part of an important group of Sulman designed buildings around Menangle and represents a body of work on a par with the work of John Horbury Hunt..
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Gilbulla has regional significance for its role in the social, economic and pastoral development of Menangle and Camden.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Gilbulla has State significance for its ability to provide information about the layout, design and construction of a grand 19th century home and farm complex. The site has high archaeological potential and provides insights into life over a period of more than a century.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
This item is assessed as rare statewide.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Gilbulla is an outstanding representative example of Federation Arts & Crafts residences on a grand scale.
Integrity/Intactness: Could not be assessed.
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  23 Feb 11   
Local Environmental Plan  23 Aug 91 1197236
Heritage study  01 Jan 92   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Macarthur Region Heritage Study1985Ref No. 90   No
Wollondilly Heritage Study1992WO0092JRC Planning ServicesJRC Yes
Wollondilly Shire Council Heritage Study Review20062690092Andrea OehmAndrea Oehm Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 1904Art & Architecture, Vol 1 No 3
Written  Gilbulla Memorial Conference Centre brochure.
WrittenMiss Rook1965Church House, 14 October
WrittenProudfoot, Helen Campbelltown, Camden, Appin Survey

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: 2690092


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