Mayfield | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage



Item details

Name of item: Mayfield
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Farming and Grazing
Category: Homestead Complex
Location: Lat: 149 47 0 E Long: 35 12 0 S
Primary address: Off Mayfield Road, Lower Boro, NSW 2580
Parish: Nadgigomar
County: Argyle
Local govt. area: Multiple LGAs


Note: Mayfield contains a number of historic components that are at opposite ends of the current property boundary. The assessment of significance considers these elements as a group, but the curtilage has been split into two sections for ease of administration and given the central section of the property does not contribute to the significance of the site as a whole. Homestead and Star and Garter Inn site North: SCA property boundary (parcels 1/750036 and 32/750036) South: SCA property boundary (parcels 31/750036 and 43/754892) East: SCA property boundary (parcels 32/750036, 27/750036, 43/754892 and 31/750036) West: Western side of Mayfield Road Early Allotments and Road Easement North: Northern boundaries of parcels 49/754892, 49/754892 and 6/754892 South: Southern boundaries of parcels 12/754892, 35/754892, 120/754892 and 6/754892) East: the eastern boundaries of parcels 120/754892, 118/754892, 117/754892 and 6/754892. West: the western boundaries of parcels 12/754892, 102/754892, 63/754892, 64/754892, 65/54892, 101/754892 and 49/754892. Included land (only parts of some of these parcels are included in the curtilage): Homestead and Star and Garter Inn site 1/750036 27/750036 31/750036 32/750036 43/754892 Early Allotments and Road Easement 6/754892 12/754892 36/754892 35/754892 63/754892 120/754892 117/754892 118/754892 13/709322
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Off Mayfield RoadLower BoroMultiple LGAsNadgigomarArgylePrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Water NSWState Government 

Statement of significance:

Mayfield is of State significance for its ability to demonstrate the processes of settlement, survey and land grants from the 1830s in the southern counties within the limits of settlement in NSW, in particular the smaller, less wealthy settlements. This significance is demonstrated by the archaeological evidence of c1830-40s huts, a former inn and roadway alignments located within their original landscape setting.

Mayfield has State significance for its ability to demonstrate changing patterns of settlement and farming patterns from the mid 19th to the early decades of the 20th century. The property retains evidence of both phases as demonstrated by the homestead, shearing shed complex and grouping of staff cottages, and has remained largely untouched since the 1920s. The c1860s shearing shed, dairy and stables have State significance for their ability to demonstrate early construction methods and technologies for such rural and vernacular structures. The c1920s staff cottages are rare examples of such accommodation in NSW, which demonstrate the prosperity and status of Mayfield during the early decades of the twentieth century in the district.
Date significance updated: 19 Aug 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.


Construction years: 1840-1920
Physical description: Mayfield is one of the larger properties in the Tallaganda Shire. The structures at the property are located in three clusters. The main complex of homestead and garage is located on a rise adjacent to Mayfield Road, while a second complex formed by the new and old shearing sheds, dairy, stables and staff cottages are located to the north-east of the homestead, within a cleared valley overlooking Millendale Creek. At the northern and western extremes of the property is archaeological evidence of the earliest occupation of the site in the form of stone ruins. The landscape surrounding the homestead, shearing shed complex and staff cottages comprises cleared grazing land skirted by dense forest on the rolling hills to the east.

The components of the Mayfield property include:
Homestead (1927)
Homestead garage
Shearing shed (1860s)
New Shearing Shed
Slab dairy (1860s)
Slab stables (1860s)
Dairy remains
Manager’s cottage
Second cottage
Working men’s cottage
House (1950s)
Stone ruins

The homestead is a 1927 weatherboard bungalow, with hipped and gabled roof of corrugated iron, and encircling verandah on 3 sides. The verandah is supported by brick rough-cast verandah piers each with two timber posts on the southern side, simple timber posts on the eastern side and is enclosed with weatherboards and louvres on the western side. The gable end over the main entry is battened, with exposed rafters and sawn timber shingles. Two face brick chimneys are located on the northern and eastern side. The front door is multi-paned with decorative timber architraves typical of the era, which also surround the original casement windows on ether side. The external fabric of the homestead is in good condition, the timberwork having been recently repainted and the gutters replaced.

Internally the cottage has been recently refurbished in 2007 and retains much of its original fabric including battened and panelled walls and ceiling, pine floor boards, panelled doors, casement windows and simple architraves and skirtings. Fireplace surrounds have been replaced with modern face brick, and the bathroom and kitchen fitouts are non-original.

Double garage located to the north-west of the homestead, and comprising of two gable roofed forms. Timber framed, clad externally with corrugated iron sheeting to both walls and roofs, weatherboard gable ends and concrete floor. Doors are corrugated iron.

On a rise to the north of the homestead are timber post and rail and modern steel cattle yards.

The old shearing shed adjoins the new shed on the southern side, and is a bush pole framed structure, clad with a mix of vertical timber slabs and corrugated iron sheeting. The shed has a gable roof form with skillion wings on either side, clad with corrugated iron sheeting. The shed is presently used to house machinery and workshop. The floor is dirt, although there remains evidence of an elevated timber floor and sharpening block relating to its earlier use.

SHEARING SHED (20th century)
Located further down the valley to the north east of the homestead, the new shearing shed is a timber framed structure, corrugated iron clad structure, which has been elevated on concrete block piers to enable sheep pens underneath. The building is generally in good condition, and remains in use. To the south remain the timber post and rail sheep yards, which have been reinforced by corrugated iron.

Located to the south of the old shearing shed, the slab stables are a bush pole and beam structure clad with a mix of vertical split timber slabs and corrugated iron sheeting. The building comprises of three spaces, with an earthen floor and a skillion formed roof. The building is generally in fair condition, despite the loss of some of the external cladding and timber slabs. The north eastern corner has subsided, possibly due to poor drainage at this corner.

SLAB DAIRY (c1860s)
Adjoining the slab stables on the eastern side, the slab dairy is in poor condition, with much of the fabric in a partially dilapidated state. It is a bush pole framed structure, and vertical timber slabs remain on one wall only. The skillion roof structure remains, although the roof sheeting has been lost. The floor is concrete. Only the timber posts of the yard fences remain.

A second dairy was purportedly located on a rise to the north of the shearing shed complex, and is in a ruinous state. The only remains include the bottom plate and concrete floor slab. Adjacent is a depression and the remains of stone footings, which may be from the c1866 Mayfield cottage. The area is also used as a dump for old cars and farm machinery. (Moveable Heritage – some of the abandoned farm machinery may have some heritage value).

The manager’s cottage is located to the east of the shearing shed complex, and is a timber framed and weatherboard clad structure, with hipped and gabled roof of corrugated iron, much of which has been removed. On the southern side is a small front verandah, while the verandah on the northern side has been enclosed.

Internally original features include batten fibre cement wall and ceiling cladding, timber floors, panelled doors and casement windows with simple architraves and skirtings. The detailing of the interior of the cottage would indicate a construction date c1920s.

The cottage is a deteriorated state, largely due to the loss of the roof sheeting; ceilings have fallen in, window glazing is broken and internal partition walls are partially demolished.

SECOND COTTAGE (c1920-30s)
A second weatherboard cottage is located adjacent to the manager’s cottage to the north, and has similar weatherboard walls and gable roof of corrugated iron. This cottage is similarly in a poor condition, largely due to the loss of corrugated roof sheeting, partial collapse of the front verandah and loss of external weatherboards. Internally the walls and ceilings are battened fibre cement sheeting. Casement windows, panelled doors and face brick chimney surrounds would appear to be original. A coke stove remains within the kitchen

This cottage is a small fibre cement and weatherboard clad former worker’s cottage, which appears to date from the c1920s. Located on a slope towards Millendale Creek, the building is elevated on one side by concrete piers, and has a gabled roof clad with corrugated iron. Internally the cottage comprises of 6 rooms, including 4 separate bedrooms, a lounge and kitchen. Three of the bedrooms can only be accessed from the exterior. Internal walls and ceilings are battened fibre cement sheeting. Internal door architraves are similar to the main homestead.

The garage is a small gable roofed structure which has weatherboard clad walls and corrugated iron roof.

The separate building complexes (homestead and staff cottages) each have its own immediate landscape curtilage comprising mature exotic trees (conifers) and remains of ornamental gardens. The homestead with the largest extant garden has an interesting collection of older plants including a large glaucescent cedar which is rare, almost unique, for Tallaganda Shire. Also several golden cypresses, liquid ambers and poplars are extant.

Large, probably original radiata pines denote the proximity of the homestead. A long drive leads to what could have possibly been an earlier carriage loop surrounded by early plantings.

HOUSE (1950s)
On the northern side of the Boro Creek is a small 1940s cottage with hipped roof, weatherboard walls and face brick base. The cottage is located on a rise overlooking cleared paddocks towards Boro and Millendale Creeks.

On the western extremes of the property there are the remains of a number of stone chimneys and structures. The most intact of these is a rubble stone chimney, which appears to have been stabilised through repointing. There is no evidence of the walls or roof of this structure readily evident. Two other granite stone ruins of chimneys were identified in this area.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:19 Aug 09
Modifications and dates: 1920's: homestead rebuilt
Further information: Old farm machinery is included in the paddocks immediately surrounding the house.

The homestead is located in Palerang Council while a part of the western section of the property is located in Goulburn Mulwaree.
Current use: Leased for grazing/shearing
Former use: Homestead/shearing/grazing


Historical notes: The Roberts family settled in the Braidwood district in the mid 1830s, and have associations with the pastoral properties known as Mayfield, Virginia and Ooranook.

John Cocking, born in Nottingham in 1791, was married to Anna Maria Whitmore in London in 1816. It appears that the couple had eight children born between 1816 and 1834, and also changed their surname to Roberts during this time. In 1834, Maria Roberts and her children boarded the Margaret bound for Sydney, Australia, accompanied by her brother-in-law Robert Roberts (who had also changed his name) and his wife Mary. It is not known when John Roberts arrived in Sydney, but it is speculated that he had arrived before his wife and brother to search for suitable land for the families to settle. It is also possible that John Roberts was a ‘remittance man’, meaning that his family paid him to stay away. (Hush 2008: 235).

Shortly after disembarkation, the two Roberts families lived on Kent Street in Sydney’s Rocks area, but moved to the Braidwood district by November 1835. At this time, John Robert’s request to purchase 100 acres at Boro Creek Swamp ‘to enable him to erect a warehouse and establishment for the convenience of travellers and acting as a Veterinary Surgeon and Farrier’ had been granted (Roberts c1985: 4).

The land grant referred to was Portion 1 of the Parish of Nadgigomar, County of Argyle; this parcel of land was to the north of the Boro Creek. Today this land is within the boundaries of the Mayfield estate, as defined by the SCA 2009. John Roberts built the Star and Garter Inn on this land grant in c1835. He held the license for the Star and Garter Inn in 1836 and 1837; his brother Robert Roberts was a publican here also. (Roberts c1985: 2).

Portion 43 of the Parish of Larbert, comprising 200 acres, was originally granted to William Bowman. This parcel of land is located to the south and on the opposite side of the Boro Creek to the 100 acres (Portion 1 of the Parish of Nadgigomar) granted in c1835. There were a number of William Bowmans living in Sydney in the early nineteenth century, including one who came free on the Nile in 1801, and another who was recorded as a publican at Sutton Forest in the 1828 Census (Roberts c1985: 2; Tallaganda Rural Heritage Study).

In March 1836, John Roberts paid £330 to Charles James Bullivant, William Bowman and Mr Faithfull for the land on the Boro Creek. Faithfull (of the nearby pastoral property Springfield), Bowman and Bullivant ‘were in a grazing partnership on the Boro Creek and Mr Faithfull was in charge of the stock, as William Bowman and C J Bullivant were absentee landlords.’ (Roberts c1985: 2).

These 200-acres would later form part of Mayfield.

In December 1839, John Roberts left his wife and family and moved to New Zealand, where he again changed his name, this time to Robert Jenkins. He formed a relationship with a Maori woman and fathered four more children. At least two of his children from his first marriage also immigrated to New Zealand.

In January 1840, Anna Maria Roberts, the abandoned wife of John Roberts, sold 300 acres of land (‘being Portion no 43 of the Parish of Larbert, 200 acres, and Portion no 1 of the Parish of Nadgigomar, 100 acres’) to Thomas and Luke Hyland for £500. (Roberts c1985: 2-3). She and her children remained living at Virginia. The 1841 census records that there were 16 people living at Virginia in this year.

Thomas Hyland died in 1863. In October 1866, Charles Henry Roberts, the youngest son of John and Anna Maria Roberts, repurchased the original 300 acres from Thomas’s widow Ann. Roberts also purchased land from Ann Hyland which Thomas and Luke Hyland had acquired from Henry Munro in 1838. Munro had been granted Portion 5 and 6 in the Parish of Larbert ten years earlier, in 1828. The price for these amalgamated land grants was £675. This extensive parcel of land became the foundation for Mayfield. The homestead was built on Portion 43 in the Parish of Larbert. (Roberts c1985: 2-3).

Charles Henry Roberts, the youngest son of John and Anna Maria Roberts, was born at the Star and Garter Inn on the Boro Creek in 1836. He married Catherine Oakenden in 1859 and they resided at Galberto Flat (Burrumbowlie), as recorded in the 1867 Postal Directory. They had thirteen children born between 1860 and 1882, two of whom died in infancy. (Roberts c1985: 4).

Charles Henry Roberts and his descendants later purchased a number of small parcels of land to augment Mayfield; these are located in western portion of the estate. The original grantees of this land included: Charles Henville & Henry Philpotts (Portions 6 & 19 in the Parish of Larbert, 1884 & 1886), Alex Fairley (Portion 64, Parish of Larbert, 1918), Hicks James Fairley (Portions 117, 118 & 120, Parish of Larbert), Michael Griffin (Portions 43 & 44, Parish of Larbert), John Mullins (Portion 13, Parish of Larbert), Hue McIntosh (Portions 35, 169, 170, Parish of Larbert) and Richard Cooper. (Roberts c1985: 4).

In c1908, Charles Henry Roberts retired to Goulburn and transferred the Burrumbowlie land to his eldest son Joseph Roberts (b.1860) and the Mayfield land to another of his sons Ralf Edmund Roberts (b.1872). On the death of her father, Catherine Oliver nee Roberts (b.1863) received Portion 5 of the Parish of Larbert (originally granted to Henry Munro in 1828), as well as Portion No 48 of the Parish of Larbert. Catherine Oliver sold this land to Allen Snow in 1916. (Roberts c1985: 4).

Ralf Edmund Roberts sold Mayfield in 1920 to his older brother Joseph Roberts and the two properties Burrumbowlie and Mayfield became one. There is some suggestion that the original Mayfield homestead, which had been built in the 1860s, was ‘destroyed in fire in 1932’ and was later rebuilt. (Sydney Water s170 HCR 1996).

Charles James Roberts (presumably the son of Joseph Roberts) was the next owner of Mayfield who formed a family company called Mayfield (Tarago) Pty Ltd. This company became the owner of the land and the share holders were his two children: Charles Stewart Roberts and Nancy Lillian Jenner nee Roberts. (Roberts c1985: 4).

In 1968, the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board proposed a scheme, known as the Shoalhaven Scheme, to supply water to Sydney and the South Coast. The proposed Welcome Reef Dam on the upper Shoalhaven River, in the vicinity of Braidwood, was to be part of the second stage of this scheme.

From 1968 through to the mid 1980s, the Board set about purchasing privately owned pastoral holdings in the area between Braidwood and Goulburn for the proposed Welcome Reef Dam and catchment area, eventually acquiring 37,000 acres. The State Government on behalf of the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board acquired Mayfield from Stewart Roberts and Nancy Lillian Jenner nee Roberts in c1985.

Today, most of the Mayfield Estate has been cleared for grazing, except in the western and south eastern portions of the site, which retain remnant bushland.

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)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Mayfield has State Heritage Significance under this criterion.

The site is able to demonstrate the processes of settlement, survey and land grants from the 1830s in the southern counties within the limits of settlement in NSW. The property contains two of the earliest roads in the district, one still in use, the other a disused easement. The area around Croppies Gunyah Creek and the disused easement demonstrates the small grants taken up by settlers in the 1830s and 40s around major roads and watercourses in southern NSW. The number of smaller hut remains in their original landscape setting is able to evoke the earliest days of settlement in southern NSW for less wealthy landowners. The c. 1828 Star and Garter Inn appears to have been one of the earliest roadside inns in the area.

The site provides evidence of changing settlement and farming patterns from the mid 19th century to the early decades of the 20th century within the district. The property retains evidence from both phases of development, and has been largely unchanged since the 1920s. The c1920s staff cottages are rare examples of such structures which demonstrate the prosperity and status of Mayfield in the region between the southern tablelands of Braidwood and the NSW border during the early decades of the 20th century.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Based on current knowledge, Mayfield is not known to have any special associations with people or events of significance in a local or state context. It does not have significance under this criterion.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Mayfield has State heritage significance under this criterion.

This significance is largely focused on the Croppies Gunyah Creek area, where the number of smaller hut remains in their original landscape setting is able to evoke the earliest days of settlement in southern NSW for less wealthy landowners.

The homestead has Local aesthetic significance as a good example of an early 20th century residential structure which retains much of its original fabric, and is enhanced by the mature plantings, and views over the valley towards the shearing shed complex and staff cottages.

The c1860s shearing shed, stables and dairy have technical significance for their ability to demonstrate early construction methods for such rural and vernacular buildings within the region. The grouping of the c1860s and new shearing shed has technical significance for its ability to demonstrate the changes in shearing patterns and shearing shed construction methods and technology between the mid 19th and early 20th centuries.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The social significance of Mayfield has not been formally assessed through community consultation. It appears to have some significance to the local historical society as an early property in the district. It may have Local heritage significance for this reason. It is likely to have significance for the descendants of the first settlers on this property and other former tenants, but this attachment does not meet the thresholds for significance under this criterion.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Mayfield has State heritage significance under this criterion.

The area around Croppies Gunyah Creek provides a rare opportunity to study a range of small house sites and possibly a c1828 inn site, within their historic landscape setting. They have potential to provide information about early settlement within the southern limits of settlement in NSW in the nineteenth century that is not available from other sources. Their research potential is increased by the number of possible sites available for investigation within a small geographic area. The c1838 Star and Garter Inn site also has the potential to yield information not available from other sources that would be of interest in a state wide context due to the relative scarcity of rural inn sites from this period.

The remains of the c1866 Mayfield homestead are likely to have research significance at a Local level. They may reveal information about the house itself not available in written records and may also contain artefact deposits that can contribute to a more general understanding of life on a middle-class property in southern NSW.
SHR Criteria f)
Mayfield has State heritage significance under this criterion.

The area around Croppies Gunyah Creek is able to tangibly demonstrate the process of land grants to smaller, less wealthy landowners within the limits of settlement in southern NSW and the difficult reality of life in these isolated areas in the early to mid-nineteenth century. While a number of large, wealthy properties have survived, the smaller settlements have been less of a focus for investigation and conservation. The cultural landscape around Croppies Gunyah Creek is an unusual remnant of failed, small settlement sites within their original land grant boundaries along a now disused, early road easement. They have remains undisturbed by later development and have retained their historic setting, which increases their level of rarity. The archaeological remains of the c1828 inn or other large building on the early north/south road from Arnprior to Boro also add to the rarity of this collection of remains. The possible remains of the c 1838 Star and Garter Inn on Boro Creek to the north also adds to the rarity value of the archaeological of the site as a whole and its cultural landscape value. Rural inn sites from this period, even in archaeological form are becoming increasingly rare in NSW, particularly where they existed on major roads that are still in use today as these have often been disturbed or removed by road widening.

The c1920s staff cottages are a rare grouping of such structures, which demonstrate the prosperity and status of Mayfield during the early decades of the 20th century within the district.
SHR Criteria g)
Mayfield has State heritage significance under this criterion. The homestead, shearing shed complex and staff cottages are a good representative example of a rural settlement that contains elements from the initial development in the 1860s to the early decades of the 20th century. This significance has not been diminished by the poor condition of the staff cottages.
Integrity/Intactness: Mayfield Homestead Complex has a high degree of integrity with a full collection of early twentieth century farm buildings including homestead, manager’s cottage, staff cottage, shearer’s quarters, shearing sheds and yards, stables, dairy. The intactness of the group is diminished by the poor condition of three staff accommodation buildings, particularly the loss of the roof and some timber elements of the Manager’s House and staff accommodation building and the damage caused by wombats undermining the footings.

The Croppies Gunyah Creek cultural landscape and collection of archaeological remains has a high degree of integrity because the house sites and possible inn site retain their historic setting and relationship to one another, the creek and the former road easement. The integrity of archaeological sites themselves is difficult to gauge without physical investigation, but the sites appear not to have been disturbed since the initial phase of demolition of each building.
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:

Recommended Management: Manage the place and its components in accordance with the NSW Heritage Office Management Principles and Guidelines for NSW Agencies including the Minimum Standards of Maintenance and Repair. Recommended Management: Prepare a maintenance schedule for the item(s) in Maximo. Recommended Management: Prepare a Conservation Management Plan or policy to guide future management. Recommended Management: Undertake environmental impact assessment (EIA) when planning works on the site (refer to SCA's EIA Policy). Prepare a Statement of Heritage Impact and gain S60 or S140 Heritage Office approval prior to undertaking any non-exempt works on the site. Recommended Management: Prepare a property plan for the land surrounding the homestead complex which include hazard reduction strategies. Recommended Management: Carry out annual condition inspections and report condition in SCA annual report. Recommended Management: Consult experienced heritage practitioners and the SCA's Planning and Assessment Team during the preparation and execution of works to the place.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage registerMayfield451669   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Tallaganda Shire Rural Heritage Study1992 Clive, Lucas Stapleton and Partners  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenDepartment of Commerce2009SCA Braidwood Properties

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: State Government
Database number: 4580058

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