The Greatest Wonder of the World and American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium | NSW Environment & Heritage

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The Greatest Wonder of the World and American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium

Item details

Name of item: The Greatest Wonder of the World and American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Warehouse/storage area
Location: Lat: -32.3627981009 Long: 149.53286118
Primary address: 123-125 Mayne Street, Gulgong, NSW 2852
Parish: Guntawang
County: Phillip
Local govt. area: Mid-Western Regional
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Mudgee
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP400599
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
123-125 Mayne StreetGulgongMid-Western RegionalGuntawangPhillipPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Gulgong Holtermann MuseumCommunity Group 

Statement of significance:

The Greatest Wonder of the World and the American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium are of state heritage significance as they demonstrate the impact of the gold rushes on the creation and development of towns and villages in NSW.

The state heritage significance of the two buildings is enhanced through their association with the Holtermann Collection of photographs, which provides a unique documentation of the development of the colony in the 1870s. Through the collection, the buildings have an historic association with Bernhard Otto Holtermann, a German gold miner, sponsor of the Holtermann Collection, entrepreneur and later Member of the Legislative Assembly.

The buildings have state level aesthetic significance as they are now rare and representative examples of rough, 'erected-in-a-hurry' vernacular buildings, built to service the burgeoning gold rush population around Gulgong-one of the richest goldfields in NSW. The 1876 remodelling of 'The Greatest Wonder of the World' is an example of the innovative reuse of a simple earlier structure as a more substantial building.

The buildings are also increasingly rare examples of still-standing goldfields buildings documented in the Holtermann Collection.
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: Unknown
Builder/Maker: Unknown
Construction years: 1870-1878
Physical description: The two goldrush era commercial buildings have gabled iron rooves, timber framed shop fronts. They both were constructed as timber framed and clad with corrugated iron lined buildings.

The American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium remains in its original state, with the original rectangular parapet containing the name of the store. It presents to the street as it did when photographedby Merlin in 1872. This shop has a large shop area at the front with doorway access to the street and a large showcase window. To the rear of the shop space is a small space opening to the back yard.

The Greatest Wonder store was largely rebuilt in 1876 when, as the town grew and became more prosperious the owner upgraded the building with the aim of it becoming the town's post office. The timber and corrugated walls were replaced with rubble stone walls and brick quoining. Full windows front the street on both side of the central doorway. The parapeted gable was removed and a bull nose verandah added to the street facade.

Behind two shop fronted buildings there was a timber framed house the first room of which predated the stone wall at the rear of the shop. This was the one room cottage of owne rSamual TreTrevenen Bishop. This structure no longer stands.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Fair to good
Date condition updated:02 Mar 16
Modifications and dates: Constructed circa 1871 and occupied in 1872.
House at rear constructed 1876
Greatest Wonder of the World largely rebuilt in 1876 as the future Post Office

History

Historical notes: Mr. Tom Saunder, a local shepherd, located gold on the surface of Red Hill, now located in central Gulgong, on 14th April 1870 and reported his discovery to Sergeant O'Donnell at the police station at 2 Mile Flat. The news spread rapidly from there. And the first small rush began. By June, 500 people had camped on the new diggings at Adam's Lead.

The SMH in its 'Chronicles of Occurrence' in December 1870 encouraged the reader to 'now rush to Gulgong'! By January 1871 the population of the area had grown to 3,000. Other discoveries followed at other local leas such as Happy Valley, Caledonian and Canadian Leads and Home Rule, and by the end of 1872 there were 20,000 people on the Gulgong fields.

The alluvial leads in the district were among the richest in the State. Within the first four years of discovery, over 300 000 ounces of gold were recovered. The Gulgong Goldfield produced 275 000 pounds of gold, most of which was won from old stream gravels as much as 60m below the surface, several kilometres from Gulgong.

Due to its rapid development, Gulgong was initially a primitive community with quick timber construction predominating in the first years of the gold rush. The nationalities on the field like elsewhere in NSW were many and varied including Bulgarians, Greeks, Scottish, Americans , Canadians, Irish men and Chinese, as well as native-born Australians.

It was a long trip from Sydney, to Gulgong but the trip was worthwhile for hundreds of miners. They travelled by train from Sydney to Wallerawang, thence by mail coach to Mudgee, and from there by Tom Tarrant 's coach or Cobb and Co or horseback. The speed with which the town was settled was noted by Anthony Trollope who visited Gulgong in October 187. He wrote 'The place had begun to be a place about a month since - but the real rush had only lately commenced. I confess that I felt an interest in seeing a town without streets, and people collected together with houses made of canvas and rough board s.."

By 1876 the boom had begun to wane and it was all but over by 1880. Consequently the once booming town reduce to a village which went on to service local farmers and pastoralists.

Holtermann collection
Bernhard Otto Holtermann Holtermann came to Australia in 1858 from Hamburg. Initially empolyed as a waiter, Holtermann met Polish miner, Ludwig Beyers and the pair travelled to Hill End and began prospecting in 1861. Due to their lack of sucess Holtermann had to find work where he could and by 1868 he was the licencee of the All Nations Hotel but he and Beyers still had a claim worked by hired hands. In October the nightshift workers found the worlds largest gold bearing reef material in goldfield. Holtermann was a rich man. He went on to live in St Leonards and became a member of the Legislative Assembly for St Leonards.

While he was in Hill End, Holtermann had met photographers, Henry Beaufoy Merlin and Charles Bayliss. After he found the 'Holtermann Nugget', Holtermann assisted the pair in their work by funding their project of creating a photographic documentation of the settled areas of NSW.

These photographs included Hill End and the Gulgong goldfields and they constitute a detailed and significant record of life on the gold fields. They were first exhibited at the Mitchell Library in Sydney in March 1953. The collection included many scenes of goldfields life during the height of the early rush in the early 1870s. Many of the buildings included in the street scenes at Gulgong and Hill End have disappeared.The two commercial buildings, the 'Greatest Wonder of the World ', and the 'American Tobacco Company' were photographed by Merlin and Bayliss and still stand today. The American Tobacco building appears to have been the first constructed, and retains much of its original fabric.

Several of the photographs in the Hol;termann collection were displayed at international exhibitions in Philadelpia and Paris where they won awards. The collection disappeared from view by the turn of the century. The collection of glass negatives resurfaced in a private home in the early 1950s. The photographs were exhibited in 1953 after almost 70 years.
The early occupiers and owners of the land and shop(s) were as follows:

The Buildings
The 'Greatest Wonder of the World ' was opened by Simeon Moses, an importer of men's clothing, including the Colonial Boot & Shoe Depot. Simeon was the propr etor, and is probably the man in the centre of the store in the photo taken by Merlin.

His brother Menser Moses operated his business, American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium, next door. This building is also captured in the image by Merlin as the man who si ts on the right. When Simeon Moses planned to leave G ulgong at the end of 1873 he held a sale. Moses left Gulgong to take over the Royal Hotel in Mudgee, and the Greatest Wond er of the World was taken over by another brother, Abraham Moses. However this was short lived and notice was given that the furniture of the Greatest Wonder was to be sold up on 14 July 1874. A week later on the 2 1st July a notice in the Gulgong Evening Argus noted that the business of Clothier, Boot and Shoe Manufacture , and the liquidation of liabilities and debts was to pass to Abraham.
The building was sold to Paul Harford in 1879 then to Charles Zimmler in 1883.

The Greatest Wonder Of the World store was offered for sale on the 13 March 1875 .
'The Splendid Freehold Property at the establishment of the GREATEST WONDER OF THE WORLD , Queen Street. The property contains sufficient rooms, double lined and papered, suitable for a nice snug hotel, with kitchen and servant's room, bathroom and pantry , well fitted up. For a business site it cannot be surpassed. The allotment is full depth, facing the Telegraph Office and Court House at the back. This central property will be sold a bargain. Apply to A. Moses Queen Street.'

An auction notice appeared 3 months later on 5th June, to be sold on the 9th June by Plunkett & Co. It was sold to Robert Robinson. Robertson sold the improved shop to Samual Bishop in 1880.

The earliest building standing on the site today probably dates from late 1870-71, and is the smal l timber and tin lined American Tobacco Warehouse. The side wall of this structure is clad in such a way that indicates there was clear access from the side that now contains The Greatest Wonder.

The original Greatest Wonder building was however also standing in February 1871, as declared in an advertisement of that period , and as photographed by Merlin in 1872. This building was originally a roughly built timber framed structure that only stood for a few years. It wasrebuilt a few years later under the ownership of Robert Robinson.

When Robert Robinson bought this building from Moses it was said he renovated or rebuilt it, to create a new Post Office. However before the building could take up the role as Post Office, the Government ordered the Post Office to be moved to the Telegraph Station in the Police Compound.It appears that the renovation s were extensive. Full width windows were added across the main street facade, the parapeted rectangular gable was removed and rear and side walIs were constructed of stone.

Behind the two shop-front timber buildings, the Greatest Wonder and the American Tobacco Warehouse, stood an old timber framed house with various later additions. It appears that the first room of this house predated the present stone walls of the 'Greatest Wonder ' store, and possibly dates from c. 1876. Rates notices provide names of 'occupiers' of this land from that date, and the initial small single roomed cottage, with an end wall fire place was probably the home of Samuel Trevenen Bishop. The house was a family home and there is evidence that two Bishop daughters were
born there.

Samuel Trevenen Bishop
Samuel T Dishop married Isabel in Beechworth Victoria inc. 1855 and moved to Gulgong. He was present in Gulgong managing a business for Alex McCullogh by January 1873.

Samuel Bishop appears to have also played a l eading role in public life in Guigong. In December 1874 he was the chairman of a meeti ng to form the Gulgong Band Of Hope, held in the temperance hall. By 1875 Samuel was act ing as a land agent , and obtained his licence as an auctioneer in 1884. He declared himself a sextant of the local cemetery . In October 1876 he was appointed Gulgong's Town Cl erk and inspector of Works. In 1880 Bishop bought the 'Greatest
Wonder' building and used the prem ises as a book seller and stationer for the next two or more decades.

Mrs Isabel Bishop died at Gulgong in Augu st 1910 at the age of 72 years. Samuel Bishop died five years later in 1915 also at Gulgong. At the time of his death he was still the owner of the Mayne Street shop. William Christian, Bishop's son-in-law became the new owner of the shop and ran a watclunaker and jewellery business there from 1934.

W illiam and his wife had returned to Gulgong in December 1933 after an absence of many years. The article in the Mudgee Guardian pointed out that in taking up the shop in Mayne Street (presumably the GW) that his wife, nee Bishop was now living beside her sister, also Miss Bishop. And that they had both been born in that residence, (the house behind GW).

After its first years of operation the American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium was bought in 1883 by another Gulgong figure, Dr Zimmler. There are a number of possibilities for the occupat ion of Mr. Zimm ler. In 1871 when the Holtermann pictmes were taken a Dr. Zimmler operated a chemist and dispensary shop in Mayne Street. Thi s may be the same Zimmler later occupying the American Tobacco Warehouse. Dr. Zimmler was cited for manslaughte r of a infant, Mary Redmond , but was found to have 'no crimina l intent'. In 1877 Charles Zimmler was a local Alderman on the Gulgong Council and was was also later involved in the mining industry. Later he was involved with his neighbour Mr. Bishop and others in the Advance Gulgong Quartz Crushing Co. and in 1890s was providing diamond drill boring equipment in an attempt to revive Gulgong Mining .

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods (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 Villages-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Gold mining-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Greatest Wonder of the World and the American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium are of state heritage significance as they demonstrate the impact of the gold rushes on the creation and development of towns and villages in NSW-Gulgong being one of the richest goldfield regions in the state. The pair of neighbouring buildings together demonstrate the way in which such gold towns began and developed as the gold finds increased the wealth of the population. Both buildings were built in the early years of the gold rush in Gulgong when commercial building were hurriedly thrown together to service the initial burgeoning gold rush population in the area. The American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium remains in its original state of construction and layout. The Greatest Wonder of the World was upgraded and remodelled in 1876 as the proprietor prospered from the gold rush economy and became established in the town. The building was rebuilt as a random stone constructed post office building, incorporating the original layout and some materials. This is a pattern settlement and construction typical of gold rush towns across NSW.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Greatest Wonder of the World and the American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium are of state heritage significance for their association with the Holtermann Collection of photographs, and Bernhard Otto Holtermann himself. Holtermann was a German born gold miner and later businessman and politician. Holtermann, mining partner Ludwig Hugo Beyers and several others set up the Star of Hope Mining Company and, in 1872, a 286 kilogram 'nugget' was discovered in the works. This was reputedly the largest piece of gold bearing material in the world.

The Holtermann Collection of photographs is a highly regarded collection of photographs of the settled areas of NSW taken in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, incorporating the mining towns of Gulgong, Hill End, Tambaroora and Home Rule. Financed by Holtermann, the collection documents the everyday life of these gold mining towns. The broader collection was used by the colonial government in international exhibitions, winning an award at the Paris Exhibition of 1878.

The buildings also have an important historic association with the Gulgong goldfield-one of the richest yielding goldfields in NSW.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Greatest Wonder of the World and the American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium are of state heritage significance for aesthetic values as now rare examples of rough, 'erected-in-a-hurry' vernacular buildings built to service the burgeoning gold rush population around Gulgong-one of the richest goldfields in NSW. The 1876 remodelling of 'The Greatest Wonder of the World' is of significance as an example of the innovative reuse of a simple earlier structure as a more substantial building, signalling the evolution of the town from camp to village. Together these buildings are of state heritage significance as they together demonstrate a pattern of construction and development typical of the development of gold rush towns in NSW.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Greatest Wonder of the World and the American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium are of state heritage significance for their ability to demonstrate early 'make do' construction technology and the personal resourcefulness necessary to make the timber framed buildings with square studs, no noggings and saplings between, which were typical of gold rush buildings across NSW. They also provide information on the way gold rush towns evolved from their makeshift beginnings to more substantial townships as individuals and the community prospered through the fruits of the gold rush.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Greatest Wonder of the World and the American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium are of state heritage significance as rare examples of gold rush commercial buildings dating from the early period of the significant goldfields at Gulgong-one of the highest yielding goldfields in NSW. The buildings demonstrate construction techniques used in the early and hasty establishment of goldfields towns of NSW. They are also an increasingly rare example of still-standing goldfields buildings documented in the Holtermann Collection.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Greatest Wonder of the World and the American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium are of state heritage significance as representative of hastily erected buildings from the early establishment of goldfields towns in NSW.
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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2)
TO GRANT SITE SPECIFIC EXEMPTIONS FROM APPROVAL

Greatest Wonder of the World and American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium

SHR No. 01983

I, the Minister for Heritage, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, in pursuance of section 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, do, by this my order, grant an exemption from section 57(1) of that Act in respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule “C” by the owner described in Schedule “B” on the item described in Schedule “A”.




The Hon Mark Speakman SC MP
Minister for Heritage


Sydney, Day of 2016


SCHEDULE “A”

The item known as Greatest Wonder of the World and American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium, situated on the land described in Schedule “B”.


SCHEDULE “B”

All those pieces or parcels of land known as Lot 1 DP 400599 in Parish of Guntawang, County of Phillip shown on the plan catalogued HC 2910 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.


SCHEDULE “C”
All works and activities in accordance with the current and valid development consent, DA 0273/2016 from Mid-Western Regional Council in force at the date of gazettal for listing The Greatest Wonder of the World and the American Tobacco Warehouse and Fancy Goods Emporium on the State Heritage Register.
Oct 28 2016

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0198321 Oct 16 842812
Potential Heritage ItemL    

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenBarbara Hickson2015Investigation of significance
WrittenDavid Warner2015Conservation of Historic Gulgong - An Overview
WrittenDe Witt Consulting2014Survey 5405
WrittenGeological Sites of NSW2015Gulgong - Goldrush Heritage
WrittenGulgong Conservation Society Gulgong Town Trail
WrittenGulgong Pioneers Museum and Historical Society-19Rates Notices1876-1895
WrittenGulgong Pioneers Museum and Historical Society-143Summary notes of the information on the Greatest Wonder
WrittenKeast Burke1972Holtermann, Bernhardt Otto (1838-1885)
WrittenLand and Property Information2015Atlas of NSW: History and Exploration-Goldrush
WrittenMudgee District Historical Society2016Gulgong History
Writtenvarious-4Newspaper articles
Writtenvarious-48 

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: Heritage Office
Database number: 5044812
File number: EF15/11633


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