Denfield | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Denfield

Item details

Name of item: Denfield
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Farming and Grazing
Category: Homestead Complex
Location: Lat: -34.1052597388 Long: 150.8015829710
Primary address: Appin Road, St. Helens Park, NSW 2560
Parish: Menangle
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Campbelltown
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Tharawal
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT101 DP1128548
LOT122 DP813654
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Appin RoadSt. Helens ParkCampbelltown MenangleCumberlandPrimary Address
Denfield CircuitSt. Helens ParkCampbelltown   Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 Private24 Mar 99

Statement of significance:

Denfield's homestead is assessed as having state and regional heritage significance primarily in regard to its architectural quality, social and historic associations particularly at a regional level and in its setting, garden and collective of buildings.

The complex is one of the earliest surviving and intact collective of buildings of their kind in the Campbelltown and Appin areas. Denfield is associated with early farming identities John Farley, who was also infamous in that he was the first person to encounter Fisher's Ghost in Campbelltown and John Bray who along with his family owner and farmed it from 1840 until well into the 1900s. It played an important part in the early settlement of Campbelltown/Appin through increasing importance and popularity of the district.

The early buildings form part of a highly significant group of surviving colonial farmhouse buildings in the Campbelltown/ Appin areas with the visually intact garden and bush setting. The early buildings are a very fine and rare example of the colonial farmhouse style of architecture, even though altered a number of times, and is of very high aesthetic value not only here but also in the broader context of NSW. The surviving early fabric demonstrates the basic principles of colonial design, detailing and finishes.

The buildings are significant for the use of early colonial materials and methods of construction and building forms and their adaptation over their life with a variety of materials. The buildings demonstrate colonial design principles in best practice.

Denfield has been at the focus of farming in the Campbelltown/Appin areas since the 1830s. It has a strong connection with the development and history of the area through social interactions and contributions by its owners and residents to the private, public and farming life of Campbelltown and Appin.

The early buildings are a very fine and rare example of the colonial farmhouse style of architecture which is very intact. The homestead is representative of the time of use and development from this period and typical of the early colonial farmhouse complex in a large garden and bush setting (Pearson Smith & Associates, 2003).

"Denfield" is reputed to have been built in 1837 by John Farley, the man who claimed to have seen Fisher's Ghost. It is a good example of the smaller farmhouse of its time. With a central doorway, two windows with shutters on each side and one door at each end of the stone flagged walk. The walls are rendered and marked as stone and the roof is corrugated iron. It is a well proportioned colonial farmhouse built in the traditional style. Denfield was carefully restored in the 1960's by architect S.C Palmer (Kingston, 1990).

An excellent example of a typical farmhouse of the 1830s that remains in good condition (AHC). A colonial farmhouse and remnant of a colonial farm. Historical associations as the house built for John Farley, the man who claimed to have seen Fisher's Ghost (AHC, 1978).
Date significance updated: 07 Dec 17
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

Builder/Maker: John Farley
Construction years: 1837-1837
Physical description: Site:
More than 2.5 acres of land across two separate titles...with three street frontages (Ray White P/L, 2014).
Denfield is located on a prominent knoll on the Appin Road. It is now surrounded to the north, east and south by suburban development with a local service station impinging on views to it from the Appin Road (Morris & Britton, 2000, 124).

Denfield comprises two lots (101 and 122) on the top of a hill with access from Appin Road to its west. Lot 101 is effectively the remaining house and garden-site at the core of its original 81 ha/200 acre farm)(Mann-made Planning, 2013, 3). With increasing width and traffic on Appin Road the RTA has provided separate access.

The site is well landscaped, including major trees and shrubs, with what remains of its original 'home' garden. It classically occupies a prominent position on level ground on the top of a raised section of land, where Appin Road and surrounding land drops away on each side to the north, west and south. (Pearson Smith & Associates, 2005).

There is a dam/in-ground swimming pool and a small orchard adjoining the house. The boundary of the proposed 5000m2 curtilage is now defined, as is the whole property, by trees and shrubs. The land beyond is some 15,000m2. (Rathgeber, 1990).

Prettily sited and surrounded by trees (AHC).

Buildings:
Homestead:
A Georgian colonial cottage set back c45m from Appin Road. Cottage is of symmetrical plan built by John Farley. Construction is of sandstone brick on stone foundations with timber verandah under continuous hipped roof, having slight bull cast at verandah junction. Sandstock brick walls and chimneys, predominantly timber floor framing and timber floor boarding, original lath and plaster ceilings, some new fibrous plaster ceilings and cornices, some original timber (blacbutt: Ray White Macarthur Group, 2014) boarded ceilings and cornices, original cedar joinery including superbly hand crafted cedar mantlepiece and fireplace cupboard in the drawing room, original galvanized corrugated iron roof and water tank sheeting, ogee gutters and round downpipes in parts and intrusive gutters with square downpipes elsewhere, painted timber linings, joinery and decorative timberwork, stone flagging and timber tank stands (Pearson Smith & Associates, 2005).

The main building is of masonry rendered and marked as stone with a gabled, corrugated iron clad roof and verandah to 3 sides supported on stop chamfered timber posts. It has 3 rendered brickwork chimneys with terracotta pots (LEP, 1991). Windows are 12 pane type with louvred shutters and doors 6 panel type. Simple semi-circular Georgian fanlight to the panelled (fielded) front door. Sandstone used for architraves to main openings and paving to verandah. (National Trust, 1973). Verandah is open full length on the western (Appin Road) side, return verandah across the northern end has been filled in with sympathetic painted timber and glazed panels and doors.

Four bedrooms and three bathrooms plus study (Ray White Macarthur Group P/L, 2014).

Fireplaces have Georgian chimney pieces. Windows are twelve pane type with louvred shutters and doors six panel type. Verandah is decorated with a fine scalloped timber valance (AHC).

Air conditioning and a wine cellar (Ray White Macarthur Group P/L, 2014).

Outbuildings:
There is an existing roofed but open sided walkway running off the rear door of the house linking with an existing single storey original external kitchen structure.

Quite separate from the house and kitchen is an in ground swimming pool, wood shed, workshop and carport (Pearson Smith & Associates, 2005).

There is also a c.1840 slab hut used as a museum for old implements.

There is also a dam/swimming pool and a timber structure used as a garage, workshop and toolshed. (Rathgeber, 1990).

A number of other buildings and structures also exist including slab shed, timber structure, workshop, carport, cricket pitch and water tanks that hold 32,000 litres of water (Ray White Macarthur Group P/L, 2014).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
some new fibrous plaster ceilings and cornices, some original timber boarded ceilings and cornices, original cedar joinery, original galvanized corrugated iron roof and water tank sheeting, ogee gutters and round downpipes in parts and intrusive gutters with square downpipes elsewhere, painted timber linings, joinery and decorative timberwork, stone flagging and timber tank stands. (Pearson Smith & Associates, 2005).
Date condition updated:24 Jul 14
Modifications and dates: 1964 renovation: A December 1965 article in "Building Ideas" showcased the 'sensitive restoration and renovation, installation of electrical service and plumbing which have made Denfield a house for modern living while still preserving its early colonial character.' It noted that the original detached kitchen had become a bedroom, with bathroom and laundry added. Where possible original materials were reused, eg: sandstock brocks for rebuilding the southern wall and the 6" wide blackbutt boards for flooring drawing room, study and dining rooms. New verandah collumns were designed in the spirit of the original period to replace the then existing mid-or late-Victorian columns. The graceful valance board was cut from a template of the original valance, still in position, by decayed beyond use.
All walls were stripped and re-plastered, ceilings replaced with Gyprock sheets and plaster cornices.

1991 subdivision was to excise some 2/3 of land of prpoerty, to allow for future residential development. The proposed subdivision was not considered to adversely affect the significance of the house and an outbuilding. It was not advertised.
Current use: residence
Former use: Inn, residence, farm homestead, farm

History

Historical notes: The original inhabitants of the Campbelltown area were mostly people of the Tharawal (sometimes referred to as Dharawal) language group, who ranged from the coast to the east, the Georges River in the west, north to Botany Bay and south to Nowra. However Campbelltown was a meeting point with the Dharug language group (whose area extended across the Blue Mountains) and early history of the area includes refereences to both peoples (Liston, 1988; www.abc.net.au/indigenous).

With establishment of the convict colony in Sydney in 1788 the displacement of Aboriginal people began. A smallpox epidemic decimated many of the coastal clans, but was less destructive amongst the inland peoples.

Escaped cattle from the convict settlement moved south and bred in the Campbelltown/Camden area and after their (re-) discovery in 1795, the area became known as the 'Cow Pastures' (or Cowpasture). In 1805 Jon Macarthur obtained a grant of 5000 acres (later expanded to 10,000) in the area, some of the best grazing land then known in the colony.

By 1809 34 settlers had received grants in the newly named Minto district (named after Lord Minto, the Governor-General of India) in the northern portion of Campbelltown. Many of these were Irish, including surveyor James Meehan, who allocated himself a generous portion (now Macquarie Fields). Prominent settlers included Charles Throsby, who was allocated 500 acres (now Glenfield), Dr. William Redfern (Campbellfield), Dr.John Townson (Varroville) and Richard Brooks (Denham Court).

Though peaceful, the Tharawal people bore the brunt of a punitive expedition led by Captain James Wallis in 1816. At least 14 Tharawal people were massacred at Appin, to the distress of sympathetic settlers such as Throsby of Glenfield. Corroborees and other ceremonies continued under the protection of the Macarthurs of Camden Park, though numbers steadily declined.

As the district became more densely settled a town was needed further south than Liverpool. Campbelltown was formally established in 1820 and named in honour of Mrs Elizabeth Macquarie's maiden name, Campbell. In 1826 the town plan was formalised.

Denfield:
The original house and a roofed but open sided link to the original kitchen block behind it, was completed between 1835-7 by a John Farley.

Farley arrived from England in 1812 and became what was described at the time as a 'sober, hard working and prosperous farmer' on approximately 200 acres (or 81ha). His claim to fame was that he was the first man to see 'Fisher's Ghost',('sitting on a rail of a bridge over a creek. He claimed the ghost pointed to a paddock down the creek then faded away. The body of Fred Fisher was later discovered in the same paddock where this ghost had supposedly pointed' Mr Tim Doyle, acting principal of Ray White Macarthur Group said': Ray White Macarthur Group P/L, 2014), the centre of a local legend involving murder and intrigue.

Campbelltown farms produced wheat for the colony. This crop was short-lived as the disease 'wheat rust' infected the area (Mann-Made Planning, 2013, 3).

Farley sold the property to John Bray in 1840. Bray owned other properties to the south and used Denfield as a cattle fattening holding farm, closer to the Sydney markets for stock from his other more distant holdings. Bray married 3 times, each of his first 2 wives dying at Denfield. The third wife outlived him and was still in residence in the early 1900s.

It is thought that for some time the building became an inn. Following the death of the third Mrs Bray the property was rented over a number of years, substantial parcels of land were hived off and sold and Denfield's homestead fell into disrepair.

The property was purchased in the 1960s by architect Sydney Palmer and renovated (cf restored) in 1964. A December 1965 article in "Building Ideas" showcased the 'sensitive restoration and renovation, installation of electrical service and plumbing which have made Denfield a house for modern living while still preserving its early colonial character.' It noted that the original detached kitchen had become a bedroom, with bathroom and laundry added. Where possible original materials were reused, e.g.: sandstock brocks for rebuilding the southern wall and the 6" wide blackbutt boards for flooring drawing room, study and dining rooms. New verandah columns were designed in the spirit of the original period to replace the then existing mid-or late-Victorian columns. The graceful valance board was cut from a template of the original valance, still in position, by decayed beyond use. All walls were stripped and re-plastered, ceilings replaced with Gyprock sheets and plaster cornices.

In 1970 Palmer sold the property to the Sefton family who operated it as a lavender farm for ten years.

In the 1970s the urbanisation of Campbelltown started with significant urban expansion in the district. While the start of subdivision of St. Helens Park did not start until the 1990s and the subdivision stage around Denfield until the mid-1990s, the smaller lot and housing future of the locality/suburb was sealed with the demise of farming and planned urban development (Mann-Made Planning, 2013, 3-4).

In 1985 Denfield was sold to Mr and Mrs Robinson who spent c$45,000 on maintenance and improvements, including eradicating termites in the house, outbuildings and fencing, and planting over 1400 trees and shrubs. In 1987 the property was about 2ha/6 acres, zoned Special Uses, surrounded by land zoned 2(c) residential.

The Heritage Council of NSW approved a four-lot subdivision of the property on 7 March 1991, subject to moving the then-proposed eastern boundary of Lot 1 (containing Denfield homestead and slab hut and an original fence) further east by 3.8m (Heritage Council minutes, 7/3/1991). On 24/7/1991 the Minister for Planning signed an exemption thus not requiring Heritage Council approval for subdivision and residential use of Lot 4 which is to the east of Lot 1. This order was gazetted on 2nd August 1991 in Government Gazette no. 112.

Approximately 2.5 acres was sold to Landcom, approx. 1 acre retained by Mrs Robinson and the remaining 1.5 acres was sold to the previous owners, the Laws, in 1992. The Laws lived in Denfield for over 23 years, undertaking restoration to the house and garden areas, with the assistance of Federal and Campbelltown City Council grants (Pearson-Smith, 2008, 13). They built the two modern outbuildings in 1997 (to the house's north-west, near the pool) and c.2004 (a southern pavilion, connected to the house)(GBA Heritage, 2016).

1994 and 1997 proposals to rezone land nearby to the north on Appin Road for a service station would have further eroded Denfield's remaining semi-rural setting into suburbia. The Heritage Office provided advice recommending against such actions (Heritage Office report, 2008/4/18).

Denfield's previous owners the Laws in 1999 bought an additional acre (Lot 122) directly to its south, to increase the curtilage around the main house on the south, where the house was very close to the then southern boundary. The property now comprises 1.5 hectares (2.5 acres). Lot 122 was acquired by the Laws so they could control when it would be subdivided, with appropriate development, rather than what was occuring locally at that time by others (Mann-Made Planning, abridged, 2013, 4).

The Laws lodged a subdivision proposal in a 2013 application involving Lot 101 (Denfield House, etc), to undertake a boundary adjustment between Lot 101 and Lot 122 and then subdivide the latter into four allotments. Following discussions with the Heritage Council, this subdivision application was withdrawn. The 2013 subdivision and four-lot proposal was likely to have resulted in unacceptable impact on Denfield by inadequate setbacks from the western frontage available for a future dwelling. Following this withdrawal, the Laws sold Denfield house lot (101) to the present owners, the Duffys (GBA Heritage, 2016, 4).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Mushroom farming-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Cereal production-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Organic farming methods-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Innkeeping-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Communicating by mail-
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 Gardens and landscapes reminiscent of an 'old country'-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Coaching Inns along roads-
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 Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
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 Subdivision of rural estates-
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 A quiet Rural District-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - colonial homestead-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Farley, Campbelltown farmer, first man to see Fisher's Ghost-

Recommended management:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementPrepare or include in a Development Control Plan (DCP) 
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific exemptions Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) The maintenance of any building or item on the site where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing material;
(2) Garden maintenance including cultivation, pruning, weed control, the repair and maintenance of existing fences, gates, garden walls and tree surgery but not including extensive lopping;
Oct 9 1987
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) Subdivision and residential use of the land.
Aug 2 1991
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

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0054002 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0054009 Oct 87 1595765
Local Environmental Plan 4822 Feb 02   
Heritage study  01 Jan 92   
National Trust of Australia register  7312   
Register of the National Estate  21 Mar 78   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Campbelltown Heritage Study1993 (not stated)  No
Colonial Landscapes of the Cumberland Plain and Camden, NSW20004.33.2 (page 124)Morris, C., & Britton, G./NSW National Trust (for the Heritage Council of NSW)Morris, C. & Britton, G. Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenCasey & Lowe P/L2004Re: Proposed pavilion addition - Archaeological Assessment (Denfield)
WrittenDavid Sheedy1973National Trust (NSW) Classification Sheet - Denfield
WrittenErika Rathgeber Planning Consultant1990Report on the Curtilage of 'Denfield', Appin Road, Campbelltown
WrittenKingston, Daphne1990Early Colonial Homes of the Sydney Region 1788-1838
WrittenMann-Made Planning2013Statement of Heritage Impact - Boundary Adjustment between 2 lots & subdivision of 1 lot into four lots on Lot 101 DP1128548 and Lot 122 DP813654 Appin Road, St Helens Park
WrittenPearson Smith & Associates2005Heritage Impact Statement - proposed boundary adjustments and subdivision by Landcom
WrittenPearson Smith & Associates2004Archival black and white photographic recording of the existing fabric and condition of "Denfield" Appin Road, St. Helens Park, NSW around the area of the new works
WrittenPearson Smith & Associates2003Alterations & Additions to existing single residence - Heritage Impact Statement
WrittenPearson-Smith & Associates P/L Heritage Architects2008Heritage Impact Statement - proposed New St.Helens Park Meeting Hall on Lot 102 Denfield Circuit, St.Helens Park for the Georges River Gospel Trust
WrittenRay White (Real Estate Agents) P/L2014More than 170 years of history up for auction View detail

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045029
File number: S90/03441 & HC 33410


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