Courunga | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Courunga

Item details

Name of item: Courunga
Other name/s: Munn's Tower House, Pacific Heights (adjacent apartment complex)
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -36.8912915671 Long: 149.9076176280
Primary address: Monaro Street, Merimbula, NSW 2548
Parish: Pambula
County: Auckland
Local govt. area: Bega Valley
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Bega
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT  DP21721
LOT1 SP21721
LOT10 SP21721
LOT11 SP21721
LOT12 SP21721
LOT13 SP21721
LOT14 SP21721
LOT15 SP21721
LOT16 SP21721
LOT17 SP21721
LOT18 SP21721
LOT19 SP21721
LOT2 SP21721
LOT20 SP21721
LOT21 SP21721
LOT22 SP21721
LOT23 SP21721
LOT24 SP21721
LOT25 SP21721
LOT26 SP21721
LOT27 SP21721
LOT3 SP21721
LOT4 SP21721
LOT5 SP21721
LOT6 SP21721
LOT7 SP21721
LOT8 SP21721
LOT9 SP21721
LOT28 SP50233
LOT29 SP50233
LOT30 SP50233
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Monaro StreetMerimbulaBega ValleyPambulaAucklandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 Private 
Merimbula Veterinary ClinicPrivate 

Statement of significance:

Courunga formerly Munns Tower House was constructed about 1870 by Matthew Munna. It is a large distinctive stone cottage with an extraordinary addition (1880) consisting of a two storey timber tower with attic, and two single storey timber pavilions with castellated parapets. The Munn name is synonymous with the emergence of modern Merimbula as the family had large holdings and milling operations in the district which were central to the economy of the town in its infancy. The physical prominence and landmark status of the tower house mirror the social and economic prominence of the Munn family in Merimbula in the period of its early development. (Commission of Inquiry 1984)
Date significance updated: 15 Oct 10
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: Matthew Munn
Construction years: 1870-1880
Physical description: Setting and Garden:
Courunga is a substantial stone cottage sited on a commanding hill-top.
It has a front garden comprising a sloping lawn to the house's east and north-east, a small rear garden to its west.
Much of the rest of its former site has been infilled with brick terrace-style medium density 2-3 bedroom residential accommodation, available as holiday apartments, with a shared driveway, car parking areas etc.

A large Bunya Bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii) remains to the house's south-east, in (now) a parking area. This tree is a landmark in Merimbula, visible from across the river and various hill slope roads heading into the town. It is more prominent than Courunga's tower, the roof of which is visible from a distance but lower and less-prominent. Also notable in its front garden is a date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) tree and a low picket fence defining the inner front garden, as distinct from wider grassed lawn and more recent garden bed plantings further away from the house towards Monaro Street. (Stuart Read, 27/6/2018).

House:
Courunga is a substantial stone cottage which contains elaborate joinery. It originally had a shingle roof and later this was elaborated with cast iron stanchions.

The house achieved its present remarkable character through the addition of a two storey Victorian Gothic corner tower of timber construction, together with two further Gothic pavilions of timber construction, one being the kitchen, both complete with crenelated parapets. (Heritage Council Branch Managers Report 87/83).

Incorporating several Tudor and Gothic design elements (namely the tower and the extensions with crenellated parapets), Courunga with its unusual massing represents a quite extraordinary design (RNE, 1978).
Date condition updated:28 Jun 18
Modifications and dates: 1870 - house constructed
1880 - corner tower constructed
Current use: Residence; Merimbula Veterinary
Former use: Residence

History

Historical notes: The property known as Courunga, formerly Munns Tower House was constructed about 1870 by Matthew Munn and extensions added by his son Armstrong about 1880.

Matthew Munn was founder of the important Maizena Cornflour Company and had a large installation and holdings at Merimbula. The cottage was built at the time Merimbula was a pastoral village, owned firstly by the Twofold Bay Pastoral Company and later by the Munn family.

The Munn name is synonymous with the emergence of modern Merimbula as the family had large holdings and milling operations in the district which were central to the economy of the town in its infancy.

In 1979 an Interim Conservation Order was placed over the property. In March 1981 the Minister for Planning and Environment gave notice of his intention to make a Permanent Conservation Order in respect of Munn's Tower House. In response the owner put forward a scheme to restore the house as a residence and utilise the surrounding land for the construction of 25 home units. After variations were made to the scheme to meet comments from the Heritage Council the application was approved in August 1981. On 11 June 1982 a Permanent Conservation Order was placed over the property.

On 18 June 1982 a further application for the construction of an additional six units was made. This application was refused by the Heritage Council as it was considered to be detrimental to the heritage significance of Courunga. The applicant objected and a Comission of Inquiry was held in 1984. The Inquiry recommended that the proposal for six additional home units be approved. (Commission of Inquiry 1984)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural - Coasts and coastal features supporting human activities-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Rivers and water bodies important to humans-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
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 Private 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 Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Developing Commercial Enterprise-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Veterinary surgery-
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 Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Milling flour, corn and other grains-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Manufacturing foodstuffs-
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. (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 Homes-
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. Farm homestead-
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. Eccentric residence-
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. Adapted heritage building or structure-
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. A Picturesque Residential Suburb-
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 1820s-1850s land grants-
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 Selecting land for pastoral or agricultural purposes-
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 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 Townships-
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 Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Granting Crown lands for private farming-
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 Sub-division of large 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 19th century suburban developments-
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 urban 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 Shaping coastal settlement-
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 Developing ports-
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 Gentlemens Villas-
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 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 Creating landmark structures and places in regional settings-
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 Developing suburbia-
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 Country Estate-
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 Role of transport in settlement-
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 Planned towns serving a specific industry-
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 Vernacular hamlets and settlements-
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 Developing and operating manorial villages-
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 Developing private towns-
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 Vernacular towns serving a specific industry-
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 Developing towns in response to topography-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working complex machinery and technologies-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working independently on the land-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working independently on the land-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in factories-
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. Building in response to climate - verandahs-
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. Vernacular structures and building techniques-
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 - Victorian Georgian-
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 - Victorian Georgian-
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. Adaptation of overseas design for local use-
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. Interior design styles and periods - Victorian-
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. Landscaping - Victorian period-
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. Landscaping - colonial period-
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. work of stonemasons-
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 - Victorian Gothic Revival-
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 - Victorian (mid)-
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 - Victorian Tudor Revival-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1788-1850-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1850-1900-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1900-1950-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1950-2000-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in suburbia-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Wealthy pastoralists homes in the city-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ornamental Garden-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in, adapting and renovating homes for changing conditions-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in a rural homestead-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Kitchens and servants-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gardening-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting heritage places-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Leisure-Includes tourism, resorts.
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups (none)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Armstrong Munn, industrialist-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Matthew Munn, industrialist-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Munn name is synonymous with the emergence of modern Merimbula as the family had large holdings and milling operations in the district which were central to the economy of the town in its infancy. The physcial prominence and landmark status of the tower house mirror the social and economic prominence of the Munn family in Merimbula in the period of its early development. (Commission of Inquiry 1984)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The building's architectural significance is confirmed by its picturesque massing of forms which have been expressed in an unusual architectural idiom - that of the castellated Gothic style. This form of architectural folly is rare for its period and indeed for the State generally.

The building was prominently sited in a picturesque setting intended to reinforce the illusion. It can be seen from miles around and has landmark qualities. (Commission of Inquiry 1984)
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:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
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 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 0023502 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0023506 Nov 82 792629
Local Environmental PlanCourunga house and groundsI05702 Aug 13 408 
Register of the National EstateCourunga house and garden100521 Mar 78   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Bega Valley Shire Heritage Study20061Pip Giovanelli  No

References, internet links & images

None

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: 5045262
File number: S90/02147 & HC 32026


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