Homestead, The | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Homestead, The

Item details

Name of item: Homestead, The
Other name/s: Georges Hall; The Homestead
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Homestead building
Location: Lat: -33.9115423180 Long: 150.9773731670
Primary address: 1a Lionel Street, Georges Hall, NSW 2198
Parish: Bankstown
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Bankstown
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Gandangara
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT101 DP827530
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
1a Lionel StreetGeorges HallBankstownBankstownCumberlandPrimary Address
Henry Lawson DriveGeorges HallBankstownBankstownCumberlandAlternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Church of the Foursquare Gospel (Aust) LtdReligious Organisation19 Mar 99

Statement of significance:

It is a fine example of Australian Georgian architecture and retains many of its former qualities and characteristics typical of its period and style. It has important associations with the renowned Johnston family. It was the second Johnston house built on this land with the first house being affected by flooding. Its location on the rise above the river and floodplain, demonstrates the settlers' adaptation to their environment. The Homestead is the earliest remaining house in the Bankstown district. It is also evidence of the earliest permanent settlement in the area. (Lester Tropman and Associates 1987:2)
Date significance updated: 01 Oct 97
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
Construction years: 1837-1837
Physical description: Stuccoed brick construction on sandstone foundations enclosing extensive cellars. Floor and roof are of pit sawn timbers fastened by hand forged nails. The original part of the house is of symmetrical design with wide verandas to three sides enclosing four large rooms, a hall and pantry. Two additional rooms added at south west corner. The attic has four large rooms lit by attractive dormers having arched transoms with curved glazing bars. This pattern is repeated in the fine fanlight over the south door. The interior joinery is cedar with extensive panelled window reveals, dados and built-in cupboards. Doors are all six panelled and windows either twelve pane sash type or French windows with transoms above. Windows are all shuttered, including the unusual front French door with narrow sidelights. Verandas are massively constructed of timber with an unusual tall skillion pitch over the cellar entrance. There are some fine marble chimney pieces and Edwardian timber ones in later additions. The roof is now covered with Marseilles pattern tiles and Edwardian brackets have been added to the veranda posts but the house is otherwise intact and in very good condition. The original kitchen wing has possibly been incorporated within later additions. All other outbuildings have been demolished. (Sheedy 1976)

Even in its reduced curtilage today, the house retains its traditional relationship to Prospect Creek (over Kentucky Reserve, Henry Lawson Drive & the Murrumbeena Regional Park to Dhurawal Bay), and to the site of the earlier homestead (lost due to regular flooding).

The original Johnson property is now within Kentucky Reserve by Dhurawal Bay. Within that reserve, three large old English Oaks, (Quercus robur) remain which may date to the military use of the site or to the first homestead site. These are now fenced off within the reserve near Lake Mirrambeena.

The estate (in much reduced form) is relatively intact, in particular the immediate surrounds of the homestead, its relationship to the river, and some remnant landscape elements such as early plantings or their progeny. A recreated carriage loop is on the site of the old one in front of the house. The rose garden and fence were reinstated in 1992/93.

The carriage loop and enframing trees (plantings and natural) provide some sympathetic setting for the house. Species include spotted gum (Corymbia maculata), forest red gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis), Brazilian pepper tree (Schinus molle) (one tree to the rear of the house could be as old as the house), white cedar (Melia azederach var. australasica), camphor laurel (Cinnomomum camphora) and Hill's/weeping fig, (Ficus hillii). A trumpet creeper (Campsis grandiflora) twines up the trunks of the pepper trees, again a common plant in 19th century gardens of this type. (Stuart Read, pers. Comm., 10/01 visit)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition is good. Restoration and archaelogical work undertaken in 1992/93.
Pre-2006: interior front two rooms and entry lobby/hallway adaptively reused as Church meeting and relaxation rooms. Two fireplaces installed in spaces where original (removed) fireplaces had been. Chimneys have been blocked up to prevent water entry.
2006: Homestead's exterior recently repainted. Joinery balustrading to verandah all in good order.
Date condition updated:24 Sep 97
Modifications and dates: 6/4/1798 170 acre grant to George Johnston at "Marquee Point", George's Hall (first house built?)
1804 futher 60 acres granted to GJ
by 1837: 100 acres were cleared, 30 acres cultivated, by the time the present homestead was built.
1837 - built (the third house on the estate)
1912 - two additional rooms added at the south west corner and other external alterations
1911 estate subdivided as the Deepwater Estate.
1917 last remaining family held land sold.
- 1949 various owners of house
(bet. 1949 and 1991: addition to south side of house removed).
1960-61 futher subdivisions
1990 photo of front shows 2 jacaranda trees (J.mimosaefolia), one centrally placed inside the carriage loop, one to the left (north) side of the homestead's front facade. Both are gone now (10/2006). ALso shown is a Lombardy poplar (Populus nigra 'Italica' tree behind (east of) the homestead - now gone. Also shown directly in front of the front steps/door, but on the lawn/carriage loop is a horse drinking trough. This has since been relocated to the NW of the circular drive, aligned with a side drive entrance off Ashcroft Street to the north. (Stuart Read, 13/10/06).
1991+ CalvaryGospel Church moves school function onto the site's northern side.
1992-3 Causeway Church (owners, formerly Calvary Gospel Church), and Bankstown City Council have done conservation/restoration works to the house, built a new church south of the house and pre-school south-west of the house.
(Stuart Read, notes from visits, 10/01; 13/10/06)
Current use: Church, School and Pre-School
Former use: Convalescent home, Homestead

History

Historical notes: On 6 April 1798, George Johnston received a land grant of 172 acres in the district from Governor Hunter. The grant was made up of a number of parcels of land including 12 acres at Marquee Point, 70 acres adjacent to 'Strongs Farm' and 90 acres above 'Red Bank'.

It was on the 12 acre lot at Marquee Point, at the junction of Prospect Creek and the Georges River that Johnston built a simple timber farmhouse building. It was known as Georges Hall. It became an unofficial military outpost and in 1801 it was reported that there were no less than one sergeant and four privates stationed there. George Johnston spent most of his time at his large family home known as Annandale. George Johnston died in 1823 and his son David inherited the Georges Hall property, known as Johnston's Flat and the upper farm or David Banks.

David Johnston married Selina Willey in February 1836 and the couple resided in Georges Hall. However, the land was prone to flooding and it is likely that this led to the construction in 1837 of a new house called Georges Hall, today known as The Homestead.

David and his wife lived at Georges Hall until his death in 1886, three years after his wife. In his will David left his large land holdings to be divided between his children by the Trustees. Two sons, George Robert and Arthur Alfred inherited the Georges River Estates, consisting of 1064 acres, as joint tenants. In 1876 an agreement was made between the brothers that should either of the two pass away the surviving party had the option to buy the other party's share at current market values. It appears that following the death of George, Arthur purchased George's share.

Arthur continued to reside at Georges Hall with his wife until he died in 1907 when he was found in his bedroom having shot himself with a pea rifle. His wife, Maria inherited the property and remained at Georges hall. The property was gradually subdivided and in 1913 the Georgetown Estate was formed. Ralph Johnston controlled the 100 acre property until 1917 when it was sold to Henry Crossing a grazier from Pilliga.

James William Ashcroft and his wife Amelia purchased the property in 1920 residing there for only two years until James Ashcroft's death in 1922. It was then sold to Robert Harvey Layton and during this time the remaining 100 acres was subdivided and a subdivision planned known as the Deepwater Estate.

Layton sold much of the Deepwater Estate including the lot on which the original Georges Hall stood. In 1948 the After Care Association purchased Georges hall for use as a hostel for elderly women. The name 'The Homestead' appears to have come into use by 1946 when a valuation of the house and grounds was conducted. The Association spent 2000 pounds on renovations and other necessary alterations including additional bathing facilities.

In the late 1950's it was decided to built a men's hostel on adjacent land and to finance the project the 14 lots of land around The Homestead was auctioned off. (Lester Tropman and Associates 1987)

Through funding from the Heritage Assistance Program, restoration and archaeological work was undertaken during 1992 and 1993. The building is now used as a school and pre-school and church, operated by Calvary Chapel.

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 (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
It has important associations with the reknown Johnston family. It was the second Johnston house built on this land with the first house being affected by flooding. Its location on the rise above the river and floodplain, demonstrates the settlers adaption to their environment. The homestead is the earliest remaining house in the Bankstown district. It is also evidence of the earliest permanent settlement in the area. (Lester Tropman & Assoc 1987:2)
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
It is associated with the man and family of officer of the Marines Lieutenant, later Major George Johnson, also of "Annandale", to whom the land was granted, his wife Esther Abrahams (Julian), sons George Johnson (jnr) (d.1823), David (who inherited the estate), his wife Selina Willey, their eight children (all had at George's Hall) including two sons who inherited the estate, George and Arthur, Arthur's wife Maria, Ralph Johnson.

It is also associated with the Military, being an unofficial army base in the district.

It is also associated with later owners, being Henry Crossing, James and Amelia Ashcroft, Robert Layton, the After Care Association who ran an elderly women's hostel on site, and now with the Calgary Church.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
It is a fine example of Australian Georgian architecture and retains many of its former qualities and characteristics typical of its period and style. (Lester Tropman & Assoc 1987:2)

Even in its reduced curtilage today, the house retains its traditional relationship to Prospect Creek, the site of the first Johnson land grant and the first homestead. A recreated carriage loop in front of the house, and enframing trees (plantings and natural) provide some sympathetic setting for the house. And some demonstration of common plants in 19th century gardens of this type. (Stuart Read, 2001)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
It is the earliest remaining house in the Bankstown district. (Lester Tropman & Assoc 1987:2)
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The house and its curtilage, although reduced, are a good representative example of early gentry estates in South West Sydney, on early land grants to non-convicts. Many elements remain that are typical, including a circular carriage loop, the relationship of the homestead to the river/transport route, typical plantings of both exotic and remnant indigenous flora, and Georgian architecture and detailing. (Stuart Read, 2001)
Integrity/Intactness: Outbuildings, including a dairy, no longer survive. The coach house and stables were demolished in the 1920s.

The family held the estate until 1911 when it was subdivided as the Deepwater Estate. The family held remiaining land until 1917. From 1949 the house was used as a convalescent home, and there were further subdivisions during 1960-61.

The original Johnson property is now within Kentucky Reserve by Dhurawal Bay. Within that reserve, three large old English Oaks, (Quercus robur) remain which may date to the military use of the site or to the first homestead site. These are now fenced off within the reserve near Lake Mirrambeena.

The Homestead is now owned by the Calvary Chapel Church and they operate a pre-school and primary school in the grounds.

The estate is relatively intact in a much reduced form, in particular the immediate surrounds of the homestead, its relationship to the river, and some remnant landscape elements such as early plantings or their progeny, and a recreated carriage loop on the site of the old one. The rose garden and fence were reinstated in 1992/93. (Stuart Read, 2001).
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 workHeritage Act See File For Schedule.

Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) The maintenance the item where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing material.
(2) Garden maintenance including cultivation, weed control, the repair and maintenance of existing fences, gates and garden walls and pruning and tree surgery, but not including extensive lopping.
(3) Alterations to the interior of the former Ebsworth Hostel.
(4) Change of use.
Aug 4 1989
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 0044802 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0044804 Aug 89 87 
National Trust of Australia register   31 May 76   
Register of the National Estate  21 Mar 78   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenD Sheedy1976National Trust Classification Card - The Homestead
WrittenDamaris Bairstow with Wayne Johnson; Church of the Four Square Gospel1991The Homestead, Georges Hall: archaeological excavation report
WrittenLester Tropman and Associates1987Report on the The Homestead, formerly known as Georges Hall, Georges Hall, Bankstown, NSW Author: NSW Heritage Council.;Lester Tropman & Associates.;
WrittenNoel Bell Ridley Smith & Partners Architects1990Georges Hall Homestead Conservation Study
WrittenWendy Thorp Heritage Consultant - Historical Archaeologist1990Archaeological Assessment - Georges Hall

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: 5045365
File number: S90/03334


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