Fernhill | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Fernhill

Item details

Name of item: Fernhill
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Landscape - Cultural
Category: Historic Landscape
Location: Lat: -33.8251751167 Long: 150.6386152810
Primary address: Mulgoa Road, Mulgoa, NSW 2745
Parish: Mulgoa
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Penrith
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Deerubbin
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT2 DP541825
PART LOT10 DP615085
LOT11 DP615085
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Mulgoa RoadMulgoaPenrithMulgoaCumberlandPrimary Address
Mulgoa RoadMulgoaPenrithMulgoaCumberlandAlternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Angas Securities LimitedPrivate09 Apr 13

Statement of significance:

The Fernhill estate comprises an extensive area of modified and natural landscape which provides the setting for a house completed c.1845 for Edward Cox.

The estate is primarily significant for its landscape which is a rare Australian example of the English landscape school's practice of modifying the natural landscape to create a romanticised natural appearance embellished by a richness of cultural features: for the house which is a fine example of Greek Revival architecture, exceptionally well crafted; and the setting of the estate within the Mulgoa Valley with its modified landscape distinguished by historic colonial era homesteads and the Anglican Church (St. Thomas', Mulgoa).

The estate also demonstrates a unique phase in Australia's history with the rise of the landed pastoral estates, in this instance developed by Edward Cox and his son Edward King Cox (Paul Davies, 2005).

The importance of Fernhill as a group of related sites (along with St. Thomas' Church, Mulgoa, and the Cottage, Mulgoa) is twofold: the landscape is exceptionally significant in its own right irrespective of the buildings, and is as important as the architectural, historic and visual relationships of the buildings themselves.

This group of three sites retain their original visual relationship to each other and demonstrating the ambitions and changes in wealth and status of an important early colonial family (the Coxes) from 1810-1880s. The landscape between the Cottage, the Church and Fernhill has remained virtually unaltered since the 1850s. This landscape is a unique piece of evidence of a very rare attitude in the mid-nineteenth century towards the natural environment.

Fernhill's landscape extends generally from Mulgoa Creek in the east to beyond the ridge of bush behind Fernhill house in the west, from Littlefields Creek in the south to Mayfields Road in the north.

Fernhill setting is an extensive area of modified landscape providing a picturesque approach to the historic Homestead. The landscape is significant for the high degree of creative design achievement, attributed to the original owner, Edward Cox.

It is historically significant for the following reasons:
- the landscape is a rare Australian example of the English landscape school's design technique which modified existing landscapes to create a romanticised natural appearance;
- the landscape demonstrates a cultural phase in Australia when landscape design was influenced by the teaching of Thomas Shepherd who advocated the adaptation of the English design technique.

The landscape contains a richness of cultural features such as:
- long vistas to the Homestead;
- vistas to St. Thomas' (the family) Church spire from the Homestead;
- use of water as a foreground for vistas and views;
- ornamental bridges to articulate enframed views;
and clumps of trees carefully created by thinning of native bushland (RNE)

Fernhill is possibly the only intact early colonial garden laid out on the principles of the English Landscape Garden (a landscape "Park" in the picturesque manner) but relying entirely on indigenous plant material and the process of elimination (thinning and tree removal) rather than planting (Broadbent, J., for the National Trust of Australia (NSW) 1981).

While unfortunately somewhat altered in character and detail, Fernhill's remnant exotic trees of the 19th century garden (Bunyas, stone pines, Chinese elms) around the house and the remnant garden layout are a carefully contrived culmination of the more important landscape drive.

Fernhill was probably one of the last buildings completed in the Colonial period of New South Wales architecture. It was the home of Edward Cox, son of William Cox, and as such is intimately linked with much of the early rural development of the colony. Fernhill property retains most of its rural landscape character, including a visual relationship with the Cox family's earlier house Mulgoa Cottage and church, St Thomas' Church of England. (Report to Heritage Council 1978)

Fernhill was constructed of stone quarried on the site and was probably one of the last buildings to be completed in the noble colonial period. It was at this time that the Greek and Romantic Revival period commenced in which the buildings were constructed of imported materials. (RNE).

Believed to be possibly the finest extant Greek Revival temple house in New South Wales (Fox & Associates 1987: MV-4)

The fact that the house was not completed (it is single storey, and was apparently to be two storied) makes it physical evidence of the depression of the 1840s.
Perhaps most significant is its siting. In the truly picturesque sense, it is sited like a Greek temple, on an acropolis of a site, to command the country for miles around. It is also significant as the home of a prominent settler, Edward Cox. (Stapleton, 1983).
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: House: unknown. Possibly Mortimer Lewis, John Verge or Francis Clarke; Garden: Paul Sorensen (part)
Construction years: 1830-1840
Physical description: SETTING (land area is 325.1ha, after the 1979 subdivision)
Fernhill is in (on the western side of the middle of) the Mulgoa Valley, a picturesque rural landscape retaining a number of significant colonial and later 19th century farm estates, building complexes and areas of natural bushland. The valley is bounded to the west by the Nepean River and the Blue Mountains National Park, to the east it slopes down to Mulgoa Road and merges with the undulating slopes of Western Sydney. It is characterised by predominantly rural landscape and comprises creek flats, gently sloping agricultural land, wooded hills and escarpment areas (Anderson, 2008, modified, Stuart Read, 30/7/08).

LANDSCAPE
Fernhill is a consciously created rural landscape in the English landscape tradition, formed by:
- the process of elimination rather than planting;
- the removal of natives regarded as unpicturesque; and
- thinning to create a park like scene with clumps of rough-barked apples /angophoras left along the drive to the house.

Beyond the avenue of trees the drive crosses the wall of a dammed watercourse. The road continues across two small decorative but massively constructed balustraded bridges and winds upwards below the now partially obscured garden front of the house.

Significant elements are the hill setting of the house and original (southern) entrance drive including the drive, bridges, pond and estate landscaping in English landscape park style. The house, garden and modern works are not significant elements. Mundey's nineteenth century description of Fernhill's landscape being the finest piece of English park like scenery, but with Australian species, in New South Wales, is still arguably true (RNE, based on National Trust (Broadbent), 1981).

DRIVEWAY
The original entrance drive was designed to provide visitors with constantly changing glimpses of the house and its estate. Two damaged but still trafficable sandstone arch bridges on the drive exist. They were unnecessary in an engineering sense as the drive could have been constructed higher up the hill to avoid the shallow gullies which the bridges cross. They were an obvious attempt by the designer to increase the grandeur of the entrance. This contrived landscape is an integral part of the setting of the house and outbuildings (Report to Heritage Council, 1978).

The drive is lined with avenue and specimens and clumps of rough-barked native apple or apple box/oak trees (Angophora intermedia, A.subvelutina, A.costata) contrived to offer occasional glimpses of Fernhill's house and St. Thomas' Church to the east, although the latter views are filtered by regenerating bush. The estate has many mature 19th century native trees, particularly angophoras or apple oaks.

Recent (c1980) stone faced walls and rail fences detract seriously from the historic quality of the planting.

The original drive went from the house to The (/Cox's) Cottage (also once known as Fernhills/Fernhill) (east of the current Mulgoa Road alignment, facing the old Mulgoa Road (now renamed St.Thomas' Road).

The southern of two existing drives goes to the house from Mulgoa Road through (c.1970/80) dry stone walls at the gates.

The northern drive c1970/80 is planted with an avenue of bloodwoods (Corymbia sp.) and runs in a relatively straight line up hill, compared to original (southern) driveway, with its carefully contrived bends to reveal views and hide them (Stapleton, I, 1983 and Stuart Read, pers.comm., 2002).

The northern of the two existing drives passes an orchard plantation area of pecan (Carya illinoiensis) trees and a large rock-faced stable structure to the north. It winds up hill past a large dam to its north and around another smaller dam/large pond to its south but still north of the house, approaching the house by a sloping driveway north-west of both the main house and a second, later house in sandstone with a verandah around it, set on a lower terrace. The drive also passes numerous outbuildings and yards to the west of the house on approach (Stuart Read, pers.comm., 2002, 2009).

DAM ON (the northern) DRIVE
A large dam was formed by the drive crossing Littlefields Creek. Reportedly timber piling was removed in c1980 works and lined with (quite dramatic and tall) stone walling which has changed its character (pers.comm Mr F Gardiner, Manager), The dam was probably original to the drive - it is shown on c1872 plan. It is a similar construction to the dam at The (Cox's) Cottage, Mulgoa to the east (Stapleton, 1983).

STONE BRIDGES ON (Southern/Original) DRIVE
Includes two stone bridges and a dam - all shown on c.1872 plan. Both are very fine ashlar sandstone bridges with buttresses, piers and capped parapets. Architectural design. Both were in poor order (1981) with their downhill sides collapsing. These were presumably built before the house as second storey of house did not eventuate.

GARDEN
North of the main house and between it and the newer second house on a lower terrace to the north (built by Warren Anderson) are a grove of pecan (Carrya illinoiensis) trees, a boundary planting of olives (Olea europaea cv.)(Stuart Read, pers.comm., 11/11/09).

Around the original house is a garden dating from the 1840s, much of it re-designed/planted) by garden designer Paul Sorensen around c1969. The garden's early configuration is now obscured (1981 and 2002 observations), but critical elements of early planting survive as setting for the historic house. Old and substantial exotic or non-locally native trees including Bunya pines (Araucaria bidwillii), stone pines (Pinus pinea), and Chinese elms (Ulmus parvifolia) remain (Stapleton, 1983; confirmed Stuart Read, 19/7/2013)). Other exotic trees of note include coral trees (Erythrina sp.)(Anderson, 2008), pistachios (Pistacia sp.), olives (Olea europaea cv.)(Stuart Read, pers.comm., 11/11/2009).

The Sorensen garden redesign includes terracing to the house's south with a swimming pool on the lower terrace, a long pergola edging a lawn to the house's north edged with trees (including olives and cypresses. A lawn to the east slopes to a large oval pond on the far (east) side of which runs one drive to the house.

In 1969 owner John Darling hired garden designer Paul Sorensen to construct a garden around the house. At that time photographs showed little "development" around the house apart from the carriage loop and dramatic views. Darling and Sorensen were both keen to provide a setting both sympathetic to the house and suitable for modern outdoor living.

Planting then was limited to two jacaranda trees (Jacaranda mimosifolia), one bunya pine, a few smaller trees and a row of struggling Nile/ African lilies (Agapanthus praecox ssp. orientalis). The immediate land was littered with farm structures, tank stands, castor oil bushes and dead wattles. Cattle were roaming through parts of the house at the time.

Sorensen and the Darlings created level lawns around the house by building retaining walls and lots of fill. This in turn required replanning the carriage loop, which was buried in the process of filling. This was replaced with a car court hidden below a retaining wall to the north-east of the house with an approach stair arriving at lawn level near a grove of Chinese elms at the end of an enormous pergola. In this pergola Sorensen (/Darling) reused old architectural elements, sandstone columns from the Union Club, Bligh Street, Sydney (demolished in the early 1960s to build the Wentworth Hotel). These were erected as supports for the heavy timber pergola over which white Wisteria sinensis 'Alba' was planted. This pergola design was very refined, with the timber ends fashioned in a detail sympathetic to the Georgian architecture of the house.

A wide bed of mixed plantings of perennials and shrubs, including camellias and azaleas, forms a backdrop to the pergola when viewed from the house, adding a floral display at this important arrival point to the house.

A swimming pool was installed south of the house, sited so it cannot be seen from the house, even though it is on the central southern axis (bay). It was set at a lower level below a balustraded wall. While flowering shrubs were planted for further screening. A pool house was set below the adjoining upper terrace and is invisible from other parts of the garden.

Hedges were planted as an important garden feature. The rose garden is screened by tall hedges of star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) with the entrance being arched with yellow banksia rose (Rosa banksiae 'Lutea'). Star jasmine was also used to screen a new tennis court to the southwest.

The garden was nowhere near complete when Darling sold Fernhill to Owston Nominees (Warren Anderson), who continued to use Sorensen's services. Later works included provision of an ornamental pool (the dam with island east of the house) and the transplanting of an ancient evergreen magnolia/bull bay (Magnolia grandiflora) from Sydney into the garden.

Much recent (1981) planting and the introduction of unsympathetic landscape elements (walls, gazebo on island in recent dam east of house), etc obscure the significance of the setting and obstruct original panoramic views from the house. (Stapleton, I., for Dept. of Planning 1983)(extensive planting of cypress hedges further block views out/in particularly to/from the north - these were damaged in the 2001/2 summer bushfires. (Stuart Read, pers. comm., 2002)

Shrubs in the garden include a pomegranate (Punica granatum) west of the house, and an area of formal roses on a terrace below and north-west of the house (Stuart Read, pers.comm., 11/11/09).

HOUSE
Fernhill is a single storey ashlar sandstone house. There is a central semi-circular bay on the south-eastern elevation, with a stone flagged verandah, curved timber rafters and the roof of which is supported by stone Doric columns. The extensive cellar features a stone cantilevered stairway. The windows and the entrance on the north-eastern elevation suggest that a verandah along that side of the house was planned but never built. Interior ceilings are lofty as the house was originally designed for two-storeys. Window sills are hewn from the wall of masonry, rather than being separate blocks of stone.

The stone-flagged entrance hall has flattened corners containing round-headed niches which flank the opening into the central hall.

Very fine cedar joinery and papier mache ceiling ornamentation. Also very fine Italian style chimney pieces. All of the living rooms feature elegant architraves. Interior ceilings are lofty as house was originally designed for two storeys. Roof is of corrugated iron.

Elements of the house suggesting the involvement of Mortimer Lewis are: narrow 'slit' side light windows flanking the front door; internal skirting boards with 'window-panelling' insets; papier mache ceiling friezes and roses (from Bealerfeld & Co. in London)(much used in the 1840s, e.g. by Surveyor-General Sir Thomas Mitchell at Parkhall in Douglas Park; who influenced Lewis; and at Government House, Sydney (which Lewis supervised construction of)(NB: these were later removed and the ceilings stencilled); the 'Gothic' black marble fireplace in the major room; the niches and arched vault openings in and off the entrance lobby (as at Garry Owen house in Lilyfield, by Lewis)(Griffin, 2013).

WINGS/ OFFICERS' COURTYARD / TWO STONE GARDEN WALLS
Off the western side of house, joined to its two wings (these are remnants of original officers' courtyard of house) are two stone garden walls - both bent i.e.: cornered - one at right angles. Coursed colonial rubble walls of bush stone. Shaped coping of smaller stones, includes gateway to stable (west of house).

STABLES & COACH HOUSE
A sandstone building from c.1839 is located behind (west of) the main house. A drive runs between it and the house, accessed by a flight of stone steps and terraced lawn and garden areas. The building is thought (Stapleton, 1983) to be a stable and coach house, with fine face sandstone construction, mostly original openings, coach house door original, roof and all other joinery and finishes are c1980.

Facing it across the drive are lemons (Citrus limon) espaliered against wide trellis mounted on walls, likely to have been put in by Sorensen (Stuart Read, visit, 19/7/2013).

STONE BOX DRAIN
Substantial drain with dished bottom and stone sides and top running from back (west) of house under south end of old stable. Possibly main cellar drain. Reportedly discovered in works c1980 (pers. comm., Manager Mr F. Gardiner)(Stapleton, 1983).

ORCHARD
South of the stables and coach house is a hedged sloping area planted with fruit trees. Two large old sweet bay / bay laurel trees (Laurus nobilis) are the oldest surviving plants here (Stuart Read, visit, 19/7/2013).

WINERY RUIN
West of house and stable/ coach house. Coursed and rubble sandstone walls, approx 14m x 8m, originally two stories high. Contained (1981) some old iron machinery including a large (boiling down?) pot. Divided into two rooms, the larger with a two storey space. Except for the dividing wall, the walls are now (1981) reduced to approx. 2.5m height and the sunken floors are filled with rubble. (2002 - all walls c.2.5m high - S. Read). Said to be a winery. There is some documentary evidence of vineyards at Fernhill (Lyth, The Golden South, p173-6) notes a "well kept vineyard".

The property retains most of its rural landscape character including a strong historical and visual relationship with the Cox family's earlier house Mulgoa Cottage and church, St. Thomas' Church of England. The three buildings were originally linked by tree-lined drives, the remains of which bear evidence of an attempt by Cox to create an English-style rural landscape in an Australian setting. The native trees of the area include Angophora subvelutina, a species which approximates the English Oak in size and habit (Stapleton, 1983).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Despite modifications, the overall physical condition is good. Archaeological potential is low.
House renovated and restored c1980.
Park: well maintained as grazing land but a systematic replanting scheme is necessary.
Bridges: in need of restoration.
The final approach to the house has been altered by the removal (covering up) of the carriage loop and the construction of a garden by Paul Sorensen.
The swimming pool interrupts the view from the front garden. (Broadbent for National Trust, 1981).

-Ruin of winery, c.1840s - ruins of walls and machinery, sunken floors;
- miscellaneous drains and walls, c.1840 - generally stone; some only recently revealed;
(s.6.5.4 Mulgoa, of appendix D, Historical Archaeological Component by Wendy Thorp, 8/1986 in Fox & Associates, Heritage Study of the City of Penrith, Volume 2 - appendices).
Modifications and dates: 1840 - construction completed
1930s addition to north-west wing.

1950s Original timber porte cochere over front door on eastern facade removed

Late 1950s lawn lowered and extended as a terrace (C. Betteridge,Heritage Branch note on file - refers to Sorensen/Darling work carried out from c1956-1970).

1962 restoration work undertaken to house - replacement of termite damaged beams with steel beams "where concealed", in roof and floor structure. Floor boards lifed and relaid on new joists where needed. Ceilings replaced throughout. All papier mache mouldings and enrichments were phographed, removed, and refixed to new ceilings. Moulds used to replace unusable sections.

Galvanised iron roof sheeting replaced with slate, slosest approximation to the original shingle roof (stripped c1890). Galvanised iron guttering replaced with copper of same ogee section. External shutters repaired with louvre blades, stiles and rails renewed as needed. Sham porte cochere (timber and flat sheeting) added c1900 was removed (in poor repair with termites), showing up the original arched stone entrance. (Peddle Thorp and Walker for Mr John Darling).

1966 subdivision approved of two lots - a residue lot of 926 acres, and a 25 acre curtilage around house and right of way from Mulgoa Road of varying width (amending the 1960 proclamation of 6 acres of Fernhill as a historic building under the County of Cumberland Planning Scheme/place of historic interest in the Penrith Planning Scheme Ordinance, which included the driveway).

Late 1950s-1969 Then owner Mr Darling and landscape gardener Paul Sorensen undertook extensive garden remodelling close to the house, including filling above the original carriage loop (now a terrace with retaining walls), a swimming pool and tennis court south of the house, large pergola (re-using sandstone columns salvaged from the demolished Union Club in Bligh Street, Sydney (site of the now Wentworth Hotel), extensive shrub planting closer to the house, and dam to the east of the house.

The swimming pool, while not visible from the house (it is at a lower level), interrupts the view of the garden front and the views previously available over the carriage loop to the entire property to the east. Sorensen work included thinning of existing plantings and relocation of many existing shrubs, laying of concrete for a ha-ha wall on the west of the old entrance drive to the east of the house.

C1970 coach house and stables renovated as stables and dwelling. Renovated c1982 to remove dwelling and add further verandahs.

6/12/1979 Subdivision approved of 49.8 hectares (of the 374.9 hectares) in the north-east of the property, for ownership transfer within the Darling family/estate purposes. Land used for horticultural purposes in the form of water storage and plant nursery developments, includes part of the right of way to access house.

House renovated and restored c1980. c1979-81 - two owners, Mr Darling and Mr Anderson (who acquired Fernhill in 5/1980), undertook extensive upgrading and new construction works, including extensive stone faced walls, one along the entire length of the original entrance drive to the house and abutting the stone bridges on the slope to the house, others lining key roads, stone faced entrance piers on the original driveway to Mulgoa Road, stone facing to the old farm dam on the original (southern) entrance driveway and a new road over its new dam wall, several farm buildings, outbuildings west of the house including a games room, tennis court, a barn (sic) on a new (1980) northern driveway to Mulgoa Road, an aviary, racecourse with horse rail fencing, later deer fencing).

Main house walls, manager's residence, garage stone walls and part of the stone retaining walls were high-pressure jet-water-cleaned. New dam constructed on northern side of northern (new) access road. Application to Penrith Council for a nursery on site. Air-conditioning installed in house, leading to some deterioration in sandstone in the cellars.

C1981grading of original (southern) entrance drive, clearing of trees, ripping of areas around house, construction of large dam north-east of house, including diversion of main entrance drive away from the house over the new dam wall. New caretaker's house erected to north-east of the house in the style of Experiment Farm cottage, Parramatta.

Work to address house's/ cellar's rising damp, and remove paint from cedar joinery. Repointing of stonework in cellar. Rebuilding (owner's assertion)/erection (in the Heritage Council's view) of "existing" buildings for games room, alterations to existing stables building, workshop, machinery shed, brick bull shed & silo, erection of gardener's cottage, stone huts in surrounding paddocks, retaining wall and levelling.

Existing sheds and other structures north of the house used as nursery removed, and in 1983 approval given for new stables block (58x27m), mating shed, lunging ring and sand roll to the north-west of the house.

C1980-1990 - extensive cypress hedging planted along fencelines to add privacy to house?/shelter for horses - but also obscuring and blocking important views/vistas. New dam constructed on western hilly section of the property.

2/8/1984 approved a small extension to house service sing for new laundry facilities, and to remove an existing accretion.

2/7/1987 Heritage Council commenced legal proceedings for second instance of substantial unapproved works undertaken on property. (2nd instance was stables to east of house - about half way between house and Mulgoa Road)(1st instance was rebuilding (owner's assertion)/Erection (Heritage Council's view) of "existing" buildings for games room, alterations to existing stables building, workshop, machinery shed, brick bull shed & silo, erection of gardener's cottage, stone huts in surrounding paddocks, retaining wall and levelling.)

12/2001-1/2002 bushfires damaged the property down to Mulgoa Road, but some benefits in killing some of the cypress hedging obscuring/blocking views. Bushland recovering (July 2002, Stuart Read, pers. Comm.).

10/2012: Simon & Brenda Tripp are tipped to have bought (have an option to buy) Fernhill for $45m (SMH/Blok, 2012).
Current use: Residence and horse stud
Former use: Aboriginal land, farm, residence; guest house; plant nursery, chicken hatchery; piggery; stone mason's yard

History

Historical notes: Aboriginal land
The traditional owners of the land now occupied by Cox's Cottage were the Mulgowie people, who became known as the "Mulgoa tribe" (Karskens, 2009, 9).

There is a reference to an attack on the Cox property by Aboriginal people in 1814 (Sydney Gazette, May 1814).

Colonisation
The Mulgoa valley has played an important part in the history of the development of New South Wales. From 1810 Mulgoa was a key area of settlement in the colony (Anderson, 2008).

The first land grant was made by Governor Macquarie to Lieutenant William Cox, a colonial magistrate who promptly registered the property in the parish records in the name of his infant son, Edward (Anderson, 2008).

Cox's Cottage is part of early colonial land grants and purchases to members of the Cox family in the Mulgoa Valley, south of Penrith, eventually totalling some 3,760 acres (Kinhill Stearns, 1983; Bertie 1930, p51). The first of the grants, of 30 acres (12 hectares), made in 1809 to the infant Edward Cox and confirmed by Governor Macquarie the following year (Watson, 1917), became known as 'Fernhills' or 'Fernhill'.

Fernhill estate is located principally on the first land grant made in the Mulgoa Valley (to the infant Edward Cox) dating back to 1809. The name 'Fern Hills' seems to have been given it as early as 1810 (Stapleton, for Dept. of Planning, 1983).

Lieutenant William Cox is perhaps best known for supervising the construction of the first road over the Blue Mountains in the second half of 1814 (Betteridge, 2009). He sailed to New South Wales on the 'Minerva' in 1799. During his 37 years of residence in the early colony, he made a substantial and enduring contribution to its progress in the fields of public administration, building and agricultural development. The Cox family were remarkable 'house and garden' people. During the middle years of the 19th century, William Cox Sr. was at Clarendon, near Windsor; his eldest son William, lived at Hobartville, Richmond; his sons Henry, George and Edward were to build and occupy their respective houses of Glenmore, Winbourne and Fernhill at Mulgoa. Another son, James, settled in Van Dieman's Land, where he built his own magnificent 'Clarendon'. Around all these houses the Cox families created beautiful gardens (Chippindall/Broadbent, 1979, 2).

For some time the property (330 acres) was managed jointly with that of William Cox by the overseer James King with occasional help from Cox's sons, George, Henry and Edward.

c1825 Edward Cox (1805-68) returned from schooling in England (since 1821) and established his separate estate at Fernhill. In 1827 he married Jane Maria Brooks (of Denham Court estate, Ingleburn) and the family lived at The Cottage, Mulgoa (to the east) for many years.

By the late 1830s Fernhill was one of the principal estates in the Mulgoa Valley and included The Cottage site to the east (Stapleton, for Dept. of Planning, 1983). At this time it was one of five properties that had expanded to occupy virtually the entire Mulgoa Valley (Anderson, 2008).

In 1842 Edward Cox began building the sandstone house. It was planned on a large and sophistocated scale and in the Greek Revival style, possibly by colonial architect Mortimer Lewis (Anderson, 2008). The house was completed in 1843 and Edward and Jane Cox moved in then. Above the door is a date of 1842. (Stapleton, 1983)

The architect of Fernhill is not known with any certainty. The house bears features suggestive of the work of Mortimer Lewis and John Verge. The less-well known architect, Francis Clarke, was working in the area at the time of Fernhill's construction and the house may have been designed by him (Report to Heritage Council, 1978).

Lewis' private commissions show a dependence on published sources, identified in recent year by architectural historian James Broadbent. 'Fernhill' and 'Tomago' boast separate entrance and garden fronts at right angles to each other, the garden fronts marked by bay windows. Their plans are probably adapted from the British architect William Wilkins' design for 'Oxberton House', Nottinghamshire, as published by George Richardson in the 'New Vitruvius Britannicus' (1802-8)(Carlin, 2012).

Elements of the house suggesting the involvement of Mortimer Lewis are: narrow 'slit' side light windows flanking the front door; internal skirting boards with 'window-panelling' insets; papier mache ceiling friezes and roses (from Bealerfeld & Co. in London)(much used in the 1840s, e.g. by Surveyor-General Sir Thomas Mitchell at Parkhall in Douglas Park; who influenced Lewis; and at Government House, Sydney (which Lewis supervised construction of)(NB: these were later removed and the ceilings stencilled); the 'Gothic' black marble fireplace in the major room; the niches and arched vault openings in and off the entrance lobby (as at Garry Owen house in Lilyfield, by Lewis)(Griffin, 2013).

The house appears to have been designed as a two storey building. The recession of the 1840s is said to be the reason for its unfinished (one storey) state (Stapleton, for Dept. of Planning, 1983).

20 Irish stone masons were brought out to Australia under the bounty system of immigration for the specific purpose of building the Fernhill house, using sandstone quarried from the local hills. Edward Cox and his family lived in the house from 1843 until his death in 1868, when the property passed to his eldest son, Edward King Cox (Anderson, 2008).

The surviving stable at the rear (west) is said to be built in 1839 and is certainly of the same period as the house.

In the early 1850s the estate was singled out by Governor FitzRoy's aide-de-camp, Col.Godfrey Mundy, for the way in which its landscape had been moulded by thinning the native species.

C1860 it was described as "a modern mansion situated on rising ground with well kept shrubberies, lawns and a well kept ... vineyard".

Following Edward Cox's death in 1863, the property passed to his eldest son, Edward King Cox (1829-1883) of Rawden, Mudgee, who until 1885 carried out at The Cottage, Mulgoa, a noted racehorse stud producing several Melbourne cup winners (Stapleton,1983). E.K.Cox was a breeder of fine race horses and Fernhill Stud produced the first Sydney Cup winner and several Melbourne Cup winners. (Anderson, 2008).

Following E.K.Cox's death in 1883 the estate seems to have been divided.

In 1888 Standish Cox sold the house and surrounding land to Mr Wright of Wright Heaton. For some years possibly due to the recession of the 1890s the house is said to have been uninhabited.

By 1911 the property was owned by R.B.Baynes, Mayor of Mulgoa.

About 1931 the house and 1000 acres was bought by Mr & Mrs Moyse who ran it as a guest house. At that time the building had a galvanised iron roof and a large stone reservoir holding 45,000 gallons.

C1965 Mr John Darling bought the estate. Darling was a World War II figher pilot, a banker, director of resource companies, accomplished international agri-business pioneer and Australian film industry visionary. After World War II Darling married Susie Yencken and they settled at Vaucluse. Weekends were often spent at Fernhill, Mulgoa, which Darling bought in 1956 and gradually restored (Lee, 2015).
C1969 Darling and garden designer Paul Sorensen reworked the garden around the house.

In 1980 the house was sold with 1000 acres to the property developer, Warren Anderson for $2.8m (Dawson, 7/1980, 91).
C1981 and earlier, the house was extensively restored and renovated by former owner Darling and then Anderson. The most notable addition has been the sandstone columns (ex the Union Club, Sydney) in the northern pergola (Stapleton, 1983).

12/2001-1/2002 bushfires damaged the property down to Mulgoa Road, but had some benefits in killing some of the cypress hedging obscuring/blocking views. Bushland is recovering (July 2002, Stuart Read, pers. comm.).

2007-8 Warren Anderson acquired adjoining properties on Fernhill's northern flank, lying uphill and visually prominent to its setting, when seen from the house/drives.

2010: an auction of the collection (1400 lots, reputedly the largest such sale in Australia) of antiques, furniture and artworks belonging to the owners (Warren & Cheryl Anderson) held in June 2010 (SMH, 24-25/4/2010).

2011: property put on real estate market by receivers Korda Mentha (SMH/Blok, 2012).

10/2012: Simon & Brenda Tripp are tipped to buy (have put an option to buy) Fernhill for $45m (SMH/Blok, 2012). The Tripps have been using the estate as a venue for functions, such as picnic race events on the racetrack, 'Tough Mudder' endurance events, concerts and the like.

Fernhill has reputedly been sold for redevelopment as a cemetery (Lucas, 2017, 2). Rookwood General Cemetery RTrust confirmed in May 2017 that a sale has not yet occurred, but it has entered into a six-month exclusivity period which will allow the trust to conduct the required due diligence process, commencing with a period of community consultation, the trust's spokeswoman told the Penrith Press (Petrinic, 2017).

In March 2018 the NSW Government entered a contract to purchase the central precinct of Fernhill Estate to enhance quality green open space for Western Sydney to enjoy for future generations. Minister for Western Sydney and Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres said the purchase of the 385-hectare site for green space is a huge coup. 'The ability to combine heritage, regional open space and a gateway to the Blue Mountains National Park creates a strong tourism opportunity that will be boosted by the development of Western Sydney Airport', he said. 'Fernhill holds a special place in the heart of the Western Sydney community, and now it will be owned by all of NSW.' Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts said Fernhill is next to Mulgoa Village, comprises the heritage-listed homestead, another home and outbuildings, gardens, lakes, paddocks, equine facilities and 2km horse race track.
'The Government jumped on this unique opportunity to buy this significant property to ensure the people of Western Sydney have quality green open space to enjoy for future generations as our city grows,' Mr Roberts said. The Government acquired the property from Angas Securities for $27.25 million. Settlement is likely to occur in the next 3 months with state agencies to develop a management plan for the long term future of the estate (Minster for Planning press release; 15/3/18. Office of Strategic Lands).

Angas Securities (the vendor) seized Fernhill estate from former tycoon Warren Anderson in 2010 and had already reaped more than $9.2m from selling small land parcels, as well as $22m from bio-banking, whereby it sells credits from forest lands to developers. Now it has won preliminary approval to carve up the western precinct of the 384 ha estate. The move would affect about 110ha that would be divided into two allotments of about 55ha each. About 53ha on each side would be protected as bushland but the remaining four hectares would be carved up into home sites with 500 square meter footprints. Angas Securities is also in talks to sell off another parcel, known as the Eastern precinct, that could be subdivided, to another developer. This precinct, comprising two titles, was being sold 'as is' and the group is in negotiation with a potential buyer. 13.14 hectares, being more than 50% of the 25.81ha site (of the homestead) is subject to bio-banking, an Angas Securities spokesperson said. 'In particular, the creek that runs between the homestead and the eastern precinct is bio-banked. This provides a natural barrier that is protected in perpetuity by registered trust', he said. Angas Securities took both the eastern and western precincts to auction in May 2017. It negotiated a sale of the eastern precinct at $7.8m but it did not proceed (Wilmot, 2018, 39).

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. Gardens-
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. Natural - regenerating native flora valued for conservation purposes-
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. Natural - regenerating native flora valued for conservation purposes-
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. Rare and Significant Trees-
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: Natural landscapes valued by 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. Cultural: Conserving and protecting natural features-
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: Plains and plateaux 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. Natural - pre European settlement vegetation-
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. Natural - site important native fauna habitat or food source-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Convict labour-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Creating a gentleman's estate-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Working on private assignment-
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 Clearing land for 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 Farming by detainees and prisoners-
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 Improving agricultural 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 Farming with convict labour-
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 Attempting to transplant European farming practices to Australian environments-
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 Ancillary structures - windmills-
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 Ancillary structures - wells, cisterns-
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 Significant tree(s) providing rural amenity or character-
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 Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes and parklands of distinctive styles-
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 Landscapes of scenic beauty-
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 Landscapes of cultural and natural interaction-
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 Landscapes and gardens of domestic accommodation-
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 Places important in developing conservation processes-
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 Landscapes and countryside of rural charm-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Developing local landmarks-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Working for pastoralists-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Agisting and fattening stock for slaughter-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Modifying landscapes to increase productivity-
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. Guesthouses-
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. Housing for farm and station hands-
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. Housing farming families-
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. Gentlemens Mansions-
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 Villa-
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. Housing famous families-
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 tourist-
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 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 Fencing boundaries - wooden post and rail-
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 Demonstrating Governor Macquarie's town and landscape planning-
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 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 Rural orchards-
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 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-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working on pastoral stations-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - facilitating agriculture-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - town and country planning-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - conserving cultural and natural heritage-
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 - Federation 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. Landscaping - 20th century interwar-
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 - 20th century post WW2-
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 gardenesque style-
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. Architectural styles and periods - Greek 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. Designing landscapes in an exemplary style-
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. Designing in an exemplary architectural style-
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. Architectural styles and periods - colonial homestead-
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 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. 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. Kitchens and servants-
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 on the urban fringe-
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. Living in, adapting and renovating homes for changing conditions-
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 Developing collections of items-
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 Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Commemorating war losses-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Henry Cox, pastoralist-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with George Cox, pastoralist-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Edward Cox, pastoralist-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with William Cox, road builder over Blue Mountains, magistrate, farmer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with William Cox, road builder over Blue Mountains, magistrate, farmer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Aaron Muron Bolot, architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Mortimer Lewis, Colonial Architect, 1796-1879-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Verge, architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Paul Sorensen, landscape architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with R. B. Baines, Mayor of Mulgoa-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Mr and Mrs Moyle, Guest House operators-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Warren Anderson, property developer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with James King, overseer of Cox family farms-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Francis Clarke, architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Edward King Cox, pastoralist and stud racehorse breeder-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Warren Anderson, entrepreneur-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Darling, merchant banker, industrialist-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Fernhill was probably one of the last buildings completed in the Colonial period of New South Wales architecture. It was the home of Edward Cox, son of William Cox, and as such is intimately linked with much of the early rural development of the colony. (Report to Heritage Council 1978)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Fernhill property retains most of its rural landscape character, including a visual relationship with the Cox family's earlier house Mulgoa Cottage and church, St Thomas' Church of England. (Report to Heritage Council 1978)
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 ManagementReview 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 Maintance & Repairs. Refer to standard exemptions gazetted 23 October 1998.

Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
Eradication of noxious animals and noxious plants; Pasture improvement, not requiring substantial clearing of existing vegetation; Stock grazing, not requiring substantial clearing of existing vegetation; Maintenance and repairs to existing farm fences; Maintenance and repairs to existing farm buildings other than the main house and manager's residence; Provision of internal subdivision fences which may be necessary to improve grazing management.
Jul 3 1981
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for commentProposed CMP and Heritage Agreement preparation to guide subdivision, development and ongoing conservation 6/11/2014 Heritage Council Approvals Committee minutes (excerpt): Resolved:

1)to support in principle the proposed process of preparing a conservation management plan for the whole of the remaining estate, supporting other studies and a heritage agreement to ensure the future maintenance and conservation of the property;

2)to note that the Heritage Council will require an endorsed conservation management plan for the property in advance of any development application or amendments to the planning instruments covering this property; and

3)to advise Penrith City Council of the Heritage Council's decision.
Nov 6 2002
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for commentReport on Sustainability Assesment (10/07) supporting proposal for LEP zoning amendment and two proposed residential evelopment areas, adjoining Mulgoa Village & west of ridgeline. Nov 28 2007
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
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for commentSustainability Assessment: Fernhill Estate, January 2008 - additional information Feb 25 2009
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementUpdated CMP and Master Plan for whole estate (beyond SHR curtilage) - PauL Davies P/L CMP - Superseded by August 2014 version. Aug 29 2013
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementFernhill CMP, dated September 2013. Superseded by August 2014 version. Oct 9 2014
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementFernhill CMP for Simon and Brenda Tripp (August 2014 version) Under review. Apr 13 2015

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0005402 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Under consideration for SHR/IHO listingOwner's request for SHR curtilage amendment    
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0005403 Jul 81 973637
Regional Environmental PlanMulgoa Valley REP # 13 11 Dec 87   
Cumberland County Council list of Historic Buildings 1961-67     
Heritage study MV-401 Apr 80 180 
National Trust of Australia register  7506   
Register of the National Estate 310921 Mar 78   
Register of the National Estate  21 Oct 80   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Sydney Regional Environmental Plan - No.13 - Mulgoa Valley1987 Department of Environment and Planning  No
Colonial Landscapes of the Cumberland Plain and Camden, NSW2000 Morris, C., & Britton, G./NSW National Trust (for the Heritage Council of NSW)  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAllen, Trevor, Broadbent, James & Tanner, Howard1969Colonial Gardens (Undergraduate thesis, Univ Syd/Architecture)
WrittenAnderson, Warren2008Fernhill (Presentation Volume/Record)
WrittenBlok, Margie2012'Good things come in trees', in Title Deeds, in Domain, in The Sydney Morning Herald
WrittenBroadbent, James2017'Fernhill - Threatened Landscape'
WrittenCarlin, Scott2012'Lewis, Mortimer' entry, in Goad, P. & Willis, J. (ed.s), The Encyclopaedia of Australian Architecture
WrittenChippindall, Pamela / Broadbent, James1979'Fernhill' entry, in National Trust of Australia (NSW) Inspection no. 274 - Mulgoa Days - Saturday 24/3 or Sunday 25/3/1979
WrittenDawson, Jonathan1980There's just no place like a million dollar house", in 'Sydney Extra', in Sunday Herald
WrittenDirector, Heritage Branch1978Directors Report to the Heritage Council of New South Wales
WrittenDouglas Sanger P/L; Paul Davies P/L; Austral Archaeology P/L; Conacher Travers Environmental Consultants et al.2003Fernhill, Mulgoa NSW: Heritage & Environmental Studies, vol.s 1& 2
WrittenEco Logical Australia Assessment Planning Management2007Fernhill, Mulgoa Valley, Australia: Sustainability Assessment: Fernhill Estate (Project no. 163-001)
WrittenEco Logical Australia P/L2008Fernhill, Mulgoa Valley, Australia - Sustainability Assessment: Volume 4: Addendum
WrittenG. Mundey1850Our Antipodes
WrittenGriffin, Robert2013Historic Houses Trust (of NSW) Members - Colonial Architects of NSW: Southern Highlands & Goulburn, 19th-2st July 2013 (tour notes)
WrittenHeritage Division, OEH paper file: HC32127
WrittenHistoric Buildings Committee1986National Trust Classification Card
WrittenLee, Leonard2015'John Darling, 1923-2015 - World War II ace to film visionary' (obituary)
WrittenLucas, Clive2017'From the President', in National Trust (NSW) Magazine, Winter Calendar of Events: June-August 2017
WrittenLyth,1860The Golden South
WrittenPaul Davies Architects Heritage Consultants2005Fernhill: Mulgoa - 'by far the most lovely and extensive landscape' - a Conservation Management Plan
WrittenPaul Davies P/L2014Conservation Management Plan - Fernhill, Mulgoa, Mulgoa NSW
WrittenPetrinic, Isabel2017'Outcry over plan for cemetery at historic Fernhill Estate' 'Outcry over plan for cemetery at historic Fernhill Estate' View detail
WrittenRatliffe, Richard1990Australia's Master Gardener - Paul Sorensen and His Gardens
WrittenRoxburgh, Rachel1974Early Colonial Houses of New South Wales
WrittenStapleton, Ian for NSW Department of Environment and Planning1983Mulgoa Valley Regional Environmental Study (RES)
WrittenStuart Ayres, Minister for Western Sydney; Anthony Roberts, Minister for Planning; Tanya Davies, Member for Mulgoa2018press release: 'NSW Government purchases historic Fernhill Estate for Open Space' View detail
WrittenTanner, Howard & Begg, Jane1969The Great Gardens of Australia
WrittenUrbis2010draft Conservation Management Plan - Fernhill, Mulgoa
WrittenWilmot, Ben2018'Battle for Fernhill's grounds'

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

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(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: 5045436
File number: EF14/5162; 09/4636; S90/6146


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