Bowman House | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Bowman House

Item details

Name of item: Bowman House
Other name/s: Bowman's Cottage
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -33.5949237323 Long: 150.7458456260
Primary address: 368-370 Windsor Street, Richmond, NSW 2753
Parish: Ham Common
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Hawkesbury
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Deerubbin
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOTA DP161485
LOTB DP161485
PART LOT11 DP629453
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
368-370 Windsor StreetRichmondHawkesburyHam CommonCumberlandPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Hawkesbury City CouncilLocal Government26 Mar 99

Statement of significance:

Bowman House is one of the earliest surviving houses in the state. Construction was commenced before 1818 by James Blackman and the house was acquired by George Bowman in 1818. He extended the brick-nog structure and completed it in 4 stages. The cottage was his home until his death in 1878.
(Temple, Minute Paper, 1986)
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.


Builder/Maker: James Blackman
Construction years: 1817-1820
Physical description: With its steeply pitched roof, dormer windows and surrounding stone flagged verandah the cottage typifies the early Australian farmhouse. Its detailing and fitments are colonial Georgian while the walls are brick nogged, a building technique once common in the Hawkesbury district, but now rare. Brick nog houses were built of brick set in a timber frame which was covered externally with weather boards (Mason, 1988).
Modifications and dates: There are few buildings of a similar age which have retained a comparable degree of originality and, ..although Richmond has changed dramatically since the 1820s Bowman Cottage has not.
Conservation of the building was commenced in 1982 and was carried out under the supervision of the Historic Buildings Group of the Department of Public Works (Mason, 1988).

Bowman Cottage is a colonial house of considerable character, though it has been altered superficially in some ways. (The stone flagged verandah has been spoilt by the erection of a partition and by the addition of clumsy bases to the verandah posts. The projecting rooms at each end of the verandah have been cement rendered.) The overhanging slate roof has three gable windows lighting the attic rooms. In the main section of the house the walls are of brick, set in timber uprights and overlaid with wooden planks, a method of building sometimes used by the early settlers. The weatherboard covering protected the soft sandstock bricks from deterioration (Baker, 1967).
Current use: Function centre and tea rooms
Former use: Private residence


The lower Hawkesbury was home to the Dharug people. The proximity to the Nepean River and South Creek qualifies it as a key area for food resources for indigenous groups (Proudfoot, 1987).
The Dharug and Darkinjung people called the river Deerubbin and it was a vital source of food and transport (Nichols, 2010).

Governor Arthur Phillip explored the local area in search of suitable agricultural land in 1789 and discovered and named the Hawkesbury River after Baron Hawkesbury. This region played a significant role in the early development of the colony with European settlers established here by 1794. Situated on fertile floodplains and well known for its abundant agriculture, Green Hills (as it was originally called) supported the colony through desperate times. However, frequent flooding meant that the farmers along the riverbanks were often ruined.

Governor Lachlan Macquarie replaced Governor Bligh, taking up duty on 1/1/1810. Under his influence the colony propsered. His vision was for a free community, working in conjunction with the penal colony. He implemented an unrivalled public works program, completing 265 public buildings, establishing new public amenities and improving existing services such as roads. Under his leadership Hawkesbury district thrived. He visited the district on his first tour and recorded in his journal on 6/12/1810: 'After dinner I chrestened the new townships...I gave the name of Windsor to the town intended to be erected in the district of the Green Hills...the township in the Richmond district I have named Richmond...' the district reminded Macquarie of those towns in England, whilst Castlereagh, Pitt Town and Wilberforce were named after English statesmen. These are often referred to as Macquarie's Five Towns. Their localities, chiefly Windsor and Richmond, became more permanent with streets, town square and public buildings.

Macquarie also appointed local men in positions of authority. In 1810 a group of settlers sent a letter to him congratulating him on his leadership and improvements. It was published in the Sydney Gazette with his reply. He was 'much pleased with the sentiments' of the letter and assured them that the Haweksbury would 'always be an object of the greatest interest' to him (Nichols, 2010).

In marking out the towns of Windsor and Richmond in 1810, Governor Macquarie was acting on instructions from London. All of the Governors who held office between 1789 and 1822, from Phillip to Brisbane, recieved the same Letter of Instruction regarding the disposal of the 'waste lands of the Crown' that Britain claimed as her own. This included directives for the formation of towns and thus the extension of British civilisation to its Antipodean outpost (Proudfoot 1987, 7-9).

Bowman Cottage:
Construction of Bowman Cottage was commenced in 1817 by James Blackman, the local constable and later gravedigger and sexton. Blackman erected the frame of a brick nog cottage during what turned out to be for him an all too brief period of prosperity. He was subsequently dismissed as constable and as a consequence found himself in financial difficulty which resulted in the forced sale of his property to George Bowman.

Bowman completed the cottage by 1820 and by 1824 it had attained its present appearance.

At the time the cottage was built Richmond was still a rustic town made up of clusters of buildings separated by paddocks and dense patches of bush. The bulk of the houses were built to timber and Bowman Cottage was one the few substantial buildings. It was built close to Windsor Street on the edge of two acres of garden and vegetable beds.

A brick stable block stood at right angles to the rear of the house and parallel to this was a timber barn with a cobbled courtyard between. Both buildings have long disappeared except for a small section of the stables which still stands.

The cottage remained in the ownership of the Bowman family until the 1920s when George's twin sons Andrew and Edward began to subdivide the land. By 1930 the cottage was sold and subsequently divided into two semi-detached houses. It remained this way until it was purchased by the Department of Environment and Planning.
(Mason, 1988)

Bowman Cottage in Richmond has a twin located 23 kilometres from Dunedoo in Warrumbungle Shire: the Merotherie Homestead, which George Bowman acquired and extended throughout the nineteenth century in the same style as his house in Richmond. Like his Richmond House, the core of Meruthera Homestead was built by an earlier occupant of the land, in this case, according to family legend, a shepherd who built a small house there in ironwood in the 1820s. George owned the property until his death in 1874 and in 2011 the house and some of the property it remained in the ownership of the Bowman family.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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-
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-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Bowman Cottage is one of the earliest surviving buildings in the state.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The cottage was built by James Blackman, a free settler, businessman, gravedigger and sexton.
It was then acquired by George Bowman in 1818. Bowman came to the colony as a child of three with his parents. He went on to become the first Mayor of Richmond and lived in the cottage until his death in 1878.
(Kingston, 1990)

In addition to being the first Mayor of Richmond, George Bowman was a Member of the Legislative Council, a magistrate, explorer, pastoralist, land speculator, and Elder of the Presbyterian Church.
(Mason, 1988)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
With its steeply pitched roof, dormer windows and surrounding stone flagged verandah the cottage typifies the early Australian farmhouse.
Its detailing and fitments are colonial Georgian while the walls are brick nogged, a building technique once common in Hawkesbury but now rare.
(Mason, 1988)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Bowman family has a long history of distinction and influence in the Hawkesbury region. They are very significant in the history of the growth and development of both Richmond and the Hawkesbury region.
Bowman Cottage is one of the oldest surviving homes in New South Wales and has been in the ownership of the Bowman family until its subdivision and sale in 1930. It was also the preferred and chosen residence of George Bowman, the first Mayor of Richmond, who lived in the cottage until his death in 1878, despite having the means to move to more luxurious lodgings.
(Mason, 1988)
SHR Criteria f)
At the time it was built, Bowman Cottage was one of very few substantial buildings in the Richmond area. Richmond, at the time, was still a very rustic town and made up of clusters of buildings separated by paddocks and dense patches of bush. The bulk of the houses in the area were simply built of timber.
(Mason, 1988)
SHR Criteria g)
The colonial Georgian style of Bowman Cottage is representative of the typical Australian Farmhouse of its time.
(Mason, 1988)
Integrity/Intactness: The cottage was originally earmarked for demolition in order to make way for a housing development. It was saved when it was purchased by the Department of Environment and Planning in 1974, and restored to the tune of $300,000 over time.
(Mason, 1988)
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 work in accordance with conservation plan

Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
The conservation works described in the Conseravtion Plan prepared by the Government Architect's Branch of the Department of Public Works dated 5th September, 1984.
Jan 23 1987
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
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.

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


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0046802 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0046823 Jan 87 160339
Local Environmental Plan  18 Dec 89   
Register of the National Estate  28 Sep 82   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Bowman House View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Bowman House View detail
WrittenDaphne Kingston1990Early Colonial Homes of the Sydney Region 1788 - 1838
WrittenHelen Baker1967Historic Buildings, Windsor and Richmond
WrittenNichols, Michelle, Local Studies Librarian2010Macquarie and the Hawkesbury District (calendar)
WrittenRon Mason, Deputy Manager, Heritage Conservation Branch1988Bowman Cottage - Richmond (Draft for Heritage Conservation News)

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: 5045520
File number: S90/06122 & HC 32153

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