Moonby House | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Moonby House

Item details

Name of item: Moonby House
Other name/s: Moonbi Retirement Homes
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -31.0429329722 Long: 151.0629863180
Primary address: New England Highway, Kootingal, NSW 2352
Parish: Moonbi
County: Inglis
Local govt. area: Tamworth Regional
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Tamworth
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT73 DP237123
PART LOT78 DP237123
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
New England HighwayKootingalTamworth RegionalMoonbiInglisPrimary Address
52 Churchill DriveMoonbyTamworth Regional  Alternate Address
NEW ENGLAND HighwayKootingalTamworth RegionalMoonbiInglisAlternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Freemasons Institution of NSWCommunity Group16 Mar 99

Description

Designer/Maker: A.A.Dickson, architect
Builder/Maker: Prince & Young, builders (and sub-contractors: painting, plastering, plumbing, bricklaying)
Construction years: 1895-1896
Physical description: Site and context:
It is well-sited with views across the countryside to the Moonbi Ranges (NTA (NSW), 1974).
Moonby House is now located wtihin a retirement village (EJE, 2001).

Driveway:
Moonby House has a long driveway leading onto Churchill Drive, included as part of its curtilage.

Garden and Grounds:
The house has a surrounding garden and mown 'park', which includes a cemetery area downhill c150m to the north.

A wide paved walk runs from the house, across the carriage drive to a circular paved area, flanked by two flag poles (Stuart Read, from 2008 photographs, Magoffin & Deakin).

Trees appear from 2008 photographs to include Southern nettle (Celtis australis), oleander (Nerium oleander), either stone pine (Pinus pinea) or Aleppo pine (P.halapensis),silky oak (Grevillea robusta), bottlebrush (Callistemon sp.) and eucalypts (Eucalyptus spp.)(Stuart Read, pers.comm., 9/1/2018).

Cemetery:
Includes the grave (or possibly only monument) to John Gill (1823-89) and wife Mary Jane (1832-69) with inscriptions also on the memorial column to Robert Alfred Orville Gill (1855-1906). Betty Kathleen, eldest daughter of Robert & Fanny Gill (1884-89) and Alice Emily Gill (1857-59). There are also three additional small headstones. The monuments are in the mown grass 'park', with several mature trees, bounded by a post and wire fence which is taken as the boundary of the house curtilage (Magoffin & Deakin, 2008, 2).

Buildings:
House (1895-6)
Moonby House is representative of the development of the pastoral expansion of the Parry Shire, and an outstanding example of a pastoral manor house in Federation Filigree (EJE, 2001) / Victorian Italianate style (Magoffin & Deakin, 2008, 2). A substantial, well-detailed house featuring an interesting transitional architectural style (NTA (NSW), 1974).

Stables Block:
Included in the curtilage (but not in the CMP) south of the house is a single storey (and attic) brick building which was a coach-house/stables, currently used as a meeting room (Magoffin & Deakin, 2008, 2).
Current use: Seniors retirement village
Former use: Aboriginal land, colonial pastoral station

History

Historical notes: Through the process of "squatting" on Crown Land, squatters had occupied most of the Peel Valley and adjacent Moonbi ranges by the late 1830s (EJE, 2001).

By 1848 Henry Dangar had formed the "Moonbi" run of 10,240 hectares. Dangar was Company Surveyor for the Australian Agricultural Company and was the influencing factor in convincing Edward Parry (company agent for the Australian Agricultural Company) to exchange the coastal and mountainous lands at Port Stephens for the better pastoral lands of the Peel Valley (ibid, 2001).

The lease was acquired from Dangar by Dr John Gill in 1855. Later that year he purchased 294 hectares straddling Moonbi Creek, between Moonbi and Kootingal, this included the site of the current Masonic Retirement Cetnre. Gill's son, John Maunder Webb Gill was born later in1855, in the original house known as 'Moonby'. LMW Gill went to England for his tertiary education and didn not return to Moonby; he died in 1935 (Magoffin & Deakin, 2008, 3).

The original house known as 'Moonby' (presumably built 1855) was on the Moonby Creek flats, it had timber floors with some timber slab and some brick external walls, sawn-pine internal walls and timber-framed shingle roof, subsequently covered with corrugated iron; it eventually contained sixteen rooms and a detached kitchen block. It is not known how much of the house was completed while Dr Gill lived there (ibid, 2008, 3).

The land was leased in 1858 by John Gill (no relation of Dr John Gill). John Gill eventually extended his pastoral holding to 114,000 acres in the Tamworth, New England and Liverpool Plains areas. He was a member of the NSW Legislative Assembly from 1882-85. He died in Armidale in 1889 (ibid, 2008, 3).

Pastoral runs were open range country, with a head station that was the heart of the enterprise. Moonby House was erected by the Gill family, which had made their money both from mail contracting and from pastoralism. This was the expression of that wealth at the end of the nineteenth century. Robert Alfred Orvill Gill built the (second) house in 1895/96, of double brick made near the river, on the property Tangelwood (ibid, 2001). It was completed by 11/12/1895 for Robert Alfred Orville Gill, son of John Gill, and Robert's wife, Frances. It was designed by Mr A.A. Dickson architect and built by Prince and Young Builders, with sub-contract work by Turton & Co. (painting and plumbing), Mr Herbert (plastering) and WIlliam Collier (bricklaying) (ibid, 2008, 3).

In 1939 part of the then Keith Gill Estate had been sold and in 1946, on instructions of the Perpetual Trustee Company, auctioneers Lowlock and King sold six further lots including Lot 4, 867 acres which contained the two-storey house, 14 paddocks and a three-stand woolshed (ibid, 2008, 3).

The first Moonby House, on the Moonby Creek flats, was apparently demolished in about the 1960s (ibid, 2008, 3).

In 1970 Charles Wilkinson sold the property to Artificial Breeders International P/L of Victoria (ibid, 2008, 3), who restored the house and made it the administrative office headquarters of a cattle artificial insemination centre (ibid, 2001). The house was converted to offices, laboratories and accommodation; a cottage and cattle yards were also built (ibid, 2008, 3).

In 1977 the Masonic Lodge conceived to change it to a retirement village. In 1978 the Freemasons Benevolent Institution of NSW purchased the property to establish the Northern Inland Masonic Retirement Centre - as a residential aged care facility. At the time of the study Moonby house was still being utilised for that purpose (ibid, 2001).

The current Aged Care Hostel and associated facilities was subsequently built. In 1984 twenty new self-care units, 'John Oxley Court' were opened, on the access road west of Moonby House. In 1988 the Northern Inland Masonic Lodge Retirement Centre (NIMRC) made Moonby House its administrative headquarters (ibid, 2008, 4).

In 2002 a new Dementia Care HOstel was built east of the hostel building (ibid, 2008, 4).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Private farming-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Agroforesty-
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 Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Significant Places: How are significant places marked in the landscape of Parramatta by, or for, different groups?-Monuments and Sites
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-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Country Homes-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Pastoral Homestead-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. 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. Adapted heritage building or structure-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Farm homestead-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Housing the prosperous - mansions in town and country-
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 Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal 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 Early farming (Cattle grazing)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Henry Dangar MLA, Government Surveyor 1820s+, Colonial politician 1845-51-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with the Gill family, graziers-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Robert Alfred Orvill Gill, mail contractor and grazier-

Recommended management:

Section G of Magoffin & Deakin's 2008 CMP addresses management in detail in five sections.

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 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 0006102 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0006124 Sep 82 1294486
Local Environmental Plan  16 Oct 87   
National Trust of Australia register NTA (NSW) Country Register408611 Feb 74   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Parry Heritage Study2001KOO-001AEJE Heritage P/LEJE Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Objections made to the proposal to make a permanent conservation order in respect of the buildings (being the house and former stables), known as 'Moonby House'
WrittenFerry, J., (2001)1988Parry Shire Thematic History - The Changing Scenes of Kootingal ...to 1988
WrittenMagoffin & Deakin Pty Ltd.2008Conservation management plan for Moonby House, New England Highway, Kootingal

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: 5045526
File number: EF14/5709; HC32073; S90/6189


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