Macquarie Grove | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Macquarie Grove

Item details

Name of item: Macquarie Grove
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Cottage
Location: Lat: -34.0425711412 Long: 150.6921601360
Primary address: Aerodrome Road, Cobbitty, Camden, NSW 2570
Parish: Narellan
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Camden
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Tharawal
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT101 DP1121442
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Aerodrome RoadCobbitty, CamdenCamdenNarellanCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Phoebe AtkinsonPrivate 

Statement of significance:

Macquarie Grove is of state heritage significance as part of the Macquarie Grove property, a very early and substantial (400 acres) land grant from Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1812. The property was one of the first allotments granted in the Cowpastures district and Macquarie Grove was the second residence constructed on the property (Hassall Cottage was the original farmhouse built in 1813). Macquarie Grove was, however, the main homestead for the property.

Macquarie Grove also has state heritage significance for its association with a number of prominent people and pastoral families. Originally granted by Governor Macquarie to Rowland Hassall, the property was later owned by Henry Carey Dangar MLC and Arthur Macarthur-Onslow. The Macarthur-Onslow family have been long-standing owners of the property and re-purchased portions of the site from the Commonwealth Government in 1987.

Macquarie Grove, and the greater Macquarie Grove property, also has associations with the establishment of the Macquarie Grove Flying and Glider School and the operation of the site by the Commonwealth Government as an air-force base during World War II. Following the war, the site has been developed into the Camden Airport.
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

Construction years: 1812-1850
Physical description: Overlooking the Nepean River and towards the township of Camden, Macquarie Grove is a picturesque Victorian Rustic Gothic brick cottage residence. Like many Australian versions of the Rustic Gothic style, Macquarie Grove was constructed of brick and stone on a modest scale but with steeply pitched gable roof and highly decorated bargeboards. In keeping with the picturesque style, the house is sited to take full advantage of the aesthetic values of the surrounding natural environment and cultural scenery.

The core of the house is a four-roomed cottage which was extended with balanced wings on either end to create an 'H' plan. The added wings were completed in face brick with plastered window dressings, bay windows, elaborate timber bargeboards with finials, Victorian brick chimneys and a decorative Gothic side porch on the western elevation. The gabled roofs are sheeted with corrugated iron.

Macquarie Grove is complimented by outbuildings (a cottage residence/nursery and garage/studio) that enclose the rear garden.

The property contains a number of significant cultural plantings including an established white cedar tree (Melia azedarach), Common holly tree (Ilex aquifolium) and mature camphor laurel tree (Cinnamomum camphora). It is estimated that the camphor laurel tree dates from the mid-19th century.
Date condition updated:22 Aug 13
Modifications and dates: Early 1900s - construction of outbuildings (brick servant's quarters and weatherboard nursery)

1940s - outbuildings modified to accommodated aviation defence use and brick garage constructed
Current use: Private Residence
Former use: Private Residence, offices for airport administration

History

Historical notes: After settling at Sydney Cove in 1788, the First Fleet soon found the soil unsuitable for farming and looked for more fertile soils beyond the established boundaries of the colony.

By 1795, the settlers had journeyed to the Cumberland Plain and discovered the rich land of the Cowpastures, named after the discovery of a herd of wild cows that had escaped the colony years earlier and wandered west, grazing the land now known as the Camden district.

Following the discovery of the area, the colonial gentry soon regarded it as rich, fertile and suitable land for livestock grazing and pastoral pursuits. The low rambling hills and wide expanses of grass flats were devoid of difficult vegetation and reminded the colonists of the familiar landscape of an English gentleman's park. This environment was considered ideal for the establishment of the wealthy estates so desired by the colonial gentry.

Quickly, the acquisition of land in the district was being sought by private colonists. The newly appointed governor, Lachlan Macquarie, agreed that the northern bank of the Nepean River should be settled and soon had the land surveyed before granting the first of the land allotments to the colonial elite from 1812. These land grants were for large scale allotments and were intended to facilitate large-scale landholdings for the wealthy colonists of the period.

Of these large landholdings, a 400-acre parcel was granted to Rowland Hassall in 1812. Having arrived at Sydney Cove in 1798 with wife Elizabeth and sons Thomas, Samuel Otoo and Jonathon, Hassall was one of the pioneer colonists and quickly established himself as a prominent settler by acquiring, in addition to leasing, large portions of land around Parramatta and Cobbitty. A missionary, sheep breeder and successful pastoralist, Hassall was appointed Superintendent of Government Stock in 1814 and was responsible for the distribution and maintenance of stock in the Cowpastures region (one of the most extensive stock runs in the colony). During his period as Superintendent (1814-19), Hassall was assisted by his second son Samuel Otoo who himself became a pastoralist.

After receiving the 400 acre land grant from Governor Macquarie in 1812, Hassall named the property Macquarie Grove and built the original farmhouse (now Hassall Cottage) in an elevated position beside the Nepean River in c1813.

Governor Macquarie was to visit the farm in 1815 during a tour of the Cowpastures region and, after camping overnight, referred to the property as "Mr Hassall's finely appointed and beautiful farm".

With the development of the farm and the formal establishment of the Camden township in 1840, Hassall went on to construct a larger homestead to the south-west of the original farmhouse'.

Following Rowland Hassall's death at Parramatta in 1820, his son, Samuel Otoo, inherited the Macquarie Grove property and occupied the farmhouse (now Hassall Cottage) with his wife Lucy Mileham and family. At this time, Macquarie Grove was the most established and valuable property owned by Rowland Hassall and Samuel continued to run the property as his father had done.

With the development of the farm and the formal establishment of the Camden township in 1840, Otoo's son James Mileham Hassall constructed a larger homestead on the property to the south-west of the original farmhouse. The new homestead was called 'Macquarie Grove' and the farmhouse renamed 'Lucyville'.

Following Samuel's early passing at aged 33, Lucy remarried and moved away from the property, only returning in the late 1840s to occupy Lucyville following the death of her second husband.

Also at this time, Mileham Hassall, was occupying the Macquarie Grove homestead with his family but, following the damaging floods of the 1860s, James moved his family and leased the property to the schoolmaster William Gordon for its use as a boy's school.

As the Hassall family fortune dwindled, James sold the Macquarie Grove property (and both cottages) to Henry Carey Dangar MLC, the prominent pastoralist, property owner and racing enthusiast in 1877. Macquarie Grove was not intended to be a commercial venture for Dangar but rather to become the family's summer retreat for three months each year and also the produce provider for their Sydney home. As well as producing butter, eggs and poultry, the farm also provided for the farm stock and the retired race and carriage horses that grazed the property.

At this time, a portion of the Macquarie Grove property was used as a rifle range by the Rifle Club of Camden. A horse track was also established to the rear of the cottages.

Macquarie Grove was to have a number of short-term owners after the Dangar period (from James White MLC MLA to Henry Lamont Mackellar in 1896; to David James Maxwell in 1900; to Percy Crossing in 1907; and to James Pritchard in 1913). Finally, Macquarie Grove was purchased by Arthur Macarthur-Onslow (great grandson of the district's pioneer John Macarthur) in 1916 who used the property as a sheep farm and as part of the Camden Park Co-operative Dairy scheme.

Arthur's second son, Edward, attempted but struggled to maintain the farm as his father had and, in 1937, spurred on by his keen interest in aviation, sold the entire sheep flock and converted the former horse racetrack into a private aerodrome. Edward established the Macquarie Grove Flying School which was used for aviation teaching as well as for
recreation and public displays of flying, gliding and parachuting.

At the time, Edward had restored The Groom's Cottage, in which he lived with his wife Winifred, using bricks from the derelict stables and had renamed the property 'April Cottage' after the month they had moved in. However, due to an expanding family, Edward and Winifred 'swapped' residences with Edward's mother Sylvia (widow to Arthur) and moved into Macquarie Grove. Upon settling into her new home, Sylvia renamed the house 'Hassall Cottage'.

Upon completion of a period of initial training, the Macquarie Grove Flying and Glider School was officially opened by the Commonwealth Minister for Civil Aviation, James Fairbairn, on 30 September 1939.

As Edward was enlisted for World War II and was due to leave Macquarie Grove, he decided that, rather than close the aerodrome, he would sign a Gentleman's Agreement with Minister Fairbairn (also a personal friend) in 1939 for the government's occupation and use of the property for the duration of the war. To achieve this, a portion of the neighbouring 'Wivenhoe' property was acquired and the runway extended to a length necessary for use by the Commonwealth Government.

In 1940, the Crown acquired 468 acres of Macquarie Grove for the purposes of defence and aviation during wartime for wartime activities. The Macarthur-Onslow family was to retain only 15 acres (including Hassall Collage but not Macquarie Grove which was reused as officers' quarters).

In late 1942 when the Macarthur-Onslow family returned to the property, No 13 OBU (Operational Base Unit) was firmly established and, after the unfortunate death of Minister Fairbairn in 1940 due to an air crash, any attempts by the family to re-acquire the Macquarie Grove property were in vain.

In a final effort, Edward achieved a five-year lease from 1946 in which he was able to re-open the flying school.

The Australian Air Force remained at Macquarie Grove for some time after World War II and the cottages were only able to be re-purchased (on small land parcels) by the Macarthur-Onslow family in 1987. The remainder of the 468-acre Macquarie Grove property remains under the ownership of the Commonwealth Government which has established the Camden Airport on the site.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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. Residential-
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 land grants-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Civilian Military Force (CMF) activities-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Private sporting facilities-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with the Macarthur - Onslow family dynasty-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Governor (later Maj-Gen.) Lachlan Macquarie, 1810-1821-
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 Rowland Hassall, blacksmith, missionary, grazier-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Macquarie Grove has state heritage significance as part of the Macquarie Grove property. At a substantial 400 acres, the allotment was a very early land grant in NSW and one of the first granted by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in the Cowpastures district.

Allocated to Rowland Hassall in 1812, Macquarie Grove was the second residence constructed on the property (Hassall Cottage was the original farmhouse built in 1813). Macquarie Grove was, however, the main homestead for the property.

The establishment of the Macquarie Grove property predates the formation of the Camden township. The construction of Macquarie Grove occurred during the same period of the establishment of the township (c1850s).
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Macquarie Grove has state heritage significance for its association with a number of prominent people and pastoral families.

The Macquarie Grove property was originally granted by Governor Lachlan Macquarie to Rowland Hassall (a missionary, sheep breeder and later Superintendent of the Cowpastures) who built Macquarie Grove. The cottage was later owned by Henry Carey Dangar MLC (the prominent pastoralist, land owner and racing enthusiast) and finally by Arthur Macarthur-Onslow (great grandson of the district's pioneer John Macarthur).

The Macarthur-Onslow family has had an ongoing association with the Macquarie Grove property since the original purchase of the property by Arthur Macarthur-Onslow in 1916. Although the property has been reduced in size by government acquisition of land, the Macarthur-Onslow family does retain ownership of the original farmhouse and homestead on the property.

Macquarie Grove, and the greater Macquarie Grove property, also has associations with the establishment of the Macquarie Grove Flying and Glider School and the operation of the site by the Commonwealth Government as an air-force base during World War II. Following the war, the site has been developed into the Camden Airport.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Purposefully sited overlooking the Nepean River towards the township of Camden, Macquarie Grove is a picturesque Victorian Rustic Gothic brick cottage residence. Like many Australian versions of the Rustic Gothic style, Macquarie Grove is positioned in its landscape to take in the aesthetic values of the surrounding natural environment and cultural scenery.

Upon visiting the Macquarie Grove property in 1815, Governor Macquarie referred to it as "Mr Hassall's finely appointed and beautiful farm".

The Macquarie Grove property contains a number of significant cultural plantings including an established White Cedar tree (Melia azedarach), Common Holly tree (Ilex aquifolium) and mature Camphor Laurel tree (Cinnamomum camphora). It is estimated that the Camphor Laurel tree dates from the mid-19th century.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
With a longheld use as a private residence, the social significance of Macquarie Grove is limited.

However, Macquarie Grove is widely recognised as an early colonial property and has some social significance for the greater Camden district (once the Cowpastures).
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
As a very early land grant and mid-19th century construction, there is potential for further investigation into the property to reveal new information about its construction and use.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Macquarie Grove is of state heritage significance as a rare surviving example of an early residential homestead built on one of the first allotments granted by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. Granted in 1812, the Macquarie Grove property was one of the first large landholdings of the Cowpastures district.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Macquarie Grove is of state heritage significance as a representative example of an early residential homestead, built on one of the first allotments granted by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1812. This period saw the early development and release of landholdings in the Cowpastures district and the Macquarie Grove property reflect the development of the country estates acquired by the wealthy colonists during this period.
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 Garden maintenance, change of use


Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) The maintenance of any building or item on the site where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing material;
(2) Garden maintenance including cultivation, pruning, weed control, the repair and maintenance of existing fences, gates and garden walls, tree surgery but not including extensive lopping;
(3) Change of use
May 15 1987
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
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site specific exemptions HERITAGE ACT 1977

ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2)
TO GRANT SITE SPECIFIC EXEMPTIONS FROM APPROVAL

Macquarie Grove

SHR No. 493

I, the Minister for Heritage, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, in pursuance of section 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, do, by this my order, grant an exemption from section 57(1) of that Act in respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule "C" by the owner of the land described in Schedule "B" on the item described in Schedule "A".

The Hon Rob Stokes MP
Minister for Heritage

Sydney, 23 Day of June 2014

SCHEDULE "A"

The item known as the Macquarie Grove, situated on the land described in Schedule "B".

SCHEDULE "B"

All those pieces or parcels of land known as Part Lot 101 DP 1121442 in Parish of Narellan, County of Cumberland shown on the plan catalogued HC 2577 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.

SCHEDULE "C"

Works to enclose the verandah (fronting the rear yard) of the cottage outbuilding without altering the existing roofline or masonry walls of the building. Works are to be designed with particular regard to Macquarie Grove and its heritage significance and seeking the advice of an experienced heritage consultant is recommended. Any fixings into the masonry wall involved in the enclosure of the verandah are to occur in the mortar joints to allow for later repairs if required.
Jun 27 2014

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0049302 Apr 99 572323
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0049315 May 87 80 
Local Environmental Plan 004821 Feb 92 0261143
Local Environmental Plan  21 Jul 92   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnnette Macarthur-Onslow2013'Macquarie Grove to Camden Aerodrome' in Camden History: Journal of the Camden Historical Society
WrittenAnnette Macarthur-Onslow2009Macquarie Grove to Camden Aerodrome (Parts 1-6)
WrittenAnnette Macarthur-Onslow & Design 5 Architects2010SHR Nomination (curtilage extension)
WrittenAnnette Macarthur-Onslow & Design 5 Architects2003Macquarie Grove V. Camden Airport
WrittenAustralian Home Beautiful, The (unattributed)1934The Macarthur Onslow Cottage at Macquarie Grove
WrittenCooper, Nora1932'The Home of the Macarthur-Onslows - one oa a series of descriptions of the Historic Homes of Australia'
WrittenFrank Jessup Memories of Macquarie Grove, Camden written for the Camden Historical Society in the year 1960
ElectronicIan Willis2006The Gentry and the Village: Camden, NSW, 1800-1939 View detail
WrittenJD Wrigley (ed), compiled by Camden Historical Society1980A History of Camden New South Wales
WrittenLandarc Landscape Architects for Camden Council2007Camden Significant Tree & Landscape Register (Cobbitty): Significant trees of Camden Local Government Area, under public & private ownership

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: 5045549
File number: S91/02152, HC 860757, 10/19863


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