Horsley Homestead | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Horsley Homestead

Item details

Name of item: Horsley Homestead
Other name/s: Horsley Homestead, West Horsley Place
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Farming and Grazing
Category: Homestead Complex
Location: Lat: -34.48595944950 Long: 150.77900000000
Primary address: Bong Bong Road, Dapto, NSW 2530
Parish: Kembla
County: Camden
Local govt. area: Wollongong City
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Illawarra
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT2 DP1018357
LOT240 DP737418


Refer HC 1891
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Bong Bong RoadDaptoWollongong CityKemblaCamdenPrimary Address
Homestead DriveDaptoWollongong CityKemblaCamdenAlternate Address
61 Horsley DriveDaptoWollongong CityKemblaCamdenAlternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Rodney & Mary YoungPrivate12 Mar 99

Statement of significance:

Horsley Homestead is a rare intact example of a 19th century Georgian style farm complex and garden in Illawarra. The property was one of the earliest to be owner occupied and was associated with the Lindsay family who was influential in the dairy industry and region, particularly rural based activities. The property demonstrates building materials, techniques and design used in the Illawarra throughout the 1800’s. The site includes one of the earliest known reinforced concrete silos, the only cow shed known in Illawarra where cattle were individually tethered and an early random rubble stable with timber stalls. The house is a fine example of early 19th century rural architecture with the original detached stone kitchen and separate brick and stone dairy.
Date significance updated: 16 Feb 00
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.


Construction years: 1842-1909
Physical description: Property:
The property consists of a complex of buildings (main homestead and complex of outbuildings associated with the former dairy) in a garden set on a northern slope, with the farm buildings along the ridge line (LEP, 2010).

The property was originally accessed from West Dapto Road to the north, over Robins Creek. Early natural round gate posts identify the entry point to the front yard. A line of fig trees identifies the earliest approach to the property while a later alignment was angled slightly to the west and is likely to date to the use of the creamery as a cheese factory. The house and garden are surrounded by a Tecoma hedge. Other typical 19th century plantings in the garden include a Bunya Bunya Pine and a row of five Morton Bay Fig Trees (now in separate ownership).

The access road was changed to a drive from Bong Bong road to the south. Bong Bong road was proposed in 1861 and an aerial photograph taken in 1948 shows an overgrown, disused track from the north with an older track branched off along the row of fig trees and a clear track in use from Bong Bong Road, entering the homestead along the alignment that is still in use today, adjacent to the west of the stable.

The garden is surrounded by a Cape honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis) hedge. Other typical 19th century plantings in the garden include a Bunya Bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii) and a row of five Morton Bay fig trees (Ficus macrophylla) which are now in separate ownership)(LEP, 2010).

'Horsley' is the main building of a group of early Victorian structures on the dairy farm. It house faces north over Robins Creek with Mount Kembla in the distance (LEP, 2010).

It is a Georgian style building built from lime-washed brick on stone footings with a slate hipped roof (LEP, 2010). It was built in two main stages; Initially c.1842, there was a central hall with two rooms either side. The interior has cedar joinery throughout.

The house was made entirely of mud bricks from the property and the woodwork, including roof battens, is of red cedar. The front elevation very clearly resembled 'Horsley Park', Smithfield (Fairfield, Sydney), which was also a property of William Frederick Weston. The original house had 4 rooms with a central hall, while side wings were added shortly after. The front door is 4 panelled with a fanlight.

The roof is hipped with a gabled roof at each end tiled in slate. Some stone paving remains on the verandah floor.

This was extended by the addition of rooms along the east and west. The back and front verandahs were used to access the later rooms.

Outbuildings and structures:
A brick fireplace is situated to the west of the homestead adjacent a section of intact post and rail fencing." (West Dapto Study, 2006).

Behind the house there is a detached, random rubble kitchen with opposing doors in the southern and northern walls. The interior has a maids room , stone floor and a large open fireplace. It is possible that the kitchen predates the house as the first cottage. Slate roof.

Dairy / Creamery (1842);
There is also a detached dairy (creamery) adjacent to the west of the house constructed from bricks similar to those used in the house. The dairy was converted to a cheese and butter factory in c.1880 using beaded timber partitions. The Dairy has a slate roof. A later addition joins the creamery and homestead.

The farm buildings form a row. The eastern most building is the random rubble stable which retains timber stalls and stone floor. The original slate roof has been replaced with corrugated iron. The loft was used as a corn store.

Mliking Shed:
Across the driveway is a timber framed, corrugated iron milking shed with the bails removed and a chaff cutting area. This is adjacent to a silo.

Concrete Silo:
Early (1909) reinforced concrete silo which has a replacement hexagonal timber roof (LEP, 2010).
'The Silo is about 5 m in diameter and 6.6 m high, and has a pyramidal timber framed roof. The concrete appears to have been made of a mixture of sand and hydraulic lime, without coarse aggregate. The reinforcement comprises vertical wrought iron tees about 600 mm apart and flat wrought iron wires. The whole was then covered in mortar-like concrete about 140 mm thick and the inside and outside surfaces were additionally rendered with a similar mixture. Though it was clearly built by amateurs, this structure was a very early rural example of a new technology. it has suffered badly from what today is called concrete cancer." (Robert Irving, 20th Century Architecture in Wollongong, p. 34).

Cow Shed:
The western most building is a large cow shed built using natural round posts and rails to form two rows of stalls with a central aisle. This is the only local example of a cow shed where the cows were tethered using traditional fixtures.

Other outbuildings include a stable and coach house, former kitchen and maid's room, barn and blacksmith's shed. A small weatherboard shop (1916) is located on site, relocated from Albion Park.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The original 500 acre property has been subdivided multiple times. However the remaining 2.071 hectares contains the original farm buildings and significant landscape elements. The buildings have been well maintained.
Date condition updated:16 Feb 00
Modifications and dates: c.1818 - Site was occupied. The stone rubble kitchen may be an earlier cottage from the establishment phase.
c.1842 or earlier - central hall and 4 rooms. Dairy (creamery); Horsley butter fetched 4 shillings / pound in Sydney in the 1850s; Stables built.

Horsley's floorboards indicate that the residence has been extended at some stage, making it hard to ascribe a date of construction (Davis, 2011).

c.1872 Eastern and western rooms of house added.
1880 - Dairy (creamery) used as cheese factory, access track from north is likely to have still been in use.

1909 - reinforced concrete silo, early for district; ( Alne Bank, Gerringong 1908)
date of milking bail shed / chaff cutting shed, cow shed is unknown, likely to relate to silo.

1971 - cheese and butter making tools donated to Illawarra Historical Society Museum.

c 1980 - Hazeltons Grocery Hardware and Haberdashery shop was moved to Horsley from Albion Park; public WC built; silo re-roofed.
Early/mid 1980s room built between house & dairy, retained dairy as separate building.
Further information: If subdivision occurs infront of the house, to the north, buildings should not encroach so that the view to Mount Kembla from the house is obscured and the five fig trees that denote the earliest driveway should be retained and protected from interference.
Current use: Private residence
Former use: Residence, dairy farm, tearooms, museum, reception venue


Historical notes: William Frances Weston, his wife Elizabeth and son John were amongst the first free settlers in the Illawarra when they took up the 500 acres in 1818. This land was given to them by Governor Macquarie as a 'promise' grant ie - yet to be ratified by King George III.
1826 - W F Weston, aged 33, died at West Horsley Place, which he named after his home in Surrey, leaving his wife and 5 children.
1828 - Census records Elizabeth Weston, widow, 5 children, 500 acres, 40 acres cleared, 25 acres cultivated, 35 horned cattle.
1829 - Neighbour Lt. Molle, complained of bushrangers in the Weston area.
1830 - Elizabeth Weston married a convict, Thomas Williamson.
1841 Census records Williamsons at Horsley and Elizabeth Weston as landlady to 21 tenants.
The farm had become a small village with 84 people in 21 slab houses, some were free, others were convicts.
13.1.1842 - Governor Gipps ratified the promised grant of 1818. It was bequeathed to William and Elizabeth Weston's daughters, Elizabeth and Augusta.
pre 1842 - the first section of the house was built, four rooms and central hall.
1843 - Elizabeth married Andrew Thompson and Horsley became their home.

1866 - John Lindsay bought West Horsley Place from Augusta ,wife of Richard Brooks and the rest of the property soon after. West Horsley Place was renamed Horsley. John's son George Lindsay operated as a dairy farm with a high quality Ayrshire herd. George was a successful exhibitor at the local and Sydney Agricultural Shows. George also purchased a butchery business with three shops, and a piggery for his son John Hessel Lindsay who became a partner in the Illawarra Meat Company.

1947 - George Lindsay died aged 91, and his son Arthur Lindsay inherited the property.
October 1968 - Ron and Judy Holloway bought 27 acres with Horsley homestead from Arthur Lindsay.

1972 - The land was sold to developers, and Horsley, with 2.59 hectares (5.7 acres) was bought by Mr and Mrs C. Neaves for restoration and exhibition. Marlene Neaves set up a Museum at Horsley and conducted tours there until at least 1985. A building called the 'Old Albion Park Store' was relocated onto Horsley's site as part of this museum (Joel Thompson, pers.comm., 4/2/13).

1985/6 - Peter and Prue Fyfe purchased and lived at Horsley and operated a venue for occasions such as wedding receptions. Prue also had a wholesale/retail business in Thai imports.
28/11/1992 - Dr and Mrs Robert Pescud bought Horsley with 2.071 hectares (4.5 acres) as a private home.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 Farming with convict labour-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences (none)-
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 Governor Lt.-Cnl. Sir George Gipps, KB, 1838-1846-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with William Frances Weston,early Illawarra farmer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Andrew and Elizabeth Thompson, Illawarra farmers, Illawarra-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Thomas Williamson, convict farmer, Illawarra-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Elizabeth Weston, Illawarra farmer, landlady-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Lindsay, Illawarra farmer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with George Lindsay, Illawarra dairy farmer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Arthur Lindsay, Illawarra farmer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Ron and Judy Holloway, Illawarra farmers-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Horsley is associated with the Western Family who settled on the property in 1818, one of the first to owner occupiers in the district. It is associated with the clearing lease settlement process, and supported numerous small tenancies, typical of the early 1800s. Horsley is associated with the Lindsay family who were innovative farmers and regional leaders in the dairy industry. Horsley is associated with the evolution of the dairy industry in Illawarra. The region became renowned for progressive herd and pasture techniques enabling it to become a major supplier of milk to the Sydney market.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Horsley is sited on a knoll and forms a visual landmark, made distinctive by the significant elements of its 19th century garden including significant trees; a Bunya Bunya Pine, 5 Morton Bay Figs, Tecoma Hedge and the early farm buildings; the house with a detached kitchen and separate dairy (creamery), stables, milking bail and chaff cutting shed, early silo and cow shed.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The property was operated as a museum followed by a function venue during the 1970s and 80s. The current owners have also opened the house and grounds to the public on a number of occasions to raise funds for others. Earlier owners were publicly minded and held civic roles. Consequently, Horsley is well known and highly regarded by the past and present community. This regard is reflected in the property’s inclusion on all relevant heritage lists.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The silo and chaff cutting area demonstrates the technological shift to improved pasture and all year round nutrient supply for dairy herds. The Illawarra region was quick to invest in improved breeding and feeding of Dairy Herds and the Lindsay family, owners of Horsley, pioneered these techniques in the district. The site has evolved throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries and demonstrates building techniques employed during that time. The site has been occupied since 1818 and remains relatively undisturbed. It is considered to have high archaeological potential.
SHR Criteria f)
Horsley remains as a rare, substantially intact complex of 19th century dairy farm buildings with significant landscape elements, in central Illawarra, which was a major dairying region until the mid 1900s.
The property retains rare examples of dairy related structures including an early reinforced concrete silo, cow shed with tethering fixtures, 19th century stone stable with timber stalls and brick dairy (creamery).
SHR Criteria g)
The site represents the 19th century dairying practises through the building materials, construction techniques and location of the structures within the landscape. The major landscape elements including the Bunya Bunya Pine, Tecoma hedge and natural round gate posts within the site and the row of Morton Bay Fig trees adjoining the site, now in different ownership, represent plants and features used in major 19th century gardens in Illawarra and other rural areas.
Integrity/Intactness: The buildings and their setting remain significantly intact.
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:


Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementCarry out an Archaeological Assessment 
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
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 0013404 Aug 00 1017387
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register - Former 0013402 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0013419 Mar 82 421216
Regional Environmental PlanIllawarra REP No.1 11 Apr 86   
Local Environmental PlanWollongong LEP 2010591326 Feb 10   
Register of the National Estate  21 Mar 78   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Dapto and District Heritage Trail View detail
Written  Horsley Cuttings File
Written  Historic Plans & Maps
WrittenA. Cousins1948The Garden of New South Wales, A History of the Illawarra & Shoalhaven Districts 1770 - 1900
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Dapto and District Heritage Trail View detail
WrittenB Lindsay1934Early land Settlement in Illawarra ISBN 09588028 6 6
WrittenDavis, Joseph2011'Pitfalls of rewriting history' View detail
WrittenM.F. Hutton1986Reading the Rural Landscape of Central Illawarra
WrittenMeredith Hutton2000State Heritage Inventory form
WrittenW.G. McDonald Nineteenth Century Dapto, Illawarra Historical Society Illawarra Historical Society

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: 5045626
File number: S90/03981

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