Cecil Hills Farm | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Cecil Hills Farm

Item details

Name of item: Cecil Hills Farm
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Farming and Grazing
Category: Homestead Complex
Location: Lat: -33.8864538865 Long: 150.8526593150
Primary address: Sandringham Drive, Cecil Park, NSW 2171
Parish: Cabramatta
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Liverpool
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Gandangara
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT163 DP880335
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Sandringham DriveCecil ParkLiverpoolCabramattaCumberlandPrimary Address
Elizabeth Drive (off)Cecil ParkLiverpoolCabramattaCumberlandAlternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Department of Planning and InfrastructureState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Cecil Hills Farm Group is one of the earliest surviving farm complexes in the Liverpool district and has operated as a working farm for over 170 years. The main farmhouse is a rare and unusual example of brick nog construction, retaining much of its earlier detailing. The farm group, although not all dating from the earliest period, is a good example of a large early farm complex with elements spanning the period from 1820 to the present. The farm buildings give context to the house and surrounds allowing a high level of understanding and interpretation of the use of the property. The property was granted to, occupied and farmed by Sir John Wylde, Judge Advocate to Governors Brisbane and Macquarie. He was a significant figure in colonial history, associated with the founding of the Bank of New South Wales and the Australian judicial system.
Date significance updated: 25 Jan 99
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.


Designer/Maker: None - vernacular
Builder/Maker: not known
Construction years: 1818-1824
Physical description: The Cecil Hills Farm Group comprises a complex of rural farm buildings of various dates from the early nineteenth to the early twentieth century. The complex includes a main homestead and a wide range of outbuildings (most of which have been modified) and other ancillary works/structures. All of the buildings are set in a relatively unspoilt, largely rural landscape.

The Cecil Hills Farm Group includes:
1. Main Homestead: a single storey brick nog construction building with hipped iron roof (c.1820s);
2. Rear garage: (possibly the former kitchen block;
3. Stables;
4. Former cow bails;
5. Shearing shed;
6. Other works/structures associated with farming activities (stockyards, sheep dip, gallows);
7. Former sites of buildings and structures;
8. Other outbuildings including a small iron privy and a pair of corrugated iron sheds.

Mature plantings around the house include coral trees (Erythrina sp., probably E.x sykesii)), Moreton Bay fig (Ficus macrophylla.) and kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus)(Stuart Read, pers.comm., 2/3/2012). Other plantings include cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), likely a former hedge species on site (Stuart Read, pers.comm., 14/5/2013).

The complex also contains a recent corrugated iron and steel shed (c.1960s) which is not significant and a fibro outhouse.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The buildings are substantially intact and have been restored in the early 1990s. There may still be some archaelogical potential associated with the site's former use, but it is presumed that potential will be limited due to the extensive conservation.
Date condition updated:02 Feb 99
Modifications and dates: Conservation works undertaken early 1990s.
Further information: The property has been well maintained and conserved in keeping with the existing conservation guidelines. It could be argued that the property is not well served by its current use, as some use needs to be found for the original outbuildings, which are currently empty. It is important that they do not sit vacant without any function to the community. There could be greater returns to the community and DUAP facilitated through the more effective use of the property. The out buildings could be used as part of a community/model/exhibition farm, which may lend itself to being integrated with the current use of the house.

Current Leasee: The Junction Works Inc. - day program for post-school intellectually disabled people.
Current use: Day Centre for the Intellectually and Physically Disabled.
Former use: Farm


Historical notes: The first land grants in the area were made between 1807 and the early 1820s when the area was opened up under Governor Macquarie in his push for new land heading west and south west from Sydney.

The land comprising the property which became known as Cecil Hills was the result of the amalgamation of grants to Joseph Sherrard, Simeon Lord, Thomas Wylde and John Wylde. The grant of John Wylde fronted the Cowpasture Road that linked Prospect to Camden (today's Camden Valley Way) and is approximately 8km west of Liverpool. John Wylde had arrived in the colony with his father Thomas Wylde (and other family members) in 1816.

The family settled in Sydney with Wylde taking up his position as Judge Advocate to the Colony, a position to which he had been appointed while in England. John Truro Wylde was born in 1781 the eldest son of Thomas Wylde. He was ambitious and actively sought a posting to the colonies. Wylde was offered a post in New South Wales which he initially declined on grounds of financial hardship. After offers of financial assistance and relocation costs from the Government he accepted the posting and moved with his brother-in-law to the colony. John received his grant in 1817 and named his property Cecil Hills after his home Cecil Lodge, at Chestnut, Hertfordshire.

John Wylde, who was living at O'Connell Street in the City, took up his grant and by July 1818 had contracted to supply 6,000lbs of meat to the Government stores. This made him the largest recorded supplier of meat at the time. By 1820 Commissioner Bigge noted that Simeon Lord with 4,165 acres and John Wylde with 1,479 were the largest land holders in Sydney. The Wylde family did not live on the property until, at the earliest, July 1824 when he gave notice of leaving his official residence and advertised the disposal of all the household effects from that residence.

It is most likely that the homestead at Cecil Hills was constructed prior to Wylde's moving in. The property had been producing substantial quantities of beef from as early as 1818 indicating that it was well established and had a substantial number of staff to operate the farm activities. By 1828 John had left the Colony and the property was occupied by his wife Elizabeth. There is no indication of how staff were accommodated and there are no remains of structures on the site dating from that period apart from the house (Cserhalmi & Partners, 1996).

Convicted London joiner and carpenter James Gough (1790-1876) who arrived on the Earl Spencer in 1813 got the private commission to built John Wylde's Cecil Hills farmhouse (Dalkin, 2014, 31).

Thomas Wylde sold his city residence in July 1820 and may have moved to Cecil Hills. He died in December 1821 and his property passed to John. In 1831 Sherard sold his adjoining 100 acres to John and Edward Wylde, bringing the property to a total of 3,589 acres.

Wylde retained his properties in NSW until his death in 1859 when they passed to his wife who remained in residence until her death in 1864. They were leased that year and again in 1874. Between 1870 and 1890 various powers of attorney were granted over the property until finally in 1890 the Perpetual Trustee Company took over trusteeship and disposed of it in 1892.

The property was divided into several parcels, many of which have now been resumed for roads and electricity lines. A parcel of 1,878 acres containing the main homestead, changed hands several times and was finally sold to Charles Ward Pye who transferred the property to his sons Henry and Richard. There were further road resumptions in 1943 and 1953 and then in 1965 for a main electricity line across the property.

On the 23rd October 1963 the registered owner of the property became Cecil Hills Pty Ltd. In 1972 the Government compulsorily purchased the property from the Pye family and it has remained in government ownership since that time. The Pye family had operated the property as a beef and sheep farm run by a manager on the site, but did not at any stage live on the holding.

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 (none)-
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 Ancillary structures - wells, cisterns-
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. (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-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Cecil Hills Farm has historical significance as one of the earliest farms in the Liverpool district. The site has further significance for its association with John Wylde, the Judge Advocate to Colony as one of the first (and largest) suppliers of beef to the colony.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Cecil Hills Farm has aesthetic significance as a rare surviving early farm group retaining elements of its original rural setting. The farm buildings give context to the house and surrounds that allow a high level of understanding and interpretation of the use of the property, allowing rare insights into an early working farm.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Cecil Hills Farm has social significance as the former property and then residence of John Wylde and his family. It has further significance for its contribution to the survival of the colony of NSW through beef and mutton production.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Cecil Hills Farm has technical/research significance on a number of levels. Firstly for its demonstration of early colonial building techniques, particularly the now extinct technique of brick nogging. Secondly for its demonstration of colonial farming practices. Thirdly for its demonstration of the evolution of farming practices in NSW from the earliest days of the colony through to the mid twentieth century. Cecil Hills Farms provides a rare insight into the evolution of a working farm over a long period of time.
SHR Criteria f)
Cecil Hills Farm is an extremely rare grouping of substantially intact farm buildings dating from the 1820s through to the early 20th century.
SHR Criteria g)
Cecil Hills Farm is a rare representative example of a substantially intact Colonial farm group associated with the early days of feeding the Colony.
Integrity/Intactness: The Cecil Hills Groups is substantially intact and has retained a high degree of integrity, particularly the main homestead.
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:

Monitoring of use and its impact on the buildings. Ongoing conservation and maintenance of significant fabric and landscape elements under the guidance of the existing conservation plan.

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 0077402 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0077403 Apr 98 64 
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register  11 Feb 99   
Local Environmental Plan 25203 Feb 95   
National Trust of Australia register   01 May 76   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Heritage Inventory Public Presentation Report Sydney Western Sector1991LP0074Not KnownNot known Yes
s.170 Register DUAP1999 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenDalkin, 20142014'James Gough: a very industrious man' (book review: book by Marion Starr)
WrittenJill Bonney P/L1987Department of Environment & Planning Historic Buildings: status report - September 1987
WrittenOtto Cserhalmi & Partners2013Cecil Hills Farm: draft conservation management plan
WrittenOtto Cserhalmi & Partners with Knox & Partners Pty Ltd1996Cecil Hills Farm Plan of Management
WrittenPaul Davies P/L1999Department of Urban Affairs and Planning section 170 Register
WrittenRappoport P/L2006Draft Cecil Hills Farm Conservation Management Plan
WrittenRhett Partridge & Partners, Architects1990Cecil Hills Farm, Cecil Hills, Conservation Plan

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: 5045757
File number: 10/10468; S90/01019

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