Riversdale | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Riversdale

Item details

Name of item: Riversdale
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Farming and Grazing
Category: Homestead Complex
Location: Lat: -34.7345281261 Long: 149.7387467090
Primary address: Maud Street, Goulburn, NSW 2580
Local govt. area: Goulburn Mulwaree
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Pejar
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT4  220299
LOT1  714378
LOT368  750015
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Maud StreetGoulburnGoulburn Mulwaree  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
National Trust of Australia (NSW)Community Group 

Statement of significance:

Riversdale is a colonial complex of State significance. Its location represents the early foundation of Goulburn town. Its form represents a typical example of the early Australian Colonial house complex with associated gardens, paddocks and outbuildings, together forming an autonomous suburban unit. Of the outbuildings, the stone barn is particularly important for being the only surviving building of the first settlement of Goulburn Plains, established in 1828 and later superseded by the new settlement of Goulburn. Further, the complex of house and outbuildings (including stable) reflects the way of life of the nineteenth century era.

Riversdale, having functioned as inn and a school as well as a residence, has a notable connection with the area's social history over a lengthy period. Its major association is with the term of residence of the Twynam family. Edward Twynam made substantial contributions to the opening up of the south-western regions of the Colony. His family made an important cultural contribution to the life of the district. Riversdale was the second property acquired by the National Trust of Australia (NSW) with the specific purpose of conservation (1992).

Riversdale is an excellent example of a building constructed in the Old Colonial Regency style. It also reflects very well the typical characteristics of wayside inns built during the 1830-1880 period. Riversdale is notable for its decorative qualities, its fine craftsmanship and its finished workmanship throughout.

Riversdale also has historic and aesthetic significance for its partly intact early colonial garden , which has been restored and supplemented since 1967 by National Trust volunteers. Significant plantings remaining are fruit trees planted in the 1840s including a medlar (Mesiplus germanica) which are still in use, an early black locust/false acacia tree (Robinia pseudoacacia), an 1850s line of elm trees, and early Aleppo, Canary Island and Monterey pine trees, holm oaks, honey locust, Irish yew and funeral cypresses.
Date significance updated: 12 Oct 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.

Description

Builder/Maker: John Richards
Construction years: 1828-1840
Physical description: Garden and grounds
The property comprises about 10 acres on the outskirts of the town. Riversdale has a partly intact early colonial garden , which has been restored and supplemented since 1967 by National Trust volunteers, mainly of shrubs, perennials, bulbs fruit and shelter trees (the latter, both coniferous and broadleaf)(Stuart Read, pers.comm.).

Significant tree plantings remaining are fruit trees planted in the 1840s including a medlar (Mesiplus germanica) which are still in use, an early black locust/false acacia tree (Robinia pseudoacacia)(most likely from a former shelter belt), an 1850s line of elm trees behind (north of) the homestead (Ulmus procera), and early Aleppo (Pinus haleppensis), Canary Island (P.canariensis) and Monterey pine (P.radiata) trees, holm/holly/evergreen oaks (Quercus ilex), honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)(also possibly from a former shelter belt), Irish yew (Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata') and funeral cypresses (Cupressus funebris).

Three espaliered apple trees remain from 1918 and the garden reached its peak in the Twynam period of 1872-1969 (Read, 2001, 23).

Homestead Complex:
An old well remains (1840s?).

Barn:
The stone barn is considerably earlier (1828) than the house and is the only surviving building of the 'Old Township' of Goulburn as sited by Macquarie.

House (1830):
Riversdale is a single storey, Colonial Georgian cottage with two wings forming a courtyard at the rear. It is built of brick with an iron roof, (originally shingle), timber floors and cedar joinery. The doors are 8-panelled, double molded (red) cedar and the windows are the usual small panes of glass held in cedar glazing bars. The internal handling of space dates from about 1840.
Architectural Style: Colonial Georgian.
Building Material: Brick with iron roof, timber floors, cedar joinery, 8-panelled doors, double molded cedar (NTA (NSW).

The main front door is crowned with a transom, fanlight and side windows (Rosenlund, 2018, 29).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The stone barn behind the house is probably one of the oldest buildings in Goulburn* .
* (The National Trust, Listing Proposal: 1)

2010-10/2012: Restored garden (by volunteers over two years) wins 'best overall' category in local garden competition, 10/2012.
Date condition updated:05 Jul 00
Modifications and dates: It is very difficult to date the extensive modifications and alterations to the building which have taken place apparently all through its lifetime. L. J. Buckland was continuing a tradition of direct interference with the fabric when he began his restoration works on the National Trust's behalf in 1967 - 68
(Proudfoot, 1983: 8)

Possible modification dates are 1875 - 1967 when the kitchen was probably moved to the east wing of the main house from an outbuilding and this wing modified to accommodate both it and two servant's rooms upstairs. The Western wing was also modified, and may have even been partly rebuilt. Verandahs were added on the Eastern side of the house and the corner room at the extreme south- eastern corner.

(Proudfoot, 1983: p4)

1967 the National Trust reconstituted the Lindesay Garden Group as the National Trust Garden Committee, with Diana Pockley as chair. This Committee's work was broader, including work on replanting the grounds of Experiment Farm cottage, Parramatta, Old Government House, Parramatta and Riversdale, Goulburn. (Simpson, C., 2003)

From the 1830s-50s Riversdale was a coaching inn right next to the old stock route and road to Sydney. This is less obvious today with the re-routing of the main road (Hume Highway) to the east, loss of the boundary fence on the west (old road-side) and rather 'bucolic' current driveway/entrance setting.

1830s - hops were grown and ale brewed for sale in it in its Inn phase.
1840s - oldest remaining plantings (fruit trees including medlar), the black locust/false acacia tree and a well (probably) date from this decade.
1850s - schoolhouse period - most remaining old plantings date from this period. The line of elms at the rear (north), mixture of pine species.

1872-1969 Twynam family period - most of garden remains from this 'peak' period.
1969-2001 National Trust period - volunteers added fruit trees, bulbs, perennials and shrubs to the garden, creating a cottage garden and shrubbery areas full of typical species used in the 19th century in country gardens.
1918 espaliered apple trees planted (remaining) Read, 2001)

2010-2012: volunteers rescue and replant garden - which wins 'best overall' category in local garden competition (NTA, 10/2012 e- news).
Further information: The site of Riversdale is situated at the Northern edge Old Town of Goulburn. This plan was surveyed soon after Governor Darling had gazetted his 1829 Town Planning Regulations, which were introduced as a measure to standardise the establishment of towns in the Colony and facilitate the survey and scale of town allotments, each of which was to be of a standard size and shape.
(Proudfoot, 1983: p4)
Current use: National Trust Property/house museum
Former use: Aboriginal land, hotel/ inn - Victoria Hotel, Prince Albert Inn, Boarding School, country residence

History

Historical notes: Riversdale is on an 1830s grant, on part of the site chosen by Governor Macquarie for the future town of 'Goulburn Plains' (Read, 2001, 23). In 1828/29 allotments were surveyed for a town and a design was prepared by R. Dixon, Associate Surveyor. In 1832 Governor Bourke visited the area and selected another site (the present Goulburn town) to the south-east.

From 1833 to 1837 grants and purchases to Matthew Healy (ex-convict, Irish, entrepreneur, land owner, builder, horse racer and pub owner: Loftus, 2018, 22) were made on condition of erecting a building within 2 years. Said to be the oldest stone structure built in the township of Goulburn, the stables at Riversdale were built by Matthew Healy (or Healey, in 1830 (NTA (NSW) / c.1833: Loftus, 2018, 22) / 1832 (Bligh, 2011).

In the 1830s Riversdale's garden included hops for the ale brewed on site (Read, 2001, 23). Healy is believed to have planted the nearby honey locust tree (Gleditsia triacanthos)(Loftus, 2018, 22).

In 1837 Healy sold 3 parcels of land to John Richards, who then left it to his wife, Ann (Anne: ibid, 2018, 22) Richards. In 1840 Ann appointed trustees and shortly after married Benjamin Gould. In 1848 there was an advertisement placed by Gould in the Goulburn Herald on 5 August 1848 for a verandah dwelling of 14 rooms and stabling for 13 horses. Richards ran the building as a coaching inn (Bligh, 2011). Anne built what is now the homestead, as a coaching inn c1840, leaving her mark with the now fractured but still flourishing medlar tree (Mespilus germanica). She may also have been responsible for the avenue of English elms (Ulmus procera) and a huge Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis) in the front garden. About that time a Chinese elm (U.parvifolia) was planted just outside what is now the homestead's front gate, and two holm (or holly / evergreen) oaks (Quercus ilex) in the parkland (Loftus, 2018, 22-23).

In 1853 Riversdale became a boarding school under David Patterson of Sydney College but soon closed because of an unfortunate riding accident.

Fruit trees surviving may date back to in the mid-1800s (possibly to the 1830s: Rosenlund, 2018, 25). One honey locust tree (a specie used for fast-growing shelter belts: Stuart Read, pers.comm.) remains from that period and the other of Riversdale's oldest trees date from the 1850s schoolhouse period - a line of English elms at the rear (north), a mixture of pine species, including an Aleppo (Pinus halapensis) and Monterey pine (P.radiata) and a long-needled pine, likely to be a Himalayan or chir pine (Pinus roxburghii)(Read, 2001,23). The elms and a medlar (Mespilus germanica) were probably planted in the 1840s (Simon, 2018, 108). A thorny Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) hedge used in colonial times as a fence, survives (perhaps from the 1830s: Rosenlund, 2018, 25).

In 1856 the property was sold to Thomas Bowen, occupation grazier, who sold it the following year to Henry Wilson. Wilson sold it to John Fulljames, a stock and station agent in 1860 and Fulljames added to the property, purchasing eight allotments in addition to the original three (Simon, 2018, 108).

In the 1860s John Richards gave Riversdale its name. He once advertised 'a thousand dozen apples for sale'. The legacy of what must have been a huge orchard remains: a seemingly bent and broken but still fruitful espaliered apple. Three very elderly plum trees in the orchard area were possibly also plantings by Richards (ibid, 2018, 23).

It appears during the 1860s and 70s the house and its site were leased. R. H. Blomfield's family were there during 1870 - 72. During this time John Fulljames, a stock and station agent consolidated the property by adding the surrounding allotments. Fulljames leased the property in 1870s to, and finally sold it to, Edward Twynam in 1875.

Three plum trees (Prunus domestica cv.) from c1860 survive from the Fulljames orchard (Simon, 2018, 108).

Reviewing the occupation of the site up to 1875 and Twynam's purchase opens the possibility of the Mounted Police during the 1830s and 1840s. It is possible the establishment of an inn on the site in the 1840s on Wayo St, closest to the ford across the Wollondilly River. A ford continues to be used, but appears to have changed location to further west by 1845.

Twynam was Acting Surveyor-General from 1887-1890, when the post of Surveyor-General was abolished and he was then appointed to the new post of Chief Surveyor, which he held until his retirement in 1901 (Simons, 2008, 108).

One of the many attractions of Riversdale is its Australian colonial Arts and Crafts heritage, with furniture and tapestries made by the Twynams in an era when it was fashionable for wealthy women to make beautiful things. Carved furniture, drawings and needlework pieces by matriarch Emily - whose work was so fine that she won a prize for her embroidery at the Chicago International Exhibition of 1893 (Rosenlund, 2018, 22).

During the Twynam era which lasted 92 years, from 1875 to 1967, Riversdale achieved its essential character and its garden was expanded, reaching its peak of development. The garden was created by two generations of gardeners, it was once a haven for a family of eight where lavish garden parties were held. The Twynams with six children created a substantial garden of trees, shrubs and perennials, some sourced from other Southern Tablelands gardens such as Lanyon and Tuggeranong (ACT). An important part were raised vegetable plots with trellises of beans and asparagus as well as an orchard of stone fruit.

In 1922 the 'Adelaide Register' reported: 'Surveyor and asparagus: Mr. Twynam, retired Government Surveyor, of Riversdale, Goulburn, NSW, is the owner of the oldest asparagus bed in the Commonwealth. In 1873 Mr Twynam leased the property and in 1875 purchased the estate, which was one of the first homes in this part of the State, and the garden around the old house was then in splendid order, an asparagus bed 30 or 40' long and 15' wide being a feature of the fine vegetable patch. At that time it was the only one outside of Sydney. During the war Miss Twynam sold large quantities of the vegetable, the proceeds going to the funds of the local Red Cross Society (Loftus, 2018, 23).

When Edward Twynam died in 1923, his daughter Alice 'Joan' Twynam (1882-1967) took over the house and garden, using it as a genteel boarding house until shortly before her death, when the family sold it (in 1967: Simons, 2018, 108) to the National Trust of Australia (NSW). During her time at Riversdale, Joan continued to develop the garden, including planting a medlar (Mespilus germanica) and an espaliered apple (Malus domestica cv.) planted by her brother Ned, which, although fragile, survives today (Bligh, 2011). The 'Canberra Times' reported in 1966 that the garden was very neglected and overgrown (Loftus, 2018, 23).

Apple trees (Malus sylvestris cvs and two roses (Rosa cv's) planted by the Twynams survive, as well as a pond, an enormous Wisteria sinensis (ornamental flowering Chinese climber), a handsome Irish yew (Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata') and a graceful American tassel bush (Garrya elliptica) that survive are known to have been there at the time of the Twynams (Simons, 2018, 108).

Before and during the Twynam period of occupation much of the garden was under crops, vegetables and grazing animals, and the front garden was dwarfed by massive pines which have since disappeared (Loftus, 2018, 23)(except for the Aleppo pine: Stuart Read, pers.comm., 3/10/2018). When the National Trust purchased the property in 1967 it was decided to design and build a new garden in keeping with a large Australian property cottage garden c1900-1920 (Loftus, 2018, 23).

In 1967 the National Trust of Australia (NSW) reconstituted the Lindesay Garden Group as the National Trust Garden Committee, with Diana Pockley as chair. This Committee's work was broader, including work on replanting the grounds of Experiment Farm cottage, Parramatta, Old Government House, Parramatta and Riversdale, Goulburn (Simpson, C., 2003).

That year the Riversdale garden was redesigned by Jean Friend (commissioned by the Trust. Friend was an old girl of Frensham School for girls in (Mittagong) the Southern Highlands, source of some of Riversdale's irises (irises were awarded for achievement at Frensham). Frensham's founder Miss Winifred West was a keen gardener and built a magnificent garden there. Many of her pupils who went on to design and build their own gardens, including Beatrice Bligh's at 'Pejar' (Park) (Loftus, 2018, 23) influenced by the style of Gertrude Jeckyll (English Arts & Crafts garden designer, artist, and author, popular after the second world war). There are also echoes of Edna Walling, Australian 20th century (garden) designer, famous for her garden 'windows' (Loftus, 2018, 23).

The formation of a talented and enthusiastic committee of volunteers (including Margaret Burkitt: Loftus, 2018, 24) ensured the property went from strength to strength. A Victorian cottage garden was established full of greys and greens, lavender and silver, with highlights of pink, yellow, white and red, and heritage roses. Fruit trees were added to the surviving orchard (Loftus, 2013, 22). The volunteers planted and maintained the garden, which flourished, using many tough silver-foliaged plants, heritage rose varieties, iris, medlars, Osage orange (Maclura pomifera), pomegranates (Punica granatum), lilacs (Syringa vulgaris cv's), quinces (Cydonia oblonga) and a loquat (Eriobotrya japonica), now a striking feature in the front garden (Simon, 2018, 108).

Most of Riversdale's heritage roses were planted either in the 1970s-80s or more recently, using cuttings from original roses. 'Dr. Huey', which was used widely as rootstock in the 1970s, has grown in some places from the original rootstock. Siz of the new apple trees in the 'new' orchard area are grafts from the old unnamed 1860s-70s espaliered apple on the right of the post-and-rail fence on the property's eastern side. The others are heritage apple varieties donated from a TAFE grafting session held on the property. Brian Faulkner from TAFE donated a medlar grafted onto hawthorn (root)stock, which stands beside the original rootstock of the 1840s medlar (Loftus, 2018, 24).

Riversdale's nursery serves to restock the garden and preserve old plants no longer available or not readily available in large commercial nurseries, and to raise revenue. Nursery stocks include the old-fashioned beauty bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis), catchfly (Silene sp.), snake lily (Arisaema vulgaris), Persian lilac (Syringa persica) and bedding oxalis or wood sorrel (Oxalis sp.), a great favourite in colonial gardens and almost never seen now except in old gardens. There is no potted bamboo which, while true to colonial gardens, is still a dreadful nuisance and has a tendency to 'walk', as it did at Riversdale. It took some time to reduce in area. The nursery has grown from some holm oaks grown from acorns taken from its 1850s specimens - there are fewer than seven known examples of these trees in Goulburn, all planted about the same time (Loftus, 2018, 24).

In the early 2000s, problems the property was leased for a short while as the Trust attempted to resolve the perennial problem of attracting ongoing funding for maintenance of the highly significant heritage in its care. This proved unsuccessful and the experiment was terminated, but not before the volunteer committee had resigned. And then one of the worst droughts in living memory struck (lasting nine years, and bringing severe water restrictions making gardening impossible: Simon, 2018, 108). Goulburn's water table dropped below the level of the Riversdale bore and the town was on level 5 water restrictions (Loftus, 2013, 22). Ten years of drought took a toll. Large trees and special plants died and its beauty faded. The toughest plants struggled on. The Trust employed Debbie Sibbick as new Property Manager and provided support and encouragement (Bligh, 2011).

In 2009, We Love Goulburn, a group of women who undertook volunteer garden restoration and maintenance work at the nearby Goulburn Water Works and elsewhere around the city - started working at Riversdale. They were confronted by an acre of blue periwinkle (Vinca major) and runaway bamboo in the front garden. The periwinkle was removed, taking five months, but still lurks at the back of the garden, says Ros Loftus, part of the initial volunteer group and now employed by the Trust as the property's part-time garden manager (Simon, 2018, 112; Loftus, 2018, 24).

The Friends of Riversdale group was formed as a committee of local volunteers who look after the house and garden. Working with other committee members, 'work for the dole' crews, The Mens' Shed, the 'We Love Goulburn' group and the Southern Tablelands Vintage Farm Machinery club who manage the paddock area. An autumn 2011 appeal raised $25,000 which provided resources to protect the garden by installing an irrigation system. One hundred olive trees (Olea europaea var. europaea cv.) were planted to screen unsightly neighbouring buildings and a pergola was constructed. Soon the re-establishment of the important historic feature of heritage fruit trees and a substantial raised vegetable garden will take place. So in 2011 after years of drought and neglect, Riversdale's garden has been restored (Bligh, 2011).

In 2009 a new Friends of Riversdale committee was formed and volunteers swung into its second wave of restoration in 2010. 'When we started work we had no idea that Jean Friend's 1967 plan existed, so we just looked at old gardens around the area and saw what did well. When we heard about Friend's plan we found it in the house, in a bookcase that belonged to Edward, full of all sorts of things' Ros says. 'We didn't find a plant chart (list), but we discovered her plan and her brief - to design a cottage garden for a large Australian property between 1900 and 1920'. Ros and volunteers tried to remain true to that brief, using a lot of plants that survived through years of neglect. They've taken cuttings, moved things as they multiplied, even brought some things back here from other places. 'One of our volunteers found some gravel underneat the soil (under the periwinkle) and was convinced it must have been a path. We went searching for Jean Friend's map, and sure enough there was a path near that point. Bit by bit on hands and knees, Lois carefully scraped away the soil and uncovered the gravel pathway - now called 'Lois Lane' (Simon, 2018, 112, 114).

Our rugosa rose hedge, near the wedding arch built with funds raised from a Trust appeal, started with 6 poor little plants barely surviving. I had stolen them as suckers from the (Goulburn) Water Works gardens, but then I found out that the Water Works' plants had orgiianlly come from Riversdale, so now they're back' says Ros. 'The irises throughout the garden have all come from an area near the laurustinus (Viburnum tinus) hedge, and the lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina) dottted everywhere is all from one single plant that survived the drought. In the second spring after we'd started clearing (2012), loads of bluebells (Endymion non-scripta) appeared - they'd just been biding their tmie. We ahve many self-seeded species roses (Rosa multiflora) and we are forever takinga sucker of 'Paul Ricault', a really-tough hot pink heritage rose bred in 1845, to fill a gap somewhere' Ros says. 'Other old roses that do well include 'Spray Cecile Brunner', 'Frau Karl Druschki', R.chinensis 'Mutabilis' and 'Dupontii'. A large plot of irises, rugosa roses, Madonna lilies, rock roses (Cistus sp./cv's) and cornflowers (Centaurea) also houses paeonies (Paeonia suffruticosa). Ros had heard that the previous gardening team in the 1980s had dug up and replanted a clump of herbaceous paeonies thought to be 100 years old. A close search located them, desperately in need of care. After liming, replanting, watering and feeding they responded with deep crimson blossoms. 'Miss Emily Twynam was a talented botanical craftswoman, and I like to think that she admired these gorgeous flowers, of the same plants, all those years ago' says Ros. (Simon, 2018, 114, 116: some botanical names added by Stuart Read).

Gravel paths were unearthed and new planting began, transplanting all and sundry from other parts of the garden. The garden now abounds with lamb's ear, catmint (Nepeta faasenii), larkspurs (Delphinium sp.) peonies, delphiniums, poppies (Papaver spp.), sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus cv's), lavenders (Lavandula spp.), South African honey flower (Melianthus major), sages (Salvia spp./cv's), roses, flag iris (I.germanica cv's), ornamental onions (Allium spp.) and perfumed Madonna lilies (Lilium candidum). Since winning the Goulburn district Lilac City Garden Competition Judges' Special Award and Best Overall Garden in October 2012, it has attracted more attention (Loftus, 2013, 22: botanical names added by Stuart Read).

At the beginning of 2013 over 500 people gathered to hear a special Mass in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Catholic Diocese of Goulburn. The gardens were the site of Goulburn's first Catholic Mass, held there in 1833 (Loftus, 2013, 22).

Volunteer Ray Shiel has made Riversdale's vegetable garden his responsibility and transformed it, along with the viability and appeal of the propery. It provides the kitchen and catering team with produce for soups, pie and sandwich fillings, chutneys and pickles (for sale in a shop inside the house: Simon, 2018, 116) that are bringing funds to the property, and re-establishing the property's long tradition of sustainable self-sufficiency. Ray has set up links with groups including the local TAFE School of Horticulture & Primary Production and Goulburn's Permaculture Group, giving demonstrations and workships and supplying the Homestead Markets (on the third sunday of each month (Loftus & Giles, 2014). Riversdale is an off-campus classroom for TAFE Diploma of Horticulture students, and Work-for-the-Dole particpants cut the grass and help with composting and irrigation. In 2018 the tanks were full for the first time in 3 years (Loftus, 2018, 24).

Past the rose and paeony bed is a bed of asparagus, a tribute to an enormous asparagus plot that once existed at Riversdale. When the current team of gardeners took over some years ago, they found no evidence of the once-famed asparagus patch, but asparagus has been replanted in a close-by area. These were sourced from some growing wild near Tuggeranong Homestead, Canberra, where Mary Cunningham (nee Twynam), lived. Her father had sent her asparagus crowns from Riversdale to Tuggeranong by rail, and their journey seems to have had a return ticket (Simon, 2018, 116).

Riversdale received a $2000 grant from Open Gardens Australia allowing construction of a concrete compost bin to recycle green waste from the 10 acre property (including 4 acres of garden) and for demonstrations. The garden was opened through the Open Gardens Scheme for the first time in 2012 with a unique garden fair, for which it won an Australia Day Award (OGA, 2013, 13).

Now into the fifth year of its annual Open Garden Australia day and Vintage Fair, monthly homestead markets were initiated in 2014. Riversdale has now become a regional highlight for its heritage gardens, its own produce and as an example of sustainable gardening. A community building partnership grant enabled construction of a ramp to give disabled access to the toilet block (Silink & Hayes, 2014). In 2015 a Riversdale Growers' and Rare Plant Fair was held in November and Riversdale Victorian Christmas with the house decked in Victorian style. The property promotes sustainable gardening practices while volunteers are creating a local cuisine using garden produce (NTA, 2015, 5).

Riversdale's garden has been transformed from a neglected wasteland in 2009 to winning the Lilac City Festival's Best Heritage Garden Award several times, and the Goulburn-Mulwaree Council Heritage Award for Garden Restoration in 2017. The house is managed by Dawn Giles, who is pleased that much-needed restoration work will commence soon on the interior walls, ceilings and floors of the homestead (Simon, 2018, 116).

Today's award-winning garden is not exactly as it was left by Jean Friend, followed by Margaret Birkitt and a team of gardeners who helped build it. It is maintained by a small number of volunteers, all with different techniques and ideas, who can choose their own 'plot' or contribute anywhere and everywhere. This ensures that, within certain agreed constraints, the garden has not had a chance to stagnate. Riversdale as a cottage garden, has annuals such as poppies, pincushion flower (Scabiosa sp.) and larkspur (Delphinium sp.) go to seed, and weeding has to be done sparingly in some areas. Green waste is composted, pest management is as non-interventionist as possible, and blood and bone - which keeps the rabbits away for a period of time - is used as fertiliser. Its gardeners today use historical methods as much as possible and plant ordinary plants now so out of favour. Mary Twynam (Cunningham) planted forget-me-nots (Myosotis campestris) - the gardeners today have planted swathes of them. ALice Joan loved her garden with its lilies and lavender, lilac and 'Fortune's Yellow' rose- in a letter to sister Mary at Tuggeranong c1897-8 after the family returned from living in Sydney, she says she will have lots of 'swaps'. RIversdale has lilies, lavender, a lilac, and a 'Fortune's Double Yellow' rose on order. Its gardeners accept gifts and swaps of cuttings and plants from other gardeners. In fact we solicit them, because as there were no garden centres operating, this is how a cottage garden would have evolved. At the turn of the 19th century, the family called the property 'Good Old Riversdale'. I like to think that they would still say that, more than a century later (Loftus, 2018, 24).

Under the guidance of Clive Lucas OBE, Honorary National Trust Conservation Architect, the Trust has undertaken much-needed structural, conservation and interpretation works. The project was made possible by a grant from the NSW OEH, and Mrs Jenny Smith, who donated $50k to the conservation of Riversdale and $50k to the Heritage Foundation (NTA (NSW) annual report, in NTA (NSW) magazine, 10/2018, 13).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Gardens-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Other open space-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Plains and plateaux supporting human activities-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Introduce cultural planting-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
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 Clearing land for farming-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Innkeeping-
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 Landscapes and parklands of distinctive styles-
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-
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 Gardens and landscapes reminiscent of an 'old country'-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Agisting and fattening stock for slaughter-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use 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. 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. Hotel 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. Housing farming families-
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 Granting Crown lands for private farming-
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 Indicators of early town planning and the disposition of people within the emerging settlement-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Private education-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Private (independent) schooling-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Educating people in regional locations-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. apdated villa/ cottage for a school-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Edward Twynam, Surveyor-General of NSW, 1870s+-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Riversdale has association with the earliest plan of Goulburn (1829 , Old Goulburn now North Goulburn), and with the early town uses. It also has an association with notable citizens. The Healy/ Richards/ Fulljames/ Twynam allotment was the only major private construction of the Old Town, with the added value of its public function as an Inn and rest house. The property is capable of demonstrating a past way of life, which has significance in the City of Goulburn, the southwest of New South Wales, and for the long period of stable occupation by one notable family. It has in the past been recognised as 'cultural house', which made a positive contribution to the social life of the town and district. The Riversdale sight is further enhanced by its proximity to the Police Barracks, and later the Goulburn Goal, Riversdale also has associations with early figures in Goulburn's development ie Healy, Gould, Levy, Fulljames and Twynam, and the Mounted Police Establishment alongside. (Richards, 1997: Vol. 1, p 41)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Riversdale has come to represent a typical example of the early Colonial suburban house. Its architectural form original materials are both typical and evocative of the mid- nineteenth century Colonial period. The surviving outbuildings associated with the house, particularly the stone barn which pre-date it, provide excellent examples of early service buildings attached to a gentlemen's residence. Riversdale setting on the edge of the Goulburn, slightly detached from the town and close to the Wollondilly River, enhances the autonomous quality that the property possessed throughout its history. (Richards, 1997 1: 43)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The site now embraces some of the land originally used by the Mounted Police stationed at Goulburn. The building formerly connected with this use have now disappeared, but their location is indicated by the early plans. There may have also been earlier buildings, now gone, associated with Riversdale. This endows the site with archaeological significance and potential for archaeological investigation. (Freeman, 1997: Vol.1, p 44)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Riversdale rarity is its historical, social and environment association with the construction of Goulburn as a Town.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Riversdale has come to represent a typical example of the early Colonial suburban house. Its architectural form original materials are both typical and evocative of the mid- nineteenth century Colonial period. (Richards, 1997 1: 43)
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:

Restoring the house and garden to its original state in an effort to represent the conservation and preservation of Riversdale's property and history will promote historical awareness among the community.

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 0150401 Mar 02 541451
Local Environmental PlanGoulburn-Mulwaree LEP 20 Feb 09   
National Trust of Australia register Riversdale2457   
Register of the National EstateRiversdale108821 Mar 78   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Riversdale View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Riversdale View detail
WrittenBligh, Michael2011Riversdale Garden lovingly restored
WrittenHelen Proudfoot1983Riversdale: Conservation analysis
WrittenHelen Proudfoot and Peter Freeman, Conservation Consultants1983Riversdale Goulburn NSW - Conservation Analysis
WrittenLoftus, Ros2018The garden at Riversdale, Goulburn View detail
WrittenLoftus, Ros2013"Riversdale - ready to grow for another hundred years", in 'Trust News Australia' 2/2013
WrittenLoftus, Ros and Giles, Dawn (joint property managers)2014'Ray Shiel - Restoring Self-Sufficienty to Riversdale'
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW)2015'Properties and Collections Highlights', in Annual Report 2015
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW)2000State Heritage Inventory form
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW) Classification Card - Riversdale
WrittenOpen Gardens Australia2013'OGA Grants' in 2013 Open Gardens Guide - Australia
Management PlanPeter Freeman pty Ltd1997Riversdale, Goulburn. Conservation Management Plan.
WrittenRead, Stuart2001'Riversdale' (entry) in 'A tour note book' from "the Off the Beaten Track"
WrittenRosenlund, Kara2018'Into the Future'
WrittenSilink, Richard & Hayes, Gerry2014'Riversdale, Goulburn'
WrittenSimons, Frances2018'The Garden of Small Miracles'
WrittenSimpson, Caroline2003Some Women of the National Trust, in "National Trust Reflections"
WrittenThe National Trust of Australia (NSW)1991Heritage Properties in Australia.
WrittenTracey, Michael and Jennifer, Heritage Archaeology2001Archaeological Assessment and Monitoring, Riversdale, Goulburn, NSW

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5051270
File number: EF10/23970; EF14/4653; S90/129


Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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