Wellington Convict and Mission Site - Maynggu Ganai | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Wellington Convict and Mission Site - Maynggu Ganai

Item details

Name of item: Wellington Convict and Mission Site - Maynggu Ganai
Other name/s: Wellington Valley Settlement, Wellington Aboriginal Mission, Government Farm Site
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Aboriginal
Category: Post-contact Site
Location: Lat: -32.5751816246 Long: 148.9511117630
Primary address: Curtis Street, Wellington, NSW 2820
Parish: Wellington
County: Wellington
Local govt. area: Wellington
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Wellington
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
CROWN LAND7018  1020768
LOT1 DP1104493
PART LOT10 DP1161778
PART LOT11 DP1161778
LOT1 DP129927
LOT2 DP129997
LOT1 DP156995
LOT2 DP156995
LOT3 DP156995
LOT4 DP156995
LOT324 DP43505
LOT355 DP531300
LOT361 DP578699
LOT362 DP578699
LOT37 DP655820
LOT216 DP756920
LOT56 DP756920
LOT58 DP756920
LOT59 DP756920
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Curtis StreetWellingtonWellingtonWellingtonWellingtonPrimary Address
Approximately 3km south of the town of Wellington Mitchell HighwayWellingtonWellington  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

Wellington Convict and Mission Site - Maynggu Ganai is a rare cultural landscape with extensive archaeological evidence of the second colonial outpost established on the frontier west of the Blue Mountains. It was established in the 1820's as a convict agricultural station and by 1827 had become a destination for educated or middle class convicts or "specials". The place was the centre of ongoing first contact between the Wiradjuri and the British settlers. The contact between the two cultures and the way each subsequently evolved is part of the physical history of the place. Occurring on the frontier of the colony the settlement made possible subsequent pastoral expansion. It has the potential to provide rare physical evidence of the way of life at a remote rural convict settlement. The place has very high potential to reveal new information about an inland convict agricultural station; providing material for comparative analysis of later sites.
The convict station later became the first inland Aboriginal mission in Australia and is an early example of the forced institutionalisation of Aboriginal children. The place is of high social and cultural significance to the Wellington Wiradjuri in particular the descendents of those associated with the Mission. The place has social significance for its role as the original Wellington settlement and it plays an important role in defining the cultural identity of the town of Wellington.
Date significance updated: 12 Nov 10
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: 1823-1844
Physical description: C

There are no standing buildings or ruins from the convict or mission occupation. The most important building, Government House, was located on the brow of the hill looking out across the Bell River and the valley. The soil of the site is red clay loam of basaltic origin with a covering of weeds. There are a number of Kurrajong and Ironbark trees on the slopes and on the brow of the hill. There is little other vegetation.

The possible foundations of a number of the original buildings have been tentatively located and identified from the maps of the period and the descriptions of the site given in journals and in reports to the Government and the Colonial Office. Remnants of the settlement include: Government House foundations, about 10cm under the soil and river pebbles at the site on Lot 1 DP 120160; remains of a blue granite path on Lot 58; foundations of two military barracks (No 1 on Lot 1, DP 129997 and No 2 on Lot 355); foundations of two mud huts on Lot 355; three dumps of original handmade bricks at the site of Government House on Lot 1, under trees on Lot 58 and on Lot 50; and Artefactual material (including horseshoes and lengths of chain) which may date from the settlement.

Pioneer Cemetery located on Lot 7018 of DP 1020768 also forms part of the subject site. The cemetery was established by the first commander of the convict station, Lieutenant Percy Simpson, half a kilometre away from the convict settlement. The earliest burial dates from 1825. The cemetery reportedly contains burials of Aboriginal people from the missionary period of the site, along with former missionaries Reverend Watson, his wife Anne and their infant child.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Lots 49-50, 56, 58-59 of DP 756920, Lots 1-2 of DP 129997, Lot 1 of DP 405152 and Lot 1 of DP 120160 have been used mainly for agricultural purposes and are relatively undeveloped. Archaeological relics and deposits (such as the remains of walls, fences, wells, rubbish pits and privies) relating to the early convict station and mission, may be present on these lots. Agricultural activities (ploughing for example) are likely to have disturbed archaeological material located in the upper layers of the soil, on some of these sites. The Maynggu Ganai Historic Site CMP indicates that there has been some displacement of artefactual material as a result of erosion.

Lots 1-4 of DP 156995, Lots 361-362 of DP 578699, Lot 355 of DP 531300, Lot 216 of DP 756920 and part Lot 324 DP 43505 have been substantially disturbed by later development which includes residences and associated structures, industrial and agricultural buildings. As a result of this development and associated landscaping activities, archaeological material present on these sites is likely to be have removed or be found in a disturbed context.

Cypress and Watson Avenue, Wheelers Lane and the Mitchell Highway run through the Wellington Convict and Mission Site. Archaeological relics and deposits may lie under these roads. Road works will have disturbed archaeological material in the upper layers of the soil but deeper deposits may be intact.

Archaeological evidence has been previously identified on a triangle of land between the Mitchell Highway and the Old Bathurst Road alignment has had located on this site.
Date condition updated:04 Oct 01
Modifications and dates: The mission settlement was abandoned in 1844. Following the closure of the mission, the settlement buildings were dismantled for their bricks another materials useful to the residents of Wellington and surrounds.
Current use: Historic Site; Residential Lots
Former use: Government Settlement / Convict Agricultural Station / Missionary/CivilPolice HQ

History

Historical notes: SUMMARY
Wellington was founded as a convict agricultural station in 1823, the only Government settlement after Bathurst, west of the Blue Mountains. In 1827 "special" convicts, i.e. middle class or educated convicts who were thought to be receiving special attention were removed to Wellington to keep them out of sight. By 1831 convicts had erected buildings for the Commandant, military, stores, engineers, blacksmiths, carpenters, government officials and the convicts as well as structures such as a lime kiln and stockyards. From 1825, the settlement also housed the Police Magistrate, several constables and the Mounted Police.
In 1831 the convict agricultural station ceased operation leaving behind only a small military presence. The London based Church Mission Society moved into the settlement to create an Aboriginal mission. The mission was originally attended by two couples Rev William Watson and his wife Ann, who were the first appointed to this position by the London based office, and Rev Johann Handt, a German missionary with experience in Liberia, and his wife Mary Crook, eldest daughter of the renown South Seas missionary, William Pascoe Cook. The missionaries abandoned the settlement in 1844.

DETAILED
The Wellington Valley Settlement Site is located in the valley formed by the junction of the Bell and Macquarie rivers. The original inhabitants of this land are a group of Wiradjuri Aboriginal people here referred to as the Wellington Wiradjuri. The ethnological and archaeological evidence discussed in the Conservation Management Plan for the Maynggu Ganai Historic Site by Griffin NRM (Griffin NRM) shows that there is considerable evidence of the Wellington Wiradjuri's relationship with the land, which includes the Settlement Site, prior to the arrival of Europeans. The journals kept by the missionaries show that the cultural and material practices of the Indigenous inhabitants were continued after the European settlement was established. (Griffin NRM p3-8, 3-12)
In the 1820's settlement by Europeans at Bathurst grew rapidly, the population increased dramatically along with the amount of land occupied and cleared. This caused tensions between Aboriginal people and the colonists, with Governor Brisbane declaring martial law for a period in 1824. Wellington Valley was at this time considered to be the outer limits of the colonial frontier. There was no official settlement in the area apart from some unofficial grazing. (Griffin NRM 3-13)
A government presence was established at Wellington Valley to provide a secure outpost for further settlement and growth of the colony. The valley was occupied as a convict agricultural station in 1823. Lieutenant Percy Simpson was put in command of establishing the settlement and within three years had cultivated 300 acres of land and constructed 40 buildings with the labour of 80 convicts. (Roberts p3) From 1926 the colonial government began winding back the numbers of convicts sent to Wellington with a view to reducing the overall scale of the settlement.
This changed when in 1827 the settlement became the destination for difficult convicts or "specials". The treatment of middle or upper class convicts had been of concern to the colonial administration for some time. There was unease that these convicts were given preferential treatment that did not reflect their criminal status. It was recommended by Commissioner Bigge that they be given light work and banished from the centres of population. From 1827 these "special" convicts were sent to Superintendent John Maxwell at the Wellington Valley Settlement. (Roberts p5)
One of the Overseers at the settlement, George Brown, was convicted of the murder of a seven year old Aboriginal girl. Governor Darling insisted Brown be tried: "the natives should be satisfied that Whites are made answerable for every outrage committed against them." (Governor Darling quoted by Griffin NRM p 3-21) This was an early instance in Colonial Law where the rights of Aboriginal people were upheld.
By 1830 the settlement was becoming "costly and unproductive."(Roberts p5) There were very few convicts remaining at the settlement and the agriculture station finally ceased operation in December 1830. By comparison with other penal settlements such as Port Macquarie, Moreton Bay or Norfolk Island; Wellington was a small enterprise which had minimal support from the Colonial Office. It was established exclusively as an agricultural enterprise (albeit on a small scale) on the inland frontier of the colony, whereas all the others were on the coast. (Roberts p7)
Part of the settlement continued to be used by the government for military use in order to defend the frontier and provide security in the area. The rest of the settlement was given to the Anglican (London) Church Missionary Society.
The first missionary sent to Wellington Valley was John Harper who previously worked at the Blacktown Native Institution. Harper spent 1825 and 1826 at the settlement and published reports about his interactions with the Aboriginal population in the Sydney Gazette. These accounts are the earliest written record of Aboriginal society in this area. (Griffin NRM p 3-18)
The Secretary of State for the Colonies invited the Church Missionary Society to establish a mission for Aboriginal people, giving assurances that it would be supported from public funds. Governor Bourke obtained funding from the Legislative Council and gave the Church Missionary Society permission to occupy the Government buildings in the Wellington Valley convict settlement. The Rev William Watson, a member of the Church of England, and the Rev J C S Handt, a Lutheran minister, together with their wives, arrived in the Wellington Valley on 3 October 1832. The cost of transporting supplies from Bathurst or Sydney was extremely high and as local supplies would reduce the cost, crops of wheat and maize were planted and stock including sheep, cattle and pigs were grazed. Rev Watson became known to Aboriginal people as "Eaglehawk" as he a reputation for kidnapping or removing Aboriginal children to the Mission. (Gunther Diary 1839 and 1840 cited by Harris; cited by Griffin NRM 3-30)
By 1835 the mission station showed prosperity but little evidence of spiritual advancement. There was a growing uneasiness about the effectiveness of the mission and evidence of conflict with the settlers, the judiciary and between the missionaries themselves. Handt and his wife left in 1936 and James Gunther replaced him. William Porter worked as the Agriculturalist from 1838-42. In 1839 the Church Missionary Society decided that the Rev Watson should be removed. Watson went ahead to establish a more successful private mission about four miles from the settlement on the Macquarie River (Apsley Mission). The Rev Gunther continued to operate the mission at the settlement but his annual reports of 1841 and 1842 showed little hope for the success of the venture. The Church Missionary Society withdrew its support and after a personal inspection by Governor Gipps, the Mission Station at Wellington Valley was closed in 1844.

Augustus Earle, painter, visited the site in 1826 as part of his travels with the Beagle. He painted Aboriginal people, the Wellington Caves, Government House and the Wellington area. Conrad Martens, painter, sketched and painted scenes around Wellington in late 1820s and early 1830s.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures-Activities associated with maintaining, developing, experiencing and remembering Aboriginal cultural identities and practices, past and present. Wiradjuri Nation - living on missions-
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 for the Crown-
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 wheat and other grains-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Exploration-Activities associated with making places previously unknown to a cultural group known to them. Routes taken by Surveyor John Oxley-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Science-Activities associated with systematic observations, experiments and processes for the explanation of observable phenomena Researching archaeological relics and landscapes-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Housing the clergy and religious-
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 public servants and officials-
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 Developing and operating mission settlements-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working at enforced labour-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes Incarcerating prisoners-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Conducting missions-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Maxwell, superintendant of convicts, Sptdt. Emu Plains Government Farm 1829-30-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Wellington Convict and Mission Precinct is historically significant as the site of the first ongoing contact between British colonists and the Wellington Wiradjuri. The settlement occurred on the frontier of the colony and made possible subsequent pastoral expansion. The place is historically significant as a remote convict agricultural station for difficult and "educated" convicts. It provides rare physical evidence of the way of life at a rural convict settlement.
The murder of an Aboriginal girl by Overseer Brown and the 1927-28 court case is important evidence of early application of colonial law in relation to Aboriginal people.
The Wellington mission was the first inland mission in Australia and the first of a series of missions around Wellington. The mission archives are in themselves highly significant due to the record of the Wiradjuri culture made by the missionaries, including a record of the Wiradjuri languages. The Wellington mission is historically an early example of the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Wellington Convict and Mission Site is historically associated with the Indigenous people of the Wellington Valley (Wiradjuri) for whom the place was a site of prolonged first contact with the colonists.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Wellington Convict and Mission Site's cultural landscape has some aesthetic value associated with its location on hills overlooking the Bell River and the surrounding mountain peaks and ranges. The landscape is a relatively intact rural colonial landscape which has had minimal change since it was depicted by Augustus Earle in 1826.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Wellington Convict and Mission Site - Maynggu Ganai, is of social and cultural significance to the community of Wellington and the wider Indigenous community. Descendents from the original Wellington Wiradjuri have an association with the place, particularly through the descendants of those associated with the Mission. To tthe Wellington community the place plays an important role in defining the cultural identity of the town of Wellington, as the place where the town originated.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The archaeological remains and documentary evidence relating to the Wellington Convict and Mission Site have the potential to contribute new knowledge about the past of Wellington, and about the history of culture contact, convictism and missions in Australia and in the broader colonial world. The place has very high potential to reveal information that may not be available from other sources. Whilst the written records for the site are extensive and refer to at least 40 buildings, the entire settlement may have had many more structures which can only be found through further archaeological investigation. Existing documentary research is reasonably extensive however the physical evidence of the place has never been fully investigated. The archaeology of the Wellington Convict and Mission Site is likely to reveal otherwise unknown information about rural convicts and cultural exchange between the Wiradjuri and colonists on the frontier. The Wellington mission is one of the earliest mission sites and is likely to be the most intact archaeological site of the early missions. The place has the potential to provide new understanding on the convict agricultural station and early colonial trade and exchange; providing material for comparative analysis of later sites.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Wellington Convict and Mission Precinct is a rare archaeological site. The site was originally a convict agricultural station from 1823 and an Aboriginal mission until 1845. It has the potential to provide rare physical evidence of a convict agricultural station providing a unique opportunity to understand the rural convict. The site also has the potential to provide the earlist surviving physical evidence of an Aboriginal mission, other than Blacktown Native Institution. The Wellington Convict and Mission site was the location of the first Anglican mission and the first inland mission in Australia.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Wellington Convict and Mission Site has the potential to demonstrate aspects of 1820's rural convict stations in NSW and of pre 1850s missions sites in NSW. The site also has the potential to demonstrate aspects of both British and Wiradjuri culture throughout a period when both groups were adapting to changing conditions.( Griffin NRM P6-12)
Integrity/Intactness: The site has a high degree of integrity as a large portion of the site has never been built on. Areas that do have built structures are one phase buildings as their location on the outskirts of a rural town has alleviated any pressure for development.
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:

An Interpretation Plan is recommended by the 2005 Manynggu Ganai Historic Site Conservation Management Plan.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for commentMaynggu Ganai Historic Site, Draft CMP, prepared by Griffin NRM pty Ltd for NPWS, Dated March 2004 CMP received for comment 3 September 2004 Sep 3 2004
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 1. Pest management activities, vegetation operation management provided such works do not entail excavation below the depth of the existing topsoil and excavation does not affect the fabric or significance of archaeological remains. Such activities may include pruning of trees, weed and feral animal/insect eradication, spraying, lawn mowing, cultivation (excluding commercial cultivation and tree planting), fertilising and removal of dangerous trees. Dangerous trees are to be cut off at the base. Stumps are to be left to decay naturally or ground down.

2. Construction and removal of raised garden beds provided such works do not entail excavation below the depth of the existing topsoil and excavation does not affect the fabric or significance of archaeological remains.

3. Excavation or disturbance of land of the kind specified below does not require approval under subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, provided that the Director-General is satisfied that the criteria in (a), (b) or (c) have been met and the person proposing to undertake the excavation or disturbance of the land has received a notice advising that the Director-General is satisfied that:

(a) an archaeological assessment, zoning plan or management plan has been prepared in accordance with Guidelines published by the Heritage Council of NSW which indicates that any relics in the land are unlikely to have State or local heritage significance; or

(b) disturbance of land will have a minor impact on archaeological relics including the testing of land to verify the existence of relics without destroying or removing them; or

(c) a statement describing the proposed excavation demonstrates that evidence relating to the history or nature of the site, such as its level of disturbance indicates that site has little or no archaeological research potential.

Excavation or disturbance of land of the kind specified below does not require approval under subsection 57(1) of the Act:

(a) the excavation or disturbance of land is for the purpose of exposing underground utility services infrastructure which occurs within an existing service trench and will not affect any other relics;

(b) the excavation or disturbance of land is to carry out inspections or emergency maintenance or repair on underground utility services and due care is taken to avoid effects on any other relics;

(c) the excavation or disturbance of land is to maintain, repair, or replace underground utility services to buildings which will not affect any other relics;

(d) the excavation or disturbance of land is to maintain or repair the foundations of an existing building which will not affect any associated relics;

(e) the excavation or disturbance of land is to expose survey marks for use in conducting a land survey.

A person proposing to excavate or disturb land in the manner described in paragraph 1 must write to the Director-General and describe the proposed excavation or disturbance of land and set out why it satisfies the criteria set out in paragraph 1. If the Director-General is satisfied that the proposed development meets the criteria set out in paragraph 1 (a), (b) or (c) the Director-General shall notify the applicant.

4. Maintenance and cleaning of buildings to retain its condition provided such works do not: negatively impact on fabric of heritage significance.

5. Repairs to buildings provided repair work does not: negatively impact on fabric of heritage significance, or entail excavation below the depth of the existing topsoil.
Mar 22 2011

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0185922 Mar 11 292267 &2268
Register of the National EstateNom: 19/01/199810117627 Mar 01 AHC 

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Central West Pilot Program SHRP2001 Heritage Office SHRP  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenDavid A Roberts2000Historical Background of the Wellington Valley Settlement
WrittenGriffin NRM2005Maynggu Ganai Historic Site; Conservation Management Plan
WrittenH M Carey & D A Roberts, eds The Wellington Valley Project. Letters and Journals Relating to the Church Missionary Society Mission to Wellington Valley New South Wales 1830-40

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: 5051556
File number: 98/00398/1 & 2; 10/19014


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