Oran Park | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Oran Park

Item details

Name of item: Oran Park
Other name/s: Catherine Park House
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Farming and Grazing
Category: Homestead Complex
Location: Lat: -34.010493 Long: 150.748645553859
Primary address: 112-130 Oran Park Drive, Oran Park, NSW 2570
Parish: COOK
County: CUMBERLAND
Local govt. area: Camden
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Tharawal
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT1175 DP1208873
PART LOT1177  1208873
PART LOT1 DP1213590
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
112-130 Oran Park DriveOran ParkCamdenCOOKCUMBERLANDPrimary Address
677 Camden Valley WayOran ParkCamdenCookCumberlandAlternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Harrington Estates (NSW) Pty LtdPrivate20 Oct 14
Hixson Pty LtdPrivate 

Statement of significance:

Oran Park is of state heritage significance as an early surviving cultural landscape in NSW. Part of a 2000 acre land grant, awarded by Governor Lachlan Macquarie to William Douglas Campbell in 1815, Oran Park represents the colonial development of the Cowpastures district in the early to mid-19th century and demonstrates the emergence of country estates for the prominent and wealthy members of the colony.

Oran Park retains a number of layers of fabric that demonstrates the evolution of the property and its use over the last two centuries.

Oran Park is of state heritage significance for its association with a number of prominent people, including: William Douglas Campbell (recipient of original grant and owner of Harrington Park, 1815-27), Edward Lomas Moore (wealthy grazier and large landholder in Campbelltown district, 1871-82) and the Honourable John Dawson-Damer (engineer and motor racing enthusiast, 1969-2002).
Date significance updated: 28 Jun 07
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: 1837-1946
Physical description: Site and setting:
Approached up a long straight driveway from Oran Park Drive and terminating in a formal carriage loop, Oran Park house is positioned on a prominent natural knoll surrounded by open paddocks and rural landscape. Its siting in the landscape makes Oran Park house a visually dominant structure and affords it views from and towards the surrounding historic estates.

The Oran Park property retains the main house, coach house, silo, gardens, paddocks and driveways.

Paddocks:

Driveways:
Two driveways mark changes in access to Oran Park house over time. The older driveway runs on a diagonal from south-east to north-west, from close tot he corner of the former Cow Pasture Road (now Camden Valley Way) to the homestead. This was lined in the 1920s with inter-planted avenue of South African yellowwood / outeniqua (Afrocarpus falcatus) and native Port Jackson cypress pine (Callitris rhomboidea).

The other driveway runs south-north off former Cobbitty Road (now Oran Park Drive) to the homestead. This was lined in part in the mid-late 20th century with a mixture of eucalypt species (Stuart Read, pers.comm.). Existing eucalypts (mature in 1947) west of this western, newer driveway.

Garden:
The homestead is surrounded by a large country garden, chiefly lawns with scattered shrubberies and specimen trees. Some trees are mature and date either to the Victorian or Edwardian eras, such as a Bunya Bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii) and Mediterranean cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) and white cedar trees (Melia azederach var. australasica). Also prominent are old Brazilian Peppercorn trees (Schinus molle var. areira);

A 20th century planting south-west of the house is Hoop pine (A.cunninghamii). Also prominent are maturing Chinese elms (Ulmus parvifolia). Much of the garden around the house reflects mid-late 20th century plantings and replantings made by the Dawson-Damers. These include Cape chestnut (Cupania capensis). Garden shrubs include a hedge of mature Cape honeysuckle/tecoma (Tecomaria capensis), South African wintersweet/ dune poison bush (Acokanthera oppositifolia), climbing/hairy aloe (Aloe ciliata), African boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum) (a popular hedge species) and geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum cv's). A kitchen garden area is to the west of the house, flanked by Cape honeysuckle hedging and fences (Stuart Read, pers.comm.).

Homestead:
Oran Park is a two-storey residential dwelling with rear wing. Originally constructed in the Victorian Italianate style, the house underwent significant modifications in the Inter-War period and now has a Georgian Revival appearance. At the rear of the house, the courtyard is enclosed by masonry walls. A well or cistern is beneath the paving of the rear courtyard. A caretaker's cottage is located to the rear of Oran Park house.

Coach House:
The coach house, located to the east of the main house, is a single storey (originally two storey) building constructed of the same sandstock bricks as Oran Park house.

Silo:
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Oran Park house is in generally good condition. On-site caretakers provide ongoing maintenance and security for the house.
Modifications and dates: 1907-37 - Essington Moore undertook some modifications on Oran Park house, including reconfiguring the roof and removing the lantern in the 1930s).

1937-45 - Hubert Harry Robbins undertook significant alterations and additions at Oran Park House and converted the Victorian Italianate house into a Georgian Revival style building. The rear basement was converted to a garage.

1960 - Oran Park converted into 26 hobby farms.

1961 - Trotting track and 18-hole golf course established. Oran Park house converted to gold clubhouse.

1969 - John Dawson-Damer restored Oran Park house and coach house and reinstated historic driveway to Cobbitty Road (now Oran Park Drive). Constructed swimming pool to west of house.

1990 - Further renovations undertaken by the Dawson-Damer family.
Current use: Private residence
Former use: Private residence, golf clubhouse and course

History

Historical notes: After settling at Sydney Cove in 1788, the First Fleet soon found the soil unsuitable for farming and looked for more fertile soils beyond the established boundaries of the colony. By 1795, the settlers had journeyed to the Cumberland Plain (to the west) and discovered the rich land of the Cowpastures, named after the discovery of a herd of wild cows that had escaped the colony years earlier and wandered west, grazing the land now known as the Camden district.

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

Quickly, the acquisition of land in the district was being sought by private colonists. The newly appointed governor, Lachlan Macquarie, soon had the land surveyed and began granting land allotments to the colonial elite.

In 1815, Governor Macquarie granted a 2000 acre parcel of land to Captain William Douglas Campbell, a member of the British merchant navy, who named the estate Harrington Park. The land on which Oran Park house now resides was, during Campbell's time, open cleared land for pastoral cultivation and livestock grazing.

Upon Campbell's death in 1827, Harrington Park underwent the first of many land subdivisions. One thousand acres was transferred to Campbell's nephew, John Douglas Campbell, who commenced construction of a dwelling house and associated outbuildings (the existing coach house dates from c1837). Although the buildings were incomplete, Campbell leased the property in 1839 to Henry Keck Esq., Governor of Darlinghurst Gaol, who (as an agreement of the lease) was to continue with and finalise the construction of Oran Park house.

In 1842, the lease was transferred to Henry William Johnson who took out two mortgages on the property. It is assumed that the first was to purchase 800 acres of land and the buildings and the second was to finalise the construction of Oran Park house (c1865). Johnson lived at Oran Park until 1867 when he defaulted on his mortgages and was foreclosed on by Thomas Barker who took possession of the property. It is alleged that, following this, the shamed Johnson leapt to his death from the roof of Oran Park house.

By 1871, when Oran Park was sold to Edward Lomas Moore, the house was in poor condition. A wealthy grazier and one of the largest landowners in the Campbelltown district, Moore lived at Oran Park with his wife Anne and large family (of some 12 or so children) until the construction of the nearby Badgally house was complete. When the family moved in 1882, Moore leased the imposing two-storey Oran Park house (with wrap-around verandahs, rear basement, octagonal tower and established gardens) to Thomas Cadell who operated the property as a dairy farm.

Upon Moore's death in 1887, and after years of the contention of his will, the ownership of the Oran Park property finally passed to his younger son Essington Moore in 1907 who initially leased the property before returning from England in the 1930s to make Oran Park his permanent home. Oran Park house underwent some changes during the Moore period (the roof was reconfigured and the lantern removed) but, upon his sudden death in 1937, the property was sold to Hubert Harry Robbins who had grand intentions to develop Oran Park as his family's country retreat. Much of the significant modifications to Oran Park house are attributed to Robbins who converted the Victorian Italianate house into a Georgian Revival style.

After Robbins death in 1945, Oran Park was sold to Daniel James Cleary (who established the Oran Park Raceway, west of the property), sold again to Sydney merchants Arthur Raymond Booth and Robert Leslie Booth later in 1946 and then again to Camden farmer John Thomas Vivian Frost in 1947. Frost continued the farming use of the property until 1960 when it was then sold to Cobbitty Investments Pty Ltd for subdivision into hobby farms. Sold again in 1961, Oran Park became the property of Edward Star, a hotel proprietor from Sydney's eastern suburbs, who developed the property and established a trotting track, 18-hole golf course and function centre. During this time, Oran Park house was used as the golf clubhouse.

After another failed development attempt and a succession of different owners, Oran Park was purchased in 1969 by the Honourable Lionel John Charles Seymour Dawson-Damer. An engineer and motor racing enthusiast in Australia and internationally, Dawson-Damer was attracted to the property because of its close proximity to the Oran Park Raceway and was said to house his historic car collection in the stables and outbuildings of the Oran Park property.

In a dilapidated state upon the purchase, Dawson-Damer and his wife Ashley set about restoring the house and outbuildings (including coach house), re-establishing the gardens and reinstating the former historic driveway to Cobbitty Road (now Oran Park Drive).

John Dawson-Damer was killed in a racing accident in 2002 and the ownership of Oran Park has since exchanged hands a number of times. Currently owned by Hixon Pty Ltd (as of August 2013), Oran Park is the subject of the Catherine Fields (Part) Precinct land release area.

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 Ancillary structures - wells, cisterns-
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'-
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 prosperous - mansions in town and country-
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. Country Villa-
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 Sub-division of large estates-
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 Country Estate-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - colonial period-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - 20th century interwar-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Building in response to natural landscape features.-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - Interwar Georgian revival-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living on the urban fringe-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Racing motor cars-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Racing horses-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Captain William Douglas Campbell, Sailor, trader, pastoralist-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Oran Park is of state heritage significance as an early surviving cultural landscape in NSW. Part of a 2000 acre land grant, awarded by Governor Lachlan Macquarie to William Douglas Campbell in 1815, Oran Park represents the colonial development of the Cowpastures district in the early to mid-19th century and demonstrates the emergence of country estates for the prominent and wealthy members of the colony.

Established in the early 19th century (the coach house dating from c1837), Oran Park estate and house contains various layers of fabric that demonstrate the evolution, development and changing taste and use of the property over the past two centuries. Originally constructed in the Victorian Italianate style, the house underwent significant modifications in the Inter-War period and now has a Georgian Revival appearance.

Oran Park is of state heritage significance for its association with a number of prominent people, including: William Douglas Campbell (recipient of original grant and owner of Harrington Park, 1815-27), Edward Lomas Moore (wealthy grazier and large landholder in Campbelltown district, 1871-82) and the Honourable John Dawson-Damer (engineer and motor racing enthusiast, 1969-2002).
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Oran Park is of state heritage significance for its association with a number of prominent people, including members of the colonial ruling class of NSW in the 19th century.

The Oran Park property was originally part of a 2000 acre land grant, awarded by Governor Lachlan Macquarie to William Douglas Campbell in 1815. Campbell was a prominent colonist and member of the British merchant navy who named the property Harrington Park and used that land, on which Oran Park now resides, as open cleared space for pastoral cultivation and livestock grazing.

Over two centuries, Oran Park has been under the ownership of a number of different people and companies. Edward Lomas Moore, the wealthy grazier and one of the largest landholders in the Campbelltown district, owned Oran Park from 1871 until his death in 1882 (the family would own the property until 1939). Oran Park also had a significant association with the Honourable John Dawson-Damer who owned and lived at the property from 1969 until his death in 2002 (his family sold Oran Park in 2006). Dawson-Damer was a renowned motor racing enthusiast, in a national and international setting, and was attracted to the Oran Park property because of its proximity to the Oran Park Raceway. It was said that Dawson-Damer housed his own historic car collection in the stables and outbuildings of the Oran Park property.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The establishment of Oran Park house on a prominent hilltop location in a rural setting reflects the landscape design principles that were practised in England in the early 19th century. The siting of the house in the landscape, reminiscent of the summit model, provided its residents with sweeping views of the countryside and vistas to and from Oran Park to neighbouring colonial estates in the Cowpastures district.

The relationship between the house, its formal gardens and wider landscape remains discernible. The original driveway to Camden Valley Way is partially discernible by the remnant vegetation.

Oran Park was originally constructed in the Victorian Italianate style and, since undergoing significant modifications, has been adapted to the Inter-War Georgian Revival style.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
With a long held use as a private residence, the social significance of Oran Park is limited.

However, Oran Park is widely recognised as an early cultural landscape and has some social significance for the greater Camden district (once the Cowpastures).
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
There is potential for archaeological studies to be undertaken on the Oran Park property. Although the pastoral and agricultural use of the land may have disturbed likely archaeological evidence, analysis of the landscape could reveal further information about how the land was laid out and used over time. There is also potential for archaeological evidence to be discovered in core areas immediately surrounding Oran Park house and the coach house that could reveal further information about the construction of the buildings and later works carried out on the property.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Oran Park is an early cultural landscape of the Cowpastures district. While not a rare example, it is representative of colonial country estates of the 19th century.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Oran Park is of state heritage significance as a representative example of a mid-19th century cultural estate in the Cowpastures district. Established in the 1830s, Oran Park is a remnant country estate that reflects the landscape design principles that were practised in England at the time.

The siting of an imposing mansion-style house on a dominant natural hilltop or ridgeline was a British design type used throughout the Cowpastures district during the early to mid-19th century. With an extended driveway, entranceway and carriage loop, the placement of the house in this landscape encouraged those passing by to see the house and observe the status and wealth of the landowner.

This landscape design and the retention of the main house, outbuildings, driveways and setting makes Oran Park a representative example of an early cultural landscape.
Integrity/Intactness: The original form of Oran Park house has changed significantly due to alterations, additions and intervention throughout its history. The Inter-War development of the house, to give it a Georgian Revival appearance, has compromised the integrity of the house.

Although some original fabric and features remain extant, the consistent evolution and modification of the house has also compromised the original intactness of its fabric.

The site (house, outbuildings and grounds) now has a layering of fabic which, although not originally intact, does demonstrate the evolution of the site and its use over time..
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:

See Tropman & Tropman, 2004, section 7 (requirements); 8 (policies) & 9 (principles for land adjacent to OP)- these should guide management including of the setting of the item - development adjoining it.

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Statutory InstrumentNominate for State Heritage Register (SHR)02 Nov 16
Statutory InstrumentNominate for State Heritage Register (SHR)02 Nov 16
Statutory InstrumentNominate for State Heritage Register (SHR)02 Nov 16
Statutory InstrumentNominate for State Heritage Register (SHR)02 Nov 16

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementCMP for endorsement  
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementCMP by Godden Mackay Logan for endorsement Jul 19 2012
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site specific exemptions HERITAGE ACT 1977 - ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2) TO GRANT SITE SPECIFIC EXEMPTIONS FROM APPROVAL

Oran Park
112-130 Oran Park Drive, Oran Park
SHR No. 1695

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

The Hon Rob Stokes, MP
Minister for Heritage
Sydney, 5 Day of March 2015

SCHEDULE "A"
The item known as Oran Park, situated on the land described in Schedule "B".

SCHEDULE "B"
All those pieces or parcels of land known as Part Lot 27 DP 213330 and Part Lot 7 DP 1173813 in Parish of Cook, County of Cumberland shown on the plan catalogued HC 1927 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.

SCHEDULE "C"
All works and activities in accordance with 'Catherine Park Estate: Oran Park House Curtilage Exemption Guidelines' (prepared by Design & Planning for Hixson Pty Ltd, dated October 2014).
Mar 5 2015
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementpre-lodgement notice: revised CMP 2010 is under client review and HC endorsement Jan 16 2017

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0169505 Mar 15 17659
Local Environmental PlanCamden LEP 2010I13703 Sep 10   
Local Environmental Plan 4821 Feb 92 2636
National Trust of Australia register  9174   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Macarthur Heritage Study1986 JRC Planning ServicesJocelyn Colleran No
Colonial Landscapes of the Cumberland Plain and Camden, NSW2000 Morris, C., & Britton, G./NSW National Trust (for the Heritage Council of NSW)  Yes
Colonial Landscapes of the Cumberland Plain and Camden, NSW2000 Morris, C., & Britton, G./NSW National Trust (for the Heritage Council of NSW)  Yes
South Creek Valley Heritage Study1990 Perumal Murphy Ltd  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenColleen Morris & Geoffrey Britton20004.5 Oran Park', in Colonial Landscapes of the Cumberland Plain and Camden, NSW
WrittenGodden Mackay Logan2010Oran Park Conservation Management Plan
WrittenGoddon Mackay Logan2013Catherine Fields (Part) Precinct - Post Exhibition Heritage Advice
WrittenTropman & Tropman Architects2017Catherine Park House aka (Oran Park House), Oran Drive, NSW - Conservation Management 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: 5052417
File number: EF10/02292; H00/894


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