Orielton | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Orielton

Item details

Name of item: Orielton
Other name/s: Orielton Farm, Orielton Homestead
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Landscape - Cultural
Category: Historic Landscape
Location: Lat: -34.0245509692 Long: 150.7236323910
Primary address: 181 - 183 Northern Road, Harrington Park, NSW 2567
Parish: Narellan
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Camden
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Tharawal
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT41 DP270613
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
181 - 183 Northern RoadHarrington ParkCamdenNarellanCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Hixson Pty LtdPrivate 

Statement of significance:

Orielton is of state heritage significance to the Camden area for the following reasons:
1) Orielton is a good representative example of a gentleman's estate from the 1840s, and possibly as early as the 1820s (granted in 1815);
2) Orielton housed the mill for wheat grown in the area - an important early industry. The continued adaptive reuse of the residence and the outbuildings is an important part of Orielton's history;
3) Orielton in its stages of construction and the arrangement of its buildings and gardens, illustrates the evolution of an upper-class working farm from early colonial times to the present day, with the occupants appreciating the landscape setting;
4) The buildings and grounds, in their periods of construction, illustrate the sequence of design elements as the estate grew since 1815;
5) Orielton homestead represents the layout of a gentleman's estate with views and vistas afforded to and from the homestead over the landscape and important access routes;
6) Orielton has strong associations with prominent land owners and local gentry since its 1840 occupation to the present Fairfax ownership. It has an association with the World War II air force occupation;
7) The buildings and layout of Orielton have the ability to demonstrate past estate development and farming practices particularly for wheat and flour production. Archaeological remains would provide insights into past occupation and use;
8) Orielton is aesthetically significant because it displays elements of Georgian design and detailing which is representative of the area. It also displays Italianate design rare to the area and to rural properties. Orielton's setting in the rural landscape is representative of design philosophies of the time. Its visual links with the landscape and surrounding properties is significant;
9) Orielton's setting in the rural landscape is representative of design philosophies of the time. Its visual links with the landscape and surrounding properties is significant;
10) The gardens surrounding the homestead are significant for retaining plant specimens and garden layouts associated with their early arrangement. The gardens have been arranged to provide a formal garden setting for the homestead, with its signal plantings of Bunya and Norfolk Island pines, providing a distinctive presence of the homestead against the undulating topography. (Tropman & Tropman, 5/2004, 88).

Individual elements located on the subject site which are considered to be of heritage significance include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Orielton house;
- remnants of the original driveway to The Northern Road;
- remnants of original outbuildings to the north of the site and in the working area;
- views and vistas;
- landscape setting;
- plantings (Tropman & Tropman, 2/2004, 26).

Orielton dates from Governor Macquarie's 1815 land grant to Edward Lord. The visually prominent farm complex (c.1840) is situated on the side of a knoll commanding sweeping views of Narellan and obeying the principles of 18th Century English landscape design. Orielton is considered to be of exceptional significance because of the integrity of its rural setting and the demonstrable functional relationships within the homestead and farm complex. The varied topographical features of Orielton (ridges, knolls and gentle slopes) contribute significantly to the setting and function of the property and its significant visual links with surrounding properties such as Harrington Park and Studley Park, the spire at St John's Church, Cobbitty and The Northern Road (draft nomination 2003).

Orielton: outline of significance:
- It still retains its quintessential landscape character - based on the traditional juxtaposition of homestead area, with its dominant garden, and cleared pastureland beyond;
- Its historical relationship to other nearby early grants (Harrington Park, Wivenhoe and Kirkham) and its place in the development of the local area can still be appreciated;
- It has associations with some notable people;
- The place retains its historical local prominence and serves as an important local landmark;
- The place retains some key historical visual relationships - vistas to Harrington Park, Studley Park, the spire of St. John's, Camden and the Razorback Range;
- A relatively intact estate - still able to appreciate the main homestead group in its traditional rural context and in relationship to the various natural features - Narellan Creek and the enclosing ridgelines;
- The place has many features of individual significance such as the original homestead, later homestead, outbuildings, garden layout, terracing and mature plantings and the entry drive from the Northern Road;
- The place has considerable capacity to demonstrate its development from c.1815 to the present;
- The place is of considerable scientific interest on account of its archaeological research potential (Morris & Britton, 2000, 37).
Date significance updated: 23 Feb 04
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

Designer/Maker: unknown
Builder/Maker: unknown
Construction years: 1815-1834
Physical description: Setting:
Orielton Park is located within the Central Hills complex of the Scenic Hills of the Camden Valley. The property is enclosed by a ridge to the north and to the west. The property has been developed around the Narellan Creek which drains the eastern and northern hills of this valley to the Nepean River, which passes through Camden and then into the Hawkesbury River. Soils are predominately clays derived from the underlying Wianamatta shale.

The area is characterised by subdivision, development and extensive grass(ed) hills and forest. Orielton homestead Lot is currently bound on the north, south and west by open paddocks and to the east by The Northern Road. Recent residential developments have begun to the south-west of the homestead complex and will continue (Tropman & Tropman, 2014, 15).

Rainfall is approximately 750 mm per year. Soils are predominantly clays derived from the underlying Wianamatta shale which is over sandstone (ibid, 17). Vegetation systems are related to soils and hydrology. Narrellan Creek has a significant surviving tree and grass ecology. The river flats have remnant trees and express the past land uses of agricultural cropping, pasture improvement and recreation pursuits. The hills and slopes have remnant trees and shrubs associated with this environment. The whole site is part of the Cumberland Plain or Cowpastures region.

The home paddock surrounding the homestead was separated from the surrounding farm management complex and arable land and pasture by fencing. Orielton has a relationship to its surrounding rural landscape. Early photographs and plans and aerial photographs from the 1940s onwards show that the homestead operated as a whole precinct of functional spaces and buildings. Despite minor changes to garden settings and access ways, the estate was divided into the following general areas:

- the main homestead, presentation garden and recreation areas: tennis court, riding;
- Picking gardens and orchards;
- Farm management complex and working areas (the former Mill, silos, etc);
- Grazing pastures;
- Narellan Creek and arable (crop) land (Tropman & Tropman, 2014, 11).

Within the precinct there are important functional relationships between the main homestead, pleasure gardens and entry, the picking garden, farm management complex and workers' buildings and homestead, working areas (including mills, silos) and access roads (The Northern Road), stables and grazing pastures (ibid, 11).

The change in entry was a result of the change in ownership and subsequent design style and period. It is suggested the Victorian Italianate style was influenced by the Picturesque movement. Homes were set in their extensive gardens and entry to these landed gentry estates resulted in a more formal procession to the house. The change in driveway access does not suggest a negative impact on the original functional relationship of the precinct (ibid, 11).

Garden and grounds:
The garden appears to express Harriet Beard's occupation of the site and the Victorian period design styles.
To the east of the homestead the gardens comprise a carriage loop with densely planted species including Bunya pines and a Moreton Bay fig (Ficus macrophylla). The area is delineated by collapsing timber post and wire strand fencing leading into the paddocks. The original northern entry came from the north-east of this area as the road linked to Maryland further up the Northern Road and physical evidence shows how it linked to the current carriage loop. The levelled portion of land directly east of the carriage loop was the tennis court. This area was expanded recently, filled with spoil from Roads & Maritime Services road works on the Northern Road. This area is currently used for horse agistment (ibid, 18).

Evidence of formal gardens appears in the 1947 aerial photograph with remnant hedges forming the lines of formal gardens. Presently there is little found-evidence of the original gardens apart from terracing, steps and trees and a couple of rose bushes (ibid, 18).

The southern entry relating to Narellan, Campbelltown and Camden resulted in the formal garden being relocated (to the house's south). Like the early garden, little remains. The current entry drive passes the formal gardens and links to the early carriage loop. The drive is lined with prominent pines (Araucaria spp.). The 1947 aerial photograph shows semi-circular gardens (beds) in front of the Italianate portion of the homestead with associated planting and arrangements. The ashlar steps leading up to the 'front' of the garden are still intact, however little garden arrangement and vegetation remain (ibid, 18).

More mature plantings were on the north-east side of the house, the main garden, Between the Northern Road and the homestead. A mature Bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii) features on the northern edge of the garden. Other large hoop (A.cunninghamii) and Bunya pines are also now a feature of the garden and driveway. Mature conifers (?Cypresses) were notable in an undated 19th century photograph of the homestead group, east of the house. A large barn featured to the south east of the house in the same photograph. There were few trees in the paddocks but the landscape between Orielton and (neighbouring) Harrington Park shows that there was little change between the early photograph and one taken in December 2007.

Significant tree plantings include the following species: Bunya Bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii), hoop pines (A.cunninghamii), funeral cypress (Cupressus funebris), maritime pine (Pinus pinaster), she oak (Casuarina sp.), Brazilian peppercorn (Schinus areira), Moreton Bay fig (Ficus macrophylla), privet (Ligustrum sp.) and jacaranda (J.mimosifolia)(Tropman & Tropman, 2014, 38). Scattered plantings include native kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus), deodar or Himalayan cedar (Cedrus deodara) and privet (Ligustrum sp.) trees (ibid, 18).

A couple of rose bushes remain on the terraces south of the homestead (ibid, 18).

The west of the homestead was the working area and included the picking garden and orchard and a modest dam. While structures in this area have been lost, the northern line of European olive trees and 1946 aerial photographs reveal the boundaries of the area. Eileen Cummings (daughter of owner William Pilling) reveals that the orchard was still in use during their 1930 occupation and included fruits and nuts. The space is currently used for grazing (ibid, 18).

The large dam built by Warwick Fairfax in c1958 was constructed across the boundary of the former picking garden and orchard. The dam has recently been removed in preparation for the residential subdivision and new spine road (ibid, 18).

Homestead Group and entry drive:
The main homestead group focuses on the east and south with open rural land as its traditional address. The existing entry to Orielton follows the Old Northern Road easement in a north south direction curving sharply to the north west. At this point the drive is bordered by old pines and to the south is Narellan Creek. Towards the homestead group is evidence of previous hedges and remnant gardens formalised to the south. Located west of the main homestead is a dam. An old well structure remains near the top of the north ridge.

The homestead consists of an early building with a large complex of additions. To the east of the main house is the stables and horse agistment area. To the north of the stables is evidence of an earlier garden or entry that orientates to the east.

Additions were made to the house in the late 19th century and it was re-oriented (the original entrance driveway appears to have been from the Northern Road directly passing through the area occupied by farm buildings (today) to the entrance, which was oriented toward Northern Road and facing Crear Hill.

Outbuildings:
Silos (c.1950)
Former Miller's Cottage / Office (c1850, adapted c1950)
Large Stables (c1930, adapted c1950)
Hay Shed (c.1930, adapted c1950)
Early milking shed (c1880)
Stalls shed (c.1950-c1990)
Concrete bin (c1950, c1990)
Stock Yards (c1950)
Mill Building (3 storeys, no longer extant, c1830-1950)(Tropman & Tropman, 2014, 11).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Orielton still retains some of its character based on the traditional juxtaposition of the main homestead area with its dominant garden and cleared pastureland beyond. Orielton has considerable archaeological potential as the property has been a continuously developing site from c.1815 - c.1940
Date condition updated:24 Feb 04
Modifications and dates: late 19th c.: additions when the house was reoriented to face toward Camden. The original entrance driveway appears to have been from the Northern Road directly passing through the area occupied by farm buildings (today) to the entrance, which was oriented toward Northern Road and facing Crear Hill.
WWII - army occupied the site. It was during this time that substantial change to the fabric of the house occurred.

c1940s - orchards west of homestead neglected and not clear (plantings gone) in aerial photographs of 1946-47.

c1958 - a large dam built by Warwick Fairfax in c1958 across the boundary of the former picking garden and orchard (ibid, 18).

c.1990 - cultivated paddocks south-west of homestead along northern side of Narellan Creek abandoned for grazing. Tracks and cattle shelters no longer apparent in 2005 aerial photograph (cf. 1990 photo).

pre-2005 - new suburb of Harrington Park east of The Northern Road, including part of Orielton's estate. New roundabout inserted in The Northern Road almost directly east of Orielton homestead. The alignment of The Northern Road adjusted, affecting Orielton's driveway, which is now a 'switchback, from the western side of this roundabout south, doing a 'hairpin bend' north of Narellan Creek and approaching the homestead on the same line as the existing driveway.

pre 2013 - new large lot development approaching Orielton's south-west north of Narellan Creek from Kirkham suburb.

c.2013-14: The levelled portion of land directly east of the carriage loop (former tennis court) was expanded recently, filled with spoil from Roads & Maritime Services road works on the Northern Road (Tropman & Tropman, 2014, 18).

2014 - large dam built c.1958 recently removed in preparation for the residential subdivision and new spine road (ibid, 18).
Current use: Country estate, horse agistment
Former use: Aboriginal land, farming state, cropping cereals, milling flour, grazing estate, hunting/pleasure ground, weekender, Army housing (homestead) in WW2 era

History

Historical notes: Edward Lord was granted 655.5 hectares in the Parish of Narellan that he then named Orielton Park in about 1815. He established a Tasmanian property and this Camden (Cowpastures) propoerty from 1814. His principal residence was in Tasmania. Initial occupation at Camden/Narellan probably included siting a shelter to take in the sublime prospect afforded by the current location of the house. Timber-getting for fuel and fencing and clearing of land for cropping were establishment processes of this time. The initial landscape was probably open forest with grass understorey. Lord's grant included extensive alluvial flats along Narellan Creek and these were probably soon put to cultivation for cereal and hay production (Tropman & Tropman, 2015, 26).

Orielton was used from 1822-1841 as an outstation by John Dickson. James Dickson (John's brother) lived at Nonorrah (now Maryland) to the north and managed both properties. Agricultural use of Orielton from the 1828 census showed cattle and sheep stocked on Dickson's properties and he cultivated land for cropping, growing cereal (wheat and barley) for milling in his mills. Dickson would probably have sited (probably the confirmed (later) house site) the main residence (manager's house) to provide an outlook and surveillance over the estate. He was using Orielton for cereal production and dairy cheese-making and built barns and operated threshing and winnowing machinery. The Australian Auction Company described Orielton estate as having a substantial built brick cottage, commodious stabling, an excellent built barn with two floors, containing therein 8 horse-power threshing and winnowing machine' (Cable, Notes of the history of Orielton). This was probably built c.1830. In 1834, fifty men were working on the farm at Orielton - there would have been extensive quarters. The steam mill (three storeys high) was constructed in this period, possibly by Dickson, but most likely by the trustees (Thomas Barker)(ibid, 2015, 26).

In 1834 Orielton was noted in letters written by David Waugh as being a productive farm. By 1835, 93 hectares of Orielton Estate was amalgamated with the neighbouring Wivenhoe.

In 1847 it was purchased by Camden miller, John Perry who had been using its mill and occupying Orielton before purchase. Perry was growing cereals and milling them for flour. Agriculture continued with cereal crops and livestock grazing (ibid, 2015, 26). Perry later subdivided a portion of the estate and leased the main property to Charles Thompson, Clerk of the Bench to Camden Court. During the whole of this early period the estate seems to have been used mainly for grazing, with some limited agriculture.

In 1861 William Peisley, a carcass butcher bought Orielton. From 1861 until 1864 when Peisley put it up for auction and it was bought by (Sydney) absentee owner, 'gentleman' John Thomas Neile. Neile bought the estate in two parcels - the Home Farm (in 1864, of 330 acres (134 ha), 200 acres (81 ha) in cultivation; and a second farm on the other (eastern) side of the 'Great South' (now The Northern) Road, of 200 acres (81 ha) with a farm house and stockyard. The Mill (recently built by previous owner Perry, the miller 'on the best position in the district' and in 59 acres (24ha) of paddocks, was passed in at auction. Neile then bought it for 600 pounds - a knock-down price for so elaborate a structure. He maintained the whole property as a going concern until 1876. It featured extensive cleared and fenced paddocks, paling-fenced orchard and picking garden adjacent to the west side of the house, extensive buildings/quarters set on a knoll above the alluvial flats and below the ridge line, extensive trees and shrubs to the east or front entry, probably cypress, Bunya or hoop pines and other broad-canopied trees, a three storey mill, livestock shelters and paddocks, ploughed paddocks and a cottage fronting the Northern Road's eastern side farm.

In 1863 Abraham Davy of Harrington Park purchased Lot 1 of Orielton Farm (24 hectares) from three Sydney businessmen who had earlier purchased the estate - John Lait of Sydney, James Ryan of Emu Plains and James Jones of Sydney.

An auction notice in 1864 describes Orielton's extensive development. It was sold to Neile, who bought a major homestead with infrastructure. A c1860 (likely 1865) photograph from the summit of the hill to the west, shows a well-kept farm complex in an ordered estate. The Peisley family came to be regarded as local gentry and some family members remained prominent in the district after they left Orielton in 1876. People came to Orielton from Sydney, using the train to Campbelltown to shoot over Orielton's land and attend the adjacent Harrington Park race track. The Peisley family knew the Davy family who occupied Harrington Park from 1852-70 (ibid, 2015, 26-7).

During the early 1870s the sport of coursing (the pursuit of live hares by greyhounds across the countryside) was introduced to Orielton which became a popular activity at both the Orielton and Harrington Park estates. By the 1870s Harrington Park house had established a reputation as a gentleman's country seat, with "hospitality, picturesqueness and the hunt bringing interesting associations to the English eye".

In 1874, Harrington Park and Lot 1 of Orielton was purchased by William Rudd Snr, a grazier of Houtong Station in the Lower Murrumbidgee who also then owned neighbouring Harrington Park. Rudd changed the perceptions of Orielton and Harrington Park as a "gentleman's seat" to that of a graziers property. He also gained control of the remaining parts of Orielton estate. Harrington Park and Orielton remained within the Rudd and Britton (descendant) families until 1933 when (with the Great Depression having an impact) they were sold to Arthur and Elaine Swan.

Mrs Harriet Beard, widow of Wynyard Square, Sydney bought and occupied Orielton in 1876 when the Rudds were living at Harrington Park and both were responsible for developing the properties in the Victorian period building design and garden or landscape schemes. The Beard family became involved in district affairs and were esteemed as gentry. The Beards changed and developed the homestead extensively to relate to the southern prospect and expansive views to Studley Park and the floodplain of Narellan Creek. At one stage, a small school was conducted at Orielton. WIth the shift to grazing, the great barn would have lost its original function (Tropman & Tropman, 2015, 78). The existing access and arrival drives date to this era, as does the terracing south of the house and its extension and reorientation to the south, with two-storey Italianate style Victorian era southern facade. Harriet appears to have made Orielton a large residential villa, making many garden plantings including Bunya pines, hoop pines, funeral cypress, Moreton Bay fig, maritime pine, Austrian pine, privet (hedges), photinia (hedges) and European olives to the orchard's northern boundary. These plantings probably reflect Victorian era symbolism relating to her loss of a husband, and some may relate to her own death in 1910 (ibid, 2015, 27). The estate was held in trust until it sold in 1912 to Frederick Walker (solicitor), Henry Webster (Bank Manager) and John Morton (physician) as joint tenants and was leased to Ephraim Cross, a Narellan storekeeper. Cross' family had been Camden brickmakers (making bricks for Studley Park and Camelot), and later bought the property. The 1912 sale was of approximately 919 acres (372ha), 500 acres (202 ha) of which were cleared, balanced and ring-barked, subdivided into paddocks and well-grassed and watered from the creek with five dams. The property was described as having 'extensive stabling and carriage room, milking shed, barns, vegetable gardens etc, etc. Brick barn (100' x 40') of 3 floors, engine house, saw bench, pumping plant, windmill, workshop, two cottages' (ibid, 2015, 78).

Cross sold the section east of The Northern Road to Harrington Park in 1926 and the remainder (including the houe) to Yvonne Coleman in 1927. The northern farm building was lost in a fire in 1928. It was considered by the local community to be where Cross operated a spirits distillery. Coleman sold it in 1930 to WIlliam Bernard Pilling of Rushcutters' Bay, builder and investor, who in turn sold it in 1931 to William Henry Trautwein, of Sydney, manager, through Union Investments. The property then returned to Pilling's ownership (ibid, 2015, 78).

The Pilling family in 1930 had Orielton run by estate managers with its homestead being maintained as a country residence for the family to visit. Daughter Eileen Pilling described her father as not a farmer but that he had bought 1000 acres (405ha) at Narellan which included Orielton estate. He ran 100 cows on the southern end of it, where timber bales with galvanised iron rooves housed the cows. The family lived in Elizabeth Bay. She would visit on school holidays and remembers the ornate iron verandah, bullnose bay, french doors onto the verandah with vistas to Narellan. She recalls the long drive lined with trees and at the entry to the house a carriage loop circled close to the garden, within which a large aviary was located with many colourful birds. Towards the front of the house was a tennis court (east of the carriage loop) and stone steps led to the Italianate facade through splendid gardens. An orchard west of the homestead was filled with nuts and fruit, including walnuts and almonds. A ballroom was located underneath the house (Tropman & Tropman, 2015, 29).

By 1938 the Swans had purchased all the remaining parts of Orielton, and managed the two farms (with Harrington Park) as a single entity. The Swans upgraded the sections of Orielton's farm buildings and then allowed the Department of Defence to make the homestead liveable for their occupation, from 1942-43 (Tropman &Tropman, 2015, 29).

During World War Two the Camden district was the scene of much military activity, and Orielton was occupied by the army for training and residential purposes.

Since 1944 Orielton has been owned by the Fairfax family who also own neighbouring Harrington Park. The Fairfax family resided at Harrington Park and Orielton was managed as part of the Harrington Park estate. Orielton was important in Sir Warwick Fairfax's pursuit of breeding Stud Hereford cattle. The yarding, sheds and paddocks were modified to cater for the extensive breeding program he undertook (ibid, 2015, 29). He set Orielton up as his holding and breeding centre for Harrington Park Poll Hereford stud. Fencing, paddocks and shelters were established to raise and manage stud livestock (ibid, 2015, 32). The steam mill appears to have been pulled down during this initial period of occupation. During this period, the property was an outstation with tenants occupying Orielton house (Tropman & Tropman, 2015, 29). A dam visible in a 1947 aerial photograph south-west of the homestead was expanded by Fairfax c.1958, across the western boundary of the former picking garden and orchard. In the 1960s Warwick Fairfax was knighted, Orielton's windows were boarded up and some parts of the estate were used for goat farming (ibid, 2015, 83).

Realignment of The Northern Road to the east in the 1970s including a new bridge over Narellan Creek east of the previous one, led to the cutting off of Orielton's (south-eastern-running) main drive (towards Narellan Creek). A new extension was added, making the drive a 'V' shape and joining the Northern road further north, roughly in line but to the east of the main homestead and farm management complex (Stuart Read, from 1978 aerial photograph in ibid, 2015, 38).

The subdivision of Harrington Park in the 1990s for urban development has visually encroached upon Orielton estate, with Harrington Park suburb abutting The Northern Road alongside it and Kirkham Lane large-lot residences approaching its south-western flanks north of Narellan Creek. Cattle grazing fields and shelter sheds lining Orielton's northern edge of Narellan Creek are apparent in a 1990 aerial phtoograph but absent in a 2005 one. The original grant and its management for grazing can still be understood in the broader landscape of the Narellan Valley.

Orielton is owned by the Fairfax family company, Dandaloo P/L. Lady Mary Fairfax (nee Marie Wein, b.15/8/1922) died in 2017. In 1964 she established the Australian Opera Auditions, in cooperation with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. This was the first of a string of charitable organisations connected with the arts which she joined or initiated. She had lived at Fairwater since 1968, where she conducted a never-ending salon where guests were able to admire the art works of Rodin, Epstein, Dobell and Degas. Among those she entertained were actor Rudolf Nureyev, politician Pierre Trudeau, actor Phyllis Diller, entertainer Liberace, actor Glenda Jackson, Emilio Pucci and Imelda Marcos, first lady of the Philippines. The Sydney Swans were launched at Fairwater. In 1973 it was the scene of a ball for 1000 to celebrate the opening of Sydney Opera House. Another famous party at the house was the Concourse of Canine Elegance. Lady Fairfax was awarded an OBE in 1975 for her services to the community and the arts. Lady Fairfax was still active socially in the late 1990s (Lawson, 2017). Lady Fairfax had stated publicly that she planned to bequeath Fairwater to the people of NSW when she died. Following her death on monday (18/9/17) aged 95, it remains to be confirmed if her beneficiaries plan to hold to that long-ago plan (Macken, 2017, 4). For nearly 60 years, Lady Fairfax had an extraordinary impact on the social, artistic, philanthropic, political and cultural life of not just Sydney, but the entire country. Since she became media scion Warwick Fairfax's third wife in 1959, Lady Fairfax had assumed the position of Firts Lady of a mind-bogglingly large and influential media empire, which at its peak ranked as one of the most impressive in the world, publishing a raft of prestigious newspapers including 'The Sydney Morning Herald', 'The Age' and 'The Australian Financial Review', as well as a vast network of magazines, radio and television stations (Hornery, 2017, 1).

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. River flats-
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-
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-
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 Viticulture-
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 cropping river flats-
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 Permaculture 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 Marking the transition from pastoralism to agriculture-
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 Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Clearing land for farming-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Clearing land for farming-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Using specialised agricultural equipment-
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 Orcharding-
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 Arboretums - collections of trees for ornament or forestry-
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 Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Flour milling-
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 Improving agricultural production-
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 Attempting to transplant European farming practices to Australian environments-
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 Attempting to transplant European farming practices to Australian environments-
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 Natural Sequence Farming (water management)-
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 fencing-
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 - sheds, crop storage-
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 Cereal production-
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 Cropping-
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 Rural Estates-
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 of sport and recreation-
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 of food production-
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 Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of cultural and natural interaction-
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 Landscapes and countryside of rural charm-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Beef cattle breeding and raising-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Beef cattle breeding and raising-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Dairying-
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 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 Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Administering and alienating Crown lands-
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 Naming places (toponymy)-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Training military personnel-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Involvement with the Second World War-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Involvement with the Second World War-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Army housing-
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 - Victorian gardenesque style-
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 - Federation 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. Adaptation of overseas design for local use-
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 - Victorian (mid)-
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 - colonial homestead-
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 - Victorian (late)-
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. Vernacular structures and building techniques-
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 - Victorian Italianate-
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. Designing landscapes in an exemplary style-
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 climate - verandahs-
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 - colonial vernacular-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Country estates - visiting, enjoying-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1900-1950-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1950-2000-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1788-1850-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1850-1900-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ornamental Garden-
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 in a rural homestead-
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 in, adapting and renovating homes for changing conditions-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Kitchens and servants-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Valuing women's contributions-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Physical evidence of creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses, through domestic artefacts scatters, ar-
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 Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation musical gatherings-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Outdoor relief-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Activities associated with relaxation and recreation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gardening-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Playing tennis-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Horse riding-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to the racetrack-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going dancing-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going hunting and shooting-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Places of informal community gatherings-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities tennis-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Private sporting facilities-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Hunting for sport-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Birth and Death-Activities associated with the initial stages of human life and the bearing of children, and with the final stages of human life and disposal of the dead. Giving birth at home-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Thomas Barker MLA, pastoralist, miller, politician-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Edward Lord, businessman-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Sir Warwick Oswald Fairfax, businessman-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Dickson, engineer, miller, grazier, dairy farmer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with James Dickson, farm manager, grazier, cereal farmer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Perry, Camden miller-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with William Peisley and family, butchers and graziers-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Harriet Beard and family, graziers-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with William Pilling and family, absentee graziers-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Arthur and Elaine Swan, absentee graziers-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Lady Mary Fairfax, philanthropist-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Orielton is historically significant as one of the first land grants in the Cowpastures district that still retains its historical relationship to other nearby early grants such as Harrington Park, Wivenhoe and Kirkham. Orielton is an important historical property in the development of the local area.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Orielton has several historical associations with notable people, especially Edward Lord and more recently the Fairfax family.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Orielton retains some significant historical visual relationships - vistas to Harrington Park, Studley Park, the spire of St Johns in Camden and the Razorback Range. The landscape character can still be appreciated based on the traditional juxtaposition of the homestead area, with its dominant garden and cleared pastureland beyond.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Orielton’s historical relationship to other nearby early grants such as Harrington Park, Wivenhoe and Kirkham and its place in the development of the Camden area are locally significant. Orielton retains its historical local prominence and serves as an important local landmark.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Orielton has considerable technical/research significance for its capacity to demonstrate its development from 1815 to the present. The homestead site in particular has high research significance for its continuous architectural evolution, including the impact of World War Two in the region..
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Orielton is rare as a relatively intact estate with its main homestead group still in its traditional rural context.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Orielton Estate is representative of past land uses of agricultural cropping, pasture improvement and recreation pursuits that reflect the emergence of Sydney’s new middle class during the 19th century. The estate, much like neighboring Oran Park and Harrington Park is representative of Crown grants, subdivision patterns, ownership patterns and grazier’s homesteads
Integrity/Intactness: Orielton still retains its relationship to the various natural features such as Narellan Creek and the enclosing ridgelines, and its open pastoral landscapes.
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:

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
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for commentOrielton Homestead CMP, by Tropman & Tropman for Dandaloo Developments Pty Ltd, dated May 2004 Comment provided to Camden Council on draft CMP 9 August 2005. Aug 9 2005
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
39Minister makes heritage agreementHeritage Agreement signed by Minister Mar 25 2010
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementRevised Landscape Management Plan received for endorsement Feb 2 2017

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0169322 Dec 06 19111952
Local Environmental Plan 4821 Feb 92 2636
Local Environmental PlanCamden LEP 2010I13530 May 10   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Colonial Landscapes of the Cumberland Plain and Camden, NSW2000 Morris, C., & Britton, G./NSW National Trust (for the Heritage Council of NSW)  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written   
WrittenArtefact Heritage2012Non-Aboriginal Heritage Assessment
WrittenBritton, Geoffrey; with Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners2004Cultural Landscape Review of the Wivenhoe, Orielton & Harrington Park estates
WrittenCasey & Lowe P/L2015Archaeological Impact Assessment and Research Design
WrittenHornery, Andrew2017'Lady Mary Fairfax, 1929-2017: From frock shop to media dynasty: raising eyebrows along the way'
WrittenLawson, Valerie2017'Lady Mary Fairfax: 1922-2017: Her motto: touch every life with good'
WrittenMorris, Colleen & Britton, Geoffrey, for the National Trust of Australia2000Orielton (entry 3.3) in 'Colonial Landscapes of the Cumberland Plain & Camden'
WrittenStedinger and Associates2011Excavation Permit Exemption Application for construction of a Spine Road (Stage 3)
WrittenTropman & Tropman Architects2017Orielton Park Homestead Estate - Landscape Conservation Management Plan, 187 The Northern Road, Harrington Park, NSW
WrittenTropman & Tropman Architects2006Orielton Park homestead estate, 179 Northern Road, Narellan: conservation management plan
WrittenTropman & Tropman Architects2004Conservation Management Plan - Orielton Homestead, 179 The Northern Road, Narellan
WrittenTropman & Tropman Architects2004Curtilage Study & Development Capability Strategy - Orielton, 179 The Northern Road, Narellan
WrittenWaugh, David Lindsey1836Three years’ practical experience of a settler in New South Wales: being extracts from letters to Waugh’s friends from 1834 - 1836.

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: 5052821
File number: EF14/4515; 10/1056; H03/00030


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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