Milton Park Cultural Landscape (under consideration) | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Milton Park Cultural Landscape (under consideration)

Item details

Name of item: Milton Park Cultural Landscape (under consideration)
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Landscape - Cultural
Category: Historic Landscape
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT312 DP1191789
LOT310 DP1191798
PART LOT311 DP1191798
PART LOT11 DP264572

Statement of significance:

The Milton Park Cultural Landscape is an outstanding example of a Federation and Inter-War period hill station property in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. The layout and components of the former estate, including the gatehouse, homestead, gardens, extensive plantings of windbreaks, retained native vegetation and collection of outbuildings and associated structures, form a cohesive cultural landscape of high aesthetic value.

The Milton Park gardens are significant in their own right, for their aesthetic and stylistic characteristics. Retaining much of their 1930s layout, they demonstrate both Arts and Crafts and English Flower Garden characteristics. The gardens are significant for the extensive and excellent use of many exotic plant species, particularly rare weeping beech trees, camellias and rhododendrons. The selection of species used in the garden displays horticultural innovation as many species were planted for the first time in the region and some, such as the weeping beeches, for the first time in Australia.

Milton Park is associated with Anthony (Tony) Hordern, a fourth-generation member of the Sydney retailing dynasty who founded the famous Anthony Hordern's stores. The gardens are part of the group of celebrated gardens created by the Hordern family around their residences, in Sydney and the Southern Highlands.

The collection of outbuildings and structures is important in illustrating the development of the estate as a pastoral property. The Milton Park estate is important for the stock breeding activities of Anthony Hordern and together with nearby Retford Park, is associated with the Hordern family's involvement with Royal Agricultural Show. The place is also significant for its association with the King Ranch Company and development of the Santa Gertrudis breed.
Date significance updated: 15 Oct 18
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: Morrow & De Putron (house & garden); Mary Hordern (garden)
Physical description: MILTON PARK
The site is part of the original 480-hectare Milton Park estate. It is situated in a rural environment, approximately eight kilometres east of Bowral. The site retains stands of native eucalypts, however little remains of the virgin bushland. The site is more densely vegetated in its western and southern parts with wind breaks and retained mature, native vegetation. The areas around Milton Park house also have an enclosed character created by the various garden 'rooms'. The northern and eastern parts of the site are pasture lands with an open, rural character and views into a shallow valley, to the north and east.

Set on the north-facing slope, Milton Park house enjoys north and north-easterly views over the garden and across the valley. The house is approached via long driveway, lined with mature Monterey Pines (Pinus radiata).

The components of the site are the original house with hotel additions, outbuildings and structures, an 8-acre garden and extensive 'forests' and groves of exotic and native trees. Outbuildings include Milton Park Cottage/ the Lodge (former gatehouse); Reservoir; Carriage House/Stables; Carriage Master's Cottage; former Bull House (artificial insemination facility); Machinery Shed/Hayloft and Cottage; Sales Ring; and remnants of the former bullpens, dairy, and separating room/milking shed. Other components of Milton Park which contribute to the significance and character of the place are: the entry, the drives, ring paddock (Circle) and enclosures. Contributory characteristics include the relationship of the house to the garden; the contrast of narrow (framed) vistas and open views; and the rural setting.

MILTON PARK HOUSE
Milton Park House, designed by architects Morrow & De Putron, is a Federation Arts and Crafts bungalow with simple Art Nouveau detailing. The house features an asymmetrical form, hipped and gabled roofs with prominent eaves, deep verandahs, walls of grey cement render and an unusual octagonal tower. Although significantly modified, its overall external form, materials and detailing demonstrate the main characteristics of the Federation Arts and Crafts style, overlaid with eclectic elements such as the simple Classical columns of the porte cochere and the Italianate balustrades.

HOTEL WING
The 1980s hotel wing, designed by the architectural firm of Phillip Cox and Partners, is screened from the drive by a stand of trees and other plantings. It is a 2-storey structure with rendered brick walls and a pitched, slate roof. Although physically connected to the main house, the hotel wing reads as a separate building. In contrast to the asymmetrical form of the main house, the hotel wing has a formal character due to the symmetrical, U-shaped arrangement. The formality is punctuated by the round fountain in the centre of the courtyard and restrained use of vegetation. The character of the courtyard contrasts with exuberant quality of plantings in the rest of the garden.

GARDENS
The grounds are graded in a series of garden platforms and enclosures. Although initially established as a formal, geometric garden, the site today presents a high level of informality introduced with the 1930s modifications directed by Mary Hordern. Spaces and vistas flow through the garden in a 'romantic' fashion, however it remains largely a series of compartmentalised garden 'rooms'. The garden demonstrates Arts and Crafts and English Flower Garden characteristics with its sunken garden, walled areas, stone steps, herbaceous border, topiary and rose parterre. While the garden has continued to evolve over time, the 1930s layout remains largely intact. Sandstone walls, steps and paths help to delineate edges and define spaces. Water features, statuary and iron gates serve as accents.

The following description of Milton Park's garden setting is adapted from "Gardens of the Southern Highlands" (pp 62-65).

The driveway up to the house is flanked with dogwoods (Cornus florida), and a variety of rhododendrons and camellias. On the lawn immediately in front of the house are the two substantial weeping beeches, while to the left a short flight of stone steps leads to the swimming pool and tennis court, both of which are set against a backdrop of tall rhododendrons. The climbing roses around the tennis court have been trained into a series of elaborate hoops.

In front of the house the porte-cochere is covered with a variegated large-leaved Canary Island ivy (Hedera canariensis "Variegata). From the porte-cochere, a central path planted with standard wisterias, leads to a small pool. Along the drive past the porte-cochere to the right is a stone flagged path which is the start of a circulatory walk of the garden. This area is heavily planted with evergreen azaleas, Japanese maples, gold dust plants (Aucuba japonica), and a variety of conifers and contains a pool, with a waterfall at the far side. The pool is a comparatively recent introduction and is planted with water lilies and Japanese iris and surrounded by Japanese maples, wisteria and a swamp cypress (Taxodium distichum).

On the path past the waterfall pool a flight of stone steps leads up to the rose parterre. The rose parterre is fronted by a stone balustrade surmounting a massive retaining wall of local sandstone. The rose beds are enclosed by box hedges, now some 75cm high and separated by gravel paths. Topiary birds complete the scene.

On the lower level, north of the sandstone retaining wall, is a long border and beyond it, a tall cypress hedge. The border has been planted primarily for spring effect, with a variety of low growing perennials and some shrubs. Espaliered fruit trees are trained against the sandstone wall, which is slightly curved, so that the eye is drawn along its length to a stone arch at the far end.

Through this arch a low stone wall separates the garden from a paddock, which is entered through double iron gates and which in spring is a mass of bluebells. Leading down to this gate is a wisteria covered pergola, under-planted on one side with bishops' hats (Epimedium species) and on the other with ferns. On either side of this pergola is a small paved garden with a pool. The one to the right is a sunken garden in the centre of which is an urn-shaped pool. The whole is enclosed with tall Lawson cypress or Port Orford cedar (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana). To the left of the pergola is a raised pool made from a single block of sandstone weighing several tons. The pool formerly contained a charming stone figure of a dwarf and frog, that has since been removed. These two areas have a backdrop of more rhododendrons and camellias.

Another flight of stone steps leads to an area of lawn, in each corner of which is an English ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and in the centre a large spreading tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipiferum), around the base of which is a white-painted wooden seat.

Horseshoe-shaped steps leading down to the new Conference Centre, while continuing back along these steps is a meandering path through rhododendrons and evergreen azaleas. Further to the left are huge clumps of agapanthus while the path itself is bordered with hundreds of hellebores.

THE RING PADDOCK (CIRCLE)
Adjacent to the homestead/hotel and formal garden, on the main knoll, is an area known as The Ring Paddock. This area, encircled by a loop road and edged with a low, masonry, retaining wall, is partly covered by a canopy of indigenous tree plantings. The road is finished in gravel, although a portion has recently been sealed. Views to the north and east of the ring paddock, encompass open, pasture land.

Part of the early infrastructure of the site was a weir, constructed to collect water that flowed from a natural spring on the site. The water was pumped to a 400megalitre rectangular, reservoir structure located on the highest part of the Ring Paddock. A condition of the 1984 development consent was that this system be decommissioned and the site connected to the Berrima District Water Supply. The reservoir has been recycled and used as a settling tank, from where water is gravity-fed to the rest of the site.

RURAL OUTBUILDINGS & COTTAGES
There are two sets of rural outbuildings on the site, reflecting different phases in the history of the place. The early buildings of the Hordern phase are characterised by their brick construction, while the outbuildings constructed in the 1960s, as part of the King Ranch phase, are generally timber-framed sheds, clad in corrugated metal or timber.

The primary outbuildings and structures are from the Hordern phase of development and include the: Reservoir; Carriage House/Stables; Carriage Master's Cottage; former Bull House (artificial insemination facility); Machinery Shed/Hayloft and Cottage; and Milton Park Cottage/ the Lodge (former gatehouse). A signficant element from the King Ranch phase is the Sales Ring.

The Carriage House/Stables building (also known as the Stables and Garage), is located south of the homestead. This two-storey structure originally accommodated horses on the lower level on either side of the central carriage room; staff above; and a pigeon loft at the very top. The Carriage House/Stables has been converted to a residence. There is a whimsical, ivy-clad, arched portal at the western end, built out of recycled bricks from demolished buildings on site. The purpose of the addition was to incorporate a set of elaborate gates and lamps that were formerly part of the loading dock area of the demolished Anthony Hordern and Sons Department store at Brickfield Hill (now World Square).

The Carriage Master's Cottage located east of the Carriage House, has been refurbished and continues to be used for its original function as a residence.

The cruciform, former Bull House, also known as the artificial insemination facility is located in the area south of the Ring Paddock. It has been modified minimally to convert it for residential use. The facility was originally surrounded by holding yards in an elegant geometrical design, and a number of sheds associated with the yards. The fencing of the holding yards has since been removed.

East of the ring paddock is the Machinery Shed/Hayloft and associated structures. The Machinery Shed has been converted in to accommodation. Also on the eastern part of the site is the, former stock auction ring or Sales Ring with amphitheatre seating. This is a rare type of building/structure in NSW. The sloping terrain in this area was exploited to create a gently stepping amphitheatre, with seating formed by roughly shaped logs. Post and rail fences enclose the area and the 9-sided ring itself is closed off with sections of metal fencing/gates. The canvas shade cloth over the amphitheatre, seen in historic photographs has been removed.

Milton Park Cottage, also known as the Lodge, is located near the entry. It has no visual connection to the entry or to other buildings of Milton Park, as it is heavily screened by vegetation and a high boundary wall. The cottage is a single-storey, masonry building of asymmetrical massing with a hipped and gabled roof, clad in corrugated metal. It is painted in the same colour scheme as the other outbuildings of the site, with white walling and green roof.

Other remnants of early outbuildings include the Bullpens, now incorporated in the hotel sales office and the Dairy, incorporated in the conference centre. The former Separating Room/Milking Shed is a free-standing structure adjacent to the conference centre.


Modifications
The Milton Park homestead has been modified, extended and renovated several times since its construction. Early modifications were:
*Enclosure of the glazed top storey of the tower with timber shingled walling and infill of the gables with timber shingle.
*Western addition with a curved bow window.
Later modifications include:
*Enlargement of the eastern wing to enclose an original open verandah
*Spiral fire escape stair added to the porte cochere
*Major extensions to the rear (south)
*Major extension to the west to house hotel suites

The interiors of the ground floor, are considerably modified with successive renovations.

The pool house, conference centre and conservatory were constructed in the period 1998-2000. Other farm buildings and structures have been recycled for ancillary hotel purposes.

The Milton Park formal Edwardian garden was modified in the 1930s, with removal of hedges and trees, to open views through the site. The 1930s structure has been largely retained with the following modifications occurring in the late 1980s as part of the hotel works.
*Replanting and remedial works to the significant garden zones including: terraced lawns; rose parterre; tulip lawn; wisteria pergola; sunken garden; paved court pool; curved perennial border walk.
*New reflecting pool in the former croquet lawn;
*Some clearing of the Pinus sp. plantation, south of the house, for the creation of a carpark.

Timber post and rail 'ranch' style enclosures and fences used consistently throughout the site are not sympathetic to the broader character of the Southern Highlands. Early photographs show a post and rail fence
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The built fabric of the site is in good condition and appears to be reguarly maintained. Some of buildings have been 'over-restored'. Milton Park house has been considerably enlarged and modified as part of the redevelopment for hotel use, and has lost its integrity as the Hordern family's summer retreat.

The gardens are in moderate condition and require regular maintenance.
Date condition updated:19 Dec 17
Current use: hotel, functions, recreation, pasture
Former use: Aboriginal land, farm, rural retreat; pastoral property

History

Historical notes: COUNTRY RETREATS OF EAST BOWRAL
The opening of the railway in 1867 made the Southern Highlands accessible to Sydney. The scenery and the cooler summers made the area popular as a tourist and recreation destination for those who sought relief from the summer heat and the 'miasmas' of the city life. From 1870, boarding houses were built in Moss Vale and Sutton Forest, as holiday accommodation. At the same time, country retreats for the wealthy were being developed in Bowral. By 1890, Members of Parliament, military officers and retired public servants had 'country seats' in Bowral. Typically, these retreats included a distinctive homestead and associated outbuildings, gardens and extensive windbreaks. 'Summerlees' (c 1875) and Retford Park (c1887) are examples of this type of development.

In the vicinity of Sydney, similar 'hill stations' or country retreats were also being developed in Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains.

HORDERN FAMILY
Milton Park is associated with the Hordern family, a Sydney retailing dynasty who are also known for having created many celebrated gardens around their residences in Sydney and in the Southern Highlands.

Anthony Hordern II (1819-1876) built Retford Hall on Darling Point. His son Anthony Hordern III (1842-1886) built Shubra Hall, in Croydon, an Italianate villa on a landscaped hilltop. Another son, Samuel Hordern (1849-1909) established Retford Park in Bowral as a summer retreat and began a period of the Hordern family's presence in the Southern Highlands. Samuel Hordern's eldest son, (Sir) Samuel Hordern (1879-1956) inherited Retford Park and his other sons, Anthony (Tony) Hordern (1889-1970) and Lebbeus Hordern (1891-1928), acquired land nearby: Milton Park and Hopewood, respectively.

The younger, (Sir) Samuel Hordern, had engaged the architects Morrow and De Putron of Sydney to design the Babworth House estate on Darling Point in Sydney. They went on to design warehouses for Anthony Hordern and Sons in Sussex Street, a new storey for the New Palace Emporium and to create Milton Park (1910) and Hopewood (1912) in the Southern Highlands.

ESTABLISHMENT OF MILTON PARK
Milton Park was established in 1910 by Anthony (Tony) Hordern (1889-1970) on 480-hectare, hillside property, formerly known as Mansfield's Farm. Prior to Hordern's ownership, Mansfield's Farm comprised several dairy farms and bushland. Hordern re-named the property 'Milton Park' after the town of Milton on the south coast which was founded by his maternal grandfather, John Booth.

The house was built in 1911, designed by architects Morrow and De Putron in an eclectic combination of styles, with elements of Arts and Crafts, Queen Anne and some classical embellishments. The house was asymmetrical, with a low, octagonal tower and an ensemble of gabled roofs with tall chimneys. Its brick walls were cement-rendered and the roof clad in slate shingles. The gable-ends featured a half-timbered effect with stucco infill. Classical columns on the porte cochere and Italianate balustrades added to the eclectic character of the building. Interior detailing employed simple Art Nouveau motifs.

Anthony (Tony) Hordern inherited the Sydney property, Retford Hall in 1909. Milton Park served as his country retreat and became the focus of entertainment for many members of the Sydney social set of the time.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE GARDEN
The south and western perimeters of the Milton Park Estate were planted extensively with Monterey pine (Pinus radiata) and Bhutan cypress (Cupressus tolurosa) to create protection for the site, particularly from westerly winds.

The garden was established as a series of formal geometric beds and low clipped hedges. Weeping beech trees (Fagus sylvatica 'Pendula') were planted directly in front of the house. Other imported exotic plantings were species of ash, elm and maple.

Local sandstone was used to construct garden walls and paths. Some convict-hewn stone blocks, were brought from the adjoining property Coometon Park, which was also purchased by Hordern, including a large block used to form a trough and fountain in the sunken garden.

After the death of Hordern's first wife, Viola, in 1929 and following his marriage in 1932 to Ursula Mary Bullmore, changes were made to the house as well as the gardens. Mary opened up vistas through the site with the removal of hedges and established the current form and presentation of the garden. Many more trees and shrubs were imported and planted at that time, including standard rhododendrons around the swimming pool.

Much of the credit for maintaining the high standard of the garden over the years is due to Mr Les Fahey, the head gardener, who went to Milton Park in 1910, when Hordern bought the property. He was assisted by Hurtle Ford and, since 1940, by Oliver Sproule (Le Guay & Sproule, undated).

WW2 brought a halt to development of the garden and the site was used for growing vegetables for the armed forces. The garden was opened to the public for the first time in 1948.

STOCK BREEDING
The fourth generation of Horderns in Australia became involved in stockbreeding. Sir Samuel Hordern who established Retford Park in Bowral imported Jersey and Ayrshire stud cattle, Clydesdales, thoroughbred mares, hackneys, hunters and Welsh ponies and exhibited them at the Easter Show. He was president of the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) from 1915-41.

At Milton Park, Anthony Hordern bred Guernsey Shorthorn, Hereford cattle and Welsh ponies. He also bred Mandarin ducks, native and exotic finches and parrots, budgerigars and canaries. Anthony was a "foundation chairman of the Guernsey Cattle Society of Australia and foundation president in 1931 of the Australian Pony Stud Book Society. A vice-president of the RAS in 1933-58, and councillor for forty-four years, he chaired its cattle committee from 1938. He helped his brother Samuel to build up the show and as a regular exhibitor won many major prizes with his horses and cattle." (Australian Dictionary of Biography)

At one time, Milton Park and Retford Park were adjoining properties, the boundaries extending much beyond their current sites. In 1960 Milton Park was sold to King Ranch (Australia) Pty. Ltd. King Ranch transferred its headquarters to Milton Park and developed the site as a showpiece. King Ranch also purchased the adjoining Retford Park in 1962 and use both properties for their for stud Quarter Horse and Santa Gertrudis cattle breeding operations.

The first bull of the Santa Gertrudis strain was imported from the USA in 1933 and presented to Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for breeding purposes. The breed was not declared until 1940. In 1952, King Ranch (Australia) introduced the Santa Gertrudis breed to Australia with the importation of 75 bulls and 200 heifers to the Risdon property in Warwick, Queensland. King Ranch played a significant role in developing the Santa Gertrudis breed and establishing it across Australia. Santa Gertrudis is a tropically adapted breed and represents a major component (up to 25%) of Australia's cattle herd, which is mostly located in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

From 1953 until 1963, the King Ranch held an annual sale at Milton Park on the Tuesday prior to the Royal Easter Show, offering, twelve bulls and a small number of quarter horses. The highly successful sales were conducted in a purpose-built sales ring on the eastern part of the site.

Peter Baillieu and Edwina Baillieu (nee Hordern) owned a part share in Milton Park and used the house as their country residence while operating the estate for King Ranch. In 1978 the Baillieus took full control of the property as the West Kimberley Cattle Company Pty Ltd. They remained at the site until 1984 when Milton Park was sold publicly for the first time, ending the Hordern family's financial interest in the place.

Following subdivision in the late 1970s, the Milton Park estate was reduced to 109 hectares and was no longer an economically viable rural property.

COUNTRY HOUSE HOTEL RESORT
In 1984, the 109-hectare site, comprising the original home, outbuildings and the garden was purchased by Dr Ron White, Dr John Cooper and Mr Couri. They initiated a program to establish the house as part of a rural hotel resort.

The redevelopment of Milton Park as a hotel was designed by the architectural firm of Phillip Cox and Partners. The works included renovation of the interior of the homestead and construction of a substantial new wing to accommodate hotel guest suites. The redevelopment also included the planning and design of two 'villages', adjacent to the homestead and gardens. The primary conservation principles adopted to conserve Milton Park were: preservation of the north and north-easterly views from the house and garden; preservation of the main knoll as a natural landscape element; and utilisation of existing buildings and infrastructure, as far as possible, to minimise impact on the landscape.

Milton Park was sold in 1989 and the new owner expanded the property to 340 hectares. The site changed hands again in 1993 when it was purchased by Aman resorts. Aman undertook refurbishment of the buildings that established the place as a luxury hotel. Major conservation works were also carried out on the gardens between 1994 and 1996, in accordance with a management plan prepared by Kiah Environmental Designers.

In 1998 the site was purchased by the Dobler family who further invigorated the hotel as a business. The Doblers undertook refurbishment of the house and the gardens and restored a number of the outbuildings. They developed the hotel facilities adding a new bar, billiard room and dining area to the main house. They also added new buildings to the site, including the pool house, conference centre, day spa, tennis pavilion and an orangerie. The gardens were recognised as a significant asset of the place and the philosophy for work on the gardens was to maintain the existing structure and to replace like with like for any plant material that was declining. The stock breeding history of the place was also recognised and celebrated and in 2002, Milton Park hosted a re-enactment sale on behalf of the Santa Gertrudis Breeders' (Australia) Association, to commemorate the golden jubilee of the introduction of the breed to Australia.

In 2014 a portion of the site containing the hotel and gardens was purchased by Chinese consortium Yufan (Australia) Pty Ltd who continues to operate the hotel and maintain the gardens. In 2016 Yufan sought to have the significance of the gardens more broadly recognised and initiated a nomination for listing on the State Heritage Register of New South Wales. The gardens management plan was updated in 2017 and a program of refurbishement works for the garden was instigated at this time.

The Dobler family continues to be associated with the part of the site that housed the former stock breeding facilities and includes 120 acres of grazing land. This part of the site is now known as The Hordern Estate and the pastures are used to run Angus cattle.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 Creating environments evocative of the '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 Significant tree(s) providing rural amenity or character-
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 Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Horse 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 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 Modifying landscapes to increase productivity-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Stock sales and auctions on site-
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. Housing famous families-
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. Gentlemens Mansions-
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-
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 - Federation Arts and Crafts-
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. 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 natural landscape features.-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Anthony Hordern, retailer, merchant, gentleman farmer-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Mary Hordern, gentlewoman, gardener-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Les Fahey, Milton Park gardener, Bowral-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Hurtle Ford, gardener, Milton Park, Bowral-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Oliver Sproule, gardener, Milton Park, Bowral-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with King Ranch (Australia) P/L, grazing company-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Milton Park estate is an outstanding example of development in the Southern Highlands by wealthy Sydney businessmen and politicians, who created country retreats to escape the summer heat and spend time in the healthful mountain air. This phase of development began in the 1870s, encouraged by the opening of the railway in 1867.

The site is also historically important for the stock-breeding activities of King Ranch (Australia), who played a significant role in developing the Santa Gertrudis breed and establishing it across Australia.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Milton Park is associated with Anthony (Tony) Hordern, a fourth-generation member of the Sydney retailing dynasty who founded the famous Anthony Hordern's stores. Anthony Hordern and his brother Samuel, of Retford Park, made a contribution to the livestock of Australia with the importation of many breeds of horses, cattle, sheep, dogs and birds and are recongised for their support of the Royal Agricultural Show.

The Hordern family is also known for having created celebrated gardens around their residences in Sydney, such as Babworth House in Woollahra and Shubra Hall in Croydon. In the Southern Highlands, brothers Sir Samuel Hordern, Anthony Hordern and Lebbeus Hordern, established country retreats with extensive gardens at Retford Park, Milton Park and Hopewood, respectively.

The site is also associated with the stock breeding activities of the Texan, King Ranch company.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Milton Park is significant as an elegantly designed rural retreat and pastoral property set in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. The layout and components of the former estate, including the homestead, gardens, extensive plantings of windbreaks, retained native vegetation, the Ring Paddock and collection of outbuildings and structures, form a cohesive cultural landscape of high aesthetic value. Significant views, across the open pastures and shallow valley to the north and east of the site, contribute to the aesthetic qualities of the place.

The gardens of Milton Park are aesthetically distinctive in terms of size and planting and are unmatched by other country house gardens in the Southern Highlands. They are significant for the extensive and excellent use of many exotic plant species, particularly rare weeping beech trees, camellias and rhododendrons. The selection of species used demonstrates horticultural innovation as many species were planted for the first time in the region at Milton Park. The weeping beeches are believed to be the first planted in Australia. Although the gardens have evolved over time, they retain the 1930s layout developed by Mary Hordern.

Collectively, the group of outbuildings and structures on the site are significant in demonstrating the development of the estate as a rural retreat and pastoral property. These include Milton Park House, the Reservoir, Carriage House/Stables, Carriage Master's Cottage, former Bull House/Artificial Insemination facility, Machinery Shed/Hayloft and Cottage and Milton Cottage/the Lodge. The Sales Ring is significant contributory structure, from the King Ranch phase of development.

Individually, Milton Park House is of aesthetic interest at a local level for its architectural qualities. Although extensively modified, its overall external form, materials and detailing demonstrate the main characteristics of the Federation Arts and Crafts style with its asymmetrical planning, combination of hipped and gabled roofs with prominent eaves and tall chimneys, rendered and shingled walls and Art Nouveau detailing.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Milton Park is a representative, as well as an outstanding, example of the development of Southern Highlands retreats by Sydney businessmen and politicians, a phase which began in the 1860s. It demonstrates the main characteristics of such properties, including a substantial, architecturally interesting homestead, associated outbuildings, extensive plantings of windbreaks in the form of hedges and tree groups of primarily exotic species and a homestead garden notable for its design and plant materials. 'Summerlees' (c 1875) and Retford Park (c1887) are other examples of this 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:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - Under consideration for SHR/IHO listingMilton Park Country House Hotel & Spa 08 Jul 16   
Heritage Act - Nomination RefusedIHO refused by Minister 13 Sep 16   
Regional Environmental PlanIllawarra REP 11 Apr 86   
Local Environmental Plan  12 Jan 90   
Potential Heritage Item  20 Apr 06   
National Trust of Australia register  147027 Apr 81   
Register of the National Estate 1388030 Jun 92   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Wingecarribee Heritage Survey1991WI0330; WI0071; WI0494; WI0493;JRC Planning ServicesJocelyn Colleran No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAlfred Phillip Hoggett1987Milton Park : The Redeveopment of an Historic Estate
WrittenBeit Collins & Associates, Australia (BCA)1989Milton Park - Garden Manor Heritage Report
WrittenKiah Environmental Designers1994Milton Park - Gardens Management Plan Report
WrittenLe Guay, Laurie and Sproule, Oliver Milton Park Garden
WrittenMorris-Nunn & Associates1989Milton Park - a report on the environmental heritage of the original homestead
WrittenTanner, Howard & Begg, Jane1983'Milton Park, Bowral, NSW', in The Great Gardens of Australia
WrittenWebb, Chris2008'From wilderness to pleasure ground: discovering the garden and horticultural history of the Southern Highlands' View detail

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: 5060021
File number: S90/06515/1, EF16/6533


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