A former Mulwaree Shire councillor has no doubt that a district homestead deserves heritage protection.
Maureen Eddy OAM was just one of the submitters to a council planning proposal to amend its Local Environmental Plan to include Wingello Park, near Marulan, as a heritage item.
"I am totally in agreement with the council's action in this matter," the keen Marulan historian wrote.
"Wingello Park is one of the many historic homesteads in our area which were built in the early 1800s. This occurred when the restrictions for travel through the 'Cowpastures' was lifted by Governor Macquarie in 1817."
The ashlar stone and timber homestead, built in stages from 1827 to the 1840s, is believed to be one of the earliest properties in Goulburn Mulwaree. Robert Mackay Campbell was given the original 600-acre grant in 1824, to which he later added, and the holding was home to the Wingello convict stockade.
Growing up in the 1940s, Mrs Eddy's family lived in an adjoining property and was friends with then owners, the Sielers.
Councillors at their meeting on Tuesday endorsed an amended planning proposal to include Wingello Park at 14597 Hume Highway, Marulan on the LEP.
It followed public exhibition and initial objections from the owner, Twynam Investments, owned by John Kahlbetzer.
His company has since signalled discontinuation of a NSW Land and Environment Court challenge mounted last November against an interim heritage order on Wingello Park.
The council obtained the order in October, 2019 after receiving a development application to demolish the homestead's main living area and make alterations and additions for modern accommodation. It also refused the DA based on heritage, a decision the company also challenged in the same court.
Negotiations have since occurred between the parties. This followed a preliminary heritage study by architect Paul Davies, for Twynam, which verified the buildings' significance and concluded there was "no argument to challenge the interim heritage order."
"It is also clear the buildings can be adapted for ongoing use," Mr Davies report stated.
"The house will adapt to create three to four bedrooms with bathrooms and could have a front hall reinstated if required...Structurally there appears to be little required to occupy the buildings."
On Tuesday, Twynam's solicitor, Elise Kliese asked the council in open forum to more clearly define the area affected by the heritage listing and to recognise that the property was "a working farm."
"The owner is seeking some exemptions to continue that use," she said.
These included exclusion of a water tank and associated bore, a creek crossing, paddocks to the home's northwest, roads and fencing and allowance for general farm maintenance.
Ms Kliese asked for a specific resolution to this effect.
Planning and environment director Scott Martin said there was no intention to jeopardise farming activities.
"It's been farmed for almost the past 200 years," he said.
"The area of concern is simply around the homestead and the barn and that's what is in front of us."
Mr Martin said the area had been pared back from an initial 100 acres and reflected Mr Davies' advice but also what the council wanted to achieve.
It also encapsulated gardens, paths and any archaeology such as old blacksmiths' shops. The council's heritage adviser identified potential for remnants of a police lock-up, grave sites, aboriginal artefacts and the old road's alignment. She said the LEP could be amended in future if these were found.
Mr Martin told the meeting that a site survey by the NSW Heritage Office would more clearly define the protected area. This analysis had not been previously possible as the Office could not access the site.
"We think this is a very fair and reasonable outcome," he said.
An earlier study by heritage consultant David Hobbes concluded that Wingello Park had "high potential" to meet the threshold for State Significance.
The planning proposal does not prevent a development application for building alterations and additions. But heritage matters must be considered. A separate report to councillors stated that amended plans were furnished to planners in August and draft conditions had been issued for the applicant's comment.
The planning proposal drew four public submissions, including an objection from Twynam in April which outlined numerous legal grounds. Council planners have negotiated these points.
The Australian Garden History Society supported the move, saying Wingello Park was one of the "few extant colonial homesteads between Sutton Forest and Goulburn" which "clearly illustrated convict activity in its circa 1833 layout, construction and materials."
The proposal will be sent to the state government for plan making.
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