News

Preserving a delicate piece of our history

Orielton Homestead and Catherine Park House

The Camden area is blessed with a number of historical homesteads that add character, depth and narratives to the region. Harrington Estates takes great pride in local history and has restored three local homesteads within its estates with meticulous attention to detail.The first was Harrington Park house, followed by Orielton Homestead and Catherine Park House. Orielton commenced in 2014 and has only just been completed due to the grand scale of the undertaking.

In the Beginning

The grand home began as a hut belonging to Edward Lord, who was granted the 1620 acres of land by Governor Macquarie in 1815. It was acquired by John Dickson in 1822, who demolished the hut and built a four-room home as an outstation for his farm manager in 1830. The Perry family extended Orielton between 1847-1860 with the addition of eight rooms, including kitchens, servants’ rooms and stores.

The Fairfax Family

Between 1938 and 1944 it was owned by Harrington Park farmers Arthur Swan and his wife, and for some of that period (1941-1946) Narellan Military Camp was set up across Harrington Park and Orielton, with Orielton homestead being used as Army Headquarters.

Orielton came into the Fairfax family in 1944, when the area now known as Harrington Park was purchased by Sir Warwick Fairfax. From that time and throughout the 1950s it was used as a farming outstation and was home to Poll Hereford Studs. Then in the 1960s, it was unoccupied and rumoured to have been used by cult worshippers who burnt floorboards for their ceremonies.

First Grand Transformation

Between 1864 and 1876 it belonged to John Thomas Neile, who used it as a weekend retreat for sportsmen from Sydney to enjoy hare coursing. In 1876 one of Orielton’s most influential characters took ownership. Harriet Beard was a wealthy widow who came into money on the goldfields before purchasing Orielton and transforming it into the grand 26-room home it still is today. Following her death, it was acquired by Ephraim Cross who used the old existing flour mill to start the Four Lakes Distillery.

Salvaging the Original Structure

The interior was in a state of disrepair and had to be completely stripped back, with the team salvaging whatever original elements they could. All of the materials and products that were installed as part of the restoration were in line with its historical era, and therefore had to be specially sourced. Outside, the brickwork and rendering was restored and a balcony was installed at the front of the house to provide a stately façade. It has also been completely landscaped and now presents as an elegant historical homestead worthy of its long history.

In the 70s

In the 1970s it was used as a veterinarian surgery and dog breeding station before it was leased to Jim Baxter in 1982, who repaired the home for occupation and used the grounds for horse stabling and agistment. When Harrington Estates commenced the restoration in 2014 Orielton was in a state of serious neglect and disrepair, but its strong bones were still intact.

The Restoration
Restoration commenced in 2015.The task of restoring the home was mammoth, involving the consultation of historical architects and specialty suppliers, some of whom had to set up workshops onsite due to the volume of work and the delicate nature of the materials they produced.

A Piece of History

With the restoration now complete, Harrington Estates will soon be selling the homestead with the hope that it will be loved and cherished as a key part of local history. Its stately presentation lends itself to a B’n’B or local visitors’ centre, but its next chapter will ultimately fall into the hands of the future owners.

With the restoration now complete, Harrington Estates happily reflects on Orielton Homestead’s impact in the local area and how significant it was to respectfully preserve this key piece of history.

We hope Orielton Homestead will be open to the public in years to come. Ultimately we’d like to see it go to good use – it could be used as a B’n’B, a visitor center or a public estate. - Trevor Jensen, General Manager Harrington Estates

Eating out, keeping it local
House spotlight: Terrace homes
Enquire today
Fields marked with * are required
Subscribe for Updates
Fields marked with * are required