Positive Outcome at Castlereigh

Completed: 2012

A frantic phone call from a colleague out west saw us making a beeline towards Penrith. Council was rejecting an application for a workers cottage on a nearby farm because the site contained a heritage listed farm house. The implication was for no further development on the site. Devistating news for the client.

Nigel met his colleage and the client on site. The heritage listing was for “a federation farm house and associated out building.” He spent an hour investigating the farm house and it was clear that the house-proud client, who had owned and farmed the property for over thirty years, had maintained the house in perfect condition. Things were not looking good for the client.

Almost as an afterthought, Nigel asked to see the “associated out building” and was shown a structure covered in Lantana and Blackberry. It was barely visible at all. Ordering a farm hand to clear away some of the weeds revealed a robust brick building. It was a colonial cottage, a good fifty years older than the federation farm house. This had to be investigated further.

The cottage was measured and photograph. Removing a loose brick exposed a convict frog mark. Armed with this information, Nigel headed back to the office to do some research.

Not only were we able to discover the full history of the site, but we were able to turn the tables and use this to the benefit of our client.

NPAA investigated the property from every angle. It wasn’t long before the truth was revealed. The land had belonged to Andrew Thompson, the wealthiest grain grower and farmer in the colony in the early 1800’s and personal friend of Governor King, who had visited Thompson’s lands at Castlereagh, as did Governor Macquarie. By the mid 1800’s the land had been subdivided and the property acquired by John Tebbutt, a world renouned astronomer of the day. Tebbutt also featured on the first Australian $100 note. The convict frog mark indicated that the bricks were made around 1840, and it is likely the cottage was built at that time.

Nigel took an opposing point of view to Council and said that the colonial cottage and federation farm house demonstrated the wealth of the land in their day. With further workers cottages permissible, it was not unreasonable to construct another, demonstrating the wealth of the land in the 21st century, so long as it was appropriately sited. A curtilage was determined to protect the views and vistas of the two existing buildings and dedicate an area for future development. A new application was lodged and Council approved the development soon after. The rest, as they say, is history.