Goulburn Mulwaree heritage study digs up gems

STRIKING: The former St Michael's agricultural and trades college, now the Holy Cross Seminary, is recommended for possible council heritage listing.
STRIKING: The former St Michael's agricultural and trades college, now the Holy Cross Seminary, is recommended for possible council heritage listing.

Several imposing district homesteads reflecting the prosperity of their time are recommended for inclusion on the council’s heritage register.

Inveralochy, once home to an agricultural and trades college run by the Christian Brothers near Lake Bathurst, is just one of 23 buildings and structures suggested for further investigation and potential listing on the council’s Local Environmental Plan.

The home was thought to have been constructed circa 1860s/1870s. It sits on land originally owned by squatter and explorer, James McFarlane, according to an Inveralochy Old Boys history. He possibly bestowed the Scottish name to the property. Subsequent owners included Craig and Douglass and then in the 1890s, Dr Robert L Faithfull purchased the holding. In 1902 he leased it to George E Faithfull, the son of William Pitt Faithfull of ‘Springfield.’ 

“Passing through the Faithfull family estate after soldier-settlement deletions, it was auctioned on October 4, 1950 and sold to the Most Reverend Dr Terence B McGuire, Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn at 97,000 Pounds for the remaining 4,809 acres and homestead,” the history stated.

Sons of farmers flocked to the school when it opened in 1954, including many from the Goulburn district. Known as ‘St Michael’s, it was operated by the Christian Brothers until its closure in 1972. Today it is home to Holy Cross Seminary.

Other rural properties suggested for further research and possible heritage listing are Rossiville on Range Road, Saint Clair house at Lake Bathurst, a house and barn on the corner of Braidwood/Glenoval Roads, Lake Bathurst, and Ellismore on Brisbane Grove Road. The Wingello Stockade site and the Marulan police station and residence could also make the grade.

Consultants Barker, Ryan, Stewart have completed a draft heritage study for Goulburn Mulwaree Council, the first comprehensive document since 2003. It ties together previous documents but also recommends new development controls and greater inclusion of indigenous history.

In Goulburn’s CBD it recommends more consistent mapping of the heritage conservation areas, removing anomalies in current planning documents. More broadly, it breaks up the existing conservation zones into four zones “better reflecting their use, structure, history, zoning and future opportunities for development.”

These are the central area, the Waterworks, Kenmore and Lansdowne Estate/Southeast Goulburn.

The study recommends that heritage incentives be revised to “encourage more development without being as restrictive.”

“This may encourage restoration or adaptive reuse, where the benefits are clearer,” the document states.

“One option would be to create a specific incentive clause for the B3 commercial core zone of Goulburn city centre, permitting residential development (apart from shop-top housing) to be constructed along with adaptive reuse or restoration works, either on that site or one nearby.

“This would encourage revitalisation of the rear laneways and provide more certainty for developers.”

Developers are converting several old buildings in or near the CBD, including the former Rural Bank on the corner of Goldsmith and Auburn Streets and the old Marian College site. The recommendation also feeds into the council’s push for greater connectivity to parking, via CBD lanes. 

The authors also suggested that new conservation areas be established for Marulan township and an archaeological zone at Bungonia, given its rich history. 

“The sites include former inns, wells, stores, original police station, blacksmith, courthouse, jail and more,” the study states.

The consultants delve deeper into Goulburn and district’s aboriginal history. Owners of large estates such as Lansdowne, Lumley Park, Inverary Park and Reevesdale distributed blankets to the indigenous population in the early days. The influenza epidemic in 1846-47 had a “disastrous impact” on their numbers.

Nevertheless, given the number of archaeological finds in recent years, the authors recommend that the council review aboriginal heritage management and listings, potentially to include mapping and guidelines within its LEP and development controls.

The draft study is on public exhibition until August 11 and submissions are invited. They can be made in writing or emailed to council@goulburn.nsw.gov.au and should be addressed to the Business Manager Planning and Strategic Outcomes. 

Mayor Bob Kirk.

Mayor Bob Kirk.

Mayor Bob Kirk encouraged people to do so, saying that very often people declined the opportunity when in fact it was a chance to influence future planning.

“I imagine there will be a fair bit of interest from history groups,” he said.

“At the moment (the report) is just the view of the authors but there’s room for other input to be included. As councillors we act on behalf of the community but very often people want to be critical when they don’t give input when they have the opportunity.”

Goulburn Heritage Group member Linda Cooper said the document tied together several studies.

“We’re pleased that it’s been done because it was needed,” she said.

“I think it will be helpful in terms of guiding development, such as infill…We’re getting some really nice designs and developers are seeing the value of making their buildings compatible. I think the new apartments near the Astor Hotel, for example, are excellent.”

The Heritage Group was discussing the report at its meeting on Thursday.