Listen carefully, and you can almost hear the ghosts of John Campbell Esquire and his wife Annabella in the hallway at Bungarribee Homestead. What was once the site of their grand home on their colonial estate is now the centrepiece in the design of a new public parkland in Western Sydney. The Bungarribee Heritage Park, conserves and interprets the national significance of this place. The design of the hilltop park tells the story of the site’s long and colourful history.
Until recently, all that was visible on the site were the garden’s significant trees and the barn floor slab. Now the footprint of the original homestead has been reinterpreted and the sweeping views to the Blue Mountains retained. The design has been recognised with an Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) Award for Cultural Heritage. The jury cited that “…The Bungarribee Homestead Park sets a strong precedent for the creation of a respectful, contextual heart for a new residential community”.
Many owners – a colourful history
In 1825, John Campbell built Bungarribee House in the picturesque style made popular in England by architect John Nash. During the 1840’s the property was primarily used as a horse stud. It became renowned for the quality of racehorses bred onsite. The house had successive owners until its untimely demolition in 1957.
Telling the story
- To tell the story of the site, the footprint of the homestead was translated into sandstone and set within gravel. Gaps left in the sandstone make it appear as an old ruin with native grass growing through. A sense of enclosure was created with low walls and planting.
- The working farm story was expressed through sculptural gateways and artworks. Many of the streets are named after famous racehorses bred on the site.
- The history of the site is explained to visitors using a graphic timeline.. The kitchen garden was re-interpreted using decorative herbs such as rosemary and lavender.
- The surrounding road was lowered four metres to preserve views to the Blue Mountains. This also gave the homestead platform a more significant presence. The original building footings were preserved over a layer of sand. The original footings were protected by avoiding the placement of under-ground services or trees nearby.
Working as a team
To achieve this outcome we worked closely with government agencies, our client UrbanGrowth NSW and our consultant team. This included Heritage specialist Godden Mackey Logan and the following government agencies:
- The Heritage Office,
- Western Sydney Parklands Trust,
- NSW Department of Primary Industries,
- Office of Environment and Heritage and Blacktown City Council.
The parkland is now the centrepiece to a new community of 2,000 residents and provides valuable public open space and recreation facilities.
Awards Jury comments
Both masterplanning and detail have been carefully considered in this design. The successful integration of landform has allowed the park to retain its prominent, elevated position, whilst lessening the visual impact of the adjacent housing development. The materials palette is contextual and refined, enabling a subtle focus on the interpreted building footprint, whilst also facilitating a robust, beautiful parkland. The Bungarribee Homestead Park sets a strong precedent for the creation of a respectful, contextual heart for a new residential community.
To tell the story of your heritage project, contact our Heritage Portfolio Manager Crosbie Lorimer.