DALWOOD RESTORATION ASSOCIATION

Dalwood House impression
An impression of the completed project

Office Bearers

John Wyndham Chairman
Hugh Wyndham Deputy Chairman
John Wyndham Treasurer
Don Seton Wilkinson Secretary

News

November 2016: Stage 1 of the conservation works

Stage 1 of the conservation works in conjunction with the National Trust started this month.


September 2016: 2016 Annual General Meeting

The AGM was held on Saturday 17 September 2016 at 11:00am,
Leconfield House, 394 Dalwood Road, Leconfield.


May 2015: We have just received a NSW Heritage Grant!

Plans are underway for some important maintenance work.



Committee Members

  • Angus Barnes (Orlando Wines)
  • Richard Holding
  • Stephen Oulton
  • Anne-Marie Ranft
  • Richard Silink (The National Trust)
  • Mark Westcott
  • Ben Wyndham
  • Cedric Wyndham
  • Judy Wyndham

Our Mission

To preserve one of Australia's pioneer houses as part of our history for the enjoyment of future generations.

« Membership Application/Renewal pdf »


Our Vision

To complete the restoration of Dalwood House and to furnish it in a way which makes it accessible and interesting to the general public, with the active support of The National Trust of Australia(NSW), the Dalwood Restoration Association and Orlando Wyndham.


Background

Dalwood House is one of the most important houses in the Hunter Valley. Begun by George Wyndham in 1829 on a 2000 acre property bounded by the Hunter River, 8 kilometres north of Branxton, by the 1980s, Dalwood House had fallen into disrepair and was in imminent danger of collapse. The walls were cracked and leaning, the iron roof was rusted and its doors and windows were no longer in place. Over the years it had suffered from the effects of foundation movement, rising and falling damp, vandalism and neglect.

In 1983, the Dalwood Restoration Association was formed to preserve and restore Dalwood House.


The Plan for Restoration

To ensure that Dalwood House can be preserved, it is planned to restore the building and equip it to serve both as a small function facility and as a museum, housing an extensive collection of material of importance to the Wine, Hereford Cattle, Thoroughbred Horse and Agricultural Industries. Displays emphasising its architectural significance are also planned, along with many personal interest stories of those who built and occupied one of the more significant properties in Australia's history.

Once the restoration is complete the building will be in good condition, fully stabilised and usable for the foreseeable future. It will also be able to generate income to defray on-going maintenance costs.

The project will make a significant contribution to the region, as well as preserving and making available to the public a site of national importance.

Dalwood occupies a unique place in the history of Australian settlement, and must be preserved.

Dalwood has therefore opportunities, once restored, to attract tourism interest from a number of different displays:

  • The history of grape growing and wine-making in NSW and in Australia in general
  • The history of the breed of Hereford cattle in Australia, and its vast contribution to the Australian herd
  • The history of thoroughbred racing and breeding
  • The oldest surviving example of a Classical Grecian style of architecture

Restoration of the southern wing of Dalwood could offer sizeable open exhibition and meeting space, especially when offered in conjunction with the Grace Cardale Room and the two function rooms.

Historical exhibitions could cover a variety of subjects especially those listed above.

Income received from the following sources could therefore ensure that Dalwood House could remain financially viable into the longer term:

  • Entrance fees
  • Exhibition fees
  • Hire of space for functions
  • Merchandising. The Wyndham collection of photographs and memorabilia is as extensive as it is interesting, and Wyndham family letters from 1827 to 1853 have recently been re-transcribed as a historic record of extreme importance. Support is sought for their publication.

Once restored and properly presented, Dalwood House is fortuitously situated where it will be able to attract very large numbers of visitors to the region, including those who visit the adjacent winery and attend the Jazz and Opera in the Vineyards.


The Project's Urgent Need

With the assistance of the staff of The National Trust, the Dalwood Restoration Association engaged architectural, engineering and construction consultants to prepare a comprehensive plan for the complete restoration of Dalwood House.

The report which resulted from this showed that restoration of the existing building will cost about $2 million. Reconstruction of the demolished wing, in suitable style, together with furnishing the building as a museum and small function centre will bring the total funds required to about $2.5 million.

There are three main reasons for the cost. Restoration work done in the 1980's partially restored and stabilised the original core of the building. However, this is the first time that a comprehensive plan has been developed for the entire house. Secondly it is now considered that the only way effectively to stabilise the house for the long-term is to underpin the foundations. Finally, the estimates include restoration of the floors, doors, windows and decorative stonework, especially on the exterior of the Grecian style pavilion.


Current Support

Orlando Wyndham is committed to the future of the site.

The National Trust has given its approval, support and advice and is collaborating in planning for the future restoration activities and long-term preservation of Dalwood House.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

BOOKS

D. E. Wilkinson, Extracts from Dinton-Dalwood Letters 1827-53 , 2nd Edition. Sydney. Privately printed, 1964.

D. G. Seton Wilkinson, George Wyndham Sesquicentenary Commemorative Booklet 1827-1977. Wyong. Privately printed, 1977.

D.G. Seton Wilkinson, Dalwood House, Branxton, NSW. Artarmon. Privately printed. 1986.

C. M. Wright (ed ), Extracts from Dinton-Dalwood Letters 1827-­53 . Sydney. Privately printed, 1927.

J. A. Wright, Generations of Men . Melbourne, O.U.P. 1956.

Peter Wright, Memories of Far Off Days - The Memoirs of Charlotte May Wright 1855-1929. Armidale. Privately printed 1985.

MANUSCRIPTS

R. Deamer, Houses Erected on Original Land Grants in the Paterson, Williams and Lower Hunter Valley from 1800-1850. University of Newcastle Library.

D. Logan, Conservation Study of Dalwood House. University of N.S.W. 1983.

A. J. McConnel, Notes on Dalwood and Leconfield Herds. Australian Hereford Society Ltd.

J. A. Wright, George Wyndham - Biographical Digest, 1962.

G. Wyndham, Diary from 1830-1840. Mitchell Library.

H. L. Wyndham, Bukkulla Station, 1957. Mitchell Library.

R. Wyndham, Diary from 1883-1889. Mitchell Library.


FUTURE USE

It is most important that the future use of Dalwood meets two requirements:

  1. Its use must be aesthetically sympathetic with its history and its fabric;
  2. It must pay its own way, so that its continued maintenance is assured, without being a burden on either The National Trust or taxpayers.

Proposals under consideration include:

  1. Display of the history and development of the Wine Industry in Australia;
  2. Display of the history and development of Hereford cattle in Australia in association with the Australian Hereford Society;
  3. Display of the contribution of Dalwood to the Australian horseracing and stockhorse industries;
  4. Formal Reception and Dining facilities;
  5. Display of the history of Dalwood House and its inhabitants.

Agriculture has been and is still a major contributor to Australia's prosperity. George Wyndham's contribution to the establishment of agriculture in Australia will not be left unrecognised.

Dalwood's opportunity to be economically viable must be considered well above average as it is situated within a vineyard already visited by more than 200,000 people each year.