As part of the rezoning and planning process, Harrington Estates has taken the lead in the commitment to restoring two of the most historically-notable homesteads in the local area; Orielton Homestead and Harrington Park House.
The two homesteads have been used as the principle points of focus when generating planning and urban design solutions, giving all future development a sense of history and belonging in the local area. All proposed solutions address and respect the prominence of these State-significant homesteads, bearing in mind their historic, aesthetic and social value, as well as their setting and landscape features.
In 1817, Captain William Douglas Campbell selected a position on a hill with impressive views and began constructing a cottage of stone floors and clay bricks. This was the humble beginnings of what would eventually become the grand Harrington Park Homestead.
Over the course of two decades, the homestead passed through many different owners, and Campbell’s cottage grew into its present form. Today it stands as an impressive Georgian style home with a double story central section, single storey wings and two glass pyramid roofed rooms on the easterly side. There is an elegant verandah designed in a Victorian style with terracotta coloured tiles, cast iron posts and filigree detailing.
Harrington Park Homestead is surrounded by pine trees and Italian cypresses. Two stone lions guard the front door, representing those on the Fairfax crest.
Orielton Homestead was once famous for its imposing grandeur and 26 rooms. Peacocks reportedly strutted around the lawns and there was a carriage loop enclosing an aviary of colourful birds.
In over 190 years, Orielton had 13 owners, beginning with Edward Lord, a government official, entrepreneur, smuggler and person of reported dubious character. Lord sold his land in 1822 with much controversy as each of his neighbours claimed that he had sold the property to them.
In 1847, Orielton Homestead notably housed the first Australian-born poet to publish a volume of verse – Charles Tompson. However, the homestead’s glory days truly began in 1899, when it became the private sanctuary of the legendary widow, Mrs Harriet Beard, the mother of Tamboroora and Hill End. It was during her occupancy that the extensive renovations reached grand proportions, with 14-foot high ceilings and northern, central and southern wings. In addition to the peacocks, the estate was said to have caged monkeys on the grounds.
After Mrs Beard’s death, the homestead became a school for local children and later during World War II, was commandeered by the military as an army camp. During a period of its abandonment, Orielton was even said to have been the home of a witches’ coven.
Orielton is currently undergoing an historically-sensitive restoration to reinstate it to its former splendour. The conservation and restoration works incorporate the principle of maximising the existing architecture and character wherever possible - along with minimal intervention to the existing fabric and space - thereby ensuring a natural and sustainable outcome.