Harrington Park House and Orielton Homestead are two of the most historic houses in NSW, respectively located at the heart of Harrington Park and Harrington Grove. As part of the planning and rezoning of Harrington Grove, Harrington Estates undertook plans to restore both houses.
The full restoration of Harrington Park House has been undertaken and has now been completed.
Meanwhile, restoration of Orielton Homestead is well underway and is expected to take another 12 months. The work is intricate and painstaking, and there have been many special measures implemented in order to protect the delicate materials and fixtures. For example, an on-site joinery shop has been established to recreate the architecture of the past without the unnecessary wear and tear caused by travel. Orielton Homestead is prominent in the Harrington Park locality, being highly visible from The Northern Road.
Archaeological conservation is a key to the successful delivery of the restoration. A water stone dating back to the 1840s that has been retrieved from the site will be preserved and featured in the restoration. Similarly, the stables and barn will be restored to capture the original spirit of the homestead and its grounds.
One of the challenges for the team restoring Orielton Homestead is the many changes the Homestead has gone through as it was used for different purposes by different owners. During its time, Orielton has operated as horse agistment, a farming estate used for cropping cereals, a milling flour, a grazing estate, a hunting/pleasure ground, a weekender and during WWII it was an army occupied site. It was during this time that substantial changes to the fabric of the house occurred.
According to NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Orielton Homestead is of state heritage significance to the Camden area for the following reasons:
- Orielton is a good representative example of a gentleman's estate from the 1840s, and possibly as early as the 1820s (granted in 1815);
- Orielton housed the mill for wheat grown in the area - an important early industry. The continued adaptive reuse of the residence and the outbuildings is an important part of Orielton's history;
- Orielton has strong associations with prominent land owners and local gentry since its 1840 occupation to the present ownership. It has an association with the World War II air force occupation;
- Orielton is aesthetically significant because it displays elements of Georgian design and detailing that is representative of the area. It also displays Italianate design rare to the area and to rural properties. Orielton's setting in the rural landscape is representative of design philosophies of the time. Its visual links with the landscape and surrounding properties is significant;
- The gardens surrounding the homestead are significant for retaining plant species and garden layouts associated with their early arrangement. The gardens have been arranged to provide a formal garden setting for the homestead, with its signal plantings of Bunya and Norfolk Island pines, providing a distinctive presence of the homestead against the undulating topography. (Tropman & Tropman, 5/2004, 88).
With its imposing front entry and 26 rooms, Orielton Homestead will truly shine upon completion of the restoration, when it will be returned to its former majesty.