Historic Harrington Park homestead restored to former glory

The hallowed halls of Orielton Homestead have been walked by many curious characters over the past 200 years.

The Harrington Grove house has been home to wealthy widows, renowned local families, cult worshippers and goat farmers.

The historic house had fallen into disrepair until Harrington Estate stepped in back in 2014.

The development company decided to restore the iconic home to its former glory.

Harrington Estate general manager Trevor Jensen said the house had a long and chequered past.

“The land was originally granted to Edward Lord by Governor Macquarie in 1815 and he built the original hut at the site,” he said.

“People often ask when the homestead was built but that answer is complicated because it was actually built in stages.

“The original hut was demolished when John Dickson built the homestead in the 1820s.

“The Perry family lived in the house throughout the 1840s and 1850s.

“They were a very large family and back then the homestead and surrounding huts were almost like a little village.”

Mr Jensen said the biggest contributor to the homestead as it looks today was wealthy widow, Harriet Beard.

“Harriet made her fortune during the gold rush at Hill End,” he said.

“She made significant renovations to the house in the 1870s and 1880s.

“She turned the house around to face south to overlook the pastures at Narellan – she made it a grand house with her son and grandson’s help.”

The house was also used by a veterinarian and goat farmer, it was the location of a cult in the 1960s and during WWII it was used as a military base.

Mr Jensen said Harrington Estate had always earmarked the site for conservation and restoration works.

“Harrington Park and Harrington Grove are home to two houses of state significance,” he said.

“Both were in need of significant work.

“We started work on Orielton back in 2014 and we are just finishing up the landscaping now.”

The house needed extensive external and internal work.

Brickwork and rendering was restored and a balcony was installed at the front of the house.

“It gives the home a very stately appearance,” Mr Jensen said.

“On the inside we basically had to strip the house back and salvage anything we could.

“We had to set up our own joinery workshop on site because the joinery in the house was very ornate 1800s style.”

A water filter dating back to the 1820s was also unearthed during the works and has been preserved at the site.

Heritage experts including architect Lester Tropman were consulted throughout the project.

Mr Jensen hopes the historic home will be open to the public in years to come.

“Ultimately we will sell the homestead, hopefully to a buyer who loves it as much as we do,” he said.

“We’d like to see it go to good use – some potential uses for it would be as a B’n’B, a visitor centre or an estate for people to visit but that would be up to the owner.”