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UNESCO Recognition of Historic Glenwood Farmhouse

© Nicholas Watt for Sydney Living Museums

Member for Riverstone, Kevin Conolly MP today acknowledged the significant conservation work undertaken to save the State heritage-listed property Exeter Farm in Sydney’s North West, which was recognised with The Award of Merit in the 2014 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

The Award of Merit, the second highest honour given by the international cultural body, was presented at a ceremony today by the Chair of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO to Design 5 Architects, who coordinated the conservation work on behalf of Sydney Living Museums.

“Exeter Farm is a place of exceptional cultural significance at both state and local level, with direct links back to European settlement. It is one of the finest examples of an early colonial property in Sydney and the only surviving building of its type in the Blacktown municipality,” said local member Kevin Conolly MP.

The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation recognise the achievement of the private sector and public-private initiatives in successfully conserving or restoring structures, places and properties of heritage value in the region.

Located in Glenwood in Sydney’s North-West, Exeter Farm was built on land granted to Daniel Brien by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1821, and occupied by members of the same family until 1923. The property comprises a pair of rare, substantially intact and faithfully conserved, early 19th century timber slab cottages within the remnants of its original landscape and setting.

Exeter Farm was transferred to Sydney Living Museums in 2007 and restored under its Endangered Houses Fund (EHF), a program that identifies significant ‘at risk’ properties and saves them from demolition or unsympathetic development.

“The Endangered Houses Fund enables Sydney Living Museums to apply its expertise to save significant endangered buildings across New South Wales. Under the program, historically-significant properties are conserved, protected and then offered back to the marketplace for the use and enjoyment of future generations,” said Director of Sydney Living Museums, Mark Goggin.

The Jury of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation praised the project, "The restoration of Exeter Farm demonstrates the effectiveness of combining government investment with local community efforts in the conservation of vulnerable historic properties. Utilizing the Australian government’s Endangered Houses Fund, the Historic Houses Trust rescued the severely deteriorated mid nineteenth-century farmstead with the aim of returning the building to private ownership. Extensive restoration work included lifting the timber-slab house, constructing new sills and piers, as well as repairing, replacing and consolidating existing fabric as required. Later materials and additions out of keeping with the historic character of the property were removed. Occupied since 2013 as a private residence, the farmhouse stands as a well-preserved example of a rare domestic building in a remnant rural setting."

Exeter Farm is now in use as a unique residential dwelling within the 21st century Glenwood landscape. Before conservation work began, the two buildings on Exeter Farm were severely dilapidated and had been uninhabited for decades.

Sydney Living Museums engaged Design 5 Architects to design, document and oversee extensive conservation work on the property which involved major structural repairs, replastering, recladding, new floors, services and extensive landscaping, with all sound original material retained.

After completing extensive repairs and installing new services, Sydney Living Museums sold Exeter Farm to private owners Kent and Ashlee Weir in March 2013.

In 2012, Design 5 Architects and Sydney Living Museums were also awarded the AIA (NSW) Greenway Award for Heritage and Sustainable Design for the Exeter Farm project.

MEDIA: Kevin Conolly Ph: (02) 8883 3499