The Cas­tle on the Hill

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - News -

Gov­er­nor King pre­sented to Ver­in­court De Clambe a grant of land on the high point over­look­ing present day shop­ping cen­tre and sub­urb of Cas­tle Hill in 1801. At the time ru­mour had it that De Clambe planned to build a cas­tle be­fit­ting his so­cial sta­tus. He has been recorded as hav­ing var­i­ous ti­tles: Baron, Che­va­lier, Colonel or Lieu­tenant. It is note­wor­thy that De Clambe had re­ceived his se­lec­tion on the best land and on the thresh­old of the 34,000 acre gov­ern­ment com­mon which stretched north­wards to the Hawkes­bury River. The re­al­ity of con­struct­ing a cas­tle, when there were few re­sources, de­manded that a sim­ple tim­ber slab hut was the only op­tion.

The res­i­dence was named The Her­mitage and has sur­vived 200 years through the for­tu­nate use of tur­pen­tine tim­ber which is re­sis­tant to ter­mites and which was cut on the es­tate. A sec­ondary dwelling was built around the orig­i­nal which fur­ther pro­tected this his­toric struc­ture. It is con­sid­ered by his­to­ri­ans a pos­si­bil­ity that The Her­mitage is the old­est sur­viv­ing slab build­ing in Syd­ney. It is lo­cated at 340 Old North­ern Road (Ro­gans Hill) oc­cu­pied by Hills Fam­ily Fu­ner­als Lim­ited.

Trevor Patrick is a lo­cal historian of the north-west of Syd­ney, Aus­tralia. His lat­est book, In Search of the Pen­nant Hills, re­counts some of these sto­ries (and others) in more de­tail.

James Ruse head­stone in Campbelltown ceme­tery

Her­mitage Cot­tage in 2008

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