His­tory

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - In This Issue - - Max Rough­ley.

ROUGH­LEY HOUSE IS A WELL-KNOWN HOUSE FOR A NUM­BER OF REA­SONS.

The house, which was be­queathed to the Hills Shire Coun­cil by Clive Rough­ley in 1985, was re­stored by Coun­cil and an ap­pointed com­mit­tee of lo­cal peo­ple and fam­ily mem­bers. In con­juc­tion with this, Coun­cil also built the Hill’s Visi­tor In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre be­side the res­i­dence. Many vis­i­tors, in­clud­ing those from re­tire­ment vil­lages and probus clubs, ar­rive via bus and tour the res­i­dence. Oth­ers who visit the Rough­ley House are amount the few hun­dred peo­ple who at­tend ‘Jazz at the Pines’ once a month on a Sun­day, in the warmer months.

Many peo­ple re­mem­ber Clive as the ‘Honey and Egg Man’ and would call in to buy those prod­ucts from him and have chat. ‘The Pines’ is not only one of the old­est houses in the Hills district but, due to a set of un­usual cir­cum­stances, is also a cot­tage mu­seum.

To en­ter Rough­ley House is to step into the past a unique ex­pe­ri­ence.

Clive, who passed away in 2002, lived most of his life alone and only lived in the rear rooms of the house. The front rooms re­mained vir­tu­ally un­touched from be­fore his mother’s time. The house was built in 1856 but was not the first house build on the land grant that was Rough­ley land. The first house was built by James Rough­ley (I) and his wife Har­riet in the 1830s, op­po­site the junc­tion of Gal­ston Road. Har­riet was also known from an early set­tler fam­ily, the Ken­twells, after whom Ken­twell Av­enue in Cas­tle Hill is named. They are also con­nected to the first fleet.

It was James (I) and Har­riet, who gave the land to the Church of Eng­land for St Judes to be built at the Gal­ston Road junc­tion. On the death of James (I) his son James (II) and his wife Ly­dia built the present house in 1856. Some of the tim­ber from the old house was used in the con­struc­tion of the new one, with the ma­te­rial left over been used to build a shed at the back of the prop­erty.

Ly­dia’s famly were the Hunts who were very prom­i­nent in Par­ra­matta at the time. Par­ra­matta Dam, from which the early set­tle­ment drew, was on Hunt land and was orig­i­nally called Hunt’s Dam. The main stream sup­pling it is still called Hunt’s Creek. In ad­di­tion, the Hunts are re­mem­bered for a street in their name and two his­toric houses. One house, built by Ly­dia’s fa­ther Richard is a stone cot­tage in Ge­orge Street. As an aside, it’s pleas­ing to see this colo­nial cot­tage sur­viv­ing among high rise of­fice build­ings in a mod­ern CBD.

This in­for­ma­tion about the Hunt fam­ily is con­tained in the book ‘Th­ese Walls of Time’ writ­ten by Ken Rough­ley. Ken also co-au­thored with June Rough­ley ‘A Loftier Race’ which de­tails the his­tory of the Rough­ley fam­ily.

The land on which Rough­ley House was built is part of the high­est land in the Syd­ney area. In fact, Hunt trig sta­tion, named after Ly­dia’s brother, is across the road from the house and is the high­est point. It is thought that the sec­ond story bed­rooms are the high­est in Syd­ney.

Her brother, John Charles Hunt, owned an ad­join­ing prop­erty and like James (II) and Ly­dia, ac­quired fur­ther land in the district and else­where even­tu­ally. This is an ex­am­ple of how the early bound­aries were con­nected.

The land of course was farm­ing land and was orig­i­nally used to grow grains as fod­der for stock and poul­try. How­ever, the bulk of pro­duce was sold to flour millers. This changed when it was found that the soil and cli­mate were suit­able for cit­rus fruit trees. The mar­kets for this pro­duce, and stone fruits, trav­elled to Syd­ney, Mel­bourne, Bris­bane and New Zealand.

Clive’s fa­ther, Archibald Ed­win Charles, who was the youngest son of James (II) and Ly­dia con­tin­ued to farm mainly cit­rus fruit. How­ever, with the emer­gence of cit­rus grow­ing in the broad area and ir­ri­gated farms of the Rive­rina and South East Queens­land , Clive branched out into cat­tle.

Rough­ley House was con­structed of stakes of iron­bark which were charred by fire and then driven into the ground. The char­ring pro­tected against rot­ting and ter­mites. The stakes on the ex­te­rior of the house were cov­ered with pit­sawn weath­er­board and lined with lath and plater. The high pitched roof was cov­ered by shin­gles and re­placed by gal­vanised iron, which al­though patented in Eng­land in 1847, was not used on the house un­til many years later.

Look­ing at the house you first no­tice the 160 year old pine trees after with the house is named. When first glimps­ing the house you as­sume it is sin­gle story. How­ever, be­cause of the room pro­vided by the high pitched roof and two win­dows at the back con­tains two up­stairs bed­rooms.

As we go through the house we see the five rooms that have had lit­tle changes for over 100 years. The first is the front bed­room, then the lounge room, the din­ing room and the up­stairs bed­rooms. There are many pieces of an­tique fur­ni­ture, no­tably the rose­wood four poster bed given to Clive’s mother, Em­me­line Kay, by her side of the fam­ily.

It is not a grand house but the qual­ity in­clu­sions, par­tic­u­larly in the din­ing room, sug­gest that they be­came very pros­per­ous. Within two gen­er­a­tions they had pro­gressed from trans­porta­tion as con­victs to wealthy landown­ers.

The story of trans­porta­tion as a re­sult of petty crime, in many cases from the hard con­di­tions of 19th cen­tre Bri­tain, and the tragedy of fam­ily sep­a­ra­tion to the op­por­tu­ni­ties of the new land, is a com­mon theme in our early colo­nial his­tory.

The hard work and suc­cess of th­ese peo­ple helped to build Aus­tralia.

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