Cecily Mitchell in Hunter's
River records the following transactions:
On 1 April 1835 T.W.M. Winder
sold the magnificent estates of Windermere and Luskintyre to his
friend and business associate William Charles Wentworth who on the same
day mortgaged the estates to Winder (from Dawn in the Valley, W. Allan
Wood). However, the Australian Dictionary of Biography says that
'Wentworth tried to buy the estate but the sale fell through and Winder
leased the land to Wentworth and returned to Sydney'. T.W.M. Winder went
to live at Campbell House on Campbell's Hill at Maitland. This was
advertised for sale in April 1840. (1)
W.C. Wentworth lived at the estate for several months
each year. He later extended the homestead
into a thirty room house. There were cellars,
stables, coach house and a vineyard.
A few of the many
convicts who were assigned to work at the estate
when it was owned by Thomas Winder were:
arrived on the Malabar assigned in 1824
arrived on the Sesostris assigned in 1828.
arrived on the Norfolk assigned in 1828.
arrived on the Baring assigned in 1828.
arrived on the Sesostris assigned in 1828
Between 1832 and
1833 the following convicts were assigned: George
Ruddle , John Woodfield, Henry Smith, James
Kirkwood, John Cookham, William Graham, James
Boland, John Connolly and Joseph Quarman
who arrived on the Surry in 1828 was employed
on the estate in 1828 as was William Belcher who
arrived on the Isabella
Select here to find more
and other convicts who were assigned to Windermere.
Wentworth in partnership with Charles Nott
established a boiling down facility for the
manufacture of tallow at Windermere in the
depression of the 1840's, and advertised their
establishment in the Maitland Mercury by
August of 1844. By 1847 Wentworth had
established extensive vineyards at Windermere. He entered
samples of Burgundy wine, sweet water wine, brandy and vinegar in the Hunter River Agricultural Society
show in April of 1847.
By 1848 the
estates of Windermere were being advertised for lease in small lots, with or without the
magnificent Windermere House. Later,
in 1851 the estate was purchased by Charles Nott.
In 1868 the proprietor was Peter Green. He put the estate up
for auction in that year. It was described as a magnificent estate
situated within an hour's drive by road or fifteen minutes by train from
West Maitland and comprising between 950 and 1000 acres, a considerable
portion of which was of the richest alluvial character. There was a
steam boiling establishment with a twenty horse power engine with
pulverizer , bone crusher etc.
Windermere House was considered a commodious family
mansion with over thirty rooms and cellars, and the very best ideal of a
gentleman's country residence; it was tastefully designed and elegantly
finished in the best style of workmanship. The interior was in excellent
order and condition, though the outside had unfortunately been
neglected, the proprietor having bestowed more attention to home
appliances than outward decoration, looking to substantial and lasting
improvements to the general estate rather than out door embellishments.
It was estimated that the original expense of the erection of the house
by must have exceeded £4000.
In addition, the outbuildings were most complete
consisting of an eight stall stable (two stories) built of brick, coach
house, hay loft etc. with men's rooms all in excellent condition; and a
spacious and cellar for wines 90 x 27 x 24 was in the course of being
There were also between 13 to 15 acres of five year old
vines in the vineyard and an orangery that covered 12 acres of land and
contained from 1000 to 1200 luxuriant trees.
Windermere was purchased by Charles Solomon Capp in 1870. The homestead
burned down in a fire in 1882 and a new house was later constructed on
the foundations of the old convict built mansion.
Notes & Links:
Windermere House - A Gracious Reminder of Bygone Days
1). Mitchell, Cecily Joan, Hunter's River, Published by the family of
Cecily Joan Mitchell, 1984, p. 124
2). Wood, Allan W., Dawn in the Valley, The Story of Settlement in the
Hunter River Valley to 1833, Wentworth Books, Sydney, 1972, p. 27