5 August 2020

Kurrumbede garden restoration project rolls on

Work is progressing on restoring the gardens of the Kurrumbede homestead, a property near Gunnedah once owned by the family of one of Australia’s great poets Dorothea Mackellar OBE.

In 2019, Whitehaven Coal announced a $500,000 investment to restore and preserve the gardens of the Homestead. Since then, under direction from a working group with members from Whitehaven and the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society (DMMS), a dedicated bore has been installed, ahead of the installation of a pipeline and then the re-establishment of the gardens, over time, to reflect its original plant palette and layout.

Whitehaven Managing Director and CEO Paul Flynn reiterated the company’s commitment to preservation of the Homestead and future public access.

Kurrumbede is very important to us at Whitehaven and we acknowledge its importance to the community – not just the immediate community, but the country as a whole,” Mr Flynn said.

In conjunction with the DMMS and the Gunnedah Historical Society, as well as the Heritage Division of the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Whitehaven is exploring ways to host periodic community open days at the Homestead, to support the education and enjoyment of future generations of young Australian poets and poetry enthusiasts . A first step has been to develop interpretive signage to enhance the experience for potential future visitors.

Long serving member of the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society Philippa Murray welcomed the initiative.

“Of course it is still early days but it is gratifying to see progress being made to the benefit of current and future generations,” Ms Murray said.

Purchased in 1905 by Dorothea Mackellar’s father, who later constructed the homestead, Kurrumbede was one of Mackellar’s favourite holiday retreats and features a landscape evoked in a number of her works. The Mackellar family also owned other properties in the Gunnedah area, including The Rampadells.

Whitehaven Coal has been a major sponsor of the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards, hosted by the DMMS, since 2010, and Whitehaven Coal Chairman Mark Vaile is patron of the Society.

Pictured: Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society’s Owen Hasler and Whitehaven’s General Manager – Community Engagement Andrew Garratt on the front steps of Kurrumbede.

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