30 May 2022
Statement on Kurrumbede Heritage Listing
Statement attributable to a Whitehaven Coal spokesperson:
We committed to preserving Kurrumbede long ago. We have invested $500,000 to upgrade the gardens, embarked on a program of capital works, and last year we even opened the property to the public for the first time in almost a century.
All of this work has been done in consultation with the NSW Office of Heritage, the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society, heritage specialists and other stakeholders.
Regardless of formal heritage status, working to preserve this special property for future generations is business as usual for us.
The property known as Kurrumbede was originally part of the Burburgate run, a vast pastoral holding in the 1800s. In 1905, this estate was subdivided into 58 blocks and sold at auction. Two of these blocks were purchased by prominent doctor and politician, Sir Charles Mackellar, Dorothea’s father, who completed building the homestead on the eastern side of the Namoi River in 1908. The property became one of Mackellar’s favourite holiday retreats, with the landscapes of North West NSW later being evoked in a number of Dorothea’s works. The Mackellars sold the property in 1939. The Waugh family bought Kurrumbede in 1954 and it was sold to CoalWorks in 2010. Whitehaven assumed ownership of Kurrumbede through its acquisition of CoalWorks in 2013.
Whitehaven has a longstanding relationship with the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society (DMMS). Whitehaven Chairman Mark Vaile is a patron of the Society and Whitehaven has been a major sponsor of the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards, hosted by the DMMS, since 2010. We have worked closely with the DMMS and other stakeholders through our program of works over recent years, including our $500,000 investment to restore and upgrade the gardens and the historic Open Day event held in 2021.
Pictured: Kurrumbede Open Day in June 2021.