Friday, August 6, 2010

REVIVAL OF ROCK VALLEY

Squatting (info) south of the Murrumbidgee River first began around 1830 and Rock Valley near the Tidbinbilla River was first occupied by a squatter, George Webb. In 1885 George Green purchased a portion of the Tidbinbilla Valley and by 1895 had built a pise' (info) house and planted an orchard of 74 fruit trees.

Green became renowned as a pise' builder and constructed many buildings in the region including in 1900 a farm structure with a loft for his Rock Valley property. In 1905 the pise' homestead was enlarged and in 1915 a granary was constructed. Following his death Thomas and Mary Green took possession and following their deaths in 1958-9 Rock Valley was subdivided. The Tidbinbilla Nature reserve was declared in 1959 and the homestead and remaining property was bought by Mrs. Newsom of Norfolk Island.

Image from the report by Juliet Ramsay (here)

The property was later acquired by the Government and all buildings except the homestead were demolished and in 1969 it became the site of the Tidbinbilla Depot and the homestead was used for Ranger accommodation. In 1987 Rock Valley was classified by the National Trust and in 2003 the homestead was
severely damaged by the Canberra bushfires that devastated the reserve. 2006 saw the demolition of Rock Valley recommended. The same year a campaign by the National Trust and the Tidbinbilla Pioneers’ Association successfully saved the homestead.

From the presentation for the Canberra Archaeological Society Workshop July 2010 by Juliet Ramsay:
  • Rock Valley, Tidbinbilla is a relict cultural landscape now transmitting to the public a story of its pioneering farming origins. The presentation traces the settlement history of the Rock Valley, individuals associated with the place and their achievements, the fate of the property when acquired for a national park and utilised for a park depot, its bushfire survival story, and the remarkable rebirth of a garden with a mind of its own...
The Revival of Rock Valley is a very comprehensive report that tells the story, and highlights the heritage values, of the Rock Valley property with pictures, diagrams, plans and informative text.

UPDATE - There is a video of the homestead with history (here)



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