Fernhill Estate heritage
Fernhill Estate is an exceptional landscape of natural and cultural heritage significance.
Fernhill Estate’s cultural heritage
Fernhill Estate is located on Mul-goa and Boorooberongal Country, close to Gandangara Country, at the edge of the Cumberland Plain below the Blue Mountains.
Aboriginal people cared for Mulgoa Valley for tens of thousands of years prior to the arrival of the British in the late 18th century. Before the valley was occupied, fenced and enclosed by the early colonists, First Nations people sustained the landscape, maintained their knowledge and practices and were in turn sustained by their Country. Much of the Estate still looks as it once did in the early days of the British colony when it was established by the early pastoralist Cox family through a series of land grants to William Cox and his sons. The Cox family were significant in the British colonisation of Mulgoa Valley and beyond over the Blue Mountains.
The experience of Aboriginal people following colonisation of the Sydney region by the British has been recorded at Fernhill and in the Mulgoa area. Aboriginal people were affected by introduced diseases, expanding agricultural settlement and frontier violence at that time.
Fernhill Estate includes Fernhill House, a grand sandstone historic house and one of Australia’s finest examples of colonial-era Greek Revival architecture built by Edward Cox, the son of William, in the 1840s. It is a grand single-storey sandstone building with broad sweeping views of the rural parklands of the estate, overlooking Mulgoa Valley below.
Fernhill House is central to the colonial-era cultural landscapes of the estate including significant open rural parklands, large reserves of natural bushland and creeks, as well as the early stable building. The early colonial natural landscape setting of Fernhill House was significantly altered in the late 20th century. More formal garden installations around the house were created by the celebrated landscape designer Paul Sorensen, and later his son.