Retford Park rural residential lots underpinning the Bowral heritage estate's future

Retford Park rural residential lots underpinning the Bowral heritage estate's future
Retford Park rural residential lots underpinning the Bowral heritage estate's future

The stunning success of the land release of rural residential lots on Bowral's historic Retford Park estate, has ensured the longtime home of James Fairfax can be preserved in perpetuity for community access.

Some 71 of the 79 lots offered since the November launch have been snapped, with the upcoming lots priced between $365,000 and $810,000 through Nigel Napoli of Savills Residential Projects.

The housing lots of Retford Park Estate sits either side of historic Retford Park house, the home of James Fairfax, the former chairman of the now ailing publishing company that bears his family name.

Buyers have come looking for a tree-change, especially from the Illawarra region and Sutherland Shire, Nigel Napoli said.

With land sizes from 1000 sqm to 4.8 hectares, there are set be another 81 building block released over the next six months on the outskirts of Bowral.

The 1880s Italianate residence that is well hidden amid the extensive gardens was bought by James Fairfax in 1964 for £15,000.

James Fairfax set about decorating Retford Park House with advice from designer Leslie Walford with the garden undertaken by English landscape architect John Codrington.

The pool, pool pavilion and aviaries were designed by Melbourne architect Guilford Bell. Over the years, architect Espie Dods added architecturally sympathetic extensions to the home. 

The Retford Park homestead will be preserved in perpetuity for the community with some funds from the neighbouring residential development being directed into a trust which will pay for the long-term upkeep of the home and gardens, the project director Allen Robinson advised.

Philanthropic James Fairfax had envisaged the concept for the past four decades.

"I think Retford Park is an important part of the heritage of the Wingecarribee Shire area and provision has been made in my will for the house and the immediate surrounding land, including the garden, to be left in trust to be viewed by future generations," Mr Fairfax told me in 2009. 

Listed on the register of the national estate since 1980, Retford Park was built as a summer retreat for the Hordern retailing family. It takes its name from the village in Nottinghamshire, the northern England town from where Anthony and Ann Hordern immigrated in 1825.

The grounds have many heritage oaks, an enduring association with the Hordern's retailing business, whose emblem was an oak tree under which were the words "While I live, I'll grow".

Photo credits go to Tim Mooney.


Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

Residential Development Rural Property


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