Last updated 2Jul19

Orroral Homestead old site

The old Orroral Homestead site is located near the Orroral Heritage Walk in the lower Orroral valley in the Namadgi National Park.

Location: GR 55H FA 78487-52933 (MGA94), Rendezvous Creek 8626-1S 1:25000

Line of 13 stones (OR3, SoS G6), May 2008

Visits: 26 Jan 16, 27 May 08, 29 Apr 08

Photographs are available.


• KHA Namadgi database (private source). Site 234. Ground traces of oldest Orroral homestead dating from 1830s.  There is evidence of 3 buildings as well as a cultivation paddock and a line of 13 boulders nearby.  Grid reference field checked May 1996 by Joss Haiblen and is correct as per Higgins (1994).

Gudgenby: A register of archaeological sites in the proposed Gudgenby National Park, J H Winston-Gregson MA thesis, ANU, 1978. Site OR3. Three hut sites, line of 13 stones. Two granodiorite hearths and collapsed chimneys; the thirteen stones are all granodiorite blocks. Huts marked by soil platforms. Used by Charles McKeahnie until the main Orroral homestead was constructed. Source: A Gregory 30 October 1977. A substantial homestead built on a river terrace; no sign of cultivation but a large, contemporary stockyard is nearby (Site OR4). Notable that site not mentioned on surveys; suspect site deserted and materials used to construct Site OR6 before first survey of portion in 1878. Possibly ‘Oraral’ (NSW Gazette 1836). See extracts of the relevant pages in the photos above.

Sites of Significance in the ACT. A 9 volume set, pre-cursor to the ACT Heritage Register. Published in 1988 (Vols 1-7), 1989 (Vol 8) and 1990 (Vol 9); pp38-43. Site G6. The site consists of ground traces of at least one main building and possibly 2 others. The building sites are evidenced by the bases of stone chimneys and soil platforms and there are signs of cultivation and fences nearby (Winston-Gregson, 1978; Egloff, 1988). It has been suggested by the above authors that the site marks the original dwelling in the Orroral valley dating back to the 1830’s and that the buildings were dismantled and some of the materials used in the construction of the Orroral Homestead (Site G5) in the 1860’s. Between the cultivation paddock and the hut sites is a line of boulders (mapped as 13 by Winston-Gregson, 1978 and 29 by Egloff, 1988) extending south from the river bank. The purpose of these is not known. A faint track with at least one stone culvert passes the site and joins with the Orroral Homestead. This represents the original track into the Orroral Valley. The site may represent one of the oldest records of settlement in the Namadgi area of the southern half of the ACT. See extracts of the relevant pages in the photos above.

• Signage at site: This is one of the earliest sites of European settlement in the region. Established in the 1830s by William Herbert it was an illegal settlement because it was outside the ‘Limits of Location’. In 1838 there were 10 residents, a slab hut, 9 acres under cultivation, 37 horses and 700 cattle on the 12,800 acre property. The Orroral Run changed hands many times. Charles McKeahnie purchased the run in 1864. In the late 1860s he and his son Archibald constructed a newer homestead further up the valley. The ruins of the main building, two or more smaller ones, a cultivation paddock, a line of stones (presumable a fence line) and the original track route into the valley are all that remain of this pioneer settlement.

• ACT Heritage Register: See here.