Last updated 2Sep19

Tennent Homestead site

The Tennent Homestead site is located 1.6km north-west of the Namadgi Visitors Centre in the Namadgi National Park.

Location: GR 55H FA 85773-66615 (MGA94), Williamsdale 8726-4N 1:25000

Tennent homestead, May 2012

Visits: 31 Aug 19, 19 May 12, 31 Jul 07

Photographs are available.


KHA web site: The Tennent homestead is about three kms to the west of the Namadgi Visitors Centre, and just inside the later extension to the NP. All buildings except one, were burnt down in the 2003 bushfires. To get there (and avoid a serious scrub bash), walk about 1.5 Km up the Alpine Walking Track from the Visitors Centre, and turn to the right, where the arrow sign is, to a fence corner, with a roll of wire hanging on the corner post. Follow the fence line down to the powerlines (where there is a new gate), and turn hard left, to follow the 4WD trail under the powerlines. Keep immediately to the left of the new fence. After climbing a small rise past a lone pine tree on the left, you will see the homestead in a small hollow. Note that this is a VERY sensitive site, so please do not walk into the fallen buildings. There were five buildings at the site, the first being built in the early 1890s. It is unique in Namadgi, having rammed earth walls. The roof to this building has recently caved in, so the walls are rapidly deteriorating. The other buildings were built more recently. The main home is the building shown above in the photo, and was built in 1950. Of special interest is the shearing shed, which was originally a small vertical slab hut (whose end walls are still visible) but was then extended to its final form. It was the primary loss from the bush fires. Note also the original “Furphy” water carrying cart in the main courtyard.

• KHA Namadgi database (private source). Site 273. The homestead dates from late 1800s and was added to between 1893 & 1902.  A pine-clad cottage was brought in from Canberra in the 1950s.  In the 1970s the 1913 shearing shed was extended and a metal sheep dip was installed.  The site includes a fibro gar ….

Australian Heritage Database: The Tennent Homestead Complex and landscape setting are significant as an intact examples of a marginally economic pastoral landscape which exhibits both continuity of land use and changes in occupancy over 100 years. Elements of the complex have architectural significance as examples of vernacular building and are representative of the vernacular and functional tradition of rural building in New South Wales before 1911 and after 1911 in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The complex demonstrates construction types and materials now rare within the ACT. In particular the remains of the 1913 woolshed may be those of the earliest woolshed erected in the ACT after 1911. The site contains possibly the earliest example of the use of kurrajong trees for domestic planting in the ACT. Tennent Homestead is strongly associated with selection under the Land Act of 1884, the financial crisis of the 1890s and the hardship and decline caused in the rural sector by establishment of the ACT. The pise dwelling confers significant at state level for its association with Green and Hatcliff. There are three groups: the homestead group; the woolshed group; and the shepherds’ hut. The latter consists of a few stones remaining from the chimney and has not been visited. The homestead group developed around the slab dwelling which was erected along the contours for ease of construction and to take advantage of the northerly aspect and view. The later pise dwelling was orientated across the contours to provide shelter from the prevailing west winds. This is confirmed by the lack of openings in the northern and western walls of the pise dwelling. The location of the skillion at the junction of the two dwellings is only visible as a change in ground level caused by its collapse. There is no evidence of the exact positions of the closet (pit toilet) and mouse proof store. Later site development was controlled by the lack of flood free ground. Additions in the 1930s and 1950s were made on increasingly wet ground to the north to retain a favourable aspect and visual control of the approaches to the homestead and the woolshed. Arnie’s 1930s extension opened onto the homestead yard but the timber cottage erected in the 1950s was separated, its alignment confirming that the opening part of Arnie’s extension was in use as a garage. The side window of the 1950s cottage allowed control of the approaches but the cottage faced east to avoid prevailing winds. The woolshed group developed as was usual on small properties, in close proximity to the homestead. The woolshed required dry conditions for sheep and a large flat area for the sheep yard. Without using cultivatable land the only place in proximity to the homestead and access track for transporting bales of wool was on the rocky ridge it now occupies.

• A pise constructed shell with nearby shearing shed site. Jen H reported that Pat J (Val J’s brother) said: ‘Robert Thomson lived on that block (probably a soldier settler block) between the wars. He ran sheep on the slopes of the mountain. He was reputed to have 27 children (by a number of different women)  but he always maintained ‘that the foxes got about five of them’ !!  Some of the kids went to Tharwa school…most didn’t have any schooling. The place was called ‘Folley’s Hollow’.’

• See NPA Bulletin Volume 30 number 3 September 1993 page 21 here.

• After my last visit I enquired via the Namadgi Visitors Centre. The site is in NNP, but there is leased grazing for fire hazard reduction. I understand that the site has asbestos.