At Deepwater Station we have at least eleven historically significant buildings that represent the hub of the working sheep and cattle property in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Up until now our family has maintained the buildings to preserve that link to the past, but recently the backlog of work required has got beyond us.
Please note: To view the full-size photographs in any of our galleries, please click an image to begin.
Our project is to raise money to enable much needed repairs to as many of the buildings as possible to get them structurally sound so we can open them up to the public as museums and accommodation.
Although all of the buildings need some work, we have identified 3 buildings, (listed below), that require urgent work to rectify structural damage that could lead to collapse. The damage is largely a result of posts sinking and movement due to age and water pooling.
All proposed work on the buildings is purely maintenance. There will be no alterations, additions or removal of parts of the buildings. The work will just be:
- Lifting, straightening and stabilising posts and levelling the structures so the guttering can be replaced,
- Repairing the slab walls and verandahs and
- Ensuring we get the water away from the base of the buildings.
The builder’s scope and photos of his proposed work on these 3 buildings can also be viewed here:
The builder we have chosen for the job is local and has a passion for working with old buildings using techniques that will be very sympathetic to the buildings original construction.
He is very excited about being part of the project and has provided very competitive quotes.
The heritage value of these buildings has been widely recognised; Deepwater Station is listed as a statutory item of environmental heritage in the Tenterfield LEP 2013 and specifically includes the homestead and outbuildings. The buildings have been inspected by a number of heritage professionals and all of them agree that they are certainly of significant heritage value.
Deborah Wray, the heritage advisor for Tenterfield Shire Council, said in her Deepwater Station Referral Report;
“The conservation of this complex of buildings is considered to be a very high priority.”
Up until now only a few groups have been shown through some of the buildings. We would like to open them up to the public with tours and talks on specific days throughout the year. The number of days and when the days will be held will depend on the level of interest from people and the times that suit them. We also plan to include access to these buildings through accommodation packages which we hope to offer in the near future.
If you are interested you can donate at one of two places.
1) We have set up a crowdfunding project on Pozible.com to allow access for more people and provide a more formalised donation platform. On that site there is more information on the project and a more comprehensive list of rewards (see below) and donating is easy with a simple sign in procedure. Also, the pledges are only collected if we reach our target funding of $11,000.
- You can make donations through Pozible here: Donate Here to Preserve Pioneer Settlement History
2) If you don’t want to go to the Pozible site you can donate very easily here through our PayPal account. You are still eligible for the rewards and someone will contact you via email to organise this. You can make donations via PayPal by clicking the button provided:
These Are The Heritage Buildings To be Maintained
The best estimate of the building date of the stables is the early 1870’s. They were built to house the work and sulky horses and the various horse drawn carts and sulkies. They were adapted a little later to also house the valuable “show bulls” which were purchased to use in the cattle breeding program.
The stables are a 2 storey building whose structure is made from whole log and some rough sawn timber; the interior walls are horizontal adzed slab and the exterior are vertical adzed slab. The upstairs loft was used to store feed for the horses which was then thrown directly down into the hayracks and mangers below.
The shingle roof is still intact under the corrugated iron which went on in approximately 1902. Over time a number of the timber posts have sunk into the ground causing the building to lean and some exterior and interior walls to fall down. The posts need to be lifted and stabilised so we can level the building, put the walls back up and replace the guttering. Generally the timber in the structure is in very good shape and rebuilding the external stair case to the loft, sometime in the future, is really the only other building work required to get the stables back to full working order.
The Storerooms were built pre 1850 and were used to store provisions for the staff and families on Deepwater Station. They were integral because the town of Deepwater, at this stage, had no real stores of its own.
The storerooms consist of one long building, 11m by 5m with verandahs on 3 sides. As with most of the timber buildings on Deepwater Station it has vertical timber slab walls and a shingle roof. The building is divided into 3 rooms, each with a different interior depending on the provisions that were stored in them.
The meat room, in the middle, has a rail suspended from the ceiling that runs along 3 walls for hanging carcases. The cracks between the slabs are covered on the inside with strips of tin to exclude flies and vermin. These, however, would have been a later addition; around the late 1890’s or early 1900’s. We are not sure what the walls would have been lined with originally but Don Macansh thinks it was probably paper and hessian.
The general store, on the eastern end, was used to store mostly dry foods such as flour and tea. Don remembers that there were 3 grades of tea there; The top grade for the homestead, the middle grade for the staff and the lower grade for the swaggies, travellers and itinerants. Again, we are not sure what the original lining was, but at a later stage the room was, and still is, fully lined with tin.
The small room on the end was most likely used as a saddle and harness room, although I don’t know why the harness room would have been so far from the stables, about 250m.The walls are not lined and there are no storage shelves but there are pegs on the walls which would have been suitable for hanging saddles on. Apparently in later days the workmen that lived in Deepwater used this room to put their push bikes in during the day. Access to the loft is via this room. The ceiling, which provides the floor for the loft does not extend to this room so access can be gained via a ladder through a door way in the end wall of the loft. The loft was most likely used as living quarters as a proper floor has been put down. There are no windows or walls, just the pitched roof cavity.
There is a veranda along the southern side and both ends of the building. A leanto was built under the verandah on the eastern side which originally must have been accommodation because there was a fireplace on the eastern end.
The original homestead for Deepwater Station was actually built some 3 km north of its current location on the banks of the Nukoorapeta Creek where the house on “Killarney” is now. To the best of our knowledge there is nothing left of the original site. The settlement was moved after a few years as the creek was found to be an unreliable source of water to the current site on the Deepwater River.
This more recent homestead was built around 1860 in a similar style to the storeroom, with very similar dimensions but it seems with a little more attention to detail and a few more finishing touches. The external walls are still vertical adzed slab with a moderately pitched shingle roof and a verandah on 3 sides but the windows and doors are more detailed and finished. The building is 11m by 5m with the same southern orientation towards the river. It is split into two bedrooms both with windows and doors that lead onto the southern verandah and back doors that lead over to the kitchen/dining building.
The back wall is actually missing and will hopefully be replaced during the maintenance program.
The interior is lined with pine panelling but this is a fairly recent addition; Don can remember the panelling going in during the late 1930’s. Prior to that, he remembers the lining being wallpaper on top of paper on top of hessian. There was a large double sided chimney in the middle of the building that formed part of the dividing wall. This homestead was superseded in 1880 when the first house was built on the site where the current homestead is but stayed in use as jackeroo quarters when 3 more rooms were built on the northern side of the kitchen building and used by the unmarried staff.