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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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Fernhill Estate is located at Mulgoa Road, Mulgoa.

 

The estate includes a heritage-listed homestead, one of Australia’s finest examples of Georgian architecture plus another home and outbuildings, gardens, lakes, paddocks and equine facilities including a 2-kilometres horse racetrack.

 

The western Sydney property was acquired by the NSW Government in 2018 along with two adjacent properties, to bring the 412-hectare site into public ownership for the use and enjoyment of the community.

 

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has undertaken essential repairs to the homestead and fencing, while developing measures to restore the estate for current and future generations.

What's happening now?

Weekend walking trail at Fernhill Estate

From May 2020, Fernhill Estate offers a weekend walking trail, giving the community a look at one of Western Sydney’s most beautiful properties.

 

The scenic walking loop of the estate is open between 10 am and 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

 

Entry is free and visitors will see some of the estate’s beautiful gardens, flora and fauna, alongside the heritage-listed homestead. 

COVID-19 restrictions

NSW Government public health orders for outdoor gatherings and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic apply.

Registrations

As visitor numbers are limited, please register in advance to visit Fernhill Estate in the morning (10 am–12.30 pm) or afternoon (1 pm–4 pm) sessions.

 

You can register at Fernhill Walking Trail for dates in 2020. No dogs are allowed.

 

Please note: As the 2.6-km walking trail includes stairs and uphill sections, visitors should wear enclosed walking shoes and have a moderate level of fitness. Parking and toilet facilities are limited.

 

A guide to the walk is available for download (PDF, 1.2 MB).

 

Register now

Planning for the future

Working with a heritage consultant, the department has developed a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for Fernhill Estate. The draft document Part 1 (PDF, 8.2MB), Part 2 (PDF, 2.5MB), Part 3 (PDF, 4.1MB) outlines the heritage and conservation values of the estate that must be protected. For example, the draft CMP outlines that any changes to the homestead must be in keeping with its architectural style, while any changes to the land should not impact on the mature trees and existing bushland.

 

A draft Options Paper has been prepared outlining potential future uses that would open up the estate for public use, while meeting the requirements outlined in the draft CMP. The options proposed have been developed from recommendations provided by a local community group, as well as the department’s assessment of the estate’s future potential as a commercial venue, with the land opened up for agricultural, equestrian, not-for-profit and/or recreational uses, including bushwalking.

 

Any options for the future use of the estate need to align with the draft CMP.

 

The draft Options Paper was exhibited from 18 December 2019 to 3 April 2020 for community and stakeholder feedback and suggestions.

 

The department received more than 500 responses and thanks the many community members who provided suggestions on potential future uses of Fernhill Estate.

 

Community feedback, views and ideas that align with the site’s heritage and conservation requirements are informing the development of a Plan of Management, which will detail opportunities and future use options for the Fernhill Estate.

 

The Plan of Management is scheduled to be finalised in late 2020 for review and approval by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.

 

When the Plan of Management is approved, the NSW Government will enter into discussions with relevant organisations to progress the implementation of the Plan of Management recommendations, ensuring the future viability of Fernhill Estate.

Frequently asked questions about Fernhill Estate

Fernhill Estate is a property in Mulgoa, Western Sydney. The property includes Fernhill Estate homestead, a sandstone Greek Revival home built in 1842 and set on 412 hectares. The property is located next to the Blue Mountains National Park.

Weekend access to a walking trail at Fernhill Estate is available to the community.

 

The 2.6-km scenic walking trail, open every Saturday and Sunday, starts at a designated parking area and takes in parts of the estate’s gardens, flora and fauna, as well as the heritage-listed homestead.

 

You will need to register in advance at Fernhill Walking Trail to visit Fernhill Estate during a morning (10 am–12.30 pm) or afternoon (1 pm–4 pm) session on any weekend in 2020. Registration is free.

 

Please note that the Fernhill Estate walking trail requires a moderate level of fitness, as the route has uneven surfaces, stairs and an incline.

Fernhill Estate was purchased in March 2018. The two adjoining properties, Fernhill East and another property that adjoins Fernhill on Mulgoa Road, were purchased later that year.

The NSW Government purchased the three properties to bring them into public ownership for their combined values in heritage, regional open space and as a gateway to the Blue Mountains National Park.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has undertaken essential repairs to the homestead, buildings and fencing, while commencing planning for the property’s conservation and management.

 

Pre-existing activities such as equestrian, biodiversity and environmental preservation have continued alongside our work.

A draft Conservation Management Plan was completed by an independent heritage consultant in 2019. The Plan documents the estate’s heritage and conservation values and recommends the NSW Government prepare a master plan for the site to be preserved and opened up for appropriate community use.

The draft Conservation Management Plan outlines Fernhill Estate’s heritage and environmental values, which must be preserved into the future. For example, it outlines that any revitalisation of Fernhill Estate homestead must be in keeping with its Greek Revival architecture, while land uses must protect its heritage values.

The NSW Government bought the Fernhill Estate to provide open space and to ensure its appropriate management for the benefit of the community. We intend to maintain, preserve and manage the combined properties for the enjoyment of the people of NSW.

Prior to the exhibition of the draft Options Paper from December 18, 2019 to April 3, 2020, the department had received correspondence from a local community group outlining the importance of Fernhill Estate remaining in public hands. During the exhibition, views and ideas were received from across the community on future uses of the estate.

Along with the draft Conservation Management Plan, the department has prepared an Options Paper that outlines some of the options for future uses of Fernhill Estate. These options include updating the homestead as a commercial venue and using the land for agriculture, recreation, equestrian and not-for-profit activities.

Preliminary suggestions outlined in the Options Paper include:

Homestead:

  • Museum/Gallery
  • Café
  • Function venue
  • Boutique Accommodation/Hotel
  • Camping or glamping
  • General venue hire (for example workshops, spiritual gatherings)

Equestrian

  • Equestrian general business (stabling, training)
  • Race events

Events

  • Medium scale events (markets, car shows)
  • Large scale events (concerts)

Agricultural

  • Working farm (grazing, orchard, vineyard)
  • Passive Recreation
  • Open Space and Parklands
  • Botanic Garden

Not for Profit

  • Animal Shelter / Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Research/Education Facility
  • Men’s Shed
  • Biobanking Area - Bushland

Please check this website regularly for updates on the Plan of Management for Fernhill Estate. If you have any questions in the meantime, please email Sarah Ellis.

The Future Use Options paper was exhibited for community and stakeholder feedback from 18 December 2019 to 3 April 2020.

 

Community members provided feedback via email and online comments through formal submissions. Community members were invited to submit further comments, through an interactive map, in May and June 2020.

Community feedback, views and ideas that align with the site’s heritage and conservation requirements will inform the Plan of Management, which will detail opportunities and future use options for the Fernhill Estate.

 

The Plan of Management is scheduled to be finalised in late 2020 for review and approval by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.

 

When the Plan of Management is approved, the NSW Government will enter into discussions with relevant organisations to progress the implementation of the Plan of Management recommendations, ensuring the future viability of Fernhill Estate.

Community feedback, views and ideas that align with the site’s heritage and conservation requirements will inform the Plan of Management, which will detail opportunities and future use options for the Fernhill Estate.

The department is considering all feedback and new ideas that support public access to Fernhill Estate and:

  • help support the care and maintenance of Fernhill Estate by delivering economic or community benefits
  • protect its heritage and conservation values.

The uses outlined in the Options Paper are suggestions to start the discussion. Your input and ideas are helping to make sure that Fernhill Estate continues to be a treasured, well-used asset for the people of NSW.

The department is working with other government agencies to manage the horses and deer, and other feral animals from the Fernhill Estate as they are impacting its fencing and conservation areas.

Fernhill Estate is open for weekend access to the Fernhill Walking Trail (see details above). Access to the wider site will take time as, in its current condition, the Estate lacks essential infrastructure (including safe parking, public amenities and security) for public safety and enjoyment.

 

In order for these works to be carried out, the department is required to develop a Plan of Management which sets out future uses of Fernhill Estate. The Plan of Management will be developed following the close of community consultation on Friday April 3, 2020. Once this Plan is finalised, we will seek funding to preserve the Fernhill Estate and manage it for the benefit of the community.

Should you require more information or wish to provide additional information, please contact

 

Sarah Ellis Senior Project Manager - Office of Strategic Lands on 02 8275 1154 or sarah.ellis@planning.nsw.gov.au.

The walking trail has been equipped with on-site parking and an accessible toilet. However, visitors will need to be prepared for a 2.6km trail that includes uphill and unpaved sections as well as some steps.

Fernhill Estate downloads

Page last updated: 08/10/2020