Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Richard Rouse and Rouse Hill

We know Dudley Batty and his brother Aubrey went to Rouse Hill and Dudley made photographs of the house and the farm.
But what about his grandparents and Rouse Hill House

The whole article can be found here.

Rouse, Richard (1774–1852)by Marjorie Lenehan
Richard Rouse (1774-1852), public servant and settler, was born on 26 February 1774 in Oxfordshire, England, the eldest son of Richard Rouse and his wife Elizabeth, née Taylor. He married Elizabeth Adams on 6 June 1796 and, with a letter of recommendation from the Duke of Portland, arrived in the Nile at Sydney in December 1801 as a free settler with his wife and two small children, one of whom had been born on the voyage. In March 1802 Governor Philip Gidley King granted Rouse 100 acres (40 ha) and he was soon well established on a farm at North Richmond on the Hawkesbury River. In July 1805 he was appointed superintendent of public works at Parramatta. He moved to a house opposite the gates of Government House, Parramatta, and Margaret Catchpole, a convict servant of the family on the voyage and in the colony, was left as overseer at the North Richmond farm.

In 1806 Rouse welcomed Governor William Bligh as a man strong enough to protect the settlers from the despotism of the Rum Corps and was one of the governor's staunchest supporters. He signed several memorials sympathizing with the governor and was named by Bligh as one of the witnesses he wished to take to England. However, the trip did not eventuate as Bligh changed his mind.

This loyalty had cost Rouse his position as a public servant, but he turned his attention to his farms; on 14 January 1810 he was reinstated by Governor Lachlan Macquarie and in October 1814 was appointed auctioneer at Parramatta. He superintended the construction of many buildings, tollhouses and turnpikes in the vicinity of Parramatta, Windsor and Liverpool, including the renovation of Government House, Parramatta, in 1815 and the erection of the Parramatta Hospital in 1818, and gave evidence before Commissioner John Thomas Bigge on these building activities.

On 8 October 1816 Rouse was granted 450 acres (182 ha) near the site of the battle of Vinegar Hill, in the Bathurst district of Sydney; at the suggestion of Macquarie the grant was named Rouse Hill. The actual possession of the land had taken place a few years previously, as theSydney Gazette had first mentioned Rouse Hill on 27 November 1813, and the homestead was begun soon afterwards. It took a few years to build and was a two-storey, twenty-two room house, which has been occupied by members of the Rouse family ever since.

In 1822 Rouse sent his sons in search of good pasturage in the area north-west of the Blue Mountains which had just been thrown open for settlement; in 1825 they took up land for him ninety miles (145 km) north of Bathurst at Guntawang on the Cudgegong River near Gulgong, which had recently been relinquished by George and Henry Cox because of the hostility of the Aboriginals in that region. This grant of 4000 acres (1619 ha) was gradually increased, and became two stations, Guntawang and Biraganbil, which were inherited by his sons Edwin and George. Both properties prospered and the Rouses were connected with progressive movements in the towns of Mudgee and Gulgong for many years. Rouse also acquired Ewenmar on the Castlereagh River, Gillendoon near Warren, Cobborah near Wellington and other land at Bathurst as well as the properties at Penrith and Richmond. By 1828 he possessed about 10,000 acres (4047 ha), but by then he had retired to Rouse Hill. There he devoted his time to the raising of sheep and cattle, the breeding of thoroughbred horses and the management of his various properties. He became well known for the quality of his stock, which he improved from time to time with imported sires, and he was the original owner of the 'Crooked R' brand, which was afterwards used by his sons.

Rouse was the type of pioneer that the colony needed, a devoted family man, a loyal member of the Church of England, a hard-working and honest public servant and a very efficient grazier. His many properties ensured the future of his three sons and four daughters who survived childhood, including Mary, the eldest, who married Jonathan, son of the missionary Rowland Hassall; Jane who married Alfred Kennerley, premier of Tasmania in 1873-76; Eleanor who married first John Terry of Box Hill, son of Samuel Terry and after his death, Major Thomas Wingate; George, one of the first boys enrolled at The King's School, Parramatta, when it opened in 1832; and Elizabeth Henrietta who married Robert, son of Richard Fitzgerald of Windsor.

In 1847 W. Griffiths of Parramatta executed crayon drawings of Richard and Elizabeth Rouse, both then aged 73, and these are still at Rouse Hill. A copy of the portrait of Richard Rouse is hanging at the Australasian Pioneers' Club, Sydney. Mrs Rouse died in December 1849 and Richard on 10 May 1852. He was buried in a vault at St Peter's Church, Richmond.

Select Bibliography
Historical Records of New South Wales, vols 5-7
Historical Records of Australia series 1, vols 3-11
Sydney Gazette, 7 July 1805, 14 Jan 1810
G. H. F Cox, History of Mudgee (State Library of New South Wales), pp 46, 56
title deeds for Rouse Hill (privately held)
manuscript catalogue under Richard Rouse (State Library of New South Wales).

Related Entries in NCB Sites

view family tree
Dangar, Mary Phoebe (granddaughter)
Rouse, Edwin Stephen (grandson)

Citation details

Lenehan, Marjorie, 'Rouse, Richard (1774–1852)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/rouse-richard-2612/text3601, accessed 9 September 2012.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967

Richard Rouse (1774-1852) appears to have begun building at Rouse Hill in 1813 although the grant of 450 acres was not made until October 1816. Sometime between 1818 and 1825 Rouse, his wife Elizabeth (1772-1849) and their family moved from Parramatta to the new house. The son of an Oxfordshire cabinet maker and shop-keeper, Rouse came to the colony, free, in 1801. Prospering quickly, by 1805 he was Superintendent of Public Works and Convicts at Parramatta.

In this role he supervised the building of Governor and Mrs Macquarie's additions to Government House, Parramatta in the mid 1810s. It is possible that these works influenced Rouse to build a bigger house than he first intended, adding larger, longer rooms behind the front range.

He sited his new house prominently, and possibly with an eye to its possible use as an inn, on the hilltop adjacent to the toll house (also built by him) on the Parramatta to Windsor Turnpike. Rouse acquired other properties, more fertile than the Rouse Hill farm, but Rouse Hill had the advantage of its strategic siting. While other early colonial homesteads overlooked their crops or pastures, Rouse Hill has always overlooked the busy Windsor Road. It was from here that Rouse and his descendants oversaw their distant pastoral and agricultural interests, rather than the estate itself being the focus of those interests.

Rouse was not bred to the land, but was shrewd and capable, careful of money and acquisitive of property. He left, on his death in 1852, extensive holdings throughout the colony. His second son, Edwin (1806-1862), inherited Rouse Hill. With his English-born wife, Hannah (nee Hipkins), Edwin brought the plain, solid Georgian house up to date. After years of living at Guntawang, the principal family property west of the mountains, Edwin and Hannah renovated Rouse Hill, probably engaging the architect-builder James Houison. They added the canopied verandah and the two storeyed service wing, installed marble chimney pieces on the ground floor and bought furniture in the fashionable Louis revival style.

It was Edwin Rouse's other land holdings, beyond the mountains, rather than the Rouse Hill House & Farm, that supported the Rouse family. This wealth was enjoyed into the next generation by Edwin's son, Edwin Stephen Rouse who, aged twelve, inherited Rouse Hill on his father's early death in 1862.

Edwin Stephen (1849-1931) married well, in 1874, and Bessie Buchanan (1843-1924) became the mistress of Rouse Hill. (His mother, Hannah, lived much of the remainder of her life in England with two of her daughters). Again the house was redecorated, in Bessie's fashionable taste for Art Decoration, while Edwin Stephen improved the estate, notably by the building of impressive stables in 1876 designed by the architect John Horbury Hunt.

Edwin and Bessie's two daughters, Nina and Kathleen were born in 1875 and 1878, into the leisurely confident world of the late 19th century squattocracy, but the financial troubles of the 1890s - the economic depression that affected city and country alike - cast shadows over this sunlit landscape of picnic races, house parties and seasons in town. Those shadows grew with the 20th century and Edwin Stephen's lack of business sense.

In 1895 Nina Rouse made a socially suitable match with George Terry of nearby Box Hill, where they lived extravagantly for a few years and brought up their five sons, but returned to Rouse Hill, bankrupt and resented by Kathleen, soon after Bessie's death in 1924.

Kathleen, in love with a Latvian emigreé refused residency in Australia and working in Manchuria, travelled to see him in 1930 and again two years later. She never returned from Manchuria; in August 1932 she was murdered in Harbin. The exclusion of her sister and her nephews as beneficiaries of her will caused further conflict within the family and the furnishings of the house narrowly escaped dispersal.

Nina and George Terry remained at Rouse Hill, George dying in 1957. Nina lived on with her reminiscences and the remnants of an affluent past until her death in 1968. As her grand-daughter, Caroline Thornton has written 'Granny seemed to hold the key to another world'.

Attrition of the farm through subdivision left only 100 acres, but in and around the house little was changed, little was added. Nina's son, Gerald, and his family lived in the cottage beyond the farmyard; another son Roderick lived nearby. After further subdivision between her sons, all that remained of the estate was 20 acres (13 hectares) in the ownership of Gerald and Roderick Terry. In 1977 Roderick sold his share of Rouse Hill to his daughter Miriam, and her husband Ian Hamilton.

Gerald Terry and the Hamiltons held Rouse Hill as equal co-owners until its compulsory acquisition by the New South Wales Government in 1978. Gerald sold his share of the contents to the Government, and together with his wife and his brother Roderick, was allowed to remain living in the house. Roderick shared his quarters with the Hamiltons until his death in 1980. When the Hamiltons were subsequently asked to leave they complained to the State Ombudsman, but despite the Ombudsman's finding that the Planning and Environment Commission's past conduct was 'wrong' and 'unreasonable' the Hamiltons were evicted from Rouse Hill in 1983. Not wishing to separate the contents from the house, the Hamiltons left their half share of the contents in situ.

The real estate and the Government's half share of the collection were transferred to the Historic Houses Trust from the Department of Planning in 1986 and a new period of negotiation with the family began. In 1987 the Trust leased the Hamiltons' collection and in 1994 it was acquired by Rouse Hill Hamilton Collection Pty Ltd, a private company jointly managed by the Historic Houses Trust and the Hamilton family. In 1996 the Historic Houses Trust acquired a small residual collection from Gerald Terry.

Mr Terry continued living in the house until 1993 when he moved to a hostel for the aged. He retained the right to live at Rouse Hill, which he regarded as his home, until his death in February 1999.

With the goodwill of the family Rouse Hill's completeness has now been assured. Conservation work has continued and the collection has been catalogued. Rouse Hill House & Farm was opened to the public in 1999.

Clearing and Climate

Before European settlement Aborigines were attracted to the area now occupied by the Rouse Hill House & Farm by freshwater shellfish in the stream, and by the shelter of the denser tree cover along its banks. Richard Rouse (1774-1852) sought the free-draining rise above Second Ponds Creek as ideal land for his sheep and horses. The surrounding open woodland was dominated by grey box and forest red gum, with some narrow-leafed ironbark on ridges, and these timbers were used for early slab buildings and fences on Rouse Hill. Clearing and stumping began as early as 1810 and the shelter afforded by timber was lost almost immediately. By 1890 almost the entire district had been cleared, some areas more than once. Rouse Hill is a dry garden established on an exposed shale ridge in a rain shadow area. It is in a climate where plant damage from low rainfall in late winter may be exacerbated by frosts and strong winds, and a dry spring may extend into summer drought.

Of Grass and Grove

The first garden at Rouse Hill was a subsistence plot for the toll house. It was well established by 1816, but it is unlikely to have been on the site of today's garden. The present garden was fenced in 1817, as the main house was being completed. Richard and his wife Elizabeth (1772-1849) were in residence at Rouse Hill by 1825. At this time the garden acquired its basic decorative elements. The squared form emerged, with gravel paths laid and edged in the ordered vernacular forerunner to Gardenesque, familiar to the Rouses from England and used locally in the garden of Government House, Sydney. Vistas were accentuated by paths extending from the newly-defined carriage sweep. Stone pines, and at least two oaks raised from acorns reputedly from Governor Macquarie, were planted along the Windsor Road frontage. The hedge of African olive was established between drive and garden before 1859, and the Moreton Bay figs now flanking the front of the house were being nurtured in pots, covered by casks against the frost Specimens such as funeral pines and early hibiscus were introduced.

In the furthest section to the east of the house Richard developed a citrus orchard bordered by paths. He probably obtained stock from Suttor's Baulkham Hills nursery. By 1838, Rouse Hill's 'luxuriant grove of orange trees' greeted the traveller on the road to Windsor. In 1854 oranges were marketed, and more trees purchased. The potting shed on the south side of the garden probably survives from the 'orchard era'.

An Englishwoman's Garden

Edwin Rouse (1806-1862) and his wife Hannah, nee Hipkins, (1819-1907) inherited from Richard Rouse a plain garden of grass and some mature trees, and immediately instituted 'improvements'. Even before Edwin's death seven years later, the educated and energetic Hannah had begun to create a pleasure garden to frame the still-exposed house. The newly-canopied verandah provided shelter for pot plants and created a link between house and garden. Verandah furniture such as the steamer chairs and benches seen today date from this period. Hannah's long friendship with Margaret Browne, who, as 'Mrs Rolf Boldrewood', later wrote The Flower Garden in Australia (1893), suggests that Hannah took Mrs Browne's advice on country gardens and then added her own sense of style enhanced by European tours. Others to influence Hannah's garden may have been noted amateur botanist, the Reverend Dr William Woolls of Parramatta, and Major Thomas Wingate, husband of Edwin's sister, Eleanor.

Wingate's photographic view of the eastern garden c.1859-65 shows an edged gravel path flanked with citrus, loquat, and other trees, with more citrus beyond. [1] The vista of open paddocks remained, but the picturesque 1856 bath-house indicates Hannah's vision. The summerhouse (c.1860) terminated the vista along a parallel path whose gutters carried run-off into a well beneath. An olive hedge and shrubbery on the east boundary replaced some of the orchard, turning the view inward, and establishing a microclimate.

For Pleasure and Practicality

When Edwin Stephen Rouse (1849-1931) married Bessie Buchanan (1843-1924) in 1874, Bessie's father gave the couple an extremely practical gift - a water system for the house and garden. It is still evident in the tankstand built to his design, and the numerous garden taps. On either side of the tankstand creeper-covered archways led to the southern section of the garden. The smaller arch, closest to the house, is still in place. [3] Aspiration to fashion is seen in the diamond-shaped rose bed [2] established at the top of the front lawn c.1890, but this was more ephemeral, disappearing by 1910. Pot plants remained integral to dry-climate gardening; geraniums, belladonna lilies, and small shrubs filled hollowed logs and corrugated iron containers.

South of today's garden Edwin Stephen established fowl pens. Beyond, a short walk through the back gate from the laundry, was a fenced drying green, planted with white cedars. Behind the arcade another gravel carriage sweep was formed, with a grass circle and small areas of lawn beyond the garden fence as carefully edged as paths within the garden proper. [4]

The other major construction of the 1880s was the trellis over the two eastern paths that intersect above the summerhouse: of untreated timber, the trellis cross-beams were interspersed with bush poles supporting Isabella grapes and wisteria: around the uprights grew geraniums, with roses beyond. The trellis area was used for entertaining, with Bessie Rouse conducting 'wisteria teas' beneath the bower. [5]

20th Century Blues

Drought and Depression in the 1890s had an impact on the garden - lack of water and less staff saw its gradual decline in the 20th century. Bessie, and later, her daughter Nina Terry (1875-1968), maintained the sunny eastern garden with its terraced herb and asparagus beds below the bath-house. The summerhouse was still used regularly but appeared threatened by encroaching shrubbery. [6]

Behind the house the white picket fence covered with clipped plumbago enhanced the view of the arcade, and by 1910 the peppercorn tree was rapidly filling the rear carriage circle with another shading the southwest corner of the house. [7] Here the path from drive to western door was marked by a small trellis covered in a yellow Banksian rose.

Bessie introduced plants from her family home in 1899, a bird's nest fern and a Kentia palm. Both flourished against the eastern verandah, surrounded by pots of ferns and more delicate plants, some arrayed on the tiered plant stand now in the arcade. [8] The Kentia still looked healthy in the 1930s [9] but today ivy grows over its stump outside the dining room window.

The 1930s Depression, culminating in the 1938 drought, further devastated plant stock. However, oxalis, freesias, ixias and sourgrass coloured the lawn, and blue plumbago contrasted with yellow lantana to the east of the laundry block. Along the drive the grey of the olive hedge was interspersed with red geraniums, and hardenbergia, arum lily, button flowers, morning glory, and spirea still flourished. As Miriam Hamilton remembers, in a 'good season' the garden could still look wonderful, if only for a moment.

In the 1940s a fence was erected just beyond the path east of the house, and stock grazed around the summerhouse. Ornamental grasses, once confined to Edwardian-era beds, escaped into the native grasses of the lawn. The hedges grew, and the creation of the Windsor Road cutting dropped the level of the road below the garden, increasing the sense of isolation. Nina Rouse continued to garden near the house, occasionally getting help to keep paths in order, however by the 1960s she wrote there were 'too many trees here to make flower growing a success'.

Maintaining Memory's Bower

The garden today carries echoes of its evolution, particularly in the remnant forms of its paths and pleasure walks and structural elements such as the summerhouse that have already been retrieved. Plant stock is more problematic - with a long history of almost continual replacement it now requires active intervention to select those specimens to retain and those to reintroduce to maintain the ambience created by earlier owners.

This garden is sometimes characterised as time 'standing still'. But this is something a garden does not do: as English naturalist and entomologist Miriam Rothschild has observed, 'Only time separates a garden from a nature reserve.' Time remains a potent element in the garden of Rouse Hill.

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