By Gisela Horner, Volunteer Publicity Officer
Since 2006, The Friends of Bella Vista Farm have been working diligently alongside the Hills Shire Council to preserve, maintain and restore one of Sydney’s important heritage sites – the farmhouse and outbuildings of Bella Vista Farm.
Apart from the Council’s annual capital works program, they have given their support and financial assistance to the Friends’ own restoration projects such as the circa 1910 Cow Bales, sandstone fireplaces in the farmhouse and attached kitchen, the replacement of the cedar fireplace mantle and surround, and furnishings of the late 19th century in rooms in the house.
One of the latest projects was the restoration of the collapsed ceiling and floors in the large room of the Coachhouse complex where the Pearce family stored their horse-drawn carriages. It is now one of the outstanding buildings on the farm and this month was shortlisted for a 2022 National Trust Heritage Award grant under the category Conservation – Built Heritage.
The ceremony spotlights, along with other projects, organisations that demonstrate excellence promoting conservation, so it was a great honour to be short-listed and the Friends appreciated the acknowledgement of their ongoing commitment to preservation of this unique piece of history in the Hills.
On 10th May 2022, at an Ordinary Meeting of Council, a further recognition was granted to the Friends of Bella Vista Farm. $5,000 was awarded for the repair of existing gravel paths inside the heritage area and the front gardens.
The Friends are into their 4th year replanting and restoring the surrounding gardens. The paths are moss-covered and slippery and have restricted visitors’ access to them. The Friends are now able to completely re-gravel the paths at a total cost of $13,000, meeting the balance of the cost themselves.
Mayor Gangemi said: “It is so fulfilling to watch this and other projects and services grow, and become self-sufficient, which is what our Program is all about”.
Come and join us on the first Sunday of every month from 0900 – 1400. Through the generosity of visitors to the Farm on Open Days and occasional tour groups, the funds raised help the Friends’ projects at the Farm.
Bella Vista Farm is situated at the corner of Elizabeth Macarthur Drive and Norwest Boulevard, Bella Vista. Special events are highlighted on our Facebook site: Friends of Bella Vista Farm and on the Hills Shire website: www.thehills.nsw.gov.au.