In 1984, when eggs were selling for $1.55 per dozen, ‘The Pines’ honey and egg man Clive Roughley, did something extraordinary: he sold his Dural property for the princely sum of one dollar. Of course Clive knew the price of eggs. He was in the business. However, as Clive had no direct heirs, he decided to approach The Hills Shire Council with an offer they couldn’t refuse: to buy his property for $1, allow him to stay in Roughley House till he died, and thereafter to preserve ‘The Pines’ as a living museum.
Today, thirty four years later, The Hills Shire Council continues to honour the agreement by maintaining Roughley House and gardens. It also maintains a Visitor’s Information Centre (open weekdays from 10am – 3pm) which is manned by Sydney Hills Volunteers. Rostered on every second Wednesday, is genteel couple, Ajit and Preeti from West Pennant Hills. After five years, Ajit has lost none of his quiet enthusiasm for ‘The Pines’. Respectfully he opens the doors of Roughley House to let in the fresh air, then draws attention to the features in every room; the rocking horse in the children’s attic bedrooms; and the changes made by each generation of the family. There’s a lot to see in this historic house. Free tours may be taken by prior arrangement, or during band breaks at the 20 year old Jazz at the Pines concerts. Under a renewed contract, the Rotary Club of The Hills-Kellyville will continue to sponsor the popular jazz event for another five years.
Clive was born at Roughley House in 1914 and it’s easy to imagine him as a child shinnying up pine trees in the ‘front yard’, and riding the antique rocking horse. It’s easy to imagine Clive in his later years too, because everything in the house is where he left it; his comfy lounge, television, bottle of Roughley Red and honey and egg paraphernalia. Clive appears to have merely – ‘popped out’- for a while. When the honey and egg man sold ‘The Pines’ in 1984, he got what he wanted for his dollar: the conservation of his home and family history. Now that, was a sweet deal.