The Rouse Family of Rouse Hill

Ivor The Rouse Family Of Rouse Hill

Following on from my piece on the origins of Kellyville “There and Nowhere Else” in the last issue of this publication, it was decided that, in this issue, I would write something about Rouse Hill just a little further along Windsor Rd. Rouse family

The suburb of Rouse Hill is named after the home of the Rouse family which lies a little north of the town centre. Originally the area that the town centre and surrounds now occupy was formerly known as Vinegar Hill.

The hill upon which Rouse Hill House is built was named by Gov. Macquarie as Rouse Hill according to Nina Terry, a great granddaughter of Richard Rouse, who had the house built in 1813.

Richard Rouse was Superintendent of Public Buildings during Gov. Macquarie’s term of office. Apparently Gov. Macquarie had some objection to the name Vinegar Hill being used for the area feeling that this could serve as a reminder to two rebellions – the Irish rebellion against the English that took place at Vinegar Hill near Wexford in Ireland in 1798 and also of the breakout and rebellion from Castle Hill Farm in 1804.

Convicts, many of whom were transported to NSW, then engaged in battle with Troopers and civilian militia at what became known as Vinegar Hill along the present Windsor Rd (known as the Hawkesbury Rd at the time). Gov.

Macquarie so disliked the name Vinegar Hill that in 1820 he ordered yet another locality that was named Vinegar Hill to be renamed “Belle-Vue” thus now known as the upmarket suburb in Eastern Sydney named Bellevue Hill.

I have read some reports that the Rouse family were able to view the battle of Vinegar Hill from their home. This cannot be true as the battle took place on the 5th March 1804 and the building of the home commenced in 1813 and was not completed until 1818.

Both names (Vinegar Hill and Rouse Hill) were in use for quite some time. A post office established in the Queens Arms Inn at Vinegar Hill in 1857 at the instigation of Robert Fitzgerald MLC, son-in-law of Richard Rouse and brother-in-law of Edwin Rouse, who had inherited the property of Rouse Hill House in 1852. However in 1858, less than a year later, the Post Office was renamed Rouse Hill Post Office after complaints from Edwin Rouse with Robert Fitzgerald agreeing to pay the cost of changing the stamps. Robert Fitzgerald had originally opted for the name of Vinegar Hill for the Post Office.

During the 1970s it became obvious that a great deal of money would be required for restoration and repair to Rouse Hill House and that the family no longer had the funds to carry out the repairs. A suggestion was made by members of the family to offer the home to the Government on condition that the government repair and restore the home as a museum for future generations to enjoy and showcase life in the past.

Six generations of the Rouse family have made Rouse Hill House their home from 1813 through to 1999. Although the NSW State Government acquired the home in 1978, Gerald Terry (a descendant of Richard Rouse) was allowed to reside in the property until 1999.

The home is now under the management and care of Sydney Living Museums and the public are welcome to attend on the various open days throughout the year. A treasure now more than 200 years old, to be viewed by ongoing generations.

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