Tuesday 17 December 2013

The House of Stone

"Osbaldeston" is a bush cottage with low ceilings, built entirely of stones and rock quarried on the property. The cottage on Georges River Road at Kentlyn was built by Tom Barnes between 1932 and 1934 and named after the English town that he came from.

The Barnes family arrived in Australia in 1930 and came to Kentlyn in 1932. They took up 52 acres of land which stretched from Georges River Road down to the river. The family originally lived in a tent until Tom later built a hut of bark, saplings and bags. Tom Barnes then began working on slowly building his stone cottage. He formed a track down to a sandstone quarry, and carried slabs of stone, some individually up the steep track and some in a wheelbarrow.

The kitchen cupboards were made of stone. A bath and wash basin were carefully chiselled out of stone, which was smoothed with cement. The "open air" laundry had tubs and a copper, all chiselled from stone. The laundry area was paved with sandstone. Even the wood box was made of stone!

Osbaldeston still stands today in Georges River Road and remains in its original condition. It is listed under the NSW Heritage Act.

Osboldeston on Georges River Road photographed in the 1980s

Written by Andrew Allen


In Grist Mills
Vol. 2 No. 1, Feb 1984 p6-9


  1. we were neighbours of the Barnes Eva (known to us kids as Nana Barnes) Mary(Miss Mary to us) & Dennis (he was very shy & used to hide when we were about) we would go down for afternoon tea & what a spread to our young eyes! lovely cakes light as a feather 2 or 3 types of little tarts & of course lemonade for us & tea for the grown ups - if we were good we could go to the room out the back & "play" the piano (Im guessing the same piano Tom Barnes taught on) we were allowed to look at the knick knacks and knew which ones we were allowed to pick up & hold they were such lovely people and Miss Mary told us all about how the house was built by her father with their help & it was all done by them - she was so proud of that & why their house was named Oboldestone. I wish there were more photos there was the outdoor hand mangle etc very interesting to run about & explore for us kids

  2. Thanks for your comment Ailsa. It's nice to get these personal memories of the people who lived in such places as this. It's important such memories are not lost so thank you.

  3. The house was renovated and extended in early 2000's

  4. I didn't know that so thank you for letting me know Janine.