Monday, 17 July 2017

"Dennarque" - an early history of Raith

The home known as "Raith" still stands today, bounded by Fern Avenue and Airds Road Bradbury. It was not always known as Raith, and has been through several incarnations.
In 1903 "Dennarque" was built for Herbert and Wilhelmina Merewether, on 55 acres on Appin Road.
Wilhelmina Rosina Arran Gore was born in 1883, the third daughter of Augustus James Gore, manager of the Commercial Bank in Campbelltown. Brought up in the manner of a young lady by her mother Katrina Gore, Wilhelmina, known as Nina, was a talented singer and pianist.
Nina's older sister Silvia married Frederick Merewether in 1901, and on November 18th 1903, Nina married his brother Herbert. The Merewether brothers were from an illustrious and wealthy family from Bondi.
"Dennarque" was named after Herbert's father's property Dennarque at Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains. The new home was a large sixteen room Indian bungalow-style house, designed by Wardell and Denning and built by D.McIntyre & Sons of Sydney, at a cost of 3,000 pounds.

Laying the foundation stone for "Dennarque" in 1903. Photo courtesy Campbelltown & Airds Historial Society Inc.
  An indication of the esteem in which Herbert Merewether was held is shown in the following snippet from the local paper "... the townspeople may congratulate themselves that a man of his stamp has been attracted to the place".
The following year, 1904, Nina and Herbert had a daughter Mabel, known as Maisie. Life at Dennarque was social and gracious. Nina advertised for maids and a general hand, and events such as balls were held there. Herbert was a keen sportsman, involved in the local cricket team. He was also involved in local shooting competitions, the formation of the cycling club, and was on the committee of the A.H. & I. Society.
A completed "Dennarque". Photo courtesy Campbelltown & Airds Historical Society Inc.

 Sadly he died on March 5th 1920 at the age of 54, and was interred at St Peter's Campbelltown. By July, Mrs (Nina) Merewether was advertising in the papers a sale of all her household belongings, "on account of the disposal of her residence". She would later remarry and move to the two storey house on the corner of Lithgow and Oxley Streets.
By 1930, "Dennarque" was owned by Hannah Elliot Plaskitt, and renamed "Raith", opening a new chapter in the history of the property.

Written by Claire Lynch
Sources -
Glimpses of the Gores in Campbelltown by Bev Harrison
Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society
Campbelltown Library pamphlet files

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