If you have lived in the area long enough, you might remember a little slab cottage on the western side of and very close to Appin Road, a few kilometres out of Campbelltown. Long demolished, this cottage was known as 'Hillsborough' and was one of a number of properties owned by the famous Hume family. The 'Hillsborough' property has been the focus of recent archaeological investigation and the land and former homestead are now part of the new Figtree Hill development at Gilead.
Taken in 1977 (Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society)
In 1823, 84 acres were granted to John Kennedy Hume and he named this grant 'Hillsborough'. John was the son of Andrew Hamilton Hume and brother of the explorer Hamilton Hume. The name 'Hillsborough' was probably named after the birthplace of Andrew Hamilton Hume in County Down, Ireland. John also acquired land in the vicinity of the town of Gunning between Goulburn and Yass. Evidence reveals that John only lived at 'Hillsborough' for around 10 years and raised cattle there during that time. John Kennedy Hume was killed by bushrangers near Gunning in 1840.
'Hillsborough' later passed to John Kennedy's son Andrew in 1859. It was later owned by Lucy Hassell in 1888, before passing to Jo and Francis Williams in 1917. The property continued to change hands until Stefan Dzwonnik owned it in 1981.
Taken in 1980 by Daphne Kingston (Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society)
The remains of the homestead include foundations, concrete paving, stock fencing and an orchard. As part of Lendlease's rezoning proposal, the area around 'Hillsborough' will be protected for environmental conservation. As part of this, the plan is to include some public walking trails and signage which is allowed within the conservation areas, around the historical remains.
An interesting anecdote: Appin Road in the 1820s was often the location for raids on settler's homes by thieves. But the carpenter who built 'Hillsborough' had, knowingly or unknowingly, built in a safety factor. If thieves or bushrangers came crashing through the front door, they would soon come to a crunching full stop. Hillsborough's front door was just four feet eight inches high! The door is still held by the Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society.
The 4ft 8in front door of 'Hillsborough' displayed at the Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society's home at 'Glenalvon'
Written by Andrew Allen
"History Corner" by Verlie Fowler
913 Appin Road, Gilead
Heritage Assessment and Management Strategy
Tanner Kibble Denton Architects