10 September 2019

1830's Georgian Moruya homestead on the market

| Alex Rea
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Kiora House overlooking the Deua River. Photo: Alex Rea.

The National Trust listed Kiora House is up for sale. The house is a handsome colonial era homestead just outside Moruya overlooking the Deua River. It was built by John Hawdon in 1832-33 on land granted in 1831.

Heritage NSW describes the house as “arguably the most sophisticated early house built in the region.”

At the time of its construction, the Moruya River was the furthest border of New South Wales.

John Hawdon was a wealthy English gentleman farmer and carried introductions to many influential people.

The convict built house was used by Hawdon to lavishly entertain guests. Noted Australian poet Henry Kendall, is said to have written ‘The Shanty on the Rise’ at the homestead, and author Thomas Alexander Browne who, as Rolf Boldrewood, published Robbery Under Arms in 1888, based upon his knowledge of the Araluen goldfields.

View from the back towards the renovated stables. Photo: Alex Rea.

In the front parlour, the window still bears a note scratched into the glass by a bride’s diamond ring at her wedding reception, it says “Annie Hawdon on 26th Feb 1865.”

The house also has a cellar, reputedly used to house the convicts.

The drawing room at Kiora. Photo: Alex Rea

The house is set in a 3-acre garden (1.29ha) with lawns and mature trees include English and Chinese Elms, Sequoias, Eucalypts. A mature avenue of trees leads to the house, which has a wide verandah and shuttered windows. All of the building material, including cedar, stone and bricks, came from the property.

The house was featured in ‘Homesteads of Southern New South Wales 1830-1900’, by Maurice Cantlon, who made a beautiful sketch for the publication.

Cantlon quotes a newspaper article published in 1859 described the Kiora Estate as “favourably situated on rising ground in the centre of the estate, and from its architectural character, not matched in this district, presents a pleasing object of view from several points.”

Sketch of Kiora House by Maurice Cantlon.

Moruya heritage architect Peter Freeman developed a conservation Management Plan for the building for previous owners in 2000.

“Kiora is a handsome example of colonial architecture,” he said.

“The simple well-proportioned red-brick structure consists of six main rooms and cellar room with two-storied service wings at the rear, forming a courtyard. The verandah, paved partly with sandstone and partly with square bricks, shelters the main rooms of the house which open to it by means of shuttered French doors.

“The six-panelled main entrance door, cedar like the rest of the joinery, is not at the front but on the side and opens into the main passage, a transverse one.”

The gateway to Kiora House. Photo: Alex Rea.

The current owner Huw and Barbara Owen-Jones have used the property as a private residence, however, Kiora has previously been used as a guest house and function centre – visitors struck by the twelve-foot ceilings and seven bedrooms.

There is also a two-bedroom gate house, added in 1990 which is built in a similar style to the main house.

The croquet-sized lawn at the rear of the main house, looks toward the original coach house, which has been modified as a function space, but could be utilised as an artist’s gallery or studio space.

Between the coach house and the gate house there is a small rose garden and an old tennis court.

Surrounding the garden are the original farmlands which are leased for grazing. The house sits on a high knoll with every aspect providing bucolic scenes, with dams and mature trees.

The two bedroom gatehouse was built in 1990. Photo: Alex Rea.

The house is for sale by the owner, check HERE for details.

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Hello to the people of Kiora, we only recently discovered that John Hawdon is our great-great grandfather who built this lovely colonial home. We left the area of Moruya in the early 1900 and moved to the North ‘coast of NSW where we have remained. It is lovely to discover our heritage is preserved as original and still loved.

Philip Turner11:22 am 11 Aug 22

Hi Cheryl
John Hawdon was also my great-great grandfather. My great grandfather was Francis Hawdon, one of John’s eight children, who in turn had eight children – one of which was Joseph Belmore Hawdon, my grandfather, born in 1884 at Turlinjah. Joe lived there on & off until the early 1960’s when he & granndma moved to Penrith. In the 1950’s, as a child, I’d visit Joe & grandma Ada at Turlinjah for school holidays with my mother & have happy memories of those visits. Regards Phil

Barrett Flanagan7:49 pm 06 May 22

M brother Don Flanagan saved this house . He found it and bought it when it was a ruin with cows and wild life wandering through it.
He completely renovated it keeping the original features and furnished it with appropriate furnishings of the period. The gardens were professionally landscaped and cared for and he had the gatehouse built appropriately.
My family had many happy holidays and weekends there and a lavish family wedding and it was with great regret that it had to be sold.
I think Don should be acknowledged for saving this valuable piece of Australian history.

John W Hawdon11:37 am 30 Aug 19

To whom may be interested, I have a very early photo of this house with its shingle roof taken around 1890/1900
My Father, his brother& sister we’re we’re brought up there & lived there prior to moving to Sydney to go to University
The original family grave yard in a delaperdated condition is on a rise to the left of the home as it looks out over the river flats & Moruya River. If l won the lottery I would buy it but as my Father use to say & I quote “if wishes were horses then beggars would ride”

All the best to the Sellers & The New Owners, John W Hawdon.

Mrs Cotterill1:35 pm 04 Sep 19

Hi John, I would love to see that photo.

Antony Davies8:18 pm 09 Jan 20

Hi John,

I’ve been doing some research on the Moruya area and Kiora House and I did see the lovely image of the house with shingle roof in place online, but managed to lose it, and I haven’t been able to find out again. If you have a copy that you could email I’d be most grateful. My address is [email protected],

Many thanks, Antony Davies, Braidwood

Hi John, I am very interested in this photo. Is it possible to get a scanned copy? ([email protected]). My 3x great grandparents, Alfred & Ruth Nelmes worked for the Hawdon’s at Kiora House, and my family stayed in the area for a couple of generations after (at “Long Swamp”, “Terrimbee” and “Jilambra”), before eventually leaving the area. Thanks, David.

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