9 May 2023

Smitten passerby returns three decades later to Kingsdale

| John Thistleton
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man and woman in front of house

Adelle and John Clissold outside their dream home at Kingsdale. Photo: Stephanie Hunter.

Showing the scars of mining and crumbing workers’ cottages, Kingsdale nevertheless has its enduring gems.

One of these treasures is the Kingsdale Inn. Eleven kilometres from Goulburn, on the corner of Crookwell and Marble Hill roads, the graceful stone building never fails to grab the attention of passing motorists. When Adelle Clissold first saw the reassuring old stone building in 1990, she was smitten.

She was 19 at the time and driving with her boyfriend John Clissold to the Tuena gold rush festival. Once there, they camped on a friend’s property, swam in the Abercrombie River and reflected on that gorgeous old place that smacked of history.

They married, and in 2015 Kingsdale Inn came onto the market but Adelle and John were in no position to buy it. More than 30 years after first seeing the inn, it came onto the market once again in 2022. Adelle shrugged her shoulders, thinking she had no chance of ever owning it.

“In July last year we went on an Ocean Road [Victoria] trip and we came back and spent one last night at The George at Jugiong and drove back [to Mittagong] the back way through Grabben Gullen and Crookwell,” Adelle said. “And we just happened to drive past Kingsdale when the half-hour time slot for open home was on, and the rest is history.”

READ ALSO Goulburn homes lose their pretentiousness and earn respect

The Mittagong couple bought the inn for $1.75 million.

“It had not been lived in for more than 10 years, you can imagine the wildlife living in there,” Adelle said.

Two of the door thresholds that originally led to the bar and parlour were so worn they knew they would have to plug the gaps to prevent snakes and rats from continuing to get in.

One pier had collapsed under the main bedroom. But while they had not lived there, the previous owners had reroofed the building, which remained in sound condition.

For three months the Clissolds spent their weekends cleaning it “from head to toe”. They decided they could not live with the extreme interior colours like Egyptian red in the living room and deep blue for one of the five bedrooms. Adelle spent a day stripping a long handrail of layers of paint to expose the original staircase’s beautiful natural timber.

country homestead

The owners of Kingsdale Inn will landscape the gardens and install a fountain out the front to soften the traffic noise from Crookwell Road. Photo: Ray White Real Estate.

“I love the stonework and the beauty of the outside,” she said. “I can sit in the paddock on a picnic rug and look at the beauty of the building from afar; it’s gorgeous.”

Last week, Adelle and John welcomed their first guests to Kingsdale, which they are running as an Airbnb. They have met their neighbour at Kingsdale Winery, John Gebran, and bought bottles of his wine for their guests.

In time, the Clissolds will move and make the 1882 inn their home.

“I like Goulburn. I think it is underrated because there is so much history and so many beautiful properties around,” Adelle said.

Unable to find old photos of Kingsdale, she is keen to hear from anyone who has memorabilia relating to the former mining village.

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Goulburn’s celebrated architect Edmund Manfred designed the Kingsdale hotel for its first licensee, Robert Kennedy, the son of an Irish immigrant.

Describing the surrounding settlement as a stagnant hamlet in 1903, the Goulburn Evening Penny Post said Kingsdale could become an important Goulburn suburb from mining activities due to huge reefs of limestone in the area. Investigations were underway into a horse-drawn tramway linking the mine to the Norwood siding on the Goulburn-Crookwell railway line.

grate and pump

Previous owners of Kingsdale Inn installed a grate and pump in the cellar so that when the water rises to a certain level, it’s pumped out. Photo: Ray White Real Estate, Goulburn.

The tramway may not have eventuated, but thanks to the quality lime, Kingsdale flourished with two stores, a school, the hotel, a church, a post office and a butcher’s shop.

The Goulburn Post later recounted the story of father-of-eight George Podmore, who worked for 36 years on a miserable wage carting wood for the lime kilns. Excavation of the mine was done by hand for most of the time of mining.

Historian Monica Croke noted the inn’s name was changed to Graylynne in the 1890s by a subsequent owner, Richard Gray, who pioneered wool sales in Goulburn. A subsequent owner, John Lloyd Waddy, a flying ace in World War II and one-time State Member for Kirribilli, died there in 1987. Now life has returned to the Kingsdale Inn.

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