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Kurrumbede @ The Coalface

Gunnedah’s historic Kurrumbede property came alive with the spirit of the past as the community stepped back in time for a 1930s-inspired open day.

Hosted by Whitehaven Coal and the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society, the event on Saturday, June 8 provided an opportunity for visitors from across the region to explore the history of the heritage-listed Kurrumbede property, originally owned by the iconic Mackellar family.

After Sir Charles Mackellar purchased the land for Kurrumbede in 1905 and completed the dwelling in 1908, it became one of the Mackellar family’s favourite holiday retreats. The landscapes of North West NSW where it is situated were later evoked in a number of Dorothea Mackellar’s works.

The property was eventually sold and is now owned by Whitehaven, which has committed to its preservation and restoration over time.

Whitehaven Coal’s General Manager Community Engagement, Darren Swain, highlighted the uniqueness of the open day, noting this was only the third time in the past century that the property’s grounds and historic buildings had been opened to the public.

“Our region has such a rich history, and it was wonderful to see the community come together to celebrate it.

“The event was a resounding success, with hundreds of attendees participating in the free activities and enjoying the historical demonstrations. It was fantastic to see such enthusiasm and interest from the community.”

Kurrumbede @ The Coalface
Image credit: Taylah Maree Photography.

Pip Murray, President of the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society, emphasised the event’s significance in celebrating Dorothea Mackellar’s legacy and her family’s ties to the area.

“The Mackellar family owned Kurrumbede for almost forty years in the early 1900s, and the estate appears in several of Dorothea’s most celebrated poems.

“The open day showcased the Gunnedah region’s iconic heritage and underscored Dorothea Mackellar’s enduring bond with our community. It provided a heartfelt tribute to her legacy and the historical significance of Kurrumbede.”

Whitehaven Coal intends to continue to hold similar events in the future.

“Kurrumbede is a cherished part of local history, and we aim to ensure it is celebrated and preserved for future generations,” said Darren.

“As part of our Heritage Management Plan, Whitehaven Coal is also investing in restoring the property’s gardens.”

The 2024 Open Day was a memorable celebration of heritage, community, and Dorothea Mackellar’s enduring legacy.

Image credit: Taylah Maree Photography

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