Historical society patron calls for Penrith home to be included on heritage register as DA submitted for its demolition

Historic Rodley- renamed Mountain Mists after Bill and Eileen Cammack purchased it in 1949 - as it stands today. Picture: Penrith City Library.

Historic Rodley- renamed Mountain Mists after Bill and Eileen Cammack purchased it in 1949 - as it stands today. Picture: Penrith City Library.

A development application has been submitted to raze an historic Penrith home to make way for two blocks of flats.

“Rodley”, a brick villa located at 12 Vista Street, was built in the 1880s for Frederick Daniel Woodriff and his wife, Mary Ann Catherine (Kate) Kelleher, with the couple moving in a month after their marriage in February 1882, according to the Nepean District Historical Society (NDHS).

But a DA has been submitted to Penrith City Council to demolish “existing structures” to make way for two, six-storey residential flat buildings containing 82 apartments and basement car parking. The cost of the work is estimated by applicants Vista Group Pty Ltd to be worth $16.4 million. 

The move has outraged NDHS patron and local councillor Marcus Cornish, who has demanded the historic home be included on local and state heritage registers.

A council spokesman confirmed 12 Vista Street has no current heritage listing. No heritage reports have been submitted to council in the development application.

Cr Cornish said he would move to bring the DA before council to ensure it did not get “rubber stamped”.

Heritage listing: Cr Marcus Cornish outside Rodley, the home built in the 1880s on Vista Street. A development application has been submitted for its demolition.

Heritage listing: Cr Marcus Cornish outside Rodley, the home built in the 1880s on Vista Street. A development application has been submitted for its demolition.

“It’s not listed anywhere … and if it’s not heritage listed, it can be demolished subject to council approval,” he said. “I am personally saddened that consideration is being given to replace our historic architecture with a concrete jungle.

“Many constituents and members of the historical society have expressed their concerns over this loss. 

“As patron I feel a responsibility that our council not negotiate on our heritage.

“It would be hypocritical of council to go on these lines whilst promoting our heritage in tourism.”

The property has been lived in or farmed by no less than three former mayors in its 130-plus years in existence, including the area’s first female mayor.

Frederick Woodriff was a councillor from 1900 and served as mayor from 1902 to 1904. 

A great-grandson of Captain Daniel Woodriff - the original land grantee of 1,000 acres where Penrith stands today - Frederick owned 497 acres south of the Western Road, with Rodley originally consisting of a total of 18 acres off Mulgoa Road.

Rodley was sold out of the Woodriff family around 1919, with a succession of high-profile local families – including former mayor David Fitch – leasing or farming the property.

In 1949 it was purchased by the Cammacks, with Eileen Cammack, OBE, becoming Penrith’s first female mayor in 1975.

The DA states that the current proposal was discussed at an Urban Design Review Panel meeting held with relevant officers at Penrith City Council in January, and was again discussed at a pre-lodgement meeting in February. 

It was currently being assessed, the council spokesman said.

“The status of the application is under assessment. Once the assessment is finalised the application will be determined under delegation unless the matter is called to council,” he said.

“All those making submissions will be provided with a response to the matters raised and the recommendation ahead of any determination.”

The latest news comes following urgent moves in Penrith City Council to have Hadley Park at Castlereagh included on the state’s heritage register.

Cr Karen McKeown moved in May that council write to the state government to have the fragile property, which sits on its original 1803 land grant and retains its original form, listed on the State Heritage Register after being shocked to discover it was not included.

DA to demolish: The front of the Vista Street home. Picture: Penrith City Library.

DA to demolish: The front of the Vista Street home. Picture: Penrith City Library.

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