Chair, [casuarina] wood/[kangaroo] leather, unknown maker, [NSW], Australia, [1830-1850]
St Heliers was an historic homestead at Muswellbrook New South Wales. Built 1831-1832, on the original grant made to Lieutenant Colonel Henry Dumaresq, private secretary to his brother-in-law Governor Darling. St Heliers house was demolished in the 1850s. The property was sold to members of the Hall family from the Hawkesbury who had settled near Scone, and was subdivided in 1884, the homestead portion being bought by Malcolm Campbell in 1886. A new St Heliers house was built in about 1894.
Some relics of the Dumaresq days survived and it is possible that some furniture etc from the original house may have been preserved at Gelston, the house built on part of the property for one of the Campbell sons. The property had various managers and overseers from the early 1840s. (Information provided by Nancy Gray of the Scone Historical Society in 1990.)
When the chair was acquired in 1990 it was believed to have been made by Henry Goldfinch of South Australia, largely because of the strong visual similarity of the chair to known examples by Goldfinch. The strong evidence for the chairs origins in New South Wales make the Goldfinch idea unlikely.
This date should be expressed as [1840-1850]. Ann Watson believes that the proportions of the chair were more common at this date and would also be in keeping with the date at which Dumaresq built the original St Heliers. This house was demolished in the 1850s and a new house was not built until the 1890s by the vendors family. A series of managers and overseers lived on the property from the early 1840s and there is evidence that some relics of the Dumaresq days survived. (Based on conversation with Ann Watson 27/2/98 and on Notes by Nancy Gray of the Scone Historical Society 1990)
A note on the original acquisition form on blue file says that according to the vendor the chair has been on their property "St Heliers", Muswellbrook, since late 19th century. The property was originally established by Henry Dumaresq in 1830s.