A holiday in history

On the banks of the Paterson River, at a property called Duninald, sits Old Duninald, a house reputed to be the region’s oldest standing home. It was built in 1822 as a result of a land grant to William Dun and his descendants owned the property until 2005. The Duninald property contains two homesteads, some outbuildings and magnificent gardens. The recent renovation to the original home, Old Duninald, and it being opened as guest accommodation has brought new life to the historic property. At around the same time William Dun received his land grant in late 1821, another grant was made to James Webber, who settled on land on the opposite banks of the Paterson River. He established Tocal, which today contains a homestead and various outbuildings, including The Barracks. Originally, working convicts were housed in The Baracks, today it provides boutique accommodation. Notes held at Tocal College tell us about the two men and their businesses: “Together they faced the issues of establishing farms, building accommodation, clearing land and feeding their assigned convicts”. Through many trials and tribulations, including drought, insolvency, political issues, family marriages and deaths, the properties were intertwined for just over a century. At times they were run together, as Thoroughbred and Devon cattle studs, as well as running sheep, cattle, growing tobacco and other crops.

Read more in edition 93 of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine

Story: Penny Evans

Photography: Sally Tsoutas (Old Duninald) and courtesy of Tocal (images of Tocal Barracks and Homestead).