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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

20 October 2001

Federation Fund Supports Facelift for Blue Mountains Landmark

Federal Environment and Heritage Minister Robert Hill today welcomed the completion of important restoration work on what is believed to be the oldest surviving building in the Blue Mountains, Woodford Academy.

The National Heritage Trust of Australia (NSW) was awarded $1 million from the Federation Cultural and Heritage Projects Program to complete the much-needed conservation work.

"Woodford Academy is a landmark building that sits on the verge of the Great Western Highway at Woodford. This structure dates to 1835 and in its time has served as an inn, a residence known as Woodford House and a school," Senator Hill said.

"Today marks yet another important date in the Woodford Academy's history - the official celebration of new restoration works having been completed and the building now being opened to the public."

Woodford Academy started life as an inn and after a succession of publicans and name changes, was sold in 1868 for the sum of 450 pounds to Sydney businessman Alfred Fairfax. The inn was converted to a residence known as Woodford House and three adjoining parcels of land were acquired.

Financial bad times forced Fairfax to sell, and the property was turned into a guest house before being subdivided and one portion, including Woodford House, being sold in July, 1914, to John Fraser McManamey. McManamey had already been leasing the house since 1907 to operate a day and boarding school. In 1979, the property was gifted to the National Trust by McManamey's daughter, Gertrude.

"The Commonwealth Government is now pleased to have played its part in the property's colourful history by supporting the trust in its valuable restoration work. This work has included work on the east wing stairs, interiors and verandah. It has also involved conserving the McManamey collection and having the principal rooms of the main house interpreted," Senator Hill said.

The Commonwealth Government is supporting a range of heritage and community projects nationally through the $1 billion Federation fund.

Saturday, October 20

Media Contact:
Belinda Huppatz 0419 258364

Commonwealth of Australia