|1325 Old South Road, Bowral|
James Fairfax AC bought the house and originally eight-hectare holding from King Ranch in 1964 and over the years added to the property. Fifty years later (April 2016) he gifted his thirty-three-hectare heritage estate to the National Trust of Australia. Mr Fairfax provided a significant endowment to ensure its ongoing upkeep. Retford Park remained his home as the first tenant until his death in January 2017
Retford Park will remain his home as the first tenant of the property. A grand and glorious property, it was first established in the 1880s when Samuel Hordern (1849–1909) built the house in 1887. His son, Sir Samuel Hordern (1870–1956) and his wife Charlotte were keen gardeners and most of the large trees and camellias in the current ten-hectares of garden were planted in their time, including a park of rare and unusual oaks. Mr Fairfax sought the advice from renowned English landscape architect John Codrington when he first became Retford Park’s owner.
More recently, Melbourne landscape architect, David Wilkinson, designed other features for the garden, including the Knot Garden, the Green Room and the Millennium Canal (a contemporary folly installed to mark the year 2000). Other features include the red border, known as the Persian Carpet, and the Cretaceous Garden with its 130-year-old Bunya. Rick Shepherd, the head gardener, and his small team continue to keep the garden looking immaculate, all sustainably maintained using organic principles. This is a property of major historical significance.
From Sydney: Leave M31 highway at Mittagong exit and turn left at the Best Western Grand Country Lodge Motel into Fitzroy Street, just before shops. Turn left over the railway bridge onto Range Road; past Frensham School and continue to the roundabout at Old South Road. Turn right into Old South Road and the entrance to Retford Park is approximately 2.5km on left.
From Bowral: Take Bowral Street; turn left onto Old South Road. The entrance to Retford Park is approximately 600m on right.
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