SHOALHAVEN Historical Society members were given the rare opportunity last week to have a guided tour of one of the area’s most prestigious homes, Lynburn.
The property has been in the Morton family since 1895, with current owner Bruce Morton undertaking the tour.
Mr Morton, the grandson of Mark Morton snr MLA after whom Morton National Park was named, grew up in the adjoining property Illowra, and remembers as a child only ever going into the formal front part of the house.
“To come here as a child was a special occasion,” he said.
“We would come over to see Aunt Stella [who had married Frederick Morton].
“It was only ever formal occasions and we only ever made it into the front rooms.
“As a child I honestly didn’t know what was in the rest of the house.”
Mr Morton took the local members on a full tour of the house, passing on bits and pieces of family information as the tour moved from room to room.
“It is a lovely home but it certainly needs some work,” he said.
“You can tell it has been an older person’s home.
“It was a grand place in its day. Even now it still has that appearance.”
Previous owners, Alison and Andy Walton, didn’t have any children and passed away within six months of each other in the past year, leaving the property to their cousin Bruce.
Located in Bomaderry, Lynburn was built for Henry Gordon Morton, a surveyor and land steward on the Coolangatta Estate.
Mr Morton died just before its completion but it was occupied by his widow Jane and their family, who were given life tenancy.
On Mrs Morton’s death in 1919 it was purchased at auction by her youngest son Frederick and his wife Stella (Hindmarsh).
The original land grant included property from the Shoalhaven River right along Bomaderry Creek up to near where the saleyards are today located.
In 1912 it was subdivided into five lots, with the Lynburn home attached to a 4.8 hectare parcel of land.
It eventually passed to their daughter Alison and her husband Andrew Walton, a retired solicitor who for more than 30 years was partner of his wife’s cousin Mark Morton jnr (Bruce’s father).
Designed by Sydney architect Howard Joseland, Lynburn was built by local contractor George Muller and completed in August 1895.
It bears a similarity to the nearby Flawcraig (now known as Greenleaves), built around 1895 by Nowra builder Seward Elliott and was also designed by Joseland, who was responsible for many homes built for the Coolangatta Estate employees.
Lynburn is an ornate federation style residence with unusual arrangements of gables and skillion-roofed verandahs.
There are two gable projections; one interrupts the verandah and the other projects over it.
Construction is of New Zealand kauri weatherboard, with unusual timber decorations at the gable ends.
There is a complex slate roof, including skillion verandah, terracotta ridge capping and apex ornaments and tall brick chimneys, one of which is constructed on the diagonal.
A faceted bay window with stained glass panes can be found under one front gable and there is a striking fretwork fringe under the other.
Brackets to the verandahs are large and the interior joinery is of cedar.
Although a 1981 fire seriously damaged the roof, it was authentically restored.
The interior woodwork was mainly preserved, including part of the original lathe and plaster ceilings.
Features of the interior are six Italian marble fireplaces, three in bedrooms, while others of ornate design are in the dining room, drawing room and library.
It truly is like stepping back in time.
The fully landscaped grounds, laid out by Searle’s of Sydney, contain many mature trees.
A cedar of Lebanon at the front gate and a Virginian swamp cypress on the south side of the drive date back to the 1890s.
The garden also features a wide range of camellias.
Bruce Morton’s family home Illowra is also a grand property in its own right. It was built in 1906-07 for his grandfather Mark Morton, who was the son of Henry, and went on to be the state Member for Shoalhaven from 1901 until his death in 1938, except for a three-year period.
It was also designed by Howard Joesland but was constructed by local tradesman Robert W. Henry.
• Information courtesy Shoalhaven Historical Society’s Shoalhaven Sketchbook.