IT is one of the most recognisable homes in the Shoalhaven, and its history is as rich as its view is spectacular.
The Eyrie is a quaint cottage located at the top hairpin of Cambewarra Mountain, with commanding views over the Shoalhaven.
The home was built by Os and Alma McClelland, between 1926-28.
Alma was the only daughter of James and Annie Lumsden – James was the first white baby to be born on the mountain.
The McLellands ran a small shop, the Tuckerbox Cafe from the location.
They also built a factory, located just north of the home on the opposite side of the road in which they manufactured their own brand of ice cream Mountain Mist, which was supplied to shops in Kangaroo Valley and other parts of the Shoalhaven.
The product was highly regarded and in 1930 the Shoalhaven Telegraph stated that it was “the best ice cream south of Sydney”.
For 15 years the McLellands conducted the Tuckerbox Cafe before poor health forced them to leave their mountain home in 1943.
They went on to manage a mixed business at Crookhaven Heads before moving to Pyree.
The McClelland’s daughter, Mary Newing, recalls fond memories of living at the property, in fact she was born and christened there.
“I don’t know who named it – it was never The Eyrie when we had it, I think it was just a recent thing,” she said.
She was also able to fill in a few blanks of some of the other families that had lived in the property over the years.
That included Blanche Wallis and her daughters, the Suckows who ran the Cambewarra Lookout, the Zandstras and eventually Bob and Jean Lumsden when the post office transferred up there from Beaumont in 1968, and where it operated through until 1984 when it closed.
She has wonderful memories of growing up on the mountain, including how the community rallied and undertook wartime activities.
Nowadays it is owned by Sydney family the Haskews who have had the property for nine years.
Parents Greg and Geraldine have gone into partnership with their son Daniel and his partner Maxine in purchasing the iconic property.
“We would often holiday in the area, in particular we loved to camp at Bendeela in the Valley and one day Daniel noticed the home was for sale,” Greg said.
“He couldn’t afford to buy the property outright so asked if we would go halves with him.
“We did and here we are.”
The property had been vacant for about two years before the family which lives in Moorebank purchased it from Richard and Karen Stone.
“Geraldine and I tend to spend more time here now than Daniel. He has kids who are at school and playing sport and doesn’t seem to be able to get down here as much anymore,” Greg said.
“But we love it. It is just such a great location.
“We had to do a fair bit of work on it over the years and we continue to.”
But with a magnificent view that takes in most of the Shoalhaven who would mind?
“When we got the place there was still shelving in one of the rooms and signs that we assumed must have been the post office,” Geraldine said.
Over the years the family has heard the property has had numerous uses.
“We’ve heard it has been tea rooms, a post office, a bed and breakfast, and would even sell ice cream,” he said.
“We believe there was possibly even a petrol browser out the front at one stage.”
The home is located on 7000 square metres and features two bedrooms as well as a sleep out, one bathroom, a kitchen and a large family room which has stunning views over the Shoalhaven.
The property runs directly down the steep escarpment.