One of our oldest buildings has been sold ... what's the plan?

Lost to renovations: Just one of the original stone walls of Redfern's Cottage in Minto remains today. Other original features include the stone-flagged verandah, chimney and cellar. The cottage was recently sold by UrbanGrowth NSW. Picture: JA White
Lost to renovations: Just one of the original stone walls of Redfern's Cottage in Minto remains today. Other original features include the stone-flagged verandah, chimney and cellar. The cottage was recently sold by UrbanGrowth NSW. Picture: JA White

The new owner of Campbellfield (also known as Redfern's Cottage) in Minto has committed to retaining the historic building — but its actual future remains a mystery.

The 9000-square-metre Lind Street property was sold by UrbanGrowth NSW in September for an undisclosed amount, but it hasn't revealed the identity of the buyer.

The cottage — which stands on a hill behind Minto Marketplace — was built by famed colonial surgeon William Redfern after he was granted the land in 1811.

An UrbanGrowth NSW spokeswoman told the Advertiser the cottage was bought "with a commitment for it to be retained."

"Its future use has yet to be determined and is to be agreed between the purchaser and Campbelltown Council."

Ray White Macarthur's listing agent Mark Jennings said the purchase would not be finalised until the new year.

Despite arriving in the colony in 1801 as a convict (convicted of mutiny in the Royal Navy), Redfern became a respected member of society and built his simple brick cottage with a stone-lined cellar around 1816.

Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society president Kay Hayes said maintaining the curtilage of land surrounding the cottage was imperative.

"Campbellfield is part of the Campbelltown area's heritage because of Dr Redfern's significance," Ms Hayes said.

She said the Australia and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine had suggested turning the property into a medical museum when it was first listed for sale in March, but the proposal did not eventuate.

Redfern's Cottage is listed on Campbelltown Council's local heritage register under a residential zoning, which could see it approved for a number of uses including a childcare centre, education establishment, public building, religious establishment or a community centre.

Minto resident Laurie Porter said historic buildings such as Redfern's Cottage are important to the suburb, especially in light of the imminent demolition of the 117-year-old St James' Anglican Church.

"[Redfern's Cottage] is also very important with regard to Australia's medical history because it was owned by the doctor who was issued the first medical certificate in Australia," Mrs Porter said.

"I hope that one day the community will be able to visit it again, that would be nice. I believe it is really interesting inside."

The cottage underwent renovations in the mid-1960s, described in the council's heritage listing as "disastrous", closing in the rear verandah, rebuilding the front wall in brick and extending the cottage.

All that remains of the original building is the stone-flagged verandah, one chimney and a cellar, which is partially filled with rubble.

Next week: The compelling life of William Redfern, as told by a historian who spent more than 50 years studying the doctor.

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