|Situated in the midst of the famous Wyndham Estate Winery, Dalwood House is significant because it reflects the history of one of the most important pioneering families in the Hunter Valley. Designed by the pioneer vigneron George Wyndham in 1829, Dalwood House is a rare surviving example of one of the earliest Greek revival buildings in New South Wales and the earliest known example of the style in the Hunter Valley.|
Born in England in 1801, George Wyndham had a privileged upbringing and a thirst for travel and adventure. He met his future wife Margaret Jay while travelling through Italy and learned how to make wine in France. In 1828, he and Margaret arrived in Sydney to begin a new life in the colony of NSW and to establish a wine-making business. They bought a 2000-acre property, high on the bank of the Hunter River, and started building a sandstone cottage that would eventually become Dalwood House.
Thanks to the fertile soil, Wyndham was able to put into practice the skills he had developed during his time in the French vineyards. The first vines of Shiraz grapes planted and cultivated in 1831 grew well and in due course the resulting wine was shipped to markets in India and England. Wyndham’s family was supportive of his venture and sent him provisions, financial support and livestock (he was the first person to import Hereford cattle into Australia). With their backing, the couple quickly adapted to the harsh lifestyle and survived the depression that struck in the early 1840s. Wyndham's wines would soon become internationally successful and the vineyard remains one of the largest and most successful in NSW.
Wyndham’s kindness and just christian upbringing quickly made him popular amongst the convicts who worked his lands. There are many indications of their presence in the history of Wyndham’s Estate. For example, the grape storage bins’ numeric system is evidence that the majority of the workers were illiterate.
Sadly, by the 20th century, Dalwood House had fallen into disrepair and, by the 1970s, was a ruin. Acquired by the National Trust in 1988, the property was stabilised and conserved as a project for Australia’s Bicentenary. The Trust is aided in its efforts to look after the property by the descendants of George Wyndham who have undertaken a long-term fundraising campaign to restore Dalwood House to its former glory and turn it into a true monument to the creative spirit of its first owner.
Today, Dalwood House and the Wyndham Estate Winery are a pleasant stop on a visit around the Hunter region. For a roadside look at Dalwood House, drive through the car park of the Wyndham Estate and follow the road around.