Dr James Broadbent, A Sense of Place & A Place of One's Own
31st March 2012

A Sense of Place: Colonial Gardens: The early 20th century architect William Hardy Wilson first identified the distinct character of NSW's early & mid 19th Century gardens. Whether loved and well kept, or abandoned, they have much to teach us about gardening in our climate and now. Tragically many are threatened or compromised by urban expansion.

2nd session and discussion, A Place of One's Own: Drawing on 30 years experience of gardening around an early colonial bungalow and on his practice on designing and restoring gardens, James will talk about traditional gardening, particularly in country gardens: the linking of garden and landscape, water (or lack of it) and drought, frost, weeds and simple design principles often overlooked in fashionable books.

When —
Saturday 31st March 2012, starts 12noon with tea & coffee

First session 12.30pm till 1.45pm

Afternoon tea & coffee

Second session: 2.30pm start

Cost –
$70 per person (GST inc), non refundable.
Please book and pay via a link at the bottom of this page. Absolutely NO cheques will be accepted

Venue —
Michael Reid at Murrurundi
Boyd Street, Murrurundi
The Upper Hunter, NSW

About the speaker –

Dr. Broadbent is esteemed as a pioneer of historic house conservation. He became Australia's first professional in this field when he was appointed curator of Sydney's Elizabeth Bay House in 1977. He took a scholarly approach, working with 1830s inventories and other documents to restore the house in keeping with its historical significance, not just make it beautiful.

"Instead of just good intentions and good taste I tried to apply academic discipline," he says. His work was seen as cutting-edge at a time when the management of historic houses was largely in the hands of gifted amateurs.

Broadbent talks of having lived parallel lives in his private and professional worlds. Since the early 1970s he has lived outside Sydney in Australia's oldest privately occupied house, Mulgoa Cottage, built between 1809 and 1811. It was derelict but in a good landscape, although that is now threatened by Sydney's sprawl. He has repaired the house and made a beautiful garden using the bones of the early garden.

"It enabled me to have my own trial ground," he says. "I had to face similar problems personally as well as professionally. It made me aware of the practicalities of conservation and preservation as well as the philosophies behind them."