A 165-year-old Canberra homestead will be restored and re-opened for community use after the ACT Government announced major player Lendlease will develop the homestead's land parcel for retirement living.
Minister for Housing and Suburban Development Yvette Berry said the ACT Government had exchanged contracts with Lendlease for the 4.8 hectare Gold Creek Homestead precinct at Gungahlin, in Canberra’s north.
The future redevelopment will deliver 45 independent living units and a residential aged care facility.
In addition, the original Gold Creek Homestead, Stone Hut Kitchen and Slab Hut - and surrounding gardens - will be conserved and restored with a focus to re-open these assets for wider community use.
“Lendlease were announced as the preferred tenderer in March 2021 and it’s fantastic to now have the redevelopment locked in with the exchange of contracts.” Ms Berry said.
“The Lendlease tender concept best captured the place and community values of the historic site. It will ensure Gold Creek Homestead’s preservation in the future and is the exciting start into the next chapter of its history.”
Future uses and potential tenants of the homestead will be explored through the ongoing community engagement process.
A public walking and cycling link will also run through the site.
The ACT Government has been examining the development and sale of this site for several years.
A community and stakeholder panel, established at the start of the development process, identified that the precinct should be developed as a ‘rural oasis’ including adaptive re-use strategies to retain the historic elements of the Homestead.
Arabella Rohde, Senior Development Manager at Lendlease Retirement Living said: “Working with the Suburban Land Agency to deliver the Gold Creek Homestead precinct represents a great outcome for both residents of The Grove and the wider community.”
Our intention is to retain, restore and activate the original Gold Creek Homestead and ensure the design of the precinct respects its rich heritage.”
The Gold Creek Homestead was built by Edmund Rolfe, son of early settler and farmer Anthony Rolfe, between 1856 and 1860. There is no gold and no creek - it was named after a racehorse that was spelled there for a while.
The Rolfe’s were descendants of the same family as John Rolfe, an early English settler in North America who married the now famous Indigenous American princess, Pocahontas.
The homestead’s conservation follows a rich tradition of retirement living projects helping to restore and celebrate heritage assets.
According to the 2020 Property Council of Australia Retirement Living Census, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has a 92 per cent village occupancy rate, above the national 87 per cent occupancy rate.
If current trends continue, the number of seniors in Canberra will increase from 53,000 in 2018 to reach 120,000 by 2050, creating futher demand for retirement living options.