Hillview, just north of Sutton Forest on the Illawarra Highway, was, from 1882 to 1958, the official country residence of the governors of NSW. The homestead was built in the late 1850s by Robert Richardson. The government purchased the house and estate in 1882 and extensive renovations were carried out, at considerable expense. The grounds and interior were greatly improved and Lord August Loftus became the first governor to occupy the house.
The retreat was used until 1958 when it was sold into private hands, though the government re-purchased it in 1986. Hillview is located on the Illawarra Highway about 2 km north of Sutton Forest. The house is open for inspection, but only occasionally. Ring the Southern Highlands Visitors' Centre for the exact dates on (1300) 657 559.
A little closer to the town, on the other side of the highway, just before the Medway Rivulet, is what remains of 'Newbury', a 700-acre estate awarded in 1822 to Captain John Nicholson, harbour master of Port Jackson, for refloating the brig Lady Nelson from the bar of the Hastings River. It is reported that he chose the name because his neighbour had named his estate Oldbury.
All Saints Church of England
All Saints Church of England was erected in 1861. Designed by Edmund Blacket it was consecrated by Bishop Barker. The cemetery bears testimony to the existence of the earlier church. It became the resting place for many soldiers who were stationed at Berrima. The visiting governors worshipped here. The gates came from Hillview when it was sold in 1958.
All Saints Church of England
Further along the road is The Royal Inn, a handsome hotel which offers good food and pleasant surroundings. Although this building is not very old it is on the site of the original Talbot Inn (1833).
The most impressive building in the village is Sutton Farm which was originally built by convicts from Berrima (c.1830). The magnificent cedar staircase came from a 17th century church near Dublin. The house has been extensively modified, was used in the film Phar Lap, and is now the Highlands Equestrian Centre on the lllawarra Highway. Situated on 50 acres they offer lessons, trail rides and holiday camps with bed and breakfast, contact (02) 4868 2584. The stables are of exceptional quality.
Just south of the equestrian centre, on the Illawarra Highway, is St Patrick's Church which was built in 1878-79. It has an interesting graveyard. A slab building used as a church and a school was erected on the site in 1854.
A few hundred metres north of the equestrian centre, on the same side of the highway, are the Red Cow Farm gardens which are quite beautiful and well worth a look. They are open for inspections at certain times of the year. Again, check the times with the visitors' centre. The cottage was originally the Red Cow Inn, erected in 1834 on land granted to George Sewell.
Golden Vale Rd heads north-west off the Illawarra Highway at the northern end of Sutton Forest, just south of the Medway Rivulet. It leads to the historic home, Golden Valley, a sandstone house built in 1870 for Benjamin Carter who was the first to mine the kerosene shale which his son discovered in the Joadja Valley and which led to the establishment of the town (see entry on Joadja). There are a number of stone outbuildings (stables, meat house and barn) and a weatherboard woolshed.
Black Horse Farm was originally the Black Horse Inn (1835). Outbuildings include a slab shearing shed.Jacky Jacky was actually taken prisoner at the Black Horse Inn when he was overpowered by the owner during a hold-up. There is little left today so the effort is only for the genuine enthusiast. Follow Golden Vale Rd to its terminus at the old Hume Highway. Turn left and it can be found, about 1 km along, on the left.
Mt Broughton Golf and Country Club is located on Kater Rd, contact (02) 4869 1597. The Celtic Market is held on the third Sunday of each month at the Sutton Forest village hall on the Illawarra Highway.
A Little Piece of Scotland has an extensive array of Scottish craftware and shortbread and are open daily.
Penrose Park Monastery is home to the Catholic order of Pauline monks. Visitors attend the Marian Devotions on the 13th of each month. It is on Hanging Rock Rd which runs off the F5 freeway just south of the Sutton Forest McDonald's which is located on the freeway. The Eling Forest Vineyard is also just south of the McDonald's on the freeway , contact (02) 4878 9499.
In the Canyonleigh area, 18 km west, is Tugalong Outback Station, an 'adventure lodge' where horse riding, 4WD tours, abseiling, clay pigeon shooting, wildlife tours and bushwalking can all be pursued, contact: (02) 4878 9247. Both Tugalong and Weston Grove Holiday Ranch (contact 02-4878 9290) are on Tugalong Rd which heads north off Canyonleigh Rd. The latter runs west from the intersection of the Illawarra and Hume Highways.
Highlands Trips and Treks, P.O. Box 298, Bundanoon NSW 2578. Phone/Fax 02 4883 6523 or Mobile 015 244 714 and email email@example.com offer 4WD tours and bushwalks in the Southern Highlands and will pick you up from your accommodation, be it in Sydney or the highlands.