Bella Vista Farm

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Bella Vista Fitzgerald house, originally built circa 1820
Bella Vista Fitzgerald house, originally built circa 1820

On 26th October 1799, Major Foveaux, commander the New South Wales Corps and Surveyor General Charles Grimes were together granted a 980 acre plot of land in the Toongabbie area by Governor Hunter. Grimes gave his portion to Foveaux who by 1801 was the colony’s land holder and, with 1250 sheep, the largest grazier.

The property [grant no 834], including sheep, sold on 5 December 1801 to John Macarthur for £500. Elizabeth Macarthur called this property “my Seven Hills Farm”.

John Macarthur returned from England in 1821 and handed the property, which had grown to 2000 acres through various purchases, back to the government in exchange for 5000 acres at Camden. Portions of the land were re-granted and in 1865 Edward Henry Pearce inherited the farm naming it ‘Bella Vista’. His son Edward William Charles Archdale Pearce received the property in 1912 under the terms of his father’s will. In 1997 the Baulkham Hills Shire Council became the owner of the farm and since then it has received a new lease of life through the work of volunteers and employed skilled tradesmen. There is evidence of over 200 years of continuous agricultural use of this intact historic farm complex. The two storey home is situated on a high ridge overlooking Old Windsor Road with panoramic views of the Blue Mountains.

Trevor Patrick is a local historian of the north-west of Sydney, Australia. His latest book, In Search of the Pennant Hills, recounts some of these stories (and others) in more detail.