Historic Dight Farm could be affected by proposed North Richmond bridge duplication project

FIVE potential routes have been identified for the Richmond Bridge duplication project, and one of them goes through the property of mother and daughter, Robyn and Penny Sharpe, of the Hawkesbury Family History Group.

The property, called Durham Bowes (aka Dights Farm), is an early Colonial Georgian homestead built from 1804 to 1870 by Lewis Jones and James Vincent.

The home, on Inalls Lane in Richmond, has been in the Sharpe family for 43 years.

The Sharpes first found out about the route proposals in a letterbox drop in late November.

During a community information session in December, they found out that the route which affects them, called the North Richmond northern bypass route, would require Inalls Lane to be widened - potentially to include four lanes - and would also affect Southee Road through Hobartville and Londonderry Road near Western Sydney University.

The brochure they received states: "Roads and Maritime is investigating a range of potential route options to reduce traffic congestion between Richmond and North Richmond. The options include bridge duplication and potential bypass routes of the townships to provide capacity for future traffic."

Friday, January 17 was the cut-off for community members to have their say on the route options, on an interactive map on the RMS website.

The other four route options are Bells Line of Road and Yarramundi Lane route, Beaumont Avenue Route, North Richmond southern bypass route, and the 2013 option (which was identified as the preferred option in the Richmond Bridge and approaches congestion study).

Improvements to sections of The Driftway would be investigated for all options, the brochure states.

The Sharpes are concerned about losing the "cultural landscape" around their home, should the North Richmond northern bypass route go ahead.

Robyn Sharpe said it wasn't clear how much of their property would be acquired in this route option, which would include a new two-way, two-lane bridge 600 metres downstream of the existing bridge.

"The original road the house was built on was marked-out by James Meehan the surveyor, and built by William Cox in 1820," said Mrs Sharpe.

"The original land was nine acres here on the highlands, overlooking the flood plains.

"That's what our concern is - that the cultural landscape that it overlooks is so much a part of its historic significance.

"It seems unnecessary to have such a wide road through this particular area.

"Hobartville of course shares the cultural landscape, and the WSU experimental farms section on Southee Road would be affected too."

Durham Bowes is known for the Dight family that lived on the property. In 1801, John Dight (1772-1837) with his wife Hannah (1779-1862) and baby daughter Sarah arrived in the colony as free settlers on board the Earl Cornwallis.

The following year they received a grant of 155 acres from Governor King at Mulgrave Place, later Richmond, to be known as Durham Bowes.

The Historic Houses Association of Australia is campaigning for the Sharpes, appealing to the Government to save both Dight Farm and the land around it.

Comments on the potential routes can be provided by emailing richmondbridge@rms.nsw.gov.au or phoning 1800 370 778.

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