May 2011

New development to “cherish whole of creation”

After nearly 15 years of negotiation and planning, a ‘turning-of-the-sod’ ceremony will take place this week (Thursday May 12) to mark the beginning of works at Kirkham Rise, a new residential development which forms part of the Good Samaritan Sisters’ 380-hectare property at Camden in New South Wales.

Kirkham Rise, a joint venture between the Sisters of the Good Samaritan and land development company Mbark Pty. Ltd., will offer a limited number of freehold home sites on 120 hectares of conserved bushland on the northern precinct of the sisters’ property.

“The Kirkham Rise development conforms to the ethos of the sisters and our desire to cherish the whole of creation,” said Sister Clare Condon, Congregational Leader of the Good Samaritan Sisters.

“The question before us over these past years has been how to manage this extensive land holding in such a way, so that the key components of the natural and built heritage could be preserved alongside the need to divest ourselves of some of the responsibility for long-term management of the site.”

The entire 380-hectare property, owned by the sisters since 1910, adjoins the Nepean River and contains substantial tracts of the Cumberland woodland. The National Trust colonial home, Wivenhoe (1837) and Stables (1834), and the Mater Dei Special School are also situated on the site.

According to Clare, conservation and an appreciation of the heritage and bushland areas have been the driving forces behind the creation of Kirkham Rise.

“Together, [the sisters and Mbark] share an appreciation of the cultural history as well as a commitment to preserve the bushland integrity of the site.

“An extensive Conservation Management Plan has been undertaken to ensure the unique bushland setting is protected, retained and restored in a trust for perpetual management and enjoyment by future generations,” she said.

It is envisaged that Kirkham Rise will comprise eco-style residences with architectural designs and materials to complement the natural surrounds. Over seven kilometres of meandering walking trails, cycleways and picturesque parks will also be integrated into the bushland surrounds.

Managing Director of Mbark, Adam Somerville, said he was looking forward to creating a unique community at Kirkham Rise where purchasers are encouraged to build individual eco-style homes utilising natural materials such as timber and stone to complement the leafy surrounds.

Proceeds from the Kirkham Rise development will contribute to the ongoing preservation of the bushland and onsite heritage buildings. The Mater Dei School, a co-educational school for students with intellectual disabilities, together with the many ministries of the sisters, including their future aged care needs, will also receive a contribution from the development.

The Good Oil

‘The Good Oil’, the free, monthly e-journal of the Good Samaritan Sisters, publishes news, feature and opinion articles and reflective content which aims to nourish the spirit, stimulate thinking and encourage reflection and dialogue about contemporary issues from a Good Samaritan perspective.

If you would like to republish this article, please contact the editor.