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Blue Mountains Tourist : Winter 2011
The varied history of Selwood House, Hazelbrook by Selwood House at Hazelbrook may not be the oldest building in the mid mountains, but it has an interesting history. It is also one of the best preserved Victorian houses in the mid-mountains that is open to the public. Now classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW), there are various opinions about when the original house was built, but there has been a dwelling on the site since around 1865. In its life, Selwood has changed roles many times. It has been a doctor's residence and surgery, an orphanage, antique gallery, art gallery, craft supplier and home to many families. It is currently a haven for science and puzzle buffs of all ages, Selwood Science & Puzzles. In 1879, one Thomas Thompson built additions to an existing cottage on the site and called it Selwood after his house in England. It was then sold to a Prudence Denham of Summer Hill, who died in 1936. After her death, it was purchased by a merchant sea captain named Ninar Fredrickson who travelled the world and brought back exotic trees and shrubs for his garden -- some of which remain today. From 1961-1983 Selwood was owned by a Mary O'Leary, who had five children and made jams from the apple, pear, lemon and plum trees in the rear garden. Mary spent several years fighting the demolition of Selwood to provide extra car parking spaces for the railway station across the road. It is because of her efforts that Selwood still stands, with a commuter car park next door. In the 1980s John and Mary Perry had Selwood as an antique store and private residence. Some years later, Jim and Robyn Collier converted it into an art gallery. The Colliers are both well known Mountain artists -- Robyn a highly acclaimed painter and Jim highly accomplished with pottery. In 1987, Selwood was purchased by Joan and Kelvin Stevenson, who operated it as a craft gallery and private residence. Ten years later, Selwood was purchased by David and Anna Thomson who currently run it as Selwood Science & Puzzles. As well as lots of science kits and puzzles to purchase, there are many hands on activities and displays. Over the years, there are some stories that have survived that can be told about Selwood, including the birth of one Hazel Denham in 1892 during a raging storm, when the local Lawson doctor could not help as he had pneumonia. There have also been reports of ghosts haunting the hallway and bedrooms. Selwood House is open to the public every day during school holidays (otherwise closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays) from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday; and from 10.00am to 4:30pm on weekends and public holidays (except Good Friday, Christmas, Boxing and New Year's Days). For more information call (02) 4758 6235 or visit www.selwoodscience.com.au www.bluemountainstouristnewspaper.com.au winter 2011 32