Iandra Castle near Greenethorpe, 30 minutes from Grenfell

If you should happen to be driving through the Central West of NSW, past grazing sheep, amid paddocks of wheat and canola, the last thing you would expect to see is a castle! On the road from Greenethorpe to Young, however, this is just what you will see.

Mount Oriel homestead, or Iandra Castle,  is a unique part of Australia’s heritage. The existing homestead was built over, and incorporates, the original single-storey brick building on the site. This was the home of George Henry Greene, local landowner, grazier, and politician, after whom nearby Greenethorpe is named. Construction was made using concrete, and was finished in 1911.

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About

The property of Iandra was purchased by Mr. Greene in 1878 and consisted of 32,000 ac (13,000 Ha). In 1880 he commenced building his first house, of bricks fired on the property.

In 1908 he commenced the conversion of this single storey brick house to a two-storey reinforced concrete building on the same foundations. During this period he built the reinforced concrete stables, water tower with silo beneath, filtration plant, sheds, and 40 houses for the sharefarmers. He was instrumental in obtaining rail transport from the Koorawatha line to Grenfell (with the rail siding of Iandra taking Greenethorpe as its new name), and also arranged the layout of the village of Greenethorpe.

Iandra had its own store, post office, public school, carpenter’s and blacksmith’s shops as well as a handling agent for much farm machinery. 350 men were employed on the property not including the 61 sharefarmers, the contractors or carriers. The house provided accommodation for visitors from various parts of the world who were interested in the sharefarming methods introduced in 1893 which were of benefit to all concerned, eventually allowing the share farmers to purchase their particular piece of land.

During his lifetime Mr. Greene became a prominent breeder of Shire horses, pioneered sharefarming, experimented successfully with superphospate, was the first to demonstrate the reaper binder and in 1910 the Massey Harris reaper thresher, now known as a header.

At one time the property carried more than 19,000 sheep and in one year produced more than 10,000 tonnes of wheat with the assistance of five or six hundred men, nine steam chaff cutting plants, 23 carting teams and about 700 horses permanently carried on the property. St Saviour’s church was built by Mr. Greene in 1886. He and son George were buried on the church grounds. The body of his wife Ellen, and the ashes of their son William (Crawford), who became a British politician [they both died in England], were returned to Iandra for burial.

After George Greene’s death in 1911, and the departure of his family to England during WWI, the property was sold to the Ianson family. In the 1950s, it was sold to the Methodist Church, who used it as a home for delinquent boys.

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Physical address

Iandra Road Greenethorpe, 30 minutes south east of Grenfell.

Opening times

Only open at selected times throughout the year, or by prior arrangement for large groups. Visit the website for opening hours.

Facilities and Features

A great spot for a family picnic with toilets and a large garden area and lawn.

Pricing and Conditions

$10 for adults and $5 for children at open days.

 

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