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Wallarah rises from ashes

Destroyed: Historic Wallarah House reduced to ashes after a bushfire tore through Catherine Hill Bay in October 2013. Lake Macquarie Council and the site’s new owners have agreed on a new house plan for the site. A COUPLE will pay Lake Macquarie Council $1 in costs after a Land and Environment Court conciliation conference to agree on the new home that will rise from the ashes of historic Wallarah House.

Bruce and Lindsay Baudinet have agreed to strict conditions for a home on the iconic Catherine Hill Bay site where the original Wallarah House was almost fully destroyed by bushfire in October 2013, along with the historic Jetty Master’s Cottage.

A new house on the 25 Hale Street site, with spectacular views across the village, comes with 21 pages of conditions, including the need for a 5000 litre water supply for firefighting purposes because of the “unreliable reticulated water supply”, the court noted.

The five bedroom home with swimming pool and half tennis court will be built to maintain what the council described as“a strong presence in the landscape”. The historic Wallarah House, built in 1889, was the home of the coal mine manager. Its position on a hill overlooking the village was symbolic of the dominance of coal to the life of local residents.

The original weatherboard and brick home was built for 700 pounds, and sat on “well laid out grounds”.

A new house on the site required NSW Heritage Council approval of colours and materials used. Mr and Mrs Baudinet are also required to place an interpretation sign outside their property, detailing the history and significance of Wallarah House to Catherine Hill Bay.

Their plans for Chinese elm trees and Canary Island date palms were rejected by the council, which required tuckeroo trees to replace the Chinese elms, and palms that were more likely to be found in the local area than Canary Island date palms.

Land and Environment Court commissioner Linda Pearson approved the conditions agreed to by the council and the Baudinets on December 22.

The loss of Wallarah House and the Jetty Master’s Cottage in 2013 left timber piles of the former jetty as the only reminders of Catherine Hill Bay’s coal past.

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