Dough raises oven hopes

THE next stage of Bella Vista Farm's restoration hopes to uncover a historic treasure.

Stage one of the restoration will see part of the heritage site's kitchen excavated in the hope it will uncover a colonial bread oven suspected to have been plastered over in the 1950s.

The other stages will include replastering the kitchen, painting it the original colour and reinstating the pine ceiling.

A $10,000 donation by the Parramatta Cumberland division of the Master Builders Association initiated stage one, with the continued restoration to be supplemented by the Friends of Bella Vista Farm.

Work on the kitchen's adjacent pantry room and maids' quarters will complete the entire homestead's restoration.

Friends of Bella Vista Farm chairman Keith Bensley said the funding and subsequent works was another step in preserving the area's heritage.

"When we first started the restoration the whole place was overgrown with lantana," Mr Bensley said.

"It's the most significant building in The Hills and to get it from a derelict state to a building the shire can be proud of . . . is a real achievement."

The historic farm complex is a rare link to the first European settlers and some of Australia's earliest rural development.

Ray Brown of the Master Builders Association said the Parramatta Cumberland Branch donation was a way to recognise the community for their support.

"Bella Vista Farm is probably the pinnacle of places that we could offer a bit of help," Mr Brown said.

"And a way for us to say thank you to the community for supporting all the Builder members."

■ The public can explore the farm on the first Sunday of the month from 9am to noon.

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