The History of Roseleigh the Witchery
Leahy Family circa 1935
The property “Overdale” was originally Crown Land which was granted to Mr Robert Ronald of Victoria in the 1870's. Overdale was then sold to the Donnelly family of Bungendore, NSW. It was at this time that the original homestead was built. With traditional bull- nose verandas with timber flooring and extensive wrought iron lace work and corner pieces the home was timber clad, painted weatherboard with a corrugated iron roof. The existing private residence is built on the original foundations and retains the original flooring in most rooms.
In 1918 the property was purchased by Mr Francis (Frank) Leahy of Bungendore who extensively renovated the property leaving only a few original internal walls and ceilings. Renovations to the main house and attached buildings continued for a period of 20 years, so the architecture of the buildings flows from the late 1800's through to the 1920's, 30's and 40's. Original weatherboards were replaced with brickwork, verandas removed and rebuilt to their existing form with a grand front entrance and closed in verandas extended to all sides of the house. The existing corrugated roof was replaced with terracotta tiles and the facade then began to take on a rather grand California bungalow appearance. All internal doors are solid cedar and ash with original lead lighting still remaining in the front door and front windows.
The name Overdale was in reference to the township of the same name in England from which the Leahy family originated.
Overdale was a thriving community within itself and at its peak held 30,000 acres. As well as management personnel, Overdale employed live in maids, grounds men field hands and had its own onsite cabinet maker and blacksmith. During the Second World War Italian prisoners of war lived and were employed at Overdale. Many families of those POW's still live in the Wagga District.
HOUSE OF RETREAT
Frank Leahy died in 1955 and the property was bequeathed to the Nursing Sisters of the Little Company of Mary. The Sisters are an international community dedicated to evangelisation prayer and care of the sick, the dying, the poor and the marginalised. The property served the religious community as a rest house, a conference centre, a retreat house and a house of spirituality offering a place for those inclined to make space and time in their lives to nurture their souls. The property subsequently underwent another refurbish which included the original stables being turned into accommodation facilities. Commercial kitchens were also added to the old hall. The Sisters were an invaluable asset to the community and their time at Overdale enriches the historic tapestry that this property has woven.
A dream of owner Kate Wendt to turn Overdale into a function centre and day spa was to become a reality when the property came onto the market in 2004, with work on the property starting on the day of settlement. The plan was to transform the derelict convent back to its former glory, albeit with modern conveniences hidden behind a 1900's facade. The first building on the property in 1876 now houses the restaurant and day spa. Constant research and investigations into heritage works saw the original servants quarters transformed into the stunning Rose and Willow Restaurant which opened in June 2005.
The original machinery shed and blacksmith's building now houses the magnificent Leahy Hall. This opulent function facility has seating for up to 200 with a separate bar, commercial kitchen and provides an elegant room for large functions.
Roseleigh Manor now boasts a multiple award winning function venue as well as a Day Spa, swimming pool, tennis court and accommodation.
We are dedicated to building tourism in rural and regional NSW by providing a truly interesting function venue with not only good food but a destination experience that will be fondly remembered.
We believe that the individualised histories attached to this property are in need of recording, making it available to enlighten generations to come and it is to this end that we are continuing our research into the property.