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 verandahs,
timber flooring, 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,
verandahs removed and rebuilt to their existing form with a grand front
entrance and closed in verandahs 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, groundsmen 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 propery 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 Overdale 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.
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.
now boasts an 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.