Brandon House

Alexander Warren arrived in NSW in 1824 and soon afterwards was awarded a land grant of 2000 acres at Seaham. He extended this holding with further grants and purchases. He was a successful farmer and pastoralist and grew a small number of Burgundy grape vines which were harvested to make his ‘Warren’s Wines’ for consumption within his household. He encouraged others to plant more vines. Alexander Warren was a magistrate for the Paterson district and was later appointed to the NSW Legislative Council before retiring to Brandon where he died in 1876, aged 81. Warren never married and his Brandon estate was left to his grand nephew William Fisher Jnr. William Fisher built Brandon House in 1883 after his marriage to Dorothea Mosman of ‘Burrowell’ East Seaham. It has remained the home of the Fisher family since.

Brandon House

Brandon House. By Athel D'Ombrain from the University of Newcastle Special Collections. Licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

Brandon House

Brandon House. By David Fisher 2024

Designed by John Pender

Written by David Fisher

Brandon was built in 1882/3 designed by J.W. Pender. The drawings of the house are held in the Pender collection at the University of Newcastle.

As recounted in “Early Architects of the Hunter Regiona Hundred years to 1940”, by Les Reedman (2008), John Wilshire Pender was trained in the 1850s in Inverness, Scotland, and spent some time at the Royal Academy of Inverness. He joined his parents in West Maitland in 1857.

Designing substantial homes for families in the Hunter was one strong line of work in Pender’s practice and those of his competitors, and Brandon’s design may have been influenced by other Pender homes. These featured Pender’s favourite Classic Revival, Italianate styling using masonry construction with ironwork trim, variously scaled and embellished according to the clients’ taste and capacity.

The original plans by Pender show the house simply arranged as main house and separate kitchen wing. A two-storey verandah stretches across the main east-facing façade, with central front door and sash windows enhanced by moulded render architraves. On the rear west-facing elevation, a service verandah sits between two attached, single storey hip-roofed wings, each of a single room originally providing for the Office and School Room. A roll-roof covered way linked the rear verandah to the plainly finished but still slate-roofed kitchen wing.

The house has remained in the Fisher family since construction. Externally the house has sustained little change. A recent internal renovation has been completed with design and supervision by a prominent heritage architect.

The stables and coach house, originally built (as designed) as a handsome brick two storey structure, was damaged in the 1939 fires and repaired as a single storey building.

Plan of Residence for W. Fisher Esq.

Plan of Residence for W. Fisher Esq. - No. 2 (12 January 1883) By Pender, John Wiltshire, 1833-1917 from the University of Newcastle Special Collections. Pender Archive. This architectural drawing was prepared for W. Fisher Esq. by John W. Pender. Plan No. 2 consists of the front elevation, side elevation and two cross sections of the ground and first floor (M5051-1) of the 2 story cottage, located at Brandon, near Seaham in the Hunter Region. Also included is the ground plan and cross section of the water tank. The tender notice was put out on the 13 November 1883 and the construction was contracted to James Pritchard on the 9 February 1883. The cottage cost £2500 to construct.

Brandon House by Val Anderson

Illustration by Val Anderson created for Seaham Nostalgia Day 1980