Rouse vs Vinegar an age-old dispute

“LOST and Found” may seem an odd title for a talk about a geological feature but when that feature is Vinegar Hill it makes sense.

As the site of a moving battle between Crown forces and 250 convicts led by Irish patriots in 1804, the location of Vinegar Hill has often been debated.

The Rouse Hill House and Farm curator, Fergus Clunie, will deliver a talk about the rebellion on the anniversary of the March 5 battle.

After the talk he will show visitors the area behind the property’s old schoolhouse which is now believed to be the actual Vinegar Hill.

Mr Clunie said the battle site had been misunderstood by people who had not done proper research.

A need to pinpoint the site came in the 1970s when the state government acquired Rouse Hill House and the heritage office placed an interim preservation order over privately owned land on the far side of Rouse Hill.

“The landowners objected to this because it affected their property boundaries and there was a commission of inquiry as to whether this was justified,” he said.

“Some local historians had theories of their own about where the battle had taken place and misread a lot of historical evidence.

“They only looked at documents but you need to look at maps of the countryside to understand records and the commission enquiry found the battle had most likely taken place much further back at the junction of Windsor Road and Schofields Road.

“There were various reasons why people came to that conclusion but, historically, if you look at the maps and the different creek systems in the area you can understand what the accounts of the time were actually saying — and they bring you exactly back here.”

Mr Clunie said though the fight was small it was a very important event in Australian history.

“It’s the only real time that we have had an armed rebellion which actually got very close to overthrowing governmental authority — a couple of hundred armed men running around and a tiny military force,” Mr Clunie said. “The Eureka Stockade gets all the glory but this was a much more dangerous situation than has occurred ever since in terms of established government.” The talk will be held at 10am on March 5 at Rouse Hill House and Farm, Rouse Road via Guntawong Road, Rouse Hill.

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