Bella Vista

Bella Vista is located 33 kilometres north-west of the Sydney central business district. Until the mid-1990s, the area was primarily used for small-scale agriculture. Since then, significant changes have become apparent as it incorporates a residential area and a busy business district. However, the homestead and old farm buildings have been preserved and this portion of the former Pearce family property is now owned by The Hills Shire Council. The Friends of Bella Vista Farm Park has been formed and they are working actively to achieve the continued restoration of all buildings on this unique site (see below).

A major factor in the recent growth of Bella Vista has been its prime location near the end of the Sydney M2 motorway. The motorway (opened in 1997) means that in very good traffic conditions takes just over half an hour to get from Bella Vista to the CBD. This also puts Bella Vista close to two major north-south transport routes through Sydney, the Cumberland Highway and the Westlink M7. The closest railway station is at Seven Hills. Several proposals have been released by the New South Wales state government to develop a train line with a stop at Norwest near Hillsong Church. The proposed $360 million North West Rail Link would be the main public transport line linking residents of north-western Sydney with Epping, Chatswood, North Sydney and Sydney CBD. It would also improve access to Castle Hill Norwest Business Park and Rouse Hill.

The Pearce Family Cemetery

The Pearce Family Cemetery stands on land originally granted to the pioneer of this area, Matthew Pearce, who arrived in the Colony of NSW as a free settler in 1794. It is enclosed by a timber post and rail fence and covers an area of about a quarter of an acre. Significant features of the cemetery are a large vault that displays inscriptions relating to the Pearce Family and a red granite obelisk displaying inscriptions relating to the Archdall family. Many of those on the vault are now in various stages of decay through erosion and flaking and are therefore difficult to read. The cemetery is located on Seven Hills Road 100m north-west of its intersection with Old Windsor Road and adjacent to the M7 Tollway.

Brief History

In 1799, Joseph Foveaux was granted 300 acres (1.2 km2), which he expanded to over 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) and later sold to John Macarthur in 1801. John and Elizabeth Macarthur farmed sheep on this property in addition to their properties at Camden and Parramatta. For much of the time that the Macarthurs owned this farm John was overseas and it fell to Elizabeth to manage the various Macarthur properties and flocks. Reference is made by her to my Seven Hills Farm  and this refers to the property, part of which later became Bella Vista  when William Pearce bought it in the 1860s. Built on the highest point of the property, his house commended views from Baulkham Hills to Prospect to the Blue Mountains. Pearce named it from the Italian, which literally means beautiful view . It is probably not coincidence that one of his wife s names was Bella!

Although claims are made by some that the Seven Hills Farm exclusively was used by the Macarthurs for the breeding of their merino flocks, this is clearly not the case as the documentary evidence of the Macarthur papers shows that their Merino rams were paddocked at Elizabeth Farm  at Parramatta. The Seven Hills farm was isolated and stock there were always in danger from theft and aboriginal attack. Two of Macarthur s stockmen were killed on the farm by natives in 1805. In fact the sheep at the Macarthur s Seven Hills farm had their genesis in the 600 sheep which were purchased from Foveaux at the same time as the property.

What can justifiably be claimed about the farm is that it was one of the first major Australian sheep breeding farms and that the results later achieved at Camden with fine merino sheep only followed Elizabeth s efforts at Seven Hills. Part of this land was later acquired by the Pearce family and became known as Bella Vista. All the buildings on the site today date from this period of its history with no extant buildings from the Macarthur period. In the 1890s, Edward Henry Pearce (1839 1912) of Bella Vista was declared the largest and most successful orange grower in the colony.  Bella Vista was sold by the Pearces in 1950.

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