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Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup

Place Number

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1435 Balingup-Nannup Rd Southampton

Location Details

Spruce Rd, Lewana. (17 km from Balingup). Lot 1.

Other Name(s)

Lewana Park

Local Government



South West

Construction Date

Constructed from 1960, Constructed from 1931

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
State Register Registered 17 Aug 2012 Register Entry
Assessment Documentation
Heritage Council

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Municipal Inventory Adopted 27 Nov 2013 Category 1

Category 1

Highest level of protection appropriate: recommend for entry in the State Register; Council will provide maximum encouragement to the owner to conserve the significance of the place.

Statement of Significance

Lewana is a picturesque property, where a group of simple vernacular timber buildings are set amongst a wide variety of mature exotic and indigenous tree plantings in a parkland formation, within the wider setting of the scenic Blackwood Valley;
the place is an unusually intact former forestry settlement, one of four former forestry settlements converted to a recreation camp in the 1970s before being sold into private ownership, and so far as is known the only such place with an arboretum and extensive plantings of more than 50 varieties of exotic and indigenous trees;
the place encompasses and illustrates the European development of the Blackwood Valley from pastoral to farming, then forestry, recreation and tourism, and thus demonstrates the lifestyles of the early settlers and subsequent farmers in the area, the farming opportunities taken by migrant farmers and workers, the development of the timber industry and the lifestyle of the timber workers and their families in the post World War II period to 1976, the types of complementary activities to supplement farming incomes, and the government policy in the late 1970s and 1980s of developing recreation camps to provide affordable accommodation to families to experience the lifestyle of the regional natural resource areas, and now illustrates the kinds of tourism opportunities in the area in the early 2000s; and,
the trees planted throughout the place provide an extensive catalogue of productive and decorative exotic species suitable for cultivation in the southern area of the state.

Physical Description

Lewana comprises a homestead house and barn, five forestry cottages, a cabin, a workshop, seven single garages, all constructed of jarrah weatherboard with corrugated iron roofs in the vernacular style, and the concrete floor slab remains of a shop, all set on about 39 ha land, and surrounded by a wide variety of trees planted in the vicinity of the homestead and cottages and in an arboretum and pine plantation,
Presently used as a unique holiday and recreational venue for families and small groups. Nestled in a magnificent valley amid lush pine plantations and natural forest next to the Blackwood River, approximately 17 kms from Balingup on the scenic Balingup/Nannup Road, the settlement consists of 5 cottages and the original home and store.

This is a very old established farmland area and over the years, before the pine plantations, provided a home and living for families over many decades. "Running Brook" was always a source of fresh spring water vital in the summer months.

A concrete and granite wall was built about 200m upstream from the settlement by Jim Anderson from Manjimup, under the supervision of a Water Supply Engineer from Collie. In 1961 the pipeline down to the houses was constructed by Forest Dept employees under the supervision of Harold Pears who was the overseer at that time. This was not an easy task as the terrain was very rough and the pipes were 6m in length and were carried to where they were required on the shoulders of the workers . They were then joined together and in some places 2.5m logs were put under the pipe to keep it level. This was connected direct to the houses and pressure reduction valves had to be used as the pressure was so great.


In c. 1897, John Gillick leased Nelson Location 694, 100 acres in area, part of which was the future site of Lewana. This property on the Balingup-Nannup Road, on the banks of the Blackwood River, became known as Gillick’s. It continued to be known by this name after Robert Smith, who owned Riverton Farm on the opposite side of road, leased it in c. 1916, and purchased it in 1918.
In 1926, Robert Smith moved to Nannup, where he managed Kauri Timber Co., leaving his sons, Donald ‘Don’ (aged 22) and Billy (aged 19), residing at Riverton Farm and operating his pastoral property. In 1931, Billy Smith married Hazel Wauchope, and his father built a timber weatherboard house for them at Gillick’s, where they took up residence. Henceforward Billy worked Gillick’s and Don worked Riverton.
In the 1940s, Robert Smith leased Gillick’s to Wakelam Bros., earthmoving contractors, who cleared some of the property. During World War II, some Italian migrants were interned and worked on the property. In October 1946, a small portion of Nelson Location 694 was transferred to Donald Garton Smith, and his father retained the balance, which he continued to lease to various tenants. In 1954, Gillick’s was leased to Danish migrant Erik Slyns, who had arrived in Western Australia with his wife and three children in 1949. They took up residence at the homestead and ran dairy cattle, sheep and pigs on the property.
In June 1956, portion of Nelson Location 694 was transferred to Wilfred Walter, storekeeper, of Balingup, who was a member of Balingup Road Board (1955-59). In early 1957, he sold it to Erik Slyns, who was recorded as farmer, of “Lewana”, Balingup, indicating it was already known by this name, which is an Aboriginal word for wind. Slyns made additions to the existing dairy was at the rear of the barn building to enable the introduction of mechanised milking, and the milk was sold to the cheese factory in Balingup. He planted a number of trees, including exotic and indigenous species, such as lilly pilly, and fruit trees such as apricots, apples and walnuts, whose produce he sold.
In the 1950s, the Forests Department expanded its pine planting programme in the district. In 1959, after Nelson Location 750 was found to be unsuitable for establishment of a forestry settlement, Slyns’ offer to sell 9 acres from his homestead block was accepted. This land was on the lower and flatter contours of the land with a permanent water supply and was already cleared so construction could commence promptly. In 1960, the Department constructed a dam in the creek running through the property, and five Type 8 Forestry houses for forestry workers were relocated to Lewana Settlement, as it was to be known, although Lewana continued in common usage. In 1961, this portion of Nelson Location 694 (Lots 1 and 2 of Diagram 26531) was transferred to the Conservator of Forests; and, a Type 2D Office, Building, an oil store and drum ramp and a five bay garage were erected. In November 1963, a UK 7-2 Type house was erected at Lewana Settlement to accommodate the Officer in Charge (OIC).
After Custom Credit foreclosed on Slyns’ mortgage on his portion of Nelson Location 694, it was offered for sale at auction. The sole bid at £500 was from the Forests Department, which subsequently purchased it for £700 in 1964. At Lewana Settlement in 1965, a storage shed was erected and for most of the individual houses a single timber weatherboard garage was erected.
In 1969-70, an arboretum was established at Lewana Settlement, with plantings of a number of exotic species including three varieties of poplar (Populus deltoides, P. Alba and P. yunnanensis), European Ash (Fraxinus excelsior), Spanish Chestnut, Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa), Tamarisk (Tamarix aphylla), and Cedar (Cedrus).
In January 1976, it was decided Lewana Settlement would be closed at the end of the current fire season, and the Estimates for 1976-77 included transfer of House No. 1683 (the UK 7-2 Type house) from Lewana Settlement to Nannup. In August, Overseer Smith and Forestry Worker N. Allen moved to Grimwade, and Lewana Settlement was closed. The place was to be leased to the Community Recreation Council, which leased forestry settlements to provide low cost family holiday homes and alternative camps for youth and sporting organisations. It was decided the eastern boundary of the area leased to Community Recreation Council would be the creek as it would be desirable for the occupiers of the settlement to be able to gain access to it. On 10 October 1976, Community Recreation Council took over occupancy of Lewana Settlement.
In mid-2001, ‘Lewana Cottages’, Lots 1 and 2, portion of Nelson Location 694, 29.83 ha. in area, and a second portion of Nelson Location 694, 8.73 ha. in area, was advertised for sale by tender. In 2002, Ben Albert Slyns (younger son of Erik Slyns), who had worked for the Forests Department for a number of years, and his wife, Melody Louise Slyns, purchased Lewana. They took up residence in the homestead house and have continued to operate the place as holiday accommodation, under the name of Lewana Cottages. In c. 2005, a metal construction shed was erected to accommodate a cheese factory operation and outlet for their son’s business, Heritage County.




Fair to Good

Other Reference Numbers

Ref Number Description
44 Municipal Inventory

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use FORESTRY Housing or Quarters
Original Use FARMING\PASTORAL Cottage

Architectural Styles


Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall TIMBER Weatherboard
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall PLASTER Plasterboard

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Sport, recreation & entertainment
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Immigration, emigration & refugees
OCCUPATIONS Timber industry
OCCUPATIONS Grazing, pastoralism & dairying
OCCUPATIONS Hospitality industry & tourism

Creation Date

11 Nov 1996

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

04 Dec 2019


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.