Located in North Yass, the beautiful heritage home ‘Benochy’ was one of seven local heritage buildings to receive a share of $19,000 under Yass Valley Council’s annual local heritage grants program. The home was allocated $2,900 to repair a leaking roof and preserve its 19th Century features.

Benochy was built with convict labour in 1861 using local blue stone, and was further extended in the 1920s. It has timber flooring throughout and an attic bedroom above the old kitchen. In 2010, the Duncan family purchased the home and, in 2012, added an indoor bathroom, which the home lacked for most of its history. Current Owner Rebecca Duncan explained that many of Benochy’s original features have been retained and the family plans to retain and repair more of the house. 

‘Benochy’ Orion St, YASS

“It’s been around for a very long time and we’re keen to make sure it’s around for a very long time yet,” said Rebecca.

At the moment, water is entering the house through an old box gutter, causing water damage and cracking indoors on the roof line. The grant will be used to replace the box gutter and fix part of the roof to prevent further water damage.

In the 1860s, Benochy was owned by solicitor David Whytt and his family. It was later owned by the McLeod family for many years. When Mrs Jean McLeod passed away, the Duncan family bought the heritage home. 

“It’s significant because it’s one of the oldest residences in Yass, and it’s on Oak Hill where the Indigenous mission was,” explained Rebecca.

Mrs McLeod was a keen gardener, and the house sits on three-quarters of an acre. Very old pine trees, rose bushes, and a fig tree make a beautiful established garden, with wisteria framing the front of the house. Mrs McLeod raised three daughters at Benochy, where Rebecca Duncan’s three daughters are now also growing up.

“It’s a great family home, with a great feel. It has a heartbeat,” said Rebecca. 

Benochy is listed on the local heritage register, which is why it qualified for the grant. The Duncans are undertaking a long-term project to repair and retain the heritage home but hope to complete the main indoor area in the next year. 

“Our heritage in Yass Valley is extremely important, and we thank Yass Valley Council for the grant to help us maintain our heritage home for future generations,” said Rebecca Duncan.

Southerly Jones