The Gunnedah homestead which inspired My Country poet Dorothea Mackellar could win heritage protection after a century, if the mining company which owns it doesn't get in the way.
The Mackellar family built the Kurrumbede homestead near Gunnedah, which was finished in about 1908.
The century-old homestead lies just a few hundred metres away from what will be Whitehaven Coal's Vickery coal mine.
Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society President Philippa Murray said the estate was of state or national significance and ought to be protected under state law.
She said My Country, which includes the famous lines "I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains", is an Australian classic.
"I like to think that people have heard maybe at least one or two lines," she said.
"Because there's not a day goes by when it's not quoted."
Aside from the connection with one of the country's most famous poets, the site is also one of the last 20th century working stations.
Ms Murray said at its height the estate had everything from a cuttings garden to an underground meat safe, buildings for numerous staff and even facilities for breeding greyhounds.
The main building is constructed using a technique which was innovative for the time, which appears to be sandstone but is in fact brick.
"We have got photographs, beautiful photographs, of the Kurrumbede garden, which was quite renowned in its day," she said.
"The McKellars had a garden party in 1933 to help the return servicemen from the First World War. Three thousand people came."
A spokesperson for Whitehaven did not confirm the company would formally oppose the heritage listing, but emphasised its local significance.
"We have always maintained Kurrumbede is a property of local heritage significance," the spokesperson said.
"Whether it is listed on the state register is a decision for the heritage council in reviewing the nomination made by the local poetry society. Whitehaven's public commitment to preserving and investing in the property does not change in the meantime."
The Heritage Council of NSW was contacted for comment on this story.
Ms Murray said she was "disappointed" that the company had chosen to downplay the significance of its own estate.
"We've got a groundswell of support for [heritage listing]," she said.
"That can only help with the property, I would have thought. If you were trying to help with restoration costs, you can apply for grants if it's a heritage building, for instance."
Some of Dorothea Mackellar's poetry directly references her visits to the estate, but not My Country. Her brothers, who owned the property, managed it from 1905 to 1939.
The homestead will be just 300 metres from a railway used for the mine, 500 metres from a mine access road, and 1.2 kilometres from the open-cut mine itself.
Whitehaven Coal committed to a heritage plan to preserve the building when applying to dig the mine.
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