Brian Trench

The Miserable Bark Hut – archaeology and the schools program at Belgenny Farm

In 1810 Governor Lachlan Macquarie visited the Camden area and wrote in his diary of a visit his group paid to Elizabeth Macarthur,
‘We called at Benkennie on Mrs. McArthur, with whom we sat for a little while in a small miserable hut,…’
Almost 200 years later the Belgenny Farm Trust embarked on a challenging archaeological project – the search for Elizabeth Macarthur’s ‘miserable hut’. This presentation will briefly outline the method and outcome of this search, and the educational programs it supports.

Camden Park Environmental Education Centre, NSW Department of Education and Communities

Link to Camden Park Environmental Education Centre


Brian studied Agriculture at the University of Sydney before working for a while in the dairy industry. He returned to university in the mid 1980s to complete a Diploma of Education and taught in schools in Sydney and the NSW North Coast before being appointed to Camden Park Environmental Education Centre, first as a teacher and then as Principal. Part of his patch on the Centre is Belgenny Farm, the Macarthur family’s farming hub throughout most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Ten years ago Brian was appointed a Trustee of the Belgenny Farm Trust and along with another Trustee, Brenda Woods, established the site’s archaeology program, beginning in 2007 with the search for the remains of Elizabeth Macarthur’s ‘small, miserable hut’.