Following their meeting in November the NSW Heritage Council has recommended to the government, that the Ravensworth Homestead, be listed on the state's heritage registry.
This is the second time the Heritage Council have made this recommendation for the site located near Singleton. Their first recommendation was made in April but it was described as being invalid due to an 'administrative error'.
NSW Minister for Environment Penny Sharpe has 14 days, after she receives the recommendation from the Council, to make a decision whether to accept the site for listing or not.
The 1830s homestead and associated buildings are owned by Glencore who have proposed relocating the homestead to Broke to make way for their Glendell Continuation Project from which they hoped to extract 140 million tonnes of coal.
However, last year the Independent Planning Commission rejected that project, on the grounds of its impacts on the heritage values of the Ravensworth Homestead complex.
Glencore did not appeal that determination.
Commenting on the latest recommendation by the NSW Heritage Council Glencore said in a statement that it continues to oppose the heritage listing of the Ravensworth Homestead, which consists of several uninhabitable 1830s buildings situated on private land within an active mining and agricultural landscape.
"Over the 26 years that Glencore has owned the Homestead there has been little interest from community members in visiting it.
"Glencore believes that the best way to preserve the Homestead is to relocate and renovate it, which would maintain part of its character and heritage value but give it a new lease of life as a repurposed venue.
"This is what we proposed as part of the Glendell Continued Operations Project and we remain committed to spending the estimated $25 million required to relocate the Homestead if the development of the coal resource that underlies Ravensworth Estate can be approved.
"The Heritage Council of NSW's listing proposal extended over an unusually large area of approximately 500 hectares, rather than just the areas encompassing the buildings, and will significantly constrain the future use of that entire area for either mining or agriculture.
"The Council's listing proposal does not present a balanced or factual assessment of the significance of the Homestead and its surrounding landscape, nor does it consider the advantages and disadvantages of a State listing and whether such a listing would result in the long-term preservation and use of the Homestead.
"Without significant additional investment in the Homestead it will continue to degrade in a manner similar to the nearby State heritage listed Wambo Homestead.
"We hope the NSW Government genuinely considers the potential impacts of the Homestead being listed when it could be relocated and given a second lease on life as an accessible community space."
Among the last people to live in the homestead, following the property's sale to then mining company Xstrata were Michael and Margo White.
They lived there for around nine months in 2001 before they bought a property at Wybong.
Although it is more than two decades since they lived in the homestead the couple said the only reason it could be described as 'uninhabitable' is through owner neglect.
When it was owned by Xstrata the company spent $600,000 on restoration works in 2008 before opening the site for the public to visit. At the time the company, which would be taken over by Glencore, was considering using the site for corporate purposes.
Mr White described the refusal of Glencore to protect and preserve the site as demolition by neglect.
"They simply want this wonderful heritage site to be demolished to make way for their mine - it's all about money," he said.
"And what people forget is they are only moving the homestead not all the outbuildings that make the site unique and special.
"All you will get at Broke is a Disney world interpretation of our heritage."
Mrs White said the homestead was too solid to just fall down given it was constructed of double sandstone bricks.
"Why can Glencore get away with destroying our heritage through neglect when other mining companies in the Hunter such as BHP are preserving homesteads like Edinglassie near Muswellbrook," Mr White said.
One of the leading voices calling for the protection and the heritage listing of Ravensworth Estate is the Plains Clan of the Wonnarua, whose spokesman Scott Franks said "We are talking about both First Nation and colonial history at Ravensworth and that site must be protected and eventually turned into a place where our heritage can be on display and truth telling takes place," he said.
The Ravensworth Homestead complex is also subject to Federal S10 claim under the ATSIHP Act. The claim was made by representatives of the Plains Clan of the Wonnarua People.
Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek is yet to make a determination. She visited the site and spoke to the Scott Franks earlier this year.
The report recommending whether the site should receive protection or not has been with the Federal department for more than two years.