Mt Wilson's natural environment, and the influence of working class and wealthy society individuals and families, strongly shaped White'as an individual and as a writer

White felt a family affection for the Kirks and the Davies who had provided some substitute for his rather preoccupied parents and distant relatives; until Lizzie Clark's death, he returned regularly to Mt Wilson to visit Lizzie and Syd Kirk and the Davies' at Woodstock.

Versions of these Mt Wilson people appear in several of White's novels -  they contributed to White's many devoted servant characters and his "ordinary" people, such as Miss Hare's old servant Peg and Mrs Godbold in Riders in the Chariot or Rose in Voss, or Hurtle Duffield's mother in The Vivisector. Syd Kirk may have provided some of the elements for Stan Parker, who first appears with an axe at the beginning of The Tree of Man.

Wynstay: Hare's Xanadu?

Wynstay may have lent some features to Xanadu, Norbert Hare's grand house on the edge of Sydney in Riders in the Chariot. In that novel the Hares (like the Wynnes) are Sydney merchants not graziers like their cousins the Urquhart Smiths (and the Whites).

Mr Hare builds his Xanadu in stone, complete with park gates: "golden, golden, in a frill or two of iron lace, beneath the dove-grey thatching of imported slates, its stables and bachelor quarters trailing out behind .... [He acquired] an exquisite setting for his humours: the park of exotic, deciduous trees, the rose garden which his senses craved, pasture for the pedigree Jersey cows which would fill his silver jugs with cream, and stables for the horses which he drove himself with virtuosity - always grey, always four-in-hand" (Riders in the Chariot). Mr Hare meets his death in the cistern at Xanadu, a covered well, like the one at the back of the stables at Wynstay.

The domed well behind the Wynstay stables is reflected in Riders in the Chariot where Norbert Hare dies in an eerily similar structure.

The configuration of the Post Office, working farms and great house in The Tree of Man and in Riders in the Chariot suggests the layout of Mt Wilson more clearly than the western suburbs of Sydney where they are set. Mt Wilson also gave White his most intimate experience of bushland.

White's play Night on Bald Mountain is set in a place like Mt Wilson where an academic keeps his alcoholic wife in a grand old house. The philosophical discussions in the house are contrasted with the down-to-earth attitude of Miss Quodling, the local goatkeeper (White's mother had brought a goat to Withycombe).

The small society at Mt Wilson with its enclave of rich families and their servants must have sharpened White's sense of class difference. Unlike most other Australians of his generation, he spent his childhood in the society of wealthy people but developed his closest attachments to servants. At Mt Wilson he was often alone with servants and working people. This awareness of class gives novels, such as The Vivisector, The Eye of the Storm, A Fringe of Leaves, and The Twyborn Affair a perspective on Australian life that reaches back to nineteenth-century British aspirations to recreate genteel county society in the new country.