Elizabeth Farm

A view of the dining room at Elizabeth Farm looking north-east towards the entry hall and veranda. The room, part of the original 1793 cottage, was greatly modifed in the late 1820s and early 1830s. The table is set for breakfast using collection items from Elizabeth Bay House approporiate for Elizabeth Farm (the setting was created for this image and is not part of the usual house interpretation). The setting itself is based on a c1823 watercolour by Mary Ellen Best.

The dining room at Elizabeth Farm set for breakfast. Copyright Paolo Busato

Elizabeth Farm, with its deep shady verandahs and satisfying Georgian symmetry, is an iconic example of the early Australian colonial bungalow. Begun in 1793, it was built, extended and modified over 35 years for John and Elizabeth Macarthur, best known as pioneers of the Australian wool industry. Situated within a re-created 1830s garden, the house records the personal struggles,  achievements and political machinations of the early colony’s most controversial and colourful family. Within its walls, plans were hatched to topple a Governor and the deeply personal drama of John Macarthur’s final years were played out. In later years it was home to the Swann family, whose efforts most likely saved the house from destruction. Significantly, Elizabeth Farm is a ‘museum without barriers’. Without locked doors, fragile furniture or untouchable ornaments, visitors can wander freely through the house and garden as if it were their own.

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