Elizabeth Farm was commenced in 1793 and contains part of the oldest surviving European dwelling in Australia. Built for John and Elizabeth Macarthur, the homestead once overlooked an agricultural estate of nearly 1000 acres, stretching from Parramatta Road to the Parramatta River.
John Macarthurâ€™s military, business and political activities dominated early colonial life while his efforts to develop a colonial export market pioneered Australiaâ€™s wool industry. Elizabeth remained a loyal, though not always willing partner in her husbandâ€™s many ventures, managing a large family and busy household.
With its broad roof, shady verandahs and shuttered doors, this â€˜Indian bungalowâ€™ design pre-empted the classic Australian homestead. The Macarthur garden of native and exotic ornamentals, fruit trees and vegetables has been recreated around original plantings and archaeological features dating to the early 1800s. An unusual decision to allow furniture, documents and objects to be touched, used and experienced, gives a vivid impression of this once turbulent household.
Permanent Collection Highlights (17)
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Elizabeth Farm, the first home of John and Elizabeth Macarthur, was commenced in 1793 on a slight hill overlooking the upper reaches of Parramatta River, 23 kilometres west of Sydney Cove. The small, brick cottage was transformed by the late 1820s, into a smart bungalow, surrounded by â€˜pleasure groundsâ€™, orchards and almost 1000 acres of semi-cleared land. Elizabeth Farm was home to the Macarthur family until 1850, after which the estate was occupied by tenants and finally sold, for subdivision, in 1881. Enveloped within later extensions, the early cottage has survived intact, making it Australiaâ€™s oldest European dwelling.
Todayâ€™s museum is furnished with props and copies of objects known to belong to the Macarthurs of Elizabeth Farm. Surviving cedar joinery has been restored and paint schemes recreated, while reproduction fabrics and floor coverings provide an authentic impression of this early 19th century household. The Macarthurâ€™s garden has been recreated around original plantings and archaeological features dating to the early 1800s. Avoiding the use of rope barriers and screens, an innovative â€˜hands onâ€™ approach encourages visitors to explore and interact with this evocative historical environment: sitting in chairs, leafing through letters, playing the piano or pulling up beside an open fire.
The Elizabeth Farm collection is based around provenanced objects and reproduced items suitable to interpret the domestic world of the Macarthurs at Elizabeth Farm, between 1793 and 1850, with an emphasis on interior details and styles of the early 1830s or otherwise the 'high point' of John Macarthur's sporadic renovations. The HHT also collects prov...+ [ Read all ]
Daily 10am â€“ 5pm
Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday
Elizabeth Farm is approximately 30 minutes by car from the centre of Sydney. Parking is available in Alice Street.
If travelling by public transport, you can catch the Parramatta RiverCat from Circular Quay. Elizabeth Farm is a 20 minute walk or short taxi ride from the ferry stop. It is a short walk to the house from either Harris Park (Western Line) or Rosehill (Carlingford Line) train stations. The express train from Central train station takes 30 minutes to Parramatta. Change at Parramatta for Harris Park or Rosehill train station or the walk takes approximately 20 minutes from Parramatta.
Transit First Bus (number 909) leaves regularly from Parramatta Station for Bankstown, travelling via Elizabeth Farm (bus stop corner of Alice and Alfred Streets).
Museum internal and external photos (9)
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Built in 1793 as the home of John and Elizabeth Macarthur, Elizabeth Farm was an important focus of social, political and cultural activity for the first 40 years of the colony of New South Wales. The house is a fine example of an early colonial bungalow and contains part of the oldest surviving European building in Australia. The museum is furnished with educational props and carefully made reproductions. Without the usual barriers or 'don't touch' signs, Elizabeth Farm offers a rich and intimate experience of early 19th century domestic life.
With its wide sandstone verandahs, historic interiors and glorious 1830s garden, Elizabeth Farm provides a marvellous setting for both weddings and business events. Commenced in 1793, Elizabeth Farm is Australia's oldest European building. It was the home of John and Elizabeth Macarthur, pioneers of the Australian wool industry. The house is furnished in reproduction furniture from the period giving guests the opportunity to utilise the entire space without room barriers.