SYDNEY’S HARBOURSIDE HOUSE

VAUCLUSE HOUSE

The ABC programme “Gardening Australia” aired on 2nd April 2016 was filmed in the grounds of Vaucluse House. It reminded me of our visit there last year. On 26th December 2015, we (my Swiss friend and I) made our way, along with many others, to a high position overlooking Sydney Harbour to view the start of the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and witnessing the start of the race was most enjoyable and a first for both of us.  Afterwards we walked through the leafy suburb of Vaucluse to visit this beautiful house and garden.

Vaucluse House is an historic estate in Gothic Revival style in the harbourside suburb of Vaucluse in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.  The suburb of Vaucluse is located 8 kilometres north-east of the Sydney central business district.   The property is a 19th-century estate with house, kitchen wing, stables and outbuildings, surrounded by 28 acres of formal gardens and grounds. It is managed by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales as a museum and is open to the public.   The original Vaucluse House was built by Sir Henry Browne Hayes, who had been transported to New South Wales in 1802 for kidnapping the daughter of a wealthy Irish banker.

The property was purchased for £1,500 at auction in 1827 by William Charles Wentworth (1790-1872), explorer, journalist, barrister, politician and successful entrepreneur.  It was then a single storey cottage in a secluded valley partly cleared of coastal scrub. Wentworth and his wife Sarah moved to the estate with their growing family in 1828 and carried out major building and ground work throughout the next 25 years of occupancy.

We wandered through the splendid pleasure garden and could see in the distance the Victorian kitchen garden where many heirloom vegetables are grown. The property is in an idyllic natural setting on the edge of Sydney Harbour.  Today it is one of the few 19th-century houses near the harbour which still retain a significant part of the original setting.

Devonshire tea in the Tearooms capped off a most enjoyable day and we were under cover as a shower of rain moved through the garden.

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