If you’re a fan of the crime-fighting character ‘Miss Fisher’ you’ll know that one of the characters is named with his profession – ‘Mr Butler’. But did you know that at Elizabeth Farm there actually was a butler named Butler?
The Macarthur children of Elizabeth Farm had fields, gardens and muddy riverbanks to explore. They had a large farm house to run around with cool verandahs, eery cellars and curious nooks and crannies.
A century after it was built Elizabeth Farm had become a local eyesore – forlorn, tumbling down and neglected. Then along came a plucky and energetic schoolteacher who sized it up as the answer to his family’s long-running housing troubles.
At Australia’s oldest homestead, you can visit the 1820s kitchen and the gracious dining room to get an idea of what was on the Macarthur’s table.
One of the great pleasures of visiting Elizabeth Farm is strolling from the drawing room onto the winding paths of the pleasure garden, just as the original occupants, the Macarthur family, did two centuries ago.
Every November, jacarandas rain a shower of purple on Sydney’s streets. This gorgeous flowering tree has such a firm hold on the city and its imagination that few of us could imagine it any other way. But the Brazilian native was once considered as rare as it was beautiful.
Paint doesn't come any more natural, practical or traditional than distemper, a water based mixture of whiting and glue. Here's a handy step-by-step guide to making and applying this beautiful paint yourself.
Next time you turn on the tap and pour a glass of cool, clean water, think about how people in Sydney managed almost two hundred years ago. Our Head of Collections & Access, Megan Martin looks at the impressive dripstone, or water filter, in the courtyard at Elizabeth Farm and pieces together a few clues on its origins.
While sheep made him famous, it was actually John Macarthur's reputation as an olive grower that kick started his career.
A few years ago the Friends of Historic Houses Trust donated a beautiful, and accurately reproduced, set of china plates, known as a dessert service, for use and display at Elizabeth Farm. These help breathe a little more life, c1812, into the colonial world of John and Elizabeth Macarthur and their family.