From behind closed doors: Vaucluse House


This Spring, we were busy working on the re-opening of the Fitzwilliam’s room at Vaucluse House.

It was all hands on deck as our team, with the assistance of our trusty specialist removalists, reinstated the collection in Fitzwilliam’s bedroom at Vaucluse House.

The room has been closed for months as the internal plasterwork was remediated after years of water penetrating the room. 

Following traditional methods, the old plaster was removed and replastered using a traditional lime mixture. We will wait until the walls are completely dry before repainting the room next year.

Visitors to Vaucluse House often comment on the paucity of bedrooms for William Charles and Sarah Wentworth’s ten children: Thomasine (Timmie), William (Willie), Fanny, Fitzwilliam, Sarah (Joody), Eliza (Didy), Isabella (Belle), Laura, Edith and finally D’arcy - only three for the ten of them!

While the intention was to build more, this never happened and poor Fitzwilliam remained in his ‘room in the hall’, his only privacy a cupboard acting as a screen.

Spring is a great time to visit Vaucluse House to see Fitzwilliam’s room again and enjoy rambling around the estate through the pleasure garden and abundant kitchen garden.

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Imposing facade with figures in foreground.
Removalists assisting with the collection reinstatement in Fitzwilliam’s room. Photo Sarah-Jane Rennie © Sydney Living Museums
Two men carrying wooden furniture.
Removalists assisting with the collection reinstatement in Fitzwilliam’s room. Photo Sarah-Jane Rennie © Sydney Living Museums
Interior of small narrow room with bed at end coveredwith colourful floral spread and window to right.
View of Fitzwilliam's room, Vaucluse House. Photo © Nicholas Watt for Sydney Living Museums,
Fork stuck in soil surrounded by vegetable foliage with house in distant background.
Garden tools in the Kitchen Garden at Vaucluse House . Photo © Stuart Miller for Sydney Living Museums
Looking over flowers to fountain and trees beyond.
Fountain garden bed at Vaucluse House. Photo courtesy Fresh Catering

About the Author

Joanna Nicholas, Curator, Sydney Living Museums.
Joanna Nicholas
House Museums Portfolio
Joanna is Curator in the House Museums Portfolio - responsible for Vaucluse, Elizabeth Bay and Rose Seidler Houses. She is...