Vaucluse House Appeal

In 2015 Sydney Living Museums celebrated the centenary of Vaucluse House as a public museum.

As custodians of this significant heritage site, Sydney Living Museums is committed to ensuring visitors and school children can continue to experience Sydney’s history and cultural heritage as though they have lived it themselves. In 2016 we embarked on two centenary projects - refurbishing the Drawing Room and updating the Orientation Room.


Restoring grandeur – a refreshed drawing room

Achieving our fundraising target enabled us to restore the drawing room, last revived in 1981, to its original grandeur by replacing the tired crimson silk damask on the chairs and reinstalling the curtains that once hung on the windows. We worked with specialist tradespeople who keep traditional methods alive. Now complete, it will once again represent one of the finest surviving colonial interiors in Australia.

Image: Drawing room, Vaucluse House. Photo © Stuart Miller for Sydney Living Museums

Sharing our knowlege - a new look orientation room

We have invested in a new permanent exhibit for the orientation room, not updated in over 20 years. The new display incorporates rich curatorial content and digital displays, showcasing some of the finest treasures and eclectic items from the collection that are rarely seen. It has been carefully constructed by expert craftspeople to ensure a timeless display. 

Image: Back of pocket watch owned by WC Wentworth. Sydney Living Museums V88/5. Gift of Friends of Vaucluse House, 1999. Photo © George Serras.


Why were these projects important?

William C Wentworth played a critical role in developing democratic structures for NSW, including advocating and campaigning for a trial by jury and the right to vote; drafting the first constitution of New South Wales; and acting as an elected member of Australia’s first parliament. Yet William and Sarah, and their ten children, carried the stigma of their families’ convict pasts and struggled to gain acceptance in Sydney society. It is important we tell this story and make it available to as many people as possible.

Why support Sydney Living Museums?

Sydney Living Museums assumed responsibility for Vaucluse House in 1981. For over 34 years we have cared for this highly significant house and grounds. Our curators and conservators have painstakingly researched the history of this place restoring it to the period when the Wentworth family called it home.

Our work is not possible without the support of donations, big and small. Donate today to help create a future for the past at SLM.

Find out more about how to support us.


Stories from Vaucluse House