Rose Seidler House

Iconic Australian Houses Focus Tours

On this tour, Sydney Living Museums portfolio curator Joanna Nicholas will discuss the privilege of caring for and interpreting Rose Seidler House.

This will include stories about working with a property and collection containing items and finishes as diverse as asphalt floor tiles, shelves made from vitrolite, fake-animal-fur bedcovers and steam-bent furniture!

As part of the tour, you will view parts of the collection not normally on display, including photographs and original soft furnishings.

By the time Rose and Max Seidler moved into their new home in late 1950, it was the ‘most talked about house in Sydney’. The house was their architect son Harry’s first commission in Australia, and it seemed almost from another world.

Harry Seidler was among a number of architects exploring a new kind of design that looked to the future rather than to the traditions of the past. Seidler wanted to use new materials and technologies, and new kinds of relationships between built forms and the landscape and in the arrangement of internal spaces. His holistic approach determined the use of form, space, materials, colour, fittings, interiors and landscaping, with the site itself integral to the design and the way of living it would enable.

‘When designing a house the contemporary architect thinks of an “environment for living” rather than of empty box-like rooms … he designs actual spaces in the interior for specific purposes and designs the furnishings and equipment that go into them.’ Harry Seidler, 1952

Date built, architect: 1950, Harry Seidler


Additional information: Photography permitted | Not accessible by wheelchair


Tour leader: Joanna Nicholas

Joanna Nicholas is the curator for the Sydney Living Museums (SLM) properties Elizabeth Bay House, Rose Seidler House and Vaucluse House. While passionate about the conservation of these properties, she is also committed to revealing their histories and identifying new stories about their past inhabitants and collections to share with new audiences – of all ages. Joanna studied Fine Arts and Museum Studies at the University of Sydney. She worked as a curator for the National Trust of Australia (NSW), and has been at SLM for over 12 years in various roles. She curated And so to bed, an exhibition on the history of beds and bedding in Australia held at Elizabeth Bay House in 2002. A number of triggers encouraged Joanna to pursue her love of houses and their interiors – the stubborn grind of the louvres and the gritty lino underfoot at her family’s fibro shack on the South Coast of New South Wales, the pink and orange swimming costume made for her by her mother from Marimekko upholstery fabric, or realising that the microscope and clock cluttering up the mantelpiece at her family home were the very same as those in a 1890s photograph that had been taken by her great-great-grandfather.


Iconic Australian Houses

Exterior of Buhrich house showing distinctive curved roof
Buhrich House II, architect Hugh Buhrich. Photo © Michael Wee

Kicking off a new season of exciting exhibitions and events on April 12 will be Iconic Australian Houses, at the Museum of Sydney, exploring 29 iconic architect-designed 20th century houses from the 1950s to the 1990s, and presented in partnership with the Architecture Foundation of Australia.

Bookings Essential

Individual Tours

General $30
Concession/Member $25


For 3 or more tours
General $25 per tour
Concession/Member $20

When & where

Saturday 10 May 2014 10AM–10.45AMSold out
Saturday 10 May 2014 11AM–11.45AMSold out
Saturday 10 May 2014 1PM–1.45PMSold out
Saturday 10 May 2014 2PM–2.45PM

71 Clissold Road, Wahroonga