Our houses

Elizabeth Bay House, once considered the finest house in the colony, the working-class terrace of Susannah Place in The Rocks, Vaucluse House, the 19th-century mansion that colonial explorer and politician William Charles Wentworth and his family called home, and many more – our places are all waiting to be explored.

We’ve all heard the age-old saying that home is where the heart is, and, when you look around our 12 unique places, it’s easy to see why. From the rare and precious gem of Meroogal, built in the 1880s and home to four generations of women, to Rouse Hill House & Farm, owned by six generations of the one family, where today, every object, stain and repair has a story to tell to Elizabeth Farm, Australia’s oldest homestead, built for John and Elizabeth Macarthur, every one of our ‘living museums’ has been a home to doers and dreamers, families and lovers.

If you love architecture, interiors, gardens or Australian history, a visit to any one of Sydney Living Museums’ historic homes and museums will reveal the fascinating people and stories of Sydney’s living history. But look closer and you’ll see how these remarkable properties tell the evolving story of architecture in Sydney.


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How do we better understand the history of the homes we live in? The Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection (CSL&RC) answers this question both by collecting historic materials connected to the home and also by commissioning photographic recordings of present-day houses and gardens in New South Wales.

Packed with everything from wall and floor coverings to department‑store trade catalogues, soft furnishings to light fittings, and colour paint charts to 20th‑century homemaker magazines, this is a treasure trove for those interested in the history of houses, interiors and gardens.

School students outside Susannah Place Museum
School students outside the Gloucester Street facade, Susannah Place Museum Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums
Photograph of a large camellia in flower beside Vaucluse House
A camellia in flower by Vaucluse House Photograph © Katrina James for Sydney Living Museums

All the buildings in Sydney*
...that I've drawn so far $29.95
Public Sydney
Drawing the city $99
A forger's progress
The Life of Francis Greenway $50.00
Sydney Views 1788-1888
From the Beat Knoblauch collection $49.95

Latest news

Pencil drawing on fragile paper.

New online

200 years of the NSW Government ArchitectThursday 23 June 2016

When Francis Greenway was appointed Civil Architect by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in March 1816, he became the first government architect of New South Wales, a post which celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2016.

Thumbnail image for 27 Smith Street winners


Winners announced! 27 Smith Street competitionMonday 4 April 2016

The 27 Smith Street Home of Tomorrow competition, in its second year, attracted a number of high quality entries, with the design brief of devising an innovative, sustainable, functional and aesthetically pleasing family home.

27 Smith Street overlaying image of house.


Got what it takes to design the home of tomorrow?Wednesday 11 November 2015

Sydney Living Museums’ 27 Smith Street design competition calls on the architects of today to design the brick home of tomorrow. There are categories for both architecture students and professional architects and a prize pool of $10,000.

Lavish blue interior with high ceiling and back lit columns, with dais in centre.

Sydney Open

Tim Ross Explores Modernist SydneyTuesday 22 September 2015

Mint green house with scaffolding and newly installed roofing.


A new roof for MeroogalFriday 21 August 2015

Currently, a new roof is being installed at Meroogal in Nowra.Much preparation and thought has gone into the replacement of the Meroogal house's roof by Sydney Living Museums'...

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