Growing up on Elizabeth Farm

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, eerie cellars and curious nooks and crannies. 

Unlike most kids growing up in Sydney in the early 1800s, the Macarthur kids wore good clothes, ate fresh food, had servants at their beck and call and, best of all, an education.

Elizabeth Farm is a classic single-story colonial farmhouse, huddled under a low shady roof, almost hidden inside a dense, rambling garden. Surrounded today by modern suburbia on the outskirts of busy Parramatta, the farm originally covered 600 acres of scrub, pastures, orchards and prime riverfront land. In this video Curator Scott Hill describes growing up at Elizabeth Farm and what made the Macarthurs different from their fellow colonial families. We also learn how special bonds forged during their early childhood years helped them through difficult times later on.

Many children today love visiting Elizabeth Farm because you can run in and out of the rooms, from the bedrooms to the main rooms, onto the verandahs and straight into the garden. Given the Macarthurs had seven kids, its hard to image where they all slept.

This video was originally produced by Sydney Living Museums as part of the exhibition Toys Through Time at the Museum of Sydney, 28 March 2015 - 9 August 2015.

...it’s tempting to imagine them exploring the creek, going right down to the waterfront, bringing back something they’d found to show their mother or father...

About the Author

smiling man seated on the back of a boat wearing cap and sunglasses with red ensign flag waving, with blue water and Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background, under blue sky.
Gary Crockett
Curator, Interpretation
Curatorial and Exhibitions
It was the dog‐eared world of Rouse Hill House, back in 1991, that inspired Gary Crockett to become a curator.

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