Elizabeth Bay House
In 1826, Governor Richard Darling granted the land surrounding Elizabeth Bay to his Colonial Secretary, Alexander Macleay (1767-1848). Macleay wanted to develop the site into a fine landscape garden and build Elizabeth House which was considered ‘the finest house in the colony’. Built between 1835 and 1839 the house went through a series of transformations including time as a squat inhabited by bohemian artists in the early 1930’s. It was then transformed to a reception venue for Sydney’s wealthy socialites as a venue for weddings, parties and balls. The outbreak of World War II saw Elizabeth Bay House converted into 16 bed-sit flats, where a resident watched the Japanese midget submarine attack Sydney Harbour in May 1942.
The House is now maintained by the Historic Houses Trust of NSW and has become a house, decorated in the manner of the Macleay period of 1839-1845.
The House features a domed saloon and geometric staircase, and has magnificent harbour views to Clark Island and North and South Heads. Originally surrounded by over 21 hectares of gardens featuring long terraces, orchards, shrubbery and flower gardens of native and exotic plants. Only small pockets of the original gardens remain. The most significant section of garden to remain is the Grotto, an artificial cave. The grotto can still be reached by a public path between the flats “Eltham” and “Tradewinds” 100 metres south of Elizabeth Bay House along Onslow Avenue. The steps show the wear of age and can be slippery. Please ensure you do not disturb the local residents.
Location: 7 Onslow Avenue, Elizabeth Bay, NSW 2011
Contact: 02 9356 3022
Hours: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 9.30am – 4pm
Open daily in January and public holidays except Good Friday and Christmas Day