Elizabeth Macarthur

Watercolour of trellised verandah and house from garden.

A taste for the ornate

Traces of long-lost decorative features at Elizabeth Farm provide insights into changing fashions in 19th‑century architecture and design

Joseph Lycett, 'The residence of John McArthur Esq. near Parramatta, New South Wales'. Aquatint. Published London, John Souter, 1825. Elizabeth Farm collection, Museums of History New South Wales.
Museum stories

A turbulent past

With its deep, shady verandahs and elegant symmetry, Elizabeth Farm is an iconic early colonial bungalow

painting of the factories or hongs south-west of the city walls of Canton (Guangzhou) which were a means by which the Chinese imperial government sought to regulate contact with the western nations eager to trade to China

Eastern influences on colonial dining

Two intricately painted and monogrammed china plates that were once part of a large dessert service made for the table of John and Elizabeth Macarthur, are testimony to an adventurous spirit in early colonial Sydney

Elizabeth Farm house - front verandah

Elizabeth Farm - The Old and The New

This film was digitised as part of a special project to preserve 'at risk' audio-visual archives

View of lowslung colonial era house across gravel and lawn, house framed by trees.

Growing up on Elizabeth Farm

The Macarthur children of Elizabeth Farm had fields, gardens and muddy riverbanks to explore

Convict Sydney

John Macarthur - Ambitious, volatile, self-confident

John Macarthur is well remembered as an ambitious and ruthless soldier who forged a powerful colonial farming dynasty

a set of brass bell mounted to a long narrow horizontal board attached to a yellow limewashed wall.

Mr Butler: the Macarthurs' butler

If you’re a fan of the crime-fighting character ‘Miss Fisher’ you’ll know that one of the characters is named with his profession – ‘Mr Butler’. But did you know that at Elizabeth Farm there actually was a butler named Butler?

Sarah Pettit, the Macarthurs’ first servant?

Elizabeth Farm lists hundreds of employees, from assigned and emancipated convicts to those ‘born free’ in the colony. One significant name remained elusive – the very first. Until now ...