Hands on history

A restful homestead with a restless history. Darug dispossession. Convict rebellion. The toppling of governors. Family turmoil. Built in 1793 for the young military couple John and Elizabeth Macarthur and their growing family, Elizabeth Farm today is an ‘access all areas’ museum. There are no barriers, locked doors or delicate furnishings. Set within a re-created 1830s garden, Australia’s oldest homestead is now our most immersive house museum.

Artwork

Tony Albert, Healing land, remembering Country, 2020. Installation view for Elizabeth Farm (2020).
Permanent display

Healing land, remembering Country

A powerful work by Kuku Yalanji artist Tony Albert

Stories

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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

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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

Men fighting on board ship.

The Maltese connection: the unexpected origins of Elizabeth Farm’s convict workers

The story of three men from Elizabeth Farm shows that theft was only one reason for transportation and that Britain was far from the only source of convicts sent to NSW

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Bicornes, bonnets & boaters

There’s a variety of headwear across our collections ranging in date from early to late nineteenth century

Pink racemes of crepe myrtle against the Elizabeth Farm homestead

In the pink at Elizabeth Farm

Amid the late summer bounty in the garden at Elizabeth Farm, the crepe myrtle is the undoubted star of the show

Learning programs

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Some kitchen items on the table in front of the fireplace
Onsite

Colonial Life at Elizabeth Farm

As they explore the Macarthur family home, which dates from 1793, students learn about the lives of the family and their convict servants and the impact of colonisation on the traditional owners of the Parramatta area

Students dressed up in stone courtyard with washing buckets and laundry.
Onsite

Now and Then

As students are guided through the property, they discover that the household lived without the benefits of running water, bathrooms, electricity, appliances or paved roads

Annual Giving 2023–24: engaging with history

Supporting children to discover history

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