When an Irish knight was caught kidnapping a local heiress, his punishment was swift: exile to a single-storey cottage in NSW. Over five decades, new owners transformed the cottage into a large and picturesque estate. By the 1830s, the gardens and grounds covered most of the present-day suburb of Vaucluse but the main house of the family’s dreams was still unfinished. In 1915 Vaucluse House became Australia’s first official house museum, and continues today to delight and intrigue visitors with its stories and still-secluded grounds.
‘There is not a lovelier site in the known world’, wrote the Sydney-born barrister and novelist John Lang about the Wentworth family’s estate of Vaucluse
What practical techniques can we learn from historical building design to minimise heat and energy consumption in our homes today?
MHNSW is undertaking the first comprehensive conservation works to the fence surrounding the 1870s resting place of William Charles Wentworth
This selection of furniture juxtaposes the old with the new: early 19th-century colonial seating and modernist styles made over a hundred years later
One of the most recognisable plants growing at Museums of History NSW today is bamboo. This colourful plant has a long history in colonial gardens
Learning programBrowse all
Students learn about what it was like to live at Vaucluse House for the wealthy family of William Charles and Sarah Wentworth, with their ten children and many servants
Annual Giving 2023–24: engaging with history
Supporting children to discover historyFind out more