Place-based collections at our historic houses and museums
These collections bring our historic houses and museums to life. Each item with its own story yet connected to many others, they include furnishings, fittings and other items associated with particular times and events in the history of the site, and the people who lived, worked or visited there.
Items from these collections are mostly on display at our individual houses and museums, and can be viewed there. Some can also be viewed through our online search and catalogues.
Built 1835–39 by the fashionable architect John Verge for colonial secretary Alexander Macleay and his family, it’s little wonder Elizabeth Bay House brims with style. Its fine collection of furniture and furnishings reflect the tastes of Macleay and his family, who called this house home between 1839 and 1845.
The collection of furniture and furnishings at Elizabeth Farm reflects the period when it was home to pastorialists John and Elizabeth Macarthur and family, from 1793 to 1850. It includes modern replicas, based on information in family archives and other contemporary sources.
Built as a barracks for convicts, Hyde Park Barracks also went on to house thousands of orphans, assisted immigrants, aged and infirm. Its collection of over 100,000 archaeological items reveals their many stories, and forms one of the world’s most-comprehensive and best-preserved collections of 19th-century institutional life.
Housed within the former Water Police court and station, this museum and collection features objects relating to crime, policing and legal history, including an extensive archive of police forensic negatives created by the NSW Police Department between 1910 and 1964.
Built in 1885 in the south-coast town of Nowra and home to four generations of women from the Mackenzie/Thorburn/Macgregor family, Meroogal contains an intact collection of furniture, household objects, diaries, letters, books, sheet music, photographs and clothing that represents 100 years of family and community history.
This site was the home and office of the first nine governors of the colony of NSW. It houses a collection of archaeological material recovered during excavations and significant objects associated with the site’s history and the story of Sydney.
Designed for his parents by renowned architect Harry Seidler, Rose Seidler House is now home to one of the most important collections of mid 20th-century design in Australia. It includes a number of pieces commissioned for the house by Seidler himself as well as furniture from leading designers of the day, including Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen.
Home to the Rouse/Terry family from 1820 to 1978, Rouse Hill Estate features an original collection of furniture, furnishings, decorative arts, costumes, books, pictures and farming equipment from the family’s long history at the site.
This group of four terraces in The Rocks area of Sydney and their layers decorative finishes, wallpapers and floor coverings bear witness to the everyday work and lives of the many families living there since the 1840s.
This collection reflects The Mint’s long and varied history. It includes objects and fragments recovered from archaeological excavations, items associated with former Mint employees and documents relating to the history of the site as convict hospital, mint and government offices.
Including pictures, portraits, crafts and other creative works that relate to our houses, museums and work, this collection also features contemporary artworks created in response to particular properties, events and anniversaries.