The finest house in the colony

With harbour views, sweeping staircases and spectacular landscaped gardens, Elizabeth Bay House was Sydney’s ultimate trophy home. Built for colonial secretary Alexander Macleay, after the governor, the most important public official in Sydney, it was by all accounts the finest house in the colony. Yet it tells a familiar story: of ambition and passion, of riches to ruin.

7 Onslow Avenue, Elizabeth Bay NSW 2011

Elizabeth Bay House

Gadigal Country

7 Onslow Avenue, Elizabeth Bay NSW 2011Plan your visit

South elevation, Elizabeth Bay House
Latest News

Conservation in action: Elizabeth Bay House external joinery work

Museums of History NSW is undertaking external joinery conservation works to the front facade thanks to the funds generously donated by our supporters during the 2022 Annual Appeal


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The sofa in the morning room at Elizabeth Bay House
Museum stories

The finest house

In 1835 colonial secretary Alexander Macleay set about building the ultimate trophy house, a shimmering, classical styled jewel box, perched in rugged bushland on the northern side of present day Potts Point, high above Elizabeth Bay with majestic views across Sydney harbour and beyond

Detail of the four poster bed and beaded watch pockets in the Principal bedroom, Vaucluse House

Watch pockets

Watch pockets hung on the head cloth of a four-post bedstead and originally served in place of bedside tables, which were uncommon in the 19th century

Strings, Litchfield Binckes square piano in the morning room, Elizabeth Bay House

Here and there: concert playlist

Experience a concert at Elizabeth Bay House showcasing a magical evening contrasting two different musical worlds


Saved from demolition in the 1980s, Tusculum represents a highpoint in Regency architectural design in Australia

Florilegium plants

Queensland kauri pine

The kauri’s journey from the rainforests of Queensland to the garden at Elizabeth Bay illustrates the close links between gentlemen gardeners and the Botanic Garden

Annual Giving 2023–24: engaging with history

Supporting children to discover history

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