Harbourside retreat

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.

Wentworth Road, Vaucluse NSW 2030. Phone +61 2 9388 7922

Vaucluse House

Wentworth Road, Vaucluse NSW 2030. Phone +61 2 9388 7922
  • Tearooms
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Sydney Open: Sunday 5 November 2023

One pass opens the door to more than 40 of the most historically and architecturally inspiring buildings and spaces across Sydney

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image of painting showing a dramatic panoramic view of harbour surrounded by natural bushland with Vaucluse estate in the foreground.
Museum stories

Not a lovelier site

‘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

Photo of the Wentworth mausoleum with tabled light coming through the trees

Wentworth Mausoleum perimeter fence conservation

MHNSW is undertaking the first comprehensive conservation works to the fence surrounding the 1870s resting place of William Charles Wentworth

Window seat, c1840

Designed with intent: colonial vs modernist chairs

This selection of furniture juxtaposes the old with the new: early 19th-century colonial seating and modernist styles made over a hundred years later

Plant your history

Beautiful bountiful bamboo

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

Black & white image of women half hidden by huge blooming wisteria vine.

Red Cross tearoom at Vaucluse House

On 2 October 1918 the Sydney Mail published a photograph of a Red Cross worker amid the wisteria of Vaucluse House

Learning program

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Child placing skittles on a flat surface on lawn in garden setting.

Child's play

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