Historic houses of Australia

Visit one of Australia’s historic houses, either on your own or with family and friends

Historic houses of Australia

For a relatively young country, Australia has a wealth of historic houses which can be a great inspiration for those looking for a day trip or a weekend away.

Top 10 historic houses of Australia

1. Victoria – Rippon Lea Estate
The last of Australia’s grand suburban estates, Rippon Lea has a 14 acres of sweeping lawns and pleasure gardens. You can spend an afternoon wandering through the 145-year-old mansion, enjoy one of the many activities hosted by Rippon Lea Estate, such as live music, or become a volunteer on the estate.

2. Victoria – Cook’s Cottage
Built in Yorkshire in 1755 by Captain James Cook’s parents, this cottage was transported to Melbourne by boat and reassembled in the Fitzroy Gardens in 1934. You can now enjoy the traditional cottage garden and discover what life was like for an English family in the 18th century.

3. New South Wales – Elizabeth Bay House
Can’t afford your dream house? Neither could Colonial Secretary, Alexander Macleay. He had the vision to develop the site from 1826 onwards as a fine landscape garden and build Elizabeth Bay House. Though the house looks grand, it is unfinished and a mere six years into his stay his son William foreclosed on him, effectively forcing him to leave. Want to know what happened next? Visit this harbour-side property and find out.

4. New South Wales – Meroogal
Visit the historic house of Meroogal in Nowra to discover this charming Gothic-revival timber house. Home to four generations of the same family, there are hundreds of stories to be found in the many belongings and items left behind by each generation.

5. Tasmania – Runnymede
Captain Charles Bayley purchased this historic house in 1864 and named it Runnymede after his favourite ship. His family then passed the house down through the generations for 100 years. The National Trust has restored and furnished the house to its former glory, so you can now visit the extensive gardens, beautiful house and see the rich collection of whaling and maritime material.

6. Queensland – Townsville Heritage Centre
The Townsville Heritage Centre offers three historical buildings, starting with the ornate architecture of the 1880s, all in one location.

7. Western Australia – Warden Finnerty’s Residence
This house was built in 1895 for Coolgardie’s first Resident Magistrate and Mining Warden, John Michael Finnerty. The house is situated in one of Australia’s first gold-rush areas, and is open to the public.

8. South Australia – Ayers House
Ayers House is the last of the great mansions of Adelaide’s North Terrace Boulevard. The interior of the house has been fully restored and turned into a museum which houses antiques, artwork, silver and costumes. You might also like to celebrate Lady Ayers 200th birthday with high tea on 14 April 2013 (bookings are essential).

9. Northern Territory – Burnett House
Burnett House in Darwin is the last two-storey house designed by Beni Burnett still standing. Visitors can experience the tropical airy house during the week, or enjoy afternoon tea on the weekends.

10. Australian Capital Territory – Government House
Government House is the official residence of Australia’s Governor General. The stunning 54-hectare property is not always open to the public, but look out for special open days throughout the year – it makes a great day out.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    8th Aug 2015
    Vaucluse House in Vaucluse Sydney is another beautiful old home, it is said to be the birthplace of Australian democracy. Beautiful gardens and interior, also has a lovely old
    place for Devonshire Teas. Well worth a trip.
    Happy Jack
    8th Aug 2015
    Whilst not architecturally attractive as some, Elizabeth farm, being the oldest existing home and residence of John and Elizabeth Macarthur in N.S.W. is worth a look along with the second Government house of N.S.W. in Parramatta. Victoria's Government house which is open to the public each Australia day is stunning with it's massive ballroom and beautiful gardens.
    9th Aug 2015
    I remember visiting Cp't Cook's cottage in Melbourne as a child, and again more recently. I found it fascinating - but note that it was constructed in a more cramped time and some less-mobile visitors might have difficulty inside the building. It is set in Fitzroy Gardens which are themselves lovely.
    29th Nov 2015
    What about Martindale Hall near Mintaro SA, a grand stately home in the country. Completed in 1879 and used in the film Picnic at Hanging Rock. Well worth a look.

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