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Top Tales of Berrima

Home > Sydney > Architecture | Day Trips | Historic Houses | Pubs | Walks
by Lenore Pearson (len3travel) (subscribe)
Blossoming Travel Writer and Blogger and super mum to three gorgeous kids. The more I learn about this amazing world, the longer my Bucket List gets!! Follow my Lifestyle and Travel Blog - Natural High
Published January 6th 2016
Sometimes my travelling companions find it annoying, but I am one of THOSE people who like to research a place before I visit. I like to know all the key sites to see, the history behind them, the best places to have a meal and all the places to avoid. I say a little research is a good thing! But sometimes, I need to remind myself to let go and allow a destination to reveal its own stories. This is how we as travellers stumble across those hidden gems; the places that sometimes even the locals don't know about.

And so it was when I visited the historic village of Berrima in the Southern Highlands of NSW. Radiating history from every street corner, stone wall and doorknob, this delightful little town has somehow been frozen in colonial Australia of the 1830's. No sooner had I pointed my camera at one historic cottage, I spied another, and another. I took it all in with a leisurely stroll through town and within a couple of hours, five significant sites had revealed their stories…

1. Berrima District Museum
The perfect introduction to historic Berrima, the museum operates as an integral part of the Berrima Historical and Family History Society. Housed in a typical workman's cottage from c1910,the museum hosts an impressive collection of artefacts detailing the history of the district and now has an expanded gallery for temporary exhibitions. Currently on display is '1200 – Stories of men and women of the Berrima district in World War I'.

2. Harpers Mansion, 1834
Carefully restored by the National Trust and furnished in period style, Harpers Mansion is perched upon a hill overlooking the historic Berrima township. Built by James Harper, the mansion is a beautiful example of a two-storey Georgian style residence. Set on two acres of heritage plants, produce gardens and heritage roses, it is also home to one of the largest Hedge Mazes in Australia. Open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.

3. Berrima Court House, 1838
Designed by Mortimer Lewis and built at a cost of £2,568, the old court house is a stoic symbol of the Australian Law and Justice system. It was site of the NSW colony's first trial by jury and other notable trials such as that of John Lynch - Australia's first serial killer and Lucretia Dunkley – the only woman to be hanged at Berrima gaol. The courthouse is now a museum and the starting point for the famous Berrima Ghost Tours.

4. Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 1849
Designed by the great colonial architect Edmund Blacket(famous for the Quadrangle at Sydney University), it was his first church in Gothic Revival style. The stained glass windows come from a church in Cornwall and are said to date back to the 15th Century. The organ is still in its original state and was obtained from St Andrews in Sydney. The church was built from sandstone quarried from the Wingecarribee River that runs behind.

5. Surveyor General Inn, 1834
The Inn is one of Berrima's most famous buildings and Australia's oldest continually licensed inn. Originally built for James Harper (Harpers Mansion),it has served as both a pub and accommodation for over a century and the rooms upstairs have provided refuge for weary travelers for over 165 years. The cellars below could tell a story or two as convicts were chained to the beams before the gaol was built. It is also believed the inn was visited by many notorious bushrangers.
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Why? Because every place has a story
Where: Around Berrima village
Cost: Some Entry Fees
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