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Elizabeth Bay House

Home > Sydney > Historic Houses | Picnic Spots
Published December 29th 2009
Situated alongside our sparkling harbour, Elizabeth Bay House is one of the most attractive and historic buildings to be found in Sydney.

The first steps in creating "the finest house in the colony" were taken in 1826. But there was to be just one problem: because its owner, Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay, had dreams that far exceeded his finances, the project would never be completed. In 1845 – six years after finally moving in – the insolvent Scotsman was forced to move out.

In a piece of irony that would probably not have amused Macleay, even dole bludgers can easily afford to tour the place that ruined him. Admission is just $8 for adults, $4 for children/concession holders and $17 for families, with the property being open from 9.30am to 4pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (and daily in January).

What is there to see? The answer is a slice of colonial magnificence. Wandering amongst the elegant rooms and admiring the period furnishings, one gets a sense of how those with more money than sense used to live. The water views from upstairs are splendid, while the domed saloon and famous staircase are architectural marvels.

The inside
Dome and staircase
Water views
Period furnishings

Elizabeth Bay House sometimes holds special events (such as the Highland Fling)- check out this page for more details. To discover more about Macleay and his magnificent folly,
click here. And to plan your visit, click here.
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Why? A McMansion it ain’t
When: 9.30am to 4pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (and daily in January)
Where: 7 Onslow Ave, Elizabeth Bay
Cost: $8 for adults, $4 for children/concession, $17 for families
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