A closer view of the house with a large cedar tree out the front, planted in 1840. Photo courtesy of www.gg.gov.au
The property itself was developed in the 1830's and the first house was built on the land by the owner at the time, Francis Mowatt. He built a small stone hunting lodge on the property to sleep in after hunting for kangaroos and dingos with his foxhounds.
The next owner was Terence Aubrey Murray, an Irish born pastoralist who then became the district's first Member of Parliament and was later knighted. Interestingly, he was a successful politician but became almost bankrupt running this property, so 50 convicts were employed as shepherds to get him out of trouble.
Although Murray made improvements to the stone lodge during this this time, it wasn't until the property was bought by the Campbell family in 1881 that most of the lodge was taken down and replaced.
Aerial view of the size of the property. Photo courtesy of www.gg.gov.au
In 1891 a red brick three-storey double-gabled house was built, which now forms part of the present day Government House. With over 40 rooms, it was then the districts largest house with over 40,000 sheep on the property.
In 1913 it was acquired by the Government and then used as a Military College before being extended and becoming the Governor Generals Residence in 1927. Since this time new wings and rooms have been added and it now includes 53 hectares of gardens and parklands.
If you would like a closer look, Government House has Open Days each year (advertised in local newspapers) and Canberra Southern Cross Cruises has a Government House Gardens Cruise which includes a guided walk through the gardens. The cruises run from September to November and February through until April. See here for more details.
Photo courtesy of the Southern Cross Cruises website.