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Government House Revisited

Home > Sydney > Architecture | Free | Gardens | Historic Houses | Tours
by Seafarrwide (subscribe)
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Published September 20th 2014
Feel regal for a day explore Government House in Sydney
Government House Revisited

Government House was completed in 1845. It's a building of outstanding architecture for its day. Its Gothic revival structure was designed by Edward Blore, the Architect to King William 1V. The Governor's residence was an imposing building in the early colonisation of Sydney with nothing much else surrounding it except for the Royal Botanic Gardens. Within its sandstone walls the Governor and his wife could gaze out over Sydney Cove as far as the eyes could see. I hate to say since it opened to the public in 1996, this is my first visit to Government House. I feel a little ashamed considering it is such a major historical architectural monument.

Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10.00am until 3.00pm. Closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day. It is a good idea to check by phone or online for up to date opening times or if any Vice Regal events are on before going.

The closest entry point gates are next to the Conservatorium of Music off Macquarie Street, Sydney. Then it is a short 7 minute stroll to the Gatekeeper.

For those that might be challenged in mobility, please note that there is 8 steps up into the Gatehouse where you must show your ID such as Passport, Drivers Licence, Medicare card, etc. There are only 3 steps into the actual Government House. Entry is free, but you must be part of a booked tour.

You will be greeted by your Guide at the imposing front entrance door to the House.

Once inside, your guide will commence the history of this amazing building and take you through the corridors to the Study, Halls, Dining Room and State rooms. Taking photographs is generally not allowed until you reach the last room but our Guide was a little more relaxed towards the last rooms.


As you can see I was thrilled to be able to snap a few great photographs. I could imagine myself enjoying afternoon tea and wished I could sit down and relax there.

Designers Lyon, Cottier & Co were commissioned to decorate the state rooms. The ceilings are hand painted works of art; you may get dizzy just gazing constantly upward.

Amongst the opulence are several antiques and furnishings from the 19th and 20th Century.

I would have loved to take some photographs in the Main Dining Hall as it is truly an impressive room. What a dream it would be to attend an official function here.

Moving through we entered the last room. Very regal and you could imagine a live classical pianist performing.

There would have been some outstanding official events held back in the early days and currently now many State Dinners and official Government diary engagements.

I personally love visiting historical buildings throughout Europe and it is truly wonderful to have something of our own back here in Sydney to be proud of.

After leaving the grandeur and opulence of this impressive House there are the exceptionally beautiful surrounding private Gardens to enjoy.

The Gardens

You will glide through the manicured lawns inhaling the fragrance of begonias and an aromatic herb garden.

At the centre of the private garden is a sensory fountain and sundial modelled on the celestial sphere.

So many beautiful areas to sit and reflect on what it would be like back in the early days and also how lucky we are that it is now open for the public to see.

Make sure on your way out you take a look at the magnificent Moreton Bay fig tree. It is around 160 years old and was planted around the time the house was built.

This location is really worth a visit. You won't be disappointed.

Getting there

It is easy to travel to either by train or Ferry to Circular Quay with a short 10 minute walk. You could use the stairs at East Circular Quay up to Macquarie Street and enter near the Conservatorium of Music or from Wynard Station - it is around 15-20 minutes walk. Check this site to plan your travel.

What is ideal, if you are in a group and actually more affordable than all using public transport, is to park at the Domain Parking area at $10.00 entry for the day or nearby Chifley Street Parking at $15.00 flat weekend rate, Sundays it is $10.00.

But if you are like me, after leaving the gardens it was such a stunning day I walked down to Circular Quay.

I made my way around to the Opera Bar and enjoyed a lovely chilled glass of wine and tempura set while enjoying the live music and sunshine.

What an amazing place is Sydney with so much to do and see. Get on out there and enjoy it!
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Why? If you love Historical Buildings and splendid gardens
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays except Good Friday or Christmas Day
Phone: (02) 9228 4111
Where: Royal Botanic Gardens, Lower Macquarie Street, Sydney
Cost: Free entry
Your Comment
I wpoke to the officer on duty at the gate. they can organise access for wheelchairs.
by Vivie (score: 2|116) 2504 days ago
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