The elegant 19th Century country house built by explorer Gregory Blaxland - was officially reopened on Friday, 27 April 2007, after a meticulous $3.3 million restoration.
Built in 1820, Brush Farm House is not only one of Australia's oldest country homes but also one of the most substantial estates surviving from the Macquarie period.
Brush Farm House provides a rare and tangible link with our early heritage. It takes visitors back to a time when the Ryde district, as only the third area of European settlement in the fledgling colony, was vital to the establishment and growth of our nation's agriculture, cattle and wine industries.
Funding for the restoration of Brush Farm House came from the Council, the Commonwealth Government and the NSW Heritage Office.
Details of the Restoration
- Preserved parts of the building include original stonework, brickwork, painted cedar joinery doors and windows, lime plaster to the walls, timber floors, timber boarding, pressed metal ceilings and door and window hardware
- Original paint colours have been matched. The soft ochre lime-washed façade reveals the full grandeur of the faithfully restored colonial house
- Recycled hardwoods from Kempsey were used for the repairs to the floor and roof structure
- The two storey verandah has been rebuilt using the original cast iron columns and new cast lacework for the balustrades to match the original
- The Victorian era marble fireplaces have been repaired and new hearth tiles have been retained and missing tiles faithfully reproduced
- New timber shutters reintroduced to the southern windows.
The long history of the building is interpreted in the house including displays of archival images of the building, its views and its occupants. Each room bears the name of people with strong associations with the site, including Blaxland, Forster, Carpenter and Wallumetta (the latter in recognition of the aboriginal people who lived in the area). For more information see the Restoration Documents.
The earliest part of the house was two storeys over a cellar and was built of sandstock brick with sandstone foundations. The external walls were plastered and a two storey verandah with elaborate lacework balustrades and bull-nosed iron roof was added to the South façade in the late 1870s, in an attempt to make the building fashionably Victorian. The house has been extended and altered over its 185 year life, to accommodate large formal rooms including a ballroom, bedrooms, bathrooms, and a large kitchen and hall.
Internally, the simple Georgian floor plan, joinery and finishes known to Gregory Blaxland have been conserved. The various elements and finishes added by subsequent owners have also been conserved displaying the long history of occupation, including the pressed metal ceilings, marble fireplaces and the ornate stair. New elements introduced to adapt the building to its new public life have been designed to be sympathetic to the significant fabric and spaces.
- Listed on City of Ryde's Heritage LEP 105
- Register of the National Estate (002934) File No. 1/13/032/0008
- Listed with the National Trust - register ID 6863
- Listed on the NSW Government's State Heritage Register [covered by a Permanent Conservation Order (No 612)] through the NSW Heritage Office
- Identified as an item (Inventory Sheet No. 140) of State and National Significance on City of Ryde's Heritage Conservation Strategy
- Cumberland County Council list of Historic Buildings 1961 - 1967