A Whimsy Life


Elizabeth Farm begun in 1793 by John and Elizabeth Macarthur, pioneers of the Australian wool industry.

Elizabeth Farm was extended and modified over the years and changed hands to the Swann family. In 1960 the house was listed as a historic site and Elizabeth Farm opened as a museum in 1984.

A photograph showing the extent of the property in what is now known as Parramatta.

Elizabeth Farm is a barrier-free museum. This means that there are no locked doors or fragile pieces of  furniture, so you can wander freely through the house as if it were your own and it’s great for kids.

We took a free tour of Elizabeth Farm to help get a feel for the place. We found the guide knowledgeable and friendly and he tried to get the kids in the tour group involved. There were a few old-school games for kids like coits and a hoop game, where you try and push a hoop along with a cane. Charmingly Pollyanna!

Tours depart from the tearoom. From Wednesday to Friday, tours run at 11am and 2pm. On weekends, general tours are at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm with a Highlights Tour at 3pm. Tours take 45 minutes to 1 hour. Self-guided iPad tours are also available.


The front door of Elizabeth Farm does not face the street (the kitchen and the servant’s quarters face the street). The door bell is ornate and set into the wall and before you get to the porch they have permanent shoe cleaners!

The gardens are simple and contain a lot of history. For example, there is what is believed to be the oldest olive tree in Australia! Planted in either 1805 or 1817.

Historical roof

If you get the right light and angle you can see the original roof line of the house.


While it’s not the original kitchen (it was burnt down), it still gives you a sense of the past. The museum had the stove going which provided welcome warmth on a cold day.


Interesting things around the house

What is believed to be a limestone water filtering device… not sure anyone was game to drink the water to test it out!

Before washing machines you would wash the clothes here:

The bed was quite high up (you needed a stool to get to it) and the mattress was made of three layers: hay (you can burn this layer), horse hair and duck feathers for comfort.

We were stumped with what this was until we got told it was a birthing stool…

You could see the bell pulls in most of the rooms in the house so it was interesting to see how the servants were able to see and hear who needed what where.

The butler’s pantry used to be locked up due to the fine china that was stored here back in the pioneering days.


The Elizabeth Farm Tearoom offers coffee, cakes, devonshire teas, sandwiches and light lunches. Gluten free options available.

Saturday and Sunday, 10am–4pm
(last service 3.30pm)


You can visit what remains of Elizabeth Farm at 70 Alice Street, Rosehill, NSW 2142

Cost for admission:

Adult  | $12
Concession  | $8
Family  | $30
Members  | Free of charge
Children under 5 years  | Free of charge

Open Wednesday to Sunday