Hambledon Cottage is a colonial Georgian cottage that was originally built for John Macarthur in 1824, as part of his Elizabeth Farm estate. Macarthur was famous for being a British army officer, as well as an entrepreneur, politician, architect, and pioneer of settlement in Australia. Originally, the cottage was built to provide additional accommodation for Macarthur’s Elizabeth Farm Estate extended family and friends when they came to visit. Throughout the years, it has hosted numerous historical figures.
The cottage has also provided housing for famous individuals such as; Major General Sir Edward Macarthur who was John's eldest son and served as commander in chief of the British Forces in Australia from 1855 and Dr Matthew Anderson, who was surgeon on 4 convict ships before becoming Assistant Colonial Surgeon in 1824 and in charge of Parramatta Hospital and Penelope Lucas, retired governess to the Macarthur daughters.
Hambledon Cottage is now a house museum that is open to the public for those that may be interested in experiencing and absorbing the 19th-century lifestyle with the bonus of witnessing and educating themselves on the history of the house and all the people that once lived inside the cottage.
The cottage itself is built of rendered sandstone brick in a colonial Georgian style. The joinery throughout the cottage is made of Australian cedar. Some of the internal ceilings and walls are of lath and plaster whilst one bedroom still has its original ironbark flooring. The cottage itself contains authentic furniture from the 19th-century to provide a real sense of how living in this period looked, and this is expressed across all the different rooms.
The Museum and its grounds are managed by the Parramatta and District Historical Society which has been in existence since 1913. It is the oldest local history society in Australia.
Our vision is to be the authority of the history (local and family) and heritage of Parramatta and to operate Hambledon Cottage as a historic house museum that caters for its visitors by providing them a one of a kind experience by essentially bringing the museum back to life as it once was in the mid-1800s.
The museum and its hard-working volunteers aim to create a memorable experience for all its visitors. Which is why our ultimate goals for the museum is;
Hambledon Cottage has operated as a tourist site and education facility for over 50 years to educate domestic and international tourists as well as school children about Australian history. As a result, its grounds and archaeology were granted a listing on the NSW State Heritage Register on 21 September 2012 by Hon. Robyn Parker MP, Minister for Heritage.
The main focus is to reveal and showcase to the children how individuals like Mr and Mrs Macarthur and their children as well as grandchildren lived their day to day lives. This stage essentially allows the children to make comparisons to their everyday life and allows them to gain a sense of understanding of how times and technology change.
The ultimate focus is to exhibit the lifestyle of individuals in the 19th century and how it differs to the lifestyle the children live today. This stage allows the children to see the similarities and differences between Aboriginal and early European lifestyles. It is supported by relevant objects depicting both lifestyles.
This stage focuses on providing a study of colonial Australia in the 1800s. The main focus is on John Macarthur to allow the children to educate themselves and learn about his Family, Friends and Foes. The children will visit each room in Hambledon Cottage where they can meet and interview those who lived and worked with John Macarthur. The children will also be able to communicate with his wife, Elizabeth Macarthur, the girls’ governess Penelope Lucas, church minister and rival sheep breeder Reverend Samuel Marsden, architect and builder Henry Kitchen, Macarthur’s eldest son Edward and housemaid Mary.