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Historic Australian Houses You Can Visit

Are you a sucker for history and for a taste of life in the bygone era? Australia is home to a plethora of historic houses that are remarkable for their striking architecture and interesting history they contain within their walls. 

Sprawling lawns, stately turrets, glorious arches and other impressive features adorn these beautiful homes and mansions, while their association with famous personalities and historic figures make them some of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations that attract thousands of locals and visitors each year.

It’s worth noting that due to the ongoing pandemic, many of these sites have changed their timings or closed their doors to the public. So, be sure to contact the sites before planning a visit. 

That said, let’s take you through some grand Australian homes that are steeped in rich history.

  1. Cook’s Cottage, Victoria

Arguably, this is the oldest building in Australia that was built in Yorkshire, England in 1755 by Captain James Cook’s parents. It travelled all the way to Australia and was re-erected in Fitzroy Gardens in 1934 by Sir Russel Grimwade, where it stands to this day. Astonishingly, the ivy creepers that patch over the cottage walls were grown from cuttings of the original ivy plant that was shipped with the building. 

You can take a tour of cottage, take stroll in the adjacent garden, and try on some vintage English costumes to get a feel of the life and time of the 18th century. 

  1. Beleura House and Garden, Victoria

This Italianate mansion served as the summer retreat for the 4th Governor of Victoria, Sir John Manners-Sutton and later, for the family of the theatrical baron, Sir George Tallis. However, its biggest claim to fame is, perhaps, for being the favourite getaway of the world-famous Australian soprano, Dame Nellie Melba. 

When in Beleura, one can do a lot more than just tour around marvelling at the property’s valuable collection of arts and artefacts. With activities such as choir performances, gardening lectures, book readings, costume dramas, and afternoon tea, your trip to Beleura is guaranteed to be educational as well as engaging.  

  1. Ayers House, South Australia

This opulent family home of the five time premier of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers, is best known for being the last remnant of the great mansions of Adelaide’s North Terrace Boulevard. In its heydays, the mansion was an entertainment hotspot for Adelaide’s social and political crème-de-la-crème and hosted many a famous ball thrown by Lady Ayers.

As a strikingly well-restored property, it bears the signatures of the glitz and glamour of 19th Century life in South Australia through its collection of artwork, antiques, silver, and costumes.

You can take a guided tour of the in-house museum or explore the house on your own. Plus, the exciting events, displays, and workshops add to its charm. 

  1. Runnymede, Tasmania

Purchased in 1864 by Captain Charles Bayley, the most successful whaling captain of Hobart, Tasmania, this historic house was named Runnymede after his favourite ship. Serving as the Bayley family home for over 100 years, the villa houses a rich collection of whaling and maritime artefacts. The beauty of this property is enhanced by the 120 year old garden, which features heirloom roses and other heritage trees and shrubs.  

Restored to its former glory by the National Trust, the property not only conducts guided tours for visitors but also serves as an exquisitely old-world venue for weddings, corporate dinners, and other events.  

These homes of the yesteryears exude an antique glam and awe-inspiring grandeur in the most classic way. If you wish to invite some feel of that vintage charm into your living space, you can pick vintage-style homewares and furniture at April & Oak


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