Lonely Planet review
Vaucluse House is an imposing, turreted specimen of Gothic Australiana set amid 10 hectares of lush gardens. The house was started in 1805 and tinkered with into the 1860s. Decorated with beautiful European period pieces including Bohemian glass, heavy oak ‘Jacobethan’ furniture and Meissen china, the house offers visitors a rare glimpse into early (albeit privileged) colonial life in Sydney.
It was occupied from 1827 to 1862 by William Charles Wentworth, his wife Sarah and their children. The son of a convict mother, Wentworth became a barrister and cowrote the first New South Wales colonial constitution, but was outcast from high society because of his democratic leanings. He held the ‘outrageous’ view that Australian-born colonials were the equals of the English, and that political and legal rights should be extended to emancipists (freed convicts). Wentworth was also an intrepid explorer. In 1831 he was part of the first European expedition to cross the Blue Mountains.