Tales from the East: India and New South Wales

Tales from the East focuses on the the relationship between India and colonial Australia, which began in 1788 with the arrival of the First Fleet. 

Please note: Old Government House is closed on Monday’s. This exhibition is open from Tuesday to Sunday only.

In 1810 Governor Lachlan Macquarie arrived in New South Wales after spending 20 years as part of the British military campaigns in India, and brought with him strong Indian connections and influences.  As with many of the army men who served in both India and New South Wales, Macquarie favoured Anglo-Indian designs in architecture, furniture and interior decoration, as well as serving meals based on Indian spices and curries.  India was a also major source of resources for the growing colony; with ships trading between the two, particularly bringing textiles and food.

The exhibition features these strong connections in displays of Anglo-Indian men and women’s clothing, furniture, silverware and explores how Macquaries’ time in India influenced his role as Governor of New South Wales.

This exhibition – while having a strong Colonial theme – was also developed to recognise and celebrate the Australian Indian communities that reside in Western Sydney today.

Tales from the East will be accompanied by a vibrant schedule of public programs starting in March and ending in August 2018. Watch this space (and follow us on Facebook) for more updates on this exhibition celebrating not only our colonial past, but that also recognises the incredible cultural landscape of Western Sydney today.


$16 – Adult
$14 – Concession
$14 – Groups
$8 – Child
$35 – Family
$10 – NT members; $5 – NT child
$9 – NT groups;
$20 – NT family
Joint Entry with Experiment Farm Cottage
$18 – Adult
$16 – Concession
$10 – Kid
$40 – Family
NT access to EFC for free

Public Programs: Parramatta Lecture Series

Fashion for India – THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT
Saturday 26 May, 10.30am – 11.30am
Textile historians and curators Lindie Ward & Leimomi Oakes will explore how Indian textiles & dress influenced Western fashion in the 18th & 19th century.

Finding “George Jarvis”
Saturday 18 August, 10.30am – 11.30am
Historian Robin Walsh and author Roanna Gonsalves will explore different approaches to finding the elusive figure of “George Jarvis”, Governor Macquarie’s Indian manservant.
Cost per lecture: $10 NT members, $15 non-members

Parramatta Lecture Series held at UNE Parramatta Campus Lecture Theatre, level 1, 232 Church Street, Parramatta. Bookings: Old Government House – 02 9635 8149.



More Tales from the East public programs

Tours with the Curator

Thursdays 28 June and 26 July, 1.30 to 3pm.
Lead curator Ian Stephenson will personally take you through the exhibition.
Cost per tour: $20 NT members, $30 non-members. Call 02 9635 8149 to book.

Bollywood-Style dancing

Experiment Farm Cottage, Harris Park - Saturday 11 August, 1pm to 2.30pm.
Fabulous Bollywood music and an easy dance lesson from Avantika Tomar and the Nautanki Theatre team will have you and your children dancing Bollywood style in no time!
$15 adult, $35 family. Call 02 9635 8149 to book.

Hymns of Bishop Reginald Heber

At St James Church, King St, Sydney on 3 June, 4pm - 5pm (with the St James Choir).
Australia was part of the Anglican Diocese of Calcutta from 1814 to 1836, of which Reginald Heber was the second Bishop. This event celebrates Heber’s life, work and hymnody. Enquiries 02 9635 8149.

Fashioning Asia

At the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo on 19 July, 11am to 1pm.
Curators Glynis Jones and Min-Jung Kim will give a tour of the Museum’s collection of Indian textiles and Asian decorative arts. Admission is normal MAAS entry fee, limited to 10 guests.

Baps Swaminarayan

Rath Yatra Procession of Deities to Old Government House at the front Carriage Loop on Saturday 14 July.
This is an ancient Hindu Festival, held annually, involving a public procession of Chariots (‘ratha’) associated with the Lord Jagannath. Gold Coin entry per person to the exhibition this day only.

Private tour of Horsley

18 August from 11am to 3pm - the bus leaves Old Government House at 11am.
Heritage architect Clive Lucas OBE will lead a coach tour to Horsley - the finest example of an Indian bungalow in Australia. The visit also includes St Bartholomew’s Church, Prospect. Tour includes a packed lunch: $50.

Book now

Old Government House


Parramatta Park, Pitt Street Entrance
Parramatta 2150 NSW


Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm
Last Tour 3.30pm


Mondays, Good Friday, Christmas Day
New Years Day

(02) 9635 8149
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