Hidden treasures revealed at Saumarez Homestead

The National Trust (NSW) has completed a year-long project to document historic items at Saumarez Homestead in Armidale, providing unprecedented access to the property’s furniture, textiles, artworks and artifacts.

With the support of a Creative Capital Minor Works grant, the National Trust conservation team and volunteers have photographed over 300 items at Saumarez Homestead and undertaken further research into each object’s fascinating back story.

A snapshot of the collection has been published on the Museums and Galleries of NSW website Storyplace, allowing the public to experience the Saumarez Homestead collection as never before.

Until now, these items have only been available to view at the property, with some objects and archives not on permanent display. Now, with the ability to zoom in on images and see them from various angles, the online collection gives users up-close access to objects and their stories.

Highlights include a rare ‘Making-do’ chair; an exquisite music box; and a blue velvet evening dress. There are also notes written by Mary White, former owner of Saumarez Homestead, as she travelled across Europe in 1947.

Craig McPherson, Senior Curator at the National Trust (NSW) said: “We are excited to be bringing this fascinating collection online. The project, which has been 12 months in the making, will help personalise the objects and give people greater access to Saumarez Homestead’s rich history.”

The work of photographing and researching each item was done with the support of volunteers working in collaboration with the National Trust conservation team.  The results shine a light on the different lives and legacies of the White family, who lived at Saumarez Homestead from 1874 and developed it into one of the largest and most successful rural properties in NSW’s New England area.

Some of the content captured for the project will also be shared with visitors to the house, including audio-visual installations as part of a broader site upgrade.

“This project has helped us successfully test the digitisation of our collections,” said Craig McPherson. “We hope to replicate this across other National Trust properties, so even more of our extensive collections can be shared with the public.”

The National Trust has been caring for Saumarez Homestead and its collection since 1984. The site includes a beautifully preserved 30-room Edwardian mansion, historic farm outbuildings, and collection of 600 heritage roses.

This new online offering contributes to the National Trust’s vision to bring the heritage of New South Wales to life for future generations. Explore some of the recently documented items and stories from Saumarez Homestead below.


Find out more

Discover the treasure trove of National Trust archives and digital collections.

Plan your visit to Saumarez Homestead.