In addition to opening many of the National Trust’s heritage properties across New South Wales, Miss Porter’s House, Grossmann & Brough House and Miss Traill’s House will be opening their doors from November. There are also special open days planned for Saumarez Homestead and Retford Park, which will be part of the Southern Highlands Arts Trail. Some National Trust properties remain closed. Please read on for further details.
Since COVID-19 restrictions have eased across New South Wales, the National Trust has gradually reopened its beautiful heritage properties for the community to enjoy. To date, the conservation charity has been able to open:
- S. H. Ervin Gallery
- Everglades House & Gardens
- Norman Lindsay Gallery
- Old Government House
- Dundullimal Homestead
- Retford Park
- Harper’s Mansion
As of November and just in time for Christmas, the National Trust is now reopening the following properties:
- Miss Porter’s House
- Miss Traill’s House
- Grossmann and Brough House
- Saumarez Homestead – open on 15 November only.
Property opening times and hours may vary from pre-COVID opening times, so the National Trust urges visitors to check our website for the most up-to-date information. Terms and Conditions of Entry have also been updated and we urge people to pre-book tickets via Eventbrite to ensure that we maintain COVID safe environments for the community, our staff and volunteers.
The National Trust (NSW) is a charity and membership organisation that opens up 20 heritage properties across Sydney for the community to enjoy sites of natural, architectural and historic significance. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Trust closed its properties in March 2020 to ensure community safety and in compliance with Government regulations.
“Over the last four months we have worked tirelessly to ensure the reopening of our properties in a way that is COVID-safe for our community, our staff and volunteers,” said Debbie Mills, Chief Executive Officer, National Trust (NSW). “We have thoroughly reviewed how and when we can open our doors whilst maintaining required physical distancing and hygiene management to ensure our visitors are safe. We are thrilled to welcome visitors back to even more of our heritage properties this month and in advance of the Christmas and summer holidays.”
Which National Trust Properties are Reopening to the Community?
The following properties will be reopening to the community in November. To keep you COVID-safe, and to manage the number of people on site, we recommend you pre-purchase your timed entry ticket via Eventbrite.
Open 7 and 8 November; 11am – 3pm
A beautiful example of Georgian style architecture, Harper’s Mansion is situated on a hill overlooking the historic village of Berrima in the Southern Highlands. The 19th century two-storey brick mansion is surrounded by two acres of gardens flowering with cool climate heritage plants and one of the largest hedge mazes in Australia.
We are thrilled to welcome the community back to Harper’s Mansion following the COVID-19 shut down, however, please note the interior of the house is not open to the public. Purchase your pre-paid tickets here.
Open 7, 8, 14 and 15 November; 5 and 6 December; 10am – 4pm
Retford Park is a place of great heritage significance and was generously gifted by James Fairfax AC to the National Trust in 2016. Surrounding the grand Victorian Italianate homestead is a patchwork of hedged formal gardens showcasing everything from a detailed knot garden to an exquisite swimming pool and pavilion.
You can either book pre-paid tickets to the Retford Park Gardens or take a guided tour through the Retford Park House with access to Retford Park Gardens. The house tour is overwhelmingly popular so purchase your pre-paid ticket before it sells out.
Retford Park will be a part of the Southern Highlands Arts Trail on 7, 8, 14 and 15 November. You can enjoy the work of Highland artists at Retford Park until 5pm on these dates (open until 4pm on all other open dates).
Open 8 November; 1pm – 4pm
Built by the Porters in 1909, the family lived in this freestanding Edwardian terrace until 1997, when they left it to the National Trust with all its contents intact.
On Sunday 8 November, you can see what it’s like recycling 1940’s style at Miss Porter’s House Museum. Florence, Ella and Hazel Porter made, mended and recycled soap, shoes, furniture, flour bags and much more. Find out how a soap saver works, what an egg has to do with darning and re-live sustainability as practised in the early twentieth century. Purchase your pre-paid tickets here.
Open 8 November; 12pm – 3:30pm
This Victorian-era bungalow treats its visitors to a wide and varied collection of furniture, ceramics, horse racing memorabilia and art, much of it bequeathed to Miss Traill by her ancestors, some of whom were the original settlers of the Bathurst district. Book a tour, and take a delightful stroll through the heritage garden enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.
Open 8 November; 10.30am – 3pm
The beautiful Grossmann House will be reopened with its fully restored interior of the 1870 Victorian era, glorious heritage rose garden and the magnificent pieces of Georgian glassware from the Dean Havelberg-Smith collection. Brough House is also open, with a display of local sporting history “Winning isn’t Everything” for a small (at the door) entrance fee of $5.00 for adults. This display has been put together by the Maitland Regional Museum and Museum of Clothing. Purchase your pre-paid tickets here.
Open 15 November; 10am – 4pm
The extensive gardens at Saumarez Homestead, on the edge of Armidale, were planned and constructed by the Saumarez Whites at the turn of the 19th century to complement and provide a setting for their significant late Victorian-Edwardian house.
Visit to enjoy the vibrant gardens, incorporating formal gardens, Mary’s cottage-style garden, remnants of the vegetable and picking gardens, plus the Heritage Rose Garden which is the result of a collaborative project between the Australian Garden History Society and the National Trust (NSW).
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the house and farm area remain closed. We encourage you to bring a picnic and a rug and enjoy the picturesque setting of the gardens and grounds plus the big sky views. For more information click here.
Which National Trust Properties have already reopened?
The following properties have already opened to the community, with specific pre-booked timed entry for morning and afternoon sessions in place for visitors. Every Wednesday, we release tickets for the next two weeks.
The National Trust (NSW) Shop located at 15 Marian Street, Killara is open. The shop has a range of gift ideas and treats available for customers. The shop is opening with reduced hours from Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 2pm each day. When customers purchase items from the National Trust Shop they are supporting the organisation’s conservation work across the state. For more information, please call Jillian Goodwin on (02) 9498 1229.
One of Sydney’s premier art galleries located at Observatory Hill, within close walking distance to The Rocks and Barangaroo, also offers on-site parking.
The highly anticipated exhibition, the annual Salon des Refusés, is an alternative selection of works entered into the Archibald Prize for portraiture and the Wynne Prize for landscape painting and figure sculpture is on view until 29 November. Have your say and vote in the Holding Redlich People’s Choice award for your favourite work. The event is running on selected dates from 26 September – 29 November 2020.
Take in the 1930s Art Deco architecture of the historic house (house currently not open for interior tours due to spatial restrictions), the Paul Sorensen designed gardens and magnificent views to Mt Solitary and the Jamison Valley.
Throughout November, artists Caren Berzins and Anita White present an exhibition that transports the viewer to urban and country Scandinavia with its long summer days. Entry to the exhibition is included in the price of entry to the Everglades.
The former home of author, artist, illustrator, essayist and cartoonist – Norman Lindsay and his wife, Rose – is set amongst sprawling landscaped gardens featuring many of his sculptures. See his artworks and immerse yourself in the place in which The Magic Pudding came to be.
World Heritage listed Old Government House tells the story of Australia’s oldest surviving public building. Situated in Parramatta Park, overlooking the Parramatta River and one of the highlight sites of the Great West Walk, it’s a must-see for the whole family.
Make sure you visit in November to see the exhibition, Women of Distinction, which brings together items from the National Trust (NSW)’s collections and those on loan from other sources, to provide new insights into the women who lived in, worked at, and influenced this nationally significant property throughout its decades of change. The exhibition is on show until 29 November 2020.
Believed to be the oldest sophisticated slab house in Australia, Dundullimal Homestead and its sandstone stables, timber church, and shed are a living illustration of rural life on an isolated property.
The following National Trust (NSW) Properties remain closed until further notice:
We are a charity that relies on the time and talent of our wonderful volunteers to ensure that many of our properties can open in a way that will ensure the safety, wellbeing and health of the community. Until such time as we are able to manage the number of people on site safely, the following National Trust (NSW) properties remain closed until further notice.
- Cooma Cottage
- Golden Vale
- Tomago House
- Vienna Cottage
- Woodford Academy
- Experiment Farm Cottage
How the National Trust is Keeping our Visitors Safe
The National Trust has made necessary changes to how we open our properties to the community in the interests of keeping everyone safe, including our staff.
Reconnecting you with heritage and history, and keeping you safe for the future:
- We will be observing strict physical distancing measures to protect visitors and staff, and to minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in accordance with current Government regulations. We have put safety plans in place for each of our properties that will re-open, we are developing safety plans for the rest of our properties in advance of them opening. Our staff and volunteers have agreed to a strict Code of Practice that places the health and safety of everyone on site as our paramount concern.
- We will be asking our visitors to purchase their timed-entry tickets via Eventbrite in advance of entering our properties – a small booking fee will apply. This will mean we can carefully observe how many people are on site at any given time and maintain safe physical distancing. If you arrive without a ticket, you will be asked to either purchase one using Eventbrite or to pay by credit/debit card at the point of entry. Unfortunately we cannot accept cash payment at this time or barter.
- We will be issuing your tickets for a specific time for entry. Your ticket will only be valid for that session and once we reach capacity for one of our sessions, we will need to ask you to wait for the next one to open before you can enter. Before you ask, we can’t just squeeze you in.
- We will be asking you to register the contact information of everyone coming to our properties as part of your group at the time of your ticket purchase. We will request contact information including the name, residential postcode, mobile phone number and email address of every individual visiting us. The purpose of us asking you for this information is so that we can contact you in the event that somebody is infected with COVID-19 at one of our sites, or somebody visiting our sites is diagnosed with coronavirus. It’s an important part of responsibly tracing a reportable illness and it means we’re doing our bit to keep the community safe.
- We are asking you to stay home if you feel unwell in any way or if you have travelled in the past 14 days. We will be sad not to see you. We will be even sadder if we have to close again because other people start to get sick or we experience a second wave of COVID-19. We will be really sad if anyone catches COVID-19 while visiting the National Trust. Please remember: the virus hasn’t gone away.
- We are asking you to please sneeze or cough into your sleeve should you need to.
- We are asking you to please wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds after using our restroom facilities.
- We are asking you to minimise what you touch. Minimising contact means less mobility for the virus.
- We are asking you to please be aware of how close you are to others (anything less than 1.5 metres is too close) and to provide people with less mobility the chance to move through our spaces safely.
- If you wish, please download the Covid-19 APP your phone and turn on your Bluetooth while you visit us. This is optional – but it’s very helpful to manage tracing in the community.
Before you Visit, Please Read
When you purchase your ticket to visit a National Trust (NSW) property, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions outlined below and indicating that you have read these documents. We thank you in advance for taking the time to do so.
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