My Fair Lady: The History of the Lindesay Christmas Fair

Lenore Boronkay at Lindesay.

Tucked into the hillside overlooking Sydney Harbour is Lindesay – the elegant Gothic Revival mansion built in 1834. The mansion’s interiors and gardens are a favourite for weddings, special occasions and film locations but for three days in November it transforms into a Christmas market filled with luxurious gift options and sumptuous gourmet food.

The Lindesay Christmas Fair is an institution, operating since 2002, and a must-do on the calendar for many families in Sydney and from farther afield. The fair was conceived of and founded by a volunteer committee dedicated to preserving the heritage of Lindesay, which was gifted to the National Trust of Australia in 1963 by Walter Pye.

The Women’s Committee, which is comprised of 52 members and 10 associate members, organises events, publications and heritage tours with the purpose of fundraising for Lindesay. Lenore Boronkay, of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, was one of the original group of committee members who conceived of a Christmas Fair with flair – offering the community beautiful shopping choices in a beautiful place.

“We wanted to provide people with a uniquely elegant experience that was in keeping with the setting of a heritage listed property,” said Lenore Boronkay, one of the members of the National Trust’s Women’s Committee located at Lindesay. “We select a variety of stalls very carefully on the basis of quality and to ensure that we provide shoppers with diverse choices.

“For our first year we had a selection of stall holders featured throughout the Lindesay interiors, but 16 years later – the stalls fill the garden as well as the cellar, and our café provides a light lunch and refreshments all day,” said Lenore Boronkay. “We welcome people from the local community, from across Sydney, but there are also extraordinary loyal customers who travel from regions including the Hunter Valley, the Southern Highlands and the Blue Mountains who we are thrilled to see year after year.”

The Lindesay Christmas Fair was a trailblazer in 2002, when Christmas markets weren’t as yet a mainstay of the festival calendar across New South Wales. The Lindesay Christmas Fair ensures it maintains a point of difference with its signature dining room centrepiece display for decorating inspiration, providing a free shuttle bus service from Edgecliff Station and of course, highlighting that all proceeds benefit a charity dedicated to safeguarding the built, natural and cultural heritage of New South Wales.

“I have my ‘must buys’ every year – I love the oils from Gwydir Grove and my mother always buys earrings,” said Lenore Boronkay. “I have friends that ask me to reserve them a cake from from Mittagong every year.”

The 2018 Lindesay Christmas Fair will feature more than 70 stalls and will take place from 15 – 17 November, 10am to 4pm. A $5 entry fee applies (cash only) and all proceeds from the event support Lindesay, which cared for and protected by the National Trust for the community. The National Trust is a registered charity.


More information about the Lindesay Christmas Fair.