Following the National Trust (NSW)’s earlier announcement in June that it will reopen a selection of its heritage properties to the community, the conservation charity has announced that Retford Park, Bowral will reopen on 5 September 2020. The timing of the reopening is perfect as springtime arrives and for the celebration of Father’s Day on 6 September. Retford Park is the latest heritage property to reopen in New South Wales for the National Trust, with Norman Lindsay Gallery, Everglades House and Gardens, Dundullimal and Old Government House previously opening in June and July 2020.
A community organisation, the National Trust (NSW) opens 20 heritage properties across the state on a regular basis for visitors to enjoy the built, cultural and natural heritage. In the interests of keeping the community safe and in compliance with Government regulations throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, the National Trust closed its properties in March 2020.
“We are delighted to be reopening a selection of our properties to the community, and we have missed sharing these wonderful places with the people of New South Wales and from farther afield over the past three months,” said Debbie Mills, Chief Executive Officer, National Trust (NSW). “We have carefully reviewed where and how we can reopen our doors and maintain the required physical distancing, hygiene management and cleaning practices that will continue to ensure people will be safe.
“As restrictions ease, we will be able to open the rest of our properties in due course,” said Debbie Mills. “We are hoping to be able to reinstate our wonderful program of events later this year should positive progress continue in containing the spread of COVID-19 in New South Wales.”
Which National Trust Properties are Reopening to the Community?
The following properties will be open 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 week.
Retford Park, Bowral, New South Wales
Retford Park is a place of great heritage significance and was generously gifted by James Fairfax AC to the National Trust in 2016 for the enjoyment and benefit of the community. Surrounding the grand Victorian Italianate homestead is a patchwork of hedged formal gardens showcasing everything from a detailed knot garden, exquisite swimming pool and pavilion, and sculptures demanding centre stage. A vast arboretum features a magnificent collection of rare and unique trees.
National Trust Shop, Killara, Sydney
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.
S. H. Ervin Gallery, Millers Point, Sydney
One of Sydney’s premier art galleries located at Observatory Hill, within close walking distance to The Rocks and Barangaroo. We are very much looking forward to treating visitors to the exhibition of the Portia Geach Memorial Art Prize in August 2020, and Ours in Trust: 19th & 20th century works from the Gallery’s collection that showcase of some of the finest works in the S.H. Ervin Gallery’s collection from 3 July – 9 August 2020.
Everglades House & Garden, Leura, Blue Mountains
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.
Norman Lindsay Gallery, Faulconbridge, Blue Mountains
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.
Old Government House, Parramatta, Sydney
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.
Dundullimal Homestead, Dubbo
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:
To ensure the safety, wellbeing and health of our volunteers and the community, we are closing the following National Trust (NSW) properties until further notice.
- Cooma Cottage
- Golden Vale
- Grossman & Brough House.
- Harper’s Mansion
- Miss Porter’s House
- Miss Traill’s House
- Saumarez Homestead
- 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.
If you are unwilling to comply with the list of requirements above, you will be asked to leave or we will be unable to grant you access to our properties. We really want to keep welcoming you back. We thank you for helping us do our bit to keep our properties open and safe.
- Visit the gardens listed above.
- Visit the galleries listed above.
- Visit the house museums above, where we can facilitate a one-way flow of foot traffic and 1.5 metres of distance between people.
- Use our toilet facilities, which will be cleaned in keeping with COVID-19 guidelines. Please wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap when you’re done.
- Make use of our car parking.
- Shop at our retail outlets, however, physical distancing must be observed and only credit/debit card will be accepted.
- Pay with cash. We’re accepting card payments only in our retail shops. We prefer you to purchase your tickets to visit us via Eventbrite to minimise contact at payment points.
- Take a guided tour. We know, we miss providing this service too.
- Attend events at our Properties. We have suspended our event programs in the immediate future, but we’ll keep you updated as and when this changes.
- Use any cloakroom/bag check-in facilities. Please travel light.
- Enjoy eating or a nice cuppa at our cafes and restaurants. These remain closed for now, and no refreshments will be available on site. We recommend you bring snacks.
- Use bubblers, taps or water fountains at our properties. It’s best to bring a water bottle.
- Be impolite, abusive or refuse to comply with the above and our Terms and Conditions of Entry. Our staff are doing a great job of keeping our beautiful heritage sites open to the community and they are working under strict instructions to operate within Government regulations. The regulations are there to keep us all safe. Kindness and courtesy won’t make anyone sick, so feel free to splash it around.
- Sign up to volunteer with us right now. We look forward to welcoming new volunteers in the future.
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.
Pre-book your Timed Entry Tickets
Pre-book your Timed Entry Ticket to visit Retford Park
Retford Park Garden Visit – Timed Entry
Retford Park House Tour and Garden Visit – Timed Entry
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