Experiment Farm Cottage

From 6 November 2021, Experiment Farm Cottage will be open on the first weekend of the month. Please note entry is only permitted with pre-purchased tickets, book your ticket now.

From February 2022, Experiment Farm Cottage will be open on the first weekend and third weekend of each month.

History of Experiment Farm Cottage

The site of the first land grant, where James Ruse proved self-sufficiency was possible. He was followed by Surgeon John Harris, who built the cottage in 1835. Today it is furnished to provide an authentic insight into that time.

By 1791 Ruse had successfully farmed the 30 acre site as an experiment in self-sufficiency, proving that a new settler could feed and shelter his family with relatively little assistance to get started.

The Indian-style bungalow there today was built by Surgeon John Harris, who purchased the land from Ruse in 1793 for £40. It is thought to have been built by c1835. It is one of Australia’s oldest standing properties and features in an 1837 sketch and subsequent watercolour by Conrad Martens.

What will you see when you visit

The house is furnished to reflect the home of Surgeon Harris, with simple but elegant pieces from National Trust’s collection of early colonial furniture, the largest of its kind in Australia. In the year 2000, the National Trust landscaped and planted the immediate grounds, using evidence from early paintings, plant catalogues and photographs to recreate, as far as possible, an authentic setting for the cottage.

Experiment Farm Cottage is part of an historical precinct which includes Hambledon Cottage (1824), Elizabeth Farm (1793) and the Queen’s Wharf, all within easy walking distance of each other.

Children love exploring the life of Ruse’s family, learning about self sufficiency, Harris’ role as a colonial surgeon and the workings of an early colonial household. The cottage garden is a hands-on sensory garden. A friendly welcome awaits at Experiment Farm Cottage as you explore and embrace its past occupants’ stories.

The Botanical exhibition is on between 5 February and 17 April 2022. Botanicals presents those common and not-so-common ceramics from the past, used and treasured (and sometimes broken and repaired). Pack a picnic and make a day of it in our cottage garden.


Guided tours are available at Experiment Farm Cottage, and a permanent display in the cellar tells the story of the site in all phases of its occupation, from Indigenous and colonial to the present day.

How to book your tickets

We look forward to welcoming you Experiment Farm Cottage, but please note you must purchase a ticket in advance.

Experiment Farm Cottage does not accept NSW Dine & Discover vouchers, please see our list of participating properties.

To purchase a ticket you must agree to our Terms and Conditions of Entry. We thank you for helping to keep properties open and the community safe.

Book ticket

Plan your Visit

Experiment Farm Cottage


9 Ruse Street
Harris Park 2150 NSW


4 & 5 December 2021, 10.30am - 3.30pm
5 & 6 February 2022, 10.30am - 3.30pm
19 & 20 February 2022, 10.30am - 3.30pm
5 & 6 March 2022, 10.30am - 3.30pm
19 & 20 March 2022, 10.30am - 3.30pm

(02) 9635 5655
Entry Fees:

National Trust Members FREE
Adult - $10
Family - $25
Concession/child - $8
Child under 5 years - FREE

Please note: Visitors must purchase tickets in advance via Eventbrite. Booking fees will apply.

What we offer:

Venue Hire

Venue Hire

The venue’s romantic veranda and gardens are a pleasant venue for wedding photography or small groups looking for an atmosphere of character and historic significance.


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