Harper’s Mansion was built in 1834 by Sutton Forest publican James Harper and his wife Mary using locally sourced red clay bricks and sandstone. James Harper was the only son of William Harper and Margaret Morgan, both convicts. James Harper and his wife Mary James Harper built the Surveyor General Inn in 1834, becoming its licensee in 1835.
A grand vision derailed by a 19th century financial downturn, Harper’s Mansion tells the story of a proud Australian family whose fortunes rose and fell with the times. James Harper died in 1845 with financial difficulties. Harper’s Mansion was later owned by the Catholic Church and was used as a presbytery for the priests of St Francis Xavier’s Roman Catholic Church from 1853 until 1900. The property was passed on to the National Trust in 1978.
The house was restored by the National Trust after decades of use and neglect. Today Harper’s Mansion stands on two of its original 100 acres, and remains a fascinating time capsule of 19th century life in Berrima.
How to get here
Harper’s Mansion is located at 9 Wilkinson Street, Berrima NSW. The best access is by car, with parking available against the boundary fence in Wilkinson Street.
Planning ahead is the best way to get the most out of your visit to Harper’s Mansion. Here, you’ll find answers to some of our most frequently-asked questions about visiting.
When should I visit?
Harper’s Mansion is a special garden to visit in the Southern Highlands and has something to offer every season of the year. While the maze is perennially green, the Woodland Walk glows with autumn colour, and spring brings magnificent swaths of blossoms on the flowering fruit trees and heritage roses. Garden beds burst with vegetables and herbs during summer, making this a garden for all seasons. Bring a picnic and buy some plants to take a little bit of Harper’s Mansion home with you.
How much time do I need?
To fully appreciate the splendour of the house and gardens, we recommend that you allow at least two hours for your visit to Harper’s Mansion.
Can I access the house during my visit?
Yes, access to the house is included with entry. You are welcome to self-explore, or enquire with one of our friendly volunteers for a guided tour.
What should I wear?
With both a house and extensive gardens to explore, we recommend that you wear warm clothing in the cooler months and shoes that are suitable for walking outdoors.
Will children enjoy visiting?
Yes! Harper’s Mansion is very family friendly, and with a fun maze it’s one of the top things to do with kids in the Southern Highlands. Children will have fun finding their way through the maze, as well as exploring the pretty gardens. In the house they’ll find lots to surprise them as they see how life was really lived in the early 19th century.
Can tour groups visit?
Groups are more than welcome at Harper’s Mansion. To book a group visit, call 0421 924 333 or email email@example.com
Can I bring my pet?
Well-behaved dogs on leash are very welcome in our dog-friendly gardens. Please make sure to clean up after your dog with bins provided.
Can I hire Harper’s Mansion for an event?
Harper’s Mansion is a beautiful wedding venue in the Southern Highlands and is also perfect for events and children’s parties. With a picturesque heritage garden and sandstone mansion in the background, it makes a special backdrop for all occasions. For more information, please visit our Venue Hire page.