Retford Park

James Fairfax AC has always believed that Retford Park should be preserved for the enjoyment and benefit of future generations, particularly those of the local district. On 19th April 2016 and in fulfilment of his ambition, Mr Fairfax gifted his historic Retford Park home to the National Trust of Australia (NSW). It was in August 2017 that the National Trust officially took control of the property.

Retford Park is a place of great heritage significance. Its European history extends back to grants of land promised to Edward Riley senior by Governor Macquarie in 1821.

The house was built in 1887 by Samuel Hordern (1849-1909) merchant and stockbreeder, and his wife Jane nee Booth. The house at Retford Park (designed by Albert Bond) is set on a low rise, a grand rendered brick Italianate style residence. It was in 1964 that James Fairfax bought the property and started to turn it from an agricultural property to a gentleman’s residence.

Having been in the caring hands of Mr Fairfax for over 50 years, the garden is a delight to wonder through. As you venture up the driveway the grand Victorian Italianate homestead appears from a towering arboretum of a magnificent collection of evergreen and deciduous trees, some very rare and unique.

Surrounding the eastern side of the homestead is a patchwork of hedged gardens showcasing everything from a detailed knot garden, exquisite swimming pool and pavilion, sculptures demanding centre stage and even a friendly family of five emus.



Please note: The gardens of Retford Park are managed sustainably. Herbicides and other chemicals have been phased out.


1325 Old South Road, Bowral


Open Gardens:
From March 2018 the gardens will opened on the first weekend of each month.
Open Garden & House:
Retford House and garden will be open on the first weekend of May and August, 2018.
Open : 10am to 4pm.
Please note: if the first of the month falls on a Sunday, it is that weekend that the garden and/or house is open to the public.

* Retford Park will also host a number of special events throughout the year – all will be listed on this page.*

(02) 48611933
Entry Fees:

Open Garden entry fees:
Adults - $14
Concession - $10
Children - $5
National Trust members - Free

Open Garden and House entry fees:
(NOTE: House and garden are only available in May and August 2018)
Adult - $22
Con - $18
Child - $10
(Sorry, there are no 'House Only' tickets.)

What we offer:

What's On

Music in the Pool House

Enjoy a lazy afternoon listening to the Retford Park String Quartet.


Plant Motifs

An exhibition of prints by mid to late 20th Century Australian print makers, inspired by the natural world.


Art and Culture of Retford Park

Learn about the art James Fairfax collected on his world travels.

Retford Park garden open day house

Retford Park Open Gardens

Walk around the beautiful gardens of Retford Park.


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