Retford Park, a heritage must-see in the Southern Highlands has reopened following COVID-19. We are currently opening on the first weekend of every month, from 10am – 4pm, on both the Saturday and Sunday. Visitors can pre-book in advance of our open weekends to enjoy just the gardens, or a guided tour of the house and access to the gardens. Please note that the tearoom is temporarily closed- we recommend visitors bring morning tea, lunch or afternoon tea and enjoy a picnic on the beautiful grounds.
The history of Retford Park
James Fairfax AC always believed that Retford Park should be preserved for the enjoyment and benefit of future generations, particularly those of the local district.
On 19 April 2016 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 wander through.
What you will see when you visit
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.
How to book your tickets
To ensure the health and safety of the community, the National Trust (NSW) is opening its properties with pre-booked and timed tickets. Retford Park offers its visitors two experiences they can enjoy:
Leave yourself plenty of time to explore the vast arboretum and formal gardens. View the spring flowers on display, such as peonies, arum lilies, dogwood, clematis, rhododendrons, flowering cherries, camellias and tulips. Take a picnic and enjoy a stroll around the pool pavilion and view the emus.
Tour of the House & Garden Visit: Be guided through the former residence of James Fairfax AC and see the fascinating collection of furniture, art and textiles on display then enjoy exploring the gardens at your leisure. See below under ‘Entry fees’ for pricing.
The next open date is 3-5th October. Tickets go on sale on Wednesday 30 September.
Car parking is available on site but is strictly limited. We recommend carpooling. Please read Terms & Conditions of Entry in advance of visiting.
How to keep up to date with what’s on at Retford Park
(Photo: Meg Nurse)
Please note: The gardens of Retford Park are managed sustainably.