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 19 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 wander 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.

(Photo: Meg Nurse)


Weddings at Retford Park

You can now get married at Retford Park! From 2019, Retford Park will be offering an exclusive and unique setting for a most romantic and memorable luxury country wedding for up to 80 guests. The impressive Victorian Italianate mansion is surrounded by a patchwork of hedged gardens. Each garden is magnificent in its own right and would make a memorable backdrop for any special occasion. More information.



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


1325 Old South Road, Bowral
Directions: Head up Merrigang Street from Bong Bong Street, the main street in Bowral.
Follow to the end of Merrigang and turn right at the ‘T’ intersection.
Watch for the Retford Park white gate, the second driveway on the left.


Open Gardens:
The gardens will open on the first weekend of each month from 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.

Open Garden & House:
Tours of the house are available on the Open Garden weekends in May and August.
Bookings are essential – Tickets for May will be available soon
Open 10am to 4pm.

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


Christmas and New Year
Australia Day
Anzac Day
Queen's Birthday

(02) 48611933
Entry Fees:

Open Garden entry fees:
Adults - $15
Concession (including children) - $10
National Trust members - Free
Family - $35

Open Garden and House entry fees: (Bookings are essential)
Please see link below in the ‘What’s On’ section.
Adult - $25
Concession (including children) - $18
National Trust members -$15

(Sorry, there are no 'House Only' tickets.)

What we offer:

What's On at Retford

A Dogs Day Out

A Dogs Day Out

After such a successful event last year, Retford Park and Friends of the Wingecarribee Animal Shelter are again partnering for a day of dogs in the beautiful grounds of Retford Park.

Fungus Workshop

Fungus Workshop

Earthly Incarnations – an introduction to the Fungi of Retford Park.

Retford Park: Made in Australia

Retford Park: Made in Australia

A assemblage of items from public and private collections of Australian colonial decorative arts.

Retford Park House Tours

Retford Park House Tours

Tour the house and gardens at Retford Park and learn about it's heritage dating back to 1812.

Old Favourites An homage to all things cherished.

Old Favourites An homage to all things cherished.

Artists of the Round Yard present their latest exhibition at Retford Park.

On the Wall

On the Wall

Paintings and prints created by participants involved in the LifeForce Centre for Learning at Anala Programs and Services.

2019 Retford Park Garden Symposium

2019 Retford Park Garden Symposium

After a successful garden symposium last year, Retford Park will host an Art of Creative Pruning series in June 2019.

Allegri Singers at Retford Park

Allegri Singers at Retford Park

Join us at Retford Park for a performance by mixed voice community choir, the Allegri Singers.


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