History of Strickland House
Strickland House grounds are one of the most popular viewpoints on Sydney Harbour and are managed by the Government Property NSW. The grounds are located at 52 Vaucluse Rd, Vaucluse and are open to the public year round.
Strickland House was first named ‘Carrara’ after the Italian town where the marble garden vases and two dogs guarding the house were sourced. It was part of a larger estate owned by the famous explorer William Wentworth who opened up the way for transport across the Blue Mountains. He gave the 12 acres of land to his eldest daughter Thomasine when she was 19, on her marriage to Sydney barrister T.J. Fisher in 1844. He also commissioned her portrait to be sculpted by Charles Abraham just before her wedding and it is part of the Vaucluse House Collection, Sydney.
Architect Fredrick Hilly was engaged to design the house when the property was purchased by Charles Lowe 10 years later. It was completed in 1856 by John Hoskings, who was the first Lord Mayor of Sydney.
The house was owned from 1888-1900 by Arthur Wigram Allen, founder of the well-known Sydney law firm Allen, Allen and Hemsley which is now Allens Arthur Robinson. It became a primary boarding school for boys until 1903, which then moved to its current premises at Tudor House, Moss Vale. In 1915, during World War I, it was made a women’s convalescent hospital and it remained as a hospital until 1989. It is now used for movie and TV filming, featuring in Baz Luhrmann’s film Australia.
Each year around 1,000 visitors watch the New Year’s Eve harbour fireworks from the historic house grounds and TV crews broadcast the fireworks from the site.