After a couple of days spent exploring the magnificent beaches of Sydney and seeing some beautiful sunsets, we were determined to fit a bit of culture into our Sydney trip. We set off through the picturesque Royal Botanical Gardens for Government House, Sydney. It’s a stunning building we’d passed several times on our walk from Woolloomooloo into the city. Government House happens to be the oldest public office in Australia, dating back to 1845. I know this may seem like a long time ago, but to us Brits it’s fairly recent!
The Grounds of Government House
Government House is famous for having one of the best examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Sydney. It’s currently the official residence of the Governor of New South Wales, and his wife. It has a beautiful castle-like style, and looks onto Sydney Harbour. There aren’t many better settings for such a beautiful building.
We were lucky enough to get our hands on some tickets for a tour of the building. While we waited for our tour slot, we set out to explore the grounds. They remind me a lot of stately homes back in the UK.
You’ll pass manicured gardens with carefully chosen plants and flowers. There’s a beautiful fountain perfectly aligned with the symmetrical building of the house, and of course those harbour views.
The Impressive Interior
It was time for our tour to begin. We set foot into Government House to explore the Office of the Governor of New South Wales. At our time of visiting, this was Marie Bashir, who was lucky enough to live in the beautiful building. I can certainly think of worse places to work. It was fascinating to hear about how down to earth she is despite her role, having been spotted in the local Woolworths doing some shopping. You certainly wouldn’t catch the Prime Minister in Tesco back in England.
It’s very grand inside Government House. You can see the historic decor, including hand painted ceilings. There’s an impressive array of portraits, furniture, art, and decoration on display. Our tour guide did a great job of explaining everything to us, as well as its historical and cultural connotations.
As a ‘working House’, you’re able to see the spaces that host regal and charitable events and famous visitors. These lavish areas grace the presence of so many people of political importance for dinner parties. Our guide mentioned Putin and Tony Blair to name just a few. It’s definitely worth a visit just to explore the beautiful rooms of this building, and to gain some trivia along the way.
By the time we’d finished and headed through the Botanical Gardens, the sun had started to set across Sydney Opera House.
Thank you, Sydney, for yet another magical day in your incredible city.
Have you been to Government House? If so, what were your favourite parts of the interior and the grounds? I think mine may just be the view from the garden, as well as that fabulous chandelier.