Experience a life of luxury at the Macleay residence, once claimed to be ‘the finest house in the colony’. Be stunned by the breathtaking harbour views, sweeping staircase, domed roof and elegant furnishings. Hear the fascinating story of Alexander Macleay’s ambition, narcissism and ruin.
With commanding views over Sydney Harbour, Elizabeth Bay House gleams like a Greek temple. Once surrounded by famous landscaped gardens, it is one of the most splendid private houses ever built in Australia and still arouses our delight and astonishment. Its elegant rooms and fine proportions, sweeping staircase and lavish furnishings reveal the tastes and aspirations of its original owner, Alexander Macleay, after the governor, the most important public official in colonial Sydney. But it was his magnificent gardens which most keenly expressed his tastes and passions, and in the economic downturn of the 1840s pushed him towards ruin. Elizabeth Bay House is an iconic Sydney home, with an iconic Sydney back-story of an obsession for property and position stretched beyond means and undone by changing financial times.