Elizabeth Farm - History - Family


John and Elizabeth Macarthur, with their frail son Edward, arrived in Sydney, two years after their wedding, in 1790. It was another three years before a house was built at Parramatta, 23 kilometres upstream from Port Jackson. From nine births, seven children survived infancy. In coming decades, the family's trading and farming interests, along with John’s political conflicts, ambitions and affairs, came to dominate colonial society. Elizabeth Macarthur, not always content, remained in Australia for the rest of her life, while John returned twice to England forging contacts and patronage and directing his sons' education. Towards the end of his life, John Macarthur devoted himself entirely to the development and promotion of trade in colonial wool – the backbone of Australia’s economy for the next century. As a result, Elizabeth Farm is stamped on the national consciousness. By the 1830s, having enlarged and refined his Regency Bungalow, Macarthur's health was in serious decline, along with his grasp on politics, business and family affairs. His death in 1834 brought renovations to a halt, leaving the homestead unfinished. His handsome library, drawing and dining rooms, though newly plastered, were still unpainted. Cedar joinery was yet to be fitted. A much needed wing of bedrooms was never built. Elizabeth Macarthur lived at Elizabeth Farm, against the wishes of her children, until her death in 1850.

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