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Friends of the First Government House Site Inc
Model Government House

(for more photos of the model click onto Photos)
Members of the Friends and the general public were treated to an in depth description of Government House and the making of the model by Jane Kelso, Curator of the Museum of Sydney on the site of the first Government House on 4 July 2010.


The model is on permanent display and is very particular to detail down to shingles that were not aligned, moss on the wall an so on.  Under the display artefacts are shown which were found during the archaeological dig in 1984.  These artefacts are on a grid which shows where on the site they were found.


The model is of the Macquarie period and therefore as it was just before the new Government House in the Botanic Gardens was built.  It is styled from the 1836 Charles Rodius water colour painting.  The original house built by Governor Phillip can be clearly seen, but you will notice that at some time the door was moved to the east.  Most of the Governors made additions to the house which made it a little topsy in that it followed the line of the land and so sloped up towards the east thereby necessitating some steps from room to room in some instances.


It was explained that not all plans are available, for instance it is known that there were various outbuildings, but the buildings on the model cannot be exact as plans do not exist for all of them.  However, they knew the kitchen was outside with a breezeway joining it to the house.  As plans were not always available, descriptions of the house in letters and journals were of valuable use to both Jane Kelso and the model maker.  For instance in one letter it is described that access could be gained to the front verandah through the open French doors.  Obviously at one time windows had been extended into French doors.


The Museum of Sydney on the site of the first Government House and the Historic Houses Trust are to be congratulated for this excellent display which not only shows the house, but also invites questions.


Trudy Holdsworth

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