James Fairfax AC has always believed that Retford Park should be preserved for the enjoyment and benefit of future generations, particularly those of the local district. On 19th April 2016 and in fulfilment of his ambition, Mr. Fairfax gifted his historic Retford Park home to the National Trust of Australia (NSW). It was in August 2017 that the National Trust officially took control of the property.
Retford Park is a place of great heritage significance. Its European history extends back to grants of land promised to Edward Riley senior by Governor Macquarie in 1821.
The house was built in 1887 by Samuel Hordern (1849-1909) merchant and stockbreeder, and his wife Jane nee Booth. The house at Retford Park (designed by Albert Bond) is set on a low rise, a grand rendered brick Italianate style residence. It was in 1964 that James Fairfax bought the property and started to turn it from an agricultural property to a gentleman’s residence.
Having been in the caring hands of Mr Fairfax for over 50 years, the garden is a delight to wonder through. As you venture up the driveway the grand Victorian Italianate homestead appears from a towering arboretum of a magnificent collection of evergreen and deciduous trees, some very rare and unique.
Surrounding the eastern side of the homestead is a patchwork of hedged gardens showcasing everything from a detailed knot garden, exquisite swimming pool and pavilion, sculptures demanding centre stage and even a friendly family of five emus.
Note: The gardens of Retford Park are managed sustainable. Herbicides and other chemicals have been phased out.
From March 2018, the gardens will be open to the public on the first weekend of each month (except January). Although food and refreshments will be available when the garden is open for public inspection, you are more than welcome to bring a picnic as there are many idyllic spots to claim for a lazy lunchtime.
Open Garden entry fees: Adults – $15 Concession – $10 Children – $5 Family (2a, 2c) $35 National Trust members – Free
Tours of the house are available on the Open Garden weekends in February, May, August and September. Bookings are essential on on their website.
(The gardens are part of this ticket price)
* Retford Park will also host a number of special events throughout the year
Open Garden and House entry fees: (Bookings are essential)
Tickets: Adult – $25 Concession (including children) – $18
National Trust members -$15