Experiment Farm Cottage

Experiment Farm Cottage stands on the site of the first land grant in Australia, made in 1789 by Governor Phillip to the former convict, James Ruse. With stories and displays, our staff and displays explain how Ruse 'sow'd the forst seed' and had by 1791 successfully farmed the 30 acre site as an experiment in self-sufficiency, proving that a new settler could feed and shelter his family with relatively little government assistance to get started.

Surgeon John Harris (surgeon, explorer, farmer, magistrate and merchant) purchased the land from Ruse in 1793 for £40. The Indian-style bungalow is thought to have been built by c1835. It is one of Australia's oldest standing properties, and features in an 1837 sketch and subsequent watercolour by Conrad Martens. The charming house is furnished to reflect the home of Harris, with simple but elegant pieces from the National Trust's collection of early colonial furniture.

Experiment Farm Cottage was the first house purchased by the National Trust (NSW) in 1961. In 2000 the Parramatta City Council acquired and demolished suburban dwellings that encroached onto the cottage, restoring long lost vistas. The National Trust landscaped and planted the immediate grounds, using evidence from early paintings, plant catalogues and photographs to recreate, as far as possible, an authentic setting for the cottage. Guided tours provide a wonderfully intimate experience, and a permanent display in the cellar tells the story of the site in all phases of its occupation; indigenous, colonial, and the present day.



Other Info


If travelling from Sydney by public transport, you can catch the Parramatta Rivercat from Circular Quay (50 minute journey) or the Train to Parramatta Station. Experiment Farm Cottage is a 20 minute walk or short taxi ride from the city centre.


Experiment Farm Cottage is a feature of the Harris Park Heritage Walk. The walk begins at Parramatta Wharf and loops around the heritage properties. It is a 2.4km, 45 min walk which also includes Elizabeth Farm and Hambledon Cottage.













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Visitor InformationVisitor Information

9 Ruse Street, Harris Park
Phone: (+612) 9635 5655
Opening Times:
Wed-Sun 10.30am - 3.30pm (last tour at 3pm)

Disabled Access: Yes

On-Site Parking:

Adults: $7, Groups (Min 15 people) $5 per person, Trust Members Free
Kids: $5
Family: $19
Concessions: $5

Special Instructions/ Directions: Free entry for National Trust members. There is limited on-site parking, a small carpark in Ruse Street and plenty of street parking available in the blocks adjacent to the property. Wheelchair access is to the ground floor only.

More Information:
Experiment Farm Cottage (National Trust of Aust. NSW)