Experiment Farm Cottage

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Experiment Farm Cottage

Experiment Farm Cottage, in Harris Park, New South Wales, Australia, is one of Australia’s oldest standing residences.[1] It is located at the site of Experiment Farm, Australia's first European farmstead, which was itself created by Australia's first land grant. It is heritage-listed at both state and federal levels.[2][3]


In 1789, James Ruse was chosen by Governor Arthur Phillip to run an experiment to see how long it would take a man to support himself. Ruse was granted one and a half cleared acres (6,000 m²) of land, as well as assistance for clearing an additional five acres (20,000 m²). He was also provided with two sows and six hens. He was fed and clothed from the public store for 15 months, after which time he had become successfully self-sufficient and was granted an additional 30 acres (120,000 m²).

In October 1793, Ruse sold his farm to surgeon John Harris, builder of the substantial colonial cottage which exists today. Doctor Harris was a prominent citizen in the rapidly emerging colony, and was also friends with John and Elizabeth MacArthur of Elizabeth Farm, another celebrated early agricultural venture only a short walk away.

Experiment Farm Cottage was purchased in 1961 by the National Trust of Australia (NSW) and was the first National Trust–owned property in New South Wales. It was extensively restored and is now open to the public.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Sue Rosen, Australia's Oldest House: Surgeon John Harris and Experiment Farm Cottage, Halstead Press, Sydney, 2010.
  2. ^ State Heritage Register
  3. ^ The Heritage of Australia, Macmillan Company, 1981, p.2/56

Coordinates: 33°49′12″S 151°00′45″E / 33.8201°S 151.0126°E / -33.8201; 151.0126