Point of Interest

Admiralty House

Australia / The Pacific

Admiralty House, at 109 Kirribilli Avenue, is the official vice-regal residence of the Governor-General when in Sydney.  It is a large Victorian Regency and Italianate sandstone manor, built by Lt-Colonel John Gibbes (1787-1873), Colonial Collector of Customs.  It was then called Wotonga and was a single storey building.  In 1885 it was purchased by the New South Wales Government for use by the new naval Commander-in-Chief, at which point a second storey was added along the covered verandah, as well as a large billiard room.  The name was changed to Admiralty House and the first of eleven naval commanders to live there between 1885 and 1913 moved in – Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon (1832-93).  Their occupancy is commemorated in stained glass windows on the main staircase.   Later work was undertaken on the house by the architects, James Barnet (1827-1904) and Colonel Walter Liberty Vernon (1846-1914).  

After that, the government decided that it should be the residence of the Governor-General, the first to occupy it being 3rd Lord Denman (1874-1954).  In the depression the house was closed, but it was reopened for the benefit of the 1st Earl of Gowrie, VC (1872-1955), in 1936.  The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester lived there when he was Governor-General between 1945 and 1947.  Over the years there have been many royal visitors, early ones being the future King George V and Queen Mary in 1901, and the future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1927.  The Queen and Prince Philip stayed there on their arrival in Australia on 3 February 1954, and have returned many times since, notably for the opening of the Sydney Opera House in 1973.  

Today the interior style of the house is described as late Victorian.  There is colonial furniture and artwork representative of many eras of Australian life.  Admiralty House being on Kirribilli Point, it has magnificent views across the harbour and to the Sydney Opera House.

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