Australian Historical Art Fund & Heritage Government Residences

Government House

Government House-Yarralumla

Government House, Canberra is the primary residence of the Governor-General of Australia. The house is set in 53 hectares of gardens, lawn and parkland at Yarralumla.

Lady Murray

Portrait of Lady Murray, Unknown Artist, 1860

The pastoral property of 'Yarralumla' dates back to 1828 and has had various owners including Terence Aubrey Murray and his wife Mary (née Gibbes) who in 1837 enlarged the house, planted the deodar tree and created the carriage driveway to the house all of which remain today. A watercolour of Murray’s second wife Agnes hangs within the house.

Frederick Campbell who purchased the house in 1881, was the grandson of the merchant Robert Campbell who built Duntroon, now The Royal Military College, Canberra and who at one time owned the land that Admiralty House, Sydney was later built on. In 1891, Frederick Campbell built the three-storey house that today forms the main part of Government House, the Campbell crest can still be seen on the gables.

The property 'Yarralumla' remained in private hands until 1913 when Canberra was chosen as the site of the Nation’s capital, and it was purchased by the Australian Commonwealth Government.

In 1925 work began to extend the house and numerous additions were made to accommodate Lord and Lady Stonehaven the first vice-regal occupants. By 1927 a large garden was established and the name of the house had been changed from ‘Yarralumla’ to Government House.

Since its early days as a vice-regal establishment, Government House has provided an historical and cultural backdrop to many official functions held each year by the incumbent Governor-General. These include visiting royalty, heads of state and dignitaries, investiture ceremonies, and charitable events.

Among the artworks on loan to Government House by The Australiana Fund, there are objects with regal and vice-regal provenance, indigenous association, cultural and historical significance.

For further information about the history of Government House click on the link below.