Visit to Calthorpes’ House

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This weekend I did a quick Google search of things to do in Canberra and a place I never knew existed came up on the results: Calthorpes’ House. I saw it was about a 17 minute drive from the north side so off I set. Soon I was driving past pretty green fields under the sun and the bright blue sky. Signs started appearing, directing me to Calthorpes’ House, which is a historical house in Red Hill on the south side of Canberra. I came in on a looped red gravel driveway and drove past an impressive and large Mediterranean styled house with a lot of redness in its colouring and a bright garden full of colourful blooms.

I parked the car in the little car park by some hedges at he bottom of the garden and made my way up to the house. There were pretty little green hedges which contrasted nicely with the red gravel underfoot. Soon I had walked up the little hill and was by the front door. I saw a sign which read to meet at the garage at the back of the house for the next guided tour. I made my way to the garage, up the red gravel driveway, had a peak at the orchard out the back and entered the garage. A lady greeted me and told me the next tour was in about 10 minutes but that she could give me a talk about the history of the place in the mean time.

I paid my $7 admission and she told me all about the history of the house, the family that had lived there, that they had two cars and the two daughters went to a private school: Girls Grammar-which is just down the road. She told me that when the family moved in, the street the house is on, Mugga Way, was an affluent street in Red Hill. She said that the surrounding landscape was a sheep paddock and that the next town over was Queanbeyan. Then it was time for my tour so I set off down the garden path along the side of the house and was soon back by the front door. I rang the doorbell and put the blue covers over my shoes.

A man answered the door and ushered me inside past the netted curtains. I stood in a grand reception room with wood panelling on the walls and ornaments on a little ledge under the ceiling all the way around the room-apparently they were trophies from a keen and skillful bridge player-who was the lady of the house. The man took me through all of the different rooms of the house, which still had their original lighting. Even the maid’s bell in the kitchen was still working and he rang it to show me!

The man showed me how the kitchen connected to the dining room and how food could be passed through a little window which I thought was very handy! He also showed me that the kitchen connected to the outside of the house so food could be delivered to a back door. I looked inside bedrooms, at old hairbrushes, ornaments, toys and mirrors. I marvelled at the cosy living room with the piano, comfortable sofas and open fire place. It had heavy green curtains with netted ones underneath. Then it was time for my tour to end so I exited through the front door, had a last wander through the garden and set off home!


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