If you visit Elizabeth Bay House (or even if you don’t, as it has very limited opening hours), a heritage property built for Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay in the 1830s, do pop across the road for a look at the delightfully manicured, though small, Arthur McElhone Reserve.

Better still, take a picnic and enjoy it in this serene and hidden inner city garden which affords a panoramic, though slightly distant, view down to the heads of Sydney Harbour. Just hope you are not joined by one of the many wedding parties that come here for photographs. When you visit you will see why they come.


The reserve was originally part of the Elizabeth Bay House (to the rear in picture 2 attached) property – the lawn area within the carriage loop in front of the mansion. 249

When the property was subdivided and sold in 1927 this part remained unsold and in 1948 was acquired by the Sydney City Council. Today’s garden, featuring lovely lawns and a stone bridge across an ornamental lake filled with koi carp and lilypads was laid out by Ilmar Berzins, a Latvian immigrant and possibly Australia’s first formally trained landscape architect.

The reserve was named after Arthur McElhone, a city alderman for 44 years who died in 1946.

Location – Corner of Billyard and Onslow Avenues, Elizabeth Bay

Access – Bus No 311 or a pleasant walk down from Kings Cross

For other Sydney reviews click HERE.

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