Calthorpes’ House was built in 1927.
The house, its outhouses and its furnishings, household appliances, photos and the gardens remain virtually unchanged from the 1920s and thus provide the visitor with a genuine insight into the housing style and taste of middle to upper class Australians in the late 1920s. This is not a museum of bits and pieces gathered together – this house is as the family left it. The idea behind the conservation of the house is to preserve things as they are, not restore them to original condition.
As home & garden editor and journalist at the Canberra CityNews magazine Kathryn Vukovljak wrote on 6 March 2013:
Homeowners are usually there to welcome visitors, but when you pop into Calthorpes’ House, on Mugga Way, you’ll find the family’s long gone, eerily leaving all their possessions behind.
The house, though its total history, was occupied by the Calthorpes family. Harry Calthorpe (real estate agent), his wife Della, their daughters and maid moved here from nearby Queenbeyan in July 1927. Della wanted to live in the best location in town and this was it (though only three other houses were constructed in exclusive Mugga Way at this time). Harry died in 1950 and Della remained in the house until shortly before her death in 1979. The family (daughters) sold the house to the Government in 1984 and to this day still visit it with one of them being quite actively involved in its management.
Della certainly didn’t compromise when it came to furnishings – furniture and internal dressings cost well in excess of the cost of the land and as Della threw nothing out there is lots to see.
While you are free to wander around the gardens, inside you must attire yourself in little booties (to protect the floor coverings) and be escorted by a guide. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and very keen to share her knowledge with us while giving us ample time to look at things and flick though photo albums etc.
Don’t miss the Second World War bomb shelter in the backyard.
Photography inside is not permitted.
Saturday & Sunday 1.00pm – 4.00pm – Allow an hour or so for your visit.
Visitors are asked to park on the property itself and not on the roadside in this otherwise classy residential area.
Three site Admission: Visit the three Historic House Museums managed by the ACT government (see seperate reviews on the other two), Lanyon Homestead, Calthorpes’ House and Mugga-Mugga Cottage. Ticket valid one year.
Address: 24 Mugga Way, Red Hill