Arriving in the fledgling colony of New South Wales in 1790, John Macarthur rapidly made an impact as a pastoralist and laid the groundwork for a booming wool industry. His legacy lives on in the gracious mansion that he built at Camden, outside Sydney, where his descendants ensure that he will not be forgotten.

Story by John Dunn and Photos by Paul Green

John Macarthur-Stanham is outside checking on the cows and chickens. His wife, Edwina, is inside making morning tea for some visitors. The children – William, 16, Victoria, 14, and George, 11 – are away at boarding school. All in all this is a normal family going about its business in a normal way – but living in a most unusual situation.
The Macarthur-Stanhams are descendants of John Macarthur, who played a leading role in the establishment of the wool industry that laid the nation’s economic foundation. They are the seventh and eighth generations and they live in the house Macarthur built in the 1830s, believed to be Australia’s oldest residence occupied by descendants of its founder.
It is one of the country’s great historic houses, but it is also a functioning family home with dad, mum and the kids leading everyday lives amid the period furniture, the porcelain, the leather-bound libraries of 100 year-old books and the fascinating memorabilia dating back to the 1790s.

This story excerpt is from Issue #44

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2006