Riversdale Ramble: Fruits, roots, boots, pursuits

So much has been happening, with preparations for our renovations, keeping the garden strong through the summer heat and getting ready for our special historic exhibition!

Unearthing Riversdale, March 5 to June 3, will feature items from the diverse past of the 1830s property, such as these children's boots. Photo: supplied

Unearthing Riversdale, March 5 to June 3, will feature items from the diverse past of the 1830s property, such as these children's boots. Photo: supplied


Late summer is “seeding time”. Many of our vegetables and flowers are heritage specimens without commercial availability, so we rely on this time to ensure their regeneration. This is also in keeping with its origins. There were no handy garden centres around in those days!

Our trusty Belladonna lilies, other wide known as “Naked Ladies”, have popped up right throughout the garden beds. Long slender stems with beautiful pink flowers and no leaves make a striking sight – with the bonus of being heat and drought tolerant!

Fruit trees are finishing and the mystery of the disappearing plums seems to have been solved, with the discovery of a large new bat or flying fox colony on the adjacent Wollondilly River! Not sure what kind they are but the plums would be a nice accompaniment to their regular insects meals and keep them regular.


On Sunday February 18 we again offer splendid opportunities to show off Goulburn’s heritage and to help us raise money for Riversdale’s upkeep! Our next “Car Boot Sale” will be accompanied by our special Devonshire Teas and barbecue with plants on sale. For sellers it’s just $10 a boot/trailer to set up so please contact Judy if you’d like a space on 0408 490 252.

Public entry is free to the grounds so come and find a bargain or simply enjoy a Devonshire Tea with us and help support your Riversdale! Better still, why not come and see Naked Ladies running through the garden beds or old bats hanging in the river trees? Your choice … both free.


Our much needed work inside the homestead is well and truly underway! The property overall will remain open for our normal hours, but due to the nature of the work the house itself is temporarily closed. Everything going well, it will reopen on Tuesday May 1.

But don’t let that stop you from popping over: we are still hosting our monthly Devonshire Teas each month, the gardens are open as usual and we will be hosting our “Unearthing Riversdale” exhibition. So please come and check out the progress!

We must give a very special shout out to our hard-working volunteer team who have spent days ensuring every single museum and shop item has been documented, carefully packaged and rooms cleaned up to facilitate the works. What would we do without them all. Take a bow!


Renovations won’t get in the way of our history. Put our “Unearthing Riversdale” exhibition in your diaries from March 5 to June 3. This exhibition features items from the diverse past of our 1830s property; a unique opportunity to see many artefacts speaking volumes about the pioneering days of Goulburn. We will also take group bookings outside of advertised hours, so please contact Dawn Giles 4821 4741 or 0409 953 859 or email riversdale@nationaltrust.com.au


In February 1817, Riversdale’s very first inn-keeper, Irish servant Matthew Healey, was convicted of stealing from his master and sentenced to seven years transportation. After completing his sentence in February 1824 mostly around Appin and Campbelltown, Matthew later worked as pound keeper at the new Goulburn Plains Pound before opening his slab hut inn and with accommodation, gaining a Publican’s License in 1830. He planted horehound which still grows at Riversdale today and brewed ‘Colonial Jamaican’ and ‘barley brew’ to sell to fellow local residents and to the newly arrived mounted police.

  • Riversdale Homestead (National Trust NSW) is at 2 Twynam Drive, North Goulburn. Open: Monday, Tuesday Thursday 10am to 2pm, Sunday 10am to 3pm. Phone 4821 4741. Email: riversdale@nationaltrust.com.au Facebook: @RiversdaleHomesteadNSW Website: nationaltrust.org.au/riversdale