Built between 1835 and 1839, Elizabeth Bay House was known as 'the finest house in the colony'. Designed by the most fashionable and accomplished architect of the day, John Verge, for the Colonial Secretary, Alexander Macleay and his family, Elizabeth Bay House is a superb example of colonial architecture in a magnificent setting overlooking Sydney Harbour. The house was restored and opened as a house museum in 1977. Elegantly furnished to the period of 1839 to 1845, the interiors reflect the lifestyle of the Macleays and present an evocative picture of 19th century life. The house was once surrounded by an extensive 54 acre garden and described as a 'botanist's paradise'. Alexander Macleay was a renowned gentleman scientist who established a significant library and entomology collection and had extensive interests in botany.