Retford Park - National Trust of Australia (NSW)

Bowral, NSW, 2576

Retford Park - National Trust of Australia (NSW) ( Gillian - Please Login for full access)

The Retford Park gardens feature an abundance of natural delights in every season: in Autumn, the Persian Carpet perennial border is peaking, trees are turning and fungi beginning to fruit; in Winter our Winter Walk comes to life with daphne, snowdrops, witch hazel, bergenia and honeysuckle; in Spring there's a riot of colour with peonies, arum lilies, dogwood, clematis, rhododendrons, flowering cherries and tulips; and in Summer, the vast arboretum is the perfect shady place for a picnic.

Opening Times

Gardens open first weekend each month except January. If the 1st of the month is a Sunday, it is that weekend that we are open.
Bookings essential through the National Trust website.

Entry Fee: $15

Gardens open first weekend each month:
Adults $15
Concession $10
National Trust Members - free
Families $35
Please note access to the house is by guided tour only and has a strictly limited capacity.
Dogs on a leash are permitted in the grounds.

Warning: Water in the garden, Uneven surfaces, Trip hazards

Location & Contact Info

  • 1325 Old South Road,
  • Bowral, NSW, 2576

Note: From Bowral. From Bong Bong Street turn east into Merrigang Street and follow to the end where it meets Old South Road.Turn right into Old South Road and we are the second driveway on the left,follow the signs as directed to the car-park.

Local Climate Zone: 9 - Cool Temperate

Summer avg. Max: 23°C Winter avg. Min: 3°C
Avg Frost Days:45
Annual Rainfall avg: 1357mm. Summer avg. 336mm.
No. of rainy days: 51 Winter avg. 298mm.

Regularly Open Gardens (<100km)

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Selected for Open Gardens Australia 2015
Feature in Highlife Magazine Aug 2015

Garden Guide

Fountain Walk: James Fairfax AC. commissioned English landscape designer, John Codrington to redesign the garden fronting the house soon after he purchased Retford Park in 1964. The result was a central path with fountain flanked by beds of grey shru ...

Aunty Eileens Best Room

Aunty Eileen was the great aunt of our Head Gardener, Rick Shepherd. Rick has taken the 'Garden Room' to another level - complete with a living couch. Yes you can sit on it- but please don't sit on the cushioned chairs- aunty can get very cross...

Dog Cemetery

Behind the stone balustrade (from Retford Hall, the now demolished Anthony Hordern property at Darling Point), are buried many of James Fairfax's dogs. The largest stone in the centre is where the ashes of James Fairfax are buried- his wish was to rest with his beloved dogs.

Pool and Pavilion

Completed in 1969, the Guilford Bell designed Pool, Pool Pavilion and Lily Pool are a statement of modernism. With their enclosing hedges and rural vista to the East, one can only imagine sipping drinks in the pavilion (sitting on the Bell designed furniture) after plunging into the pool on a warm summer afternoon.

Fountain Walk

James Fairfax AC. commissioned English landscape designer, John Codrington to redesign the garden fronting the house soon after he purchased Retford Park in 1964. The result was a central path with fountain flanked by beds of grey shrubs and a double row of Italian cypress. The garden was renovated in 2013 when the last two cypress were removed and additional planting of grey green shrubs took place, finely clipped into what is now known as the Blobbery.


The garden team at Retford Park proudly maintain the ten hectares of heritage gardens without the use of harmful chemicals.
Weeds are controlled without the use of glyphosate- volunteers play a big role here with regular weeding days. There are no insecticides, miticides, fungicides or other nasties used. The only herbicide used is 'Slasher'- an acid derived from geraniums that is registered for use on organic gardens. We use predatory mites obtained from 'Bugs for Bugs' to control mites on the Rhododendrons and Azaleas. Almost all garden waste is either composted or made into mulch to build the organic content of our soils. No artificial fertilizers are used. Birds are encouraged with nest boxes, safe watering stations, and the planting of native shelter belts. (See image of volunteers and staff planting a windbreak to protect the orchard.) So come and see how things can be done without harming the planet!

Visitor Comments

A beautiful garden, reminiscent of a England's great gardens.
Tim - September 2019

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