A grand colonial villa, Tusculum represents a high point in Regency architecture in Australia
About the building
Fashionable architect John Verge designed Tusculum as the second residence of business merchant Alexander Brodie Spark. Designed in the elegant Colonial Regency style, Tusculm was constructed with stuccoed brickwork, and the interiors feature cedar imported from Lebanon and marble from Tusculum in Italy.
The house was completed in 1835, and the following year Spark leased it to Australia’s first bishop, William Grant Broughton, making it the most important domestic building in the colony after Government House. Verge expanded several rooms of the home during the early years of Broughton’s stay and the grounds were greatly enhanced during his charge.
Spark was forced to sell Tusculum during the 1840s depression, and in 1852, emancipist William Long bought the house and moved in with his wife and children. As Sydney moved into the 20th century, Tusculum and the surrounding land passed through many hands. In the 1930s it served as a private hospital, and during World War II it was a base for the American Red Cross.
As the building fell into disrepair, it faced demolition, until the NSW Government took control of the property in 1983 under the Heritage Act. The NSW Chapter of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects subsequently leased the house for 99 years. It undertook extensive conservation work under the guidance of heritage experts Clive Lucas & Partners to preserve Tusculum’s integrity as a grand colonial villa.Built
Clive Lucas & Partners, 1988; Durbach Block Jaggers, 1988; Mackenzie Pronk Architects, 2013
Find out more about this building here