Tempe House


Tempe House is a colonial villa located on the southern bank of the Cooks River at Tempe.

It was built in 1836 by the architect John Verge for the merchant and businessman Alexander Brodie Spark. The six-room, single-storey house had verandahs on three sides and a cellar. Outbuildings on the southern side of the house included a detached kitchen, nursery and stables.

To the north of the house was a formal grassed area running down to the river. This area also led down to the wharf that provided access to the northern side of the river before the river was dammed in 1839. A turning circle and driveway led to the main road. To the west of the house was an extensive walled or fenced garden, and to the east a kind of planned wilderness, centred around the hill that became known as Mount Olympus.

The stables were excavated between 2004 and 2012. Other known outbuildings included a gardener’s cottage, men’s huts, store, bakery, laundry, entrance lodge and two bath houses.

Sisters of the Good Samaritan operated a laundry on site from 1885 to the 1970s. Artefacts shown below were recovered from a well and were associated with the laundry phase.

Rear of Tempe house in 2004



The photos used in this report are by Casey & Lowe. All other images are from SRNSW

The Australia Hotel Tableware
Peck's anchovette jars

Tempe House