Elizabeth Bay House – an opulent 1800s private home-turned-museum – was originally built to align directly with the sun’s rays. Whether the manor was designed with the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year) in mind or not, the NSW government is inviting visitors inside to watch the phenomenon.

On June 21 and June 22, from 6.30am sharp, visitors can witness the sun rise over the horizon – from the best vantage point in the city. The solstice occurs once a year when the sun is at its furthest northern point. This should mean the central axis of the Elizabeth Bay House will also be flooded by a magnificent golden sunlight. 

Andrew Jacob, curator of astronomy at Sydney Observatory, will be presenting on both mornings, helping the audience to understand exactly what they’re witnessing. Hot drinks and pastries will be handed around the fine-dining room, which is complete with beautiful French doors that open to reveal stunning views over Sydney Harbour.

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Edward Champion, the curator at Elizabeth Bay House, told Broadsheet the façade of the property will be “bathed in a warm orange glow” as the “sun’s rays shine through the front door, straight through the hall and magnificent saloon, and onto the back fence of the property.”

What was once one of the grandest residences in Sydney is now a living museum, inviting visitors to step back in time to experience Sydney's colonial history. Built by Alexander McLeay, a high-ranking official, it was started in 1835 and finished four years later.

General admission is $30. Bookings are essential.

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