The Chifley Home, Bathurst, Australia

Story by guest blogger Al McCartan. Photos Copyright © Al McCartan.

Bathurst is in New South Wales (NSW), about two-and-a-half hour’s drive west of Sydney. Of the six states and two territories, NSW is Australia’s most populous state.

YOU’VE DONE THE Blue Mountains tour and it’s now time to go farther west. why not make Bathurst the next stop on your itinerary? Bathurst, Australia’s oldest inland settlement, and home to some pretty darn good tourist traps.

Stopping in Bathurst means enjoying the relaxed atmosphere – no hustle or bustle – over a cup of your favourite coffee or perhaps a romantic dinner in one of our many classy eateries.

Our world-famous Mount Panorama Race Circuit and museum is sure to attract the speed lovers and the wine lovers. Mt. Panorama has just completed brand new accommodations too.

There’s also a vineyard and cellar specializing in cool-climate wines. More about these in another story.

Museum lovers – hey! We’ve got them. The Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, which is home to the famous Somerville fossil collection, and the other main attraction, The Chifley Home.

The Chifley Home is a must-see. This is the home of Australia’s favourite prime minister, Ben Chifley (1885–1951).

If this house had a voice it would be telling you to come on down to 10 Busby Street, make yourself at home and look around. You’ll be warmly welcomed by curator, Sam Malloy, or one of his dedicated team members.

The Chifley Home is certainly not like other museums. No! It’s someone’s place and on entering you’d be forgiven for thinking the owner had stopped the clock in 1949.

The desk of Australia's favourite prime minister, Ben Chifley (1885–1951)

The desk of Australia's favourite prime minister, Ben Chifley (1885–1951)

You’ll see the lounge room and Ben’s favourite chair but you won’t see a television set – Australia didn’t go there until 1956 – but, yes, there is a radio and an array of newspapers of the time, and magazines.

Mr. Chifley, an inveterate pipe smoker – he was never seen without his beloved pipe – has left his pipe and all the bits and pieces, such as pipe cleaners, on display. You’ll also see other memorabilia of that era.

Central heating – nope! Open fires served to heat the rooms and beat the chilly Bathurst winters. The fuel was mainly wood or coal (coke when available). Rationing of many items abounded in the ’40s.

As you wander into Mrs. Chifley’s kitchen, you’ll see how she coped without the mod cons we take for granted today. Maybe you’ll be able to have a sneaky-peek at some 1940s recipes. Time stands still here to allow us to view the original bedrooms with the décor and furnishings of the 1940s.

Going to Mr. and Mrs. Chifley’s home is like being invited around to a friend’s place for tea and a chat. The ambience is that strong.

The Chifley Home, 10 Busby Street, Bathurst is open Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Group bookings are catered for. To find out more visit Chifley Home online or contact the Bathurst Visitor’s Information Centre (BVIC). You’ll find BVIC on your left as you cross the Macquarie Bridge heading for town, or phone 1800 68 1000.


Al McCartan doing the morning shift at 2MCE-FM Bathurst

Al McCartan doing the morning shift at 2MCE-FM

AL McCARTAN lives in Bathurst with a redhead (aka Cheryl), one cat (Milo) and about 200 stuffed teddy bears. He has worked with the Department of Defence in Canberra, as a journalist with the Army Newspaper and with the Recruiting Directorate. As a sideline he became an easy listening music DJ and he still practices that medium as morning DJ at 2MCE-FM. Al says, “Reading, writing, fine dining and music are my likes. Oh! I’m nuts about history and I like to slant my writings to the good (and bad) old days.”

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  1. Pingback: “Aussie” Al McCartan – Fear of Writing Success Story | Fear of Writing

  2. This place sounds exactly like my cup of tea. History and romance, museums and wine, with relaxation written all over it, you’ve certainly made me want to visit Bathurst. Looking forward to your article on the vineyards when you get around to doing it as I love wines but having recently moved back to the only dry state in India from the US, I am trying to keep up with the wine world via remote access!
    This is a fun article and thank you for writing it. I will store it away for the day when I finally make it down under for a visit!

  3. If i’m ever in a position to visit Australia then Bathurst and Chifley home are already on my list of places to go.

    You should write for a living sir, a superb blog. 🙂

  4. A house with a voice! Wild…

    I love this article Al … Well done. You brought the Chifley home alive and I like that you can walk in and feel it’s someone’s place and not a museum. I like the looks of the former prime minister’s desk too – inviting one to know Mr. Chifley better.

    Bathhurst sounds like a nice place to live.

    I like history too Al. Especially historical novels – it’s easier for me to take it in that way because I just love a good story.

    Cheers! catherine

    • Al McCartan says:

      Thanks, Catherine. as an afterthought, maybe I should have replaced ambience with Spirit – it is that strong.

      I just love historical novels. Especially when they’re well-researched. I read a novel about medieval France where a farmer grew tomatoes. Not in 1339 they didn’t. This means i have to be very, very thorough in research – all part of the fun. Again, thanks for reading.
      Hooray for now

  5. Great article Al!
    Maybe, check out Chifley House in this little movie, too:


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