Gleniffer Brae is a beautiful Tudor Manor-style house within the Botanic Garden. Built in 1938, it was originally the family home of Arthur Sidney Hoskins, who established the steel making industry in Wollongong.
The garden around the house was designed by renowned 20th Century landscaper Paul Sorensen.
In the early 1950s, the Hoskins family dedicated a large part of their estate (which did not include the house) to Wollongong City Council to be used to develop a Botanic Garden for the city.
In 1954, the manor house and some land surrounding it was sold to Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar School (SCEGGS). The school added various classroom buildings around the manor house from the 1950s to 1970s.
In the late 1970s, the school closed, and the house and its surrounds were acquired by Council and became part of the Botanic Garden.
Today, many areas of the house remain an outstanding historical example of the Hoskins era. Other parts of the house and school buildings retain their use as an educational environment by the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music.
Want to know more about the story of the Botanic Garden? Check out our History page.
Common questions about Gleniffer Brae
A walk around the surrounding Sorensen Garden and the house perched at the highest point of the garden is a must-see when visiting the Garden. However at the moment, the inside of the building is not open to the general public.
You can attend one of our 'Step Back in Time' Tours where we bring history to life with an entertaining theatrical guided tour of the house and garden. Keep an eye out on our Events Calendar for upcoming dates.
Some of the Manor House is used by the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music (The Con), so people attending classes at The Con can access part of the building.
During the 1950s, Gleniffer Brae and the land around it were bought by the Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar School (SCEGGS). The school added various classroom buildings from the 1950s to 1970s. You can learn more on our History page.
The classroom buildings are used today by the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music.
Paul Sorensen was a well known 20th Century landscape designer. He designed many notable and now-heritage listed gardens in New South Wales. He had a long association with the Hoskins family (the original owners of Gleniffer Brae) and designed the landscaped gardens around the house.
Over time some parts of Sorensen’s original design have changed, but we’ve been working to reinstate many of the garden’s original features.
You can learn more at one of our 'Step Back in Time' Tours where we bring history to life with an entertaining theatrical guided tour of the garden and through Gleniffer Brae manor house. Keep an eye out on our Events Calendar for upcoming dates.
A draft plan to care for and protect the heritage value of Gleniffer Brae has been developed. This is called a Conservation Management Plan (CMP).
This CMP is now with the NSW Heritage Council for their approval. Once approved, the plan will be used to guide ongoing maintenance and improvements at Gleniffer Brae to make sure it’s around for many more years to come.
At present this historic building is not suitable as a venue for weddings or functions.
But you can certainly take photos and use the areas outside the house – it makes a great backdrop!
The Conservation Management Plan (currently awaiting approval) will guide the future use of Gleniffer Brae for functions and community events.