Go to top of page

The Macarthur Rose Garden

The Macarthur Rose Garden

The Macarthur Rose Garden, planted in 1937, was the last rose garden to be constructed under the direction of Robert Broinowski (Secretary of the Joint House Department and Usher of the Black Rod).

Miss Rosa Sibella Macarthur-Onslow, great granddaughter of John and Elizabeth Macarthur, arranged to donate one hundred red 'Étoile de Hollande' roses to commemorate the major contribution by John Macarthur to the breeding of merino sheep at Parramatta (Elizabeth Farm) and Camden .

A formal grouping of trees in the Macarthur Rose Garden was undertaken in 1933, with pairs of four different species planted: Southern Nettle (Celtis australis), Desert Ash (Fraxinus oxycarpa), Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) and Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos). The Silver Maples, all surviving today, were a gift from the Canadian Government to the people of Australia .

In 1938, fifty 'Shot Silk' roses were donated by Miss Macarthur-Onslow. These were planted in the Ladies Rose Garden, in recognition of Elizabeth Macarthur and her pivotal role in the growth of the Australian wool industry.

Roses and Design

The Macarthur Rose Garden exhibits the Tea, China and Noisette roses, first hybridised during the early nineteenth century – about the same time that John and Elizabeth Macarthur established their garden at Elizabeth Farm, Parramatta .

Tea roses are hybrids of the Chinese rose species R. gigantea and R. chinensis. They are called 'Tea' roses because the flower fragrance resembles that of green tea. Of all rose types, this one is considered to have the most exquisite form and colouration.

China roses, bred from R. chinensis, were introduced from China into the West between 1760 and 1790. As with the Tea roses, industrious French rose breeders of the time quickly began hybridising.

Noisette roses originated when John Champney, of Charleston , South Carolina , crossed a pink China rose with the Musk rose R. moschata. He obtained a large growing shrub with clusters of lightly fragrant pink flowers, 'Champney's Pink Cluster'. A French grower, Phillippe Noisette, planted its seeds and grew 'Blush Noisette' – released in 1814.

A mass planting of red 'Étoile de Hollande' roses (the roses originally donated by the Macarthur-Onslow family) has been reinstated at the centre of the Macarthur Rose Garden.