Nestled among Morton Bay Fig Trees and purple Jacaranda petals, Horsley is a heritage-listed homestead whose story dates back to Australia’s convict origins.
Horsley stands on part of Colonel George Johnston’s 2000 acre land grant received in 1805 from Governor King for Johnston’s part in quelling an Irish convict uprising at Vinegar Hill in 1804. After Johnston’s death in 1823, his youngest daughter, Blanche, inherited the property, known as ‘King’s Gift’. Blanche married Captain George Edward Nicholas Weston, who had served in the British army and as a judge in India. Weston had come to N.S.W. in the 1820s to visit his brother William Francis Weston and liked what he saw of the colony.
In order to settle permanently in New South Wales, the Westons left for India in 1829 for two years to finalise Captain Weston’s private affairs and on their return in 1831, they brought with them George Weston’s two children. The family was later extended by four girls and three boys.
With the help of convict labourers, they built their large hipped-roofed bungalow that emulated the style of Indian colonial architecture and the life Weston had experienced in India. The house was named “Horsley” after Captain Weston’s family home, West Horsley Place, near Ripley in Surrey, England.