Tanilba House was the first home to be built on Tilligerry Peninsula. It was built for Lieutenant William Caswell, a naval officer. He and his family emigrated to Australia in 1828. Caswell established farm sites at Salt Ash and Seaham (23 km north) and opted to build his homestead on the 50 acres he received at Tanilba.
Utilising convict labour he started with a slab hut in 1829, expanding to a cottage in 1831, and laid the foundations of Tanilba House in 1837, built of quartz porphyry stone which was quarried nearby. The mortar came from lime produced by burning oysters.
There is a small gaol and an exterior kitchen: reminders of the days of convicts and servants. The house has numerous and genuinely interesting historic displays: letters written by the Caswells, original fashion pieces from the late nineteenth century, old newspapers and crockery, antique furnishings and presses, a remarkable book collection with items dating back to the 17th century, and other historic memorabilia. Did we mention the ghost......
The wonderful view from the front garden, the same as that to be witnessed by the Caswells nearly 200 years ago, looks out over the gentle sloping lawns and waterfront to the nature reserve Snapper Island, and Tanilba Bay, creating a very pleasant environment to enjoy a cup of tea and a scone.
The house is open for inspections Wednesdays, weekends, and every day during school and public holidays. Tanilba House also provides afternoon teas, an annual Miniature Picture Exhibition and other ad hoc events.
Tanilba House, Admiralty Avenue, Tanilba Bay, Phone: 02 4982 4866.