(Buildings insured for $4.41M replacement value)

Live in your very own piece of New South Wales’ history while surrounded by 21st century comfort and luxury, in Skellatar House, Muswellbrook.

Designed by renowned colonial architect Edmund Blacket and his son Cyril, this grand manor home was built in 1883 for wealthy graziers Edward and Andrew Bowman, as the centrepiece of their vast Skellatar Estate in the Upper Hunter. The estate was originally created in the 1830s by Sir Francis Forbes, the first Chief Justice of New South Wales, and named by him after a Forbes ancestral estate in Scotland.

Skellatar House now occupies a commanding hilltop position on two acres (8502 square metres) on the outskirts of the township.

Held by the Bowman family until 1952, it subsequently became the property of the Roman Catholic Church, but from 1997 onwards it has been painstakingly restored as a family home. Handsome original features abound in every gracious room, yet all modern expectations of comfort and luxury are met and even exceeded.

Pass through the grand cedar front door and appreciate the fine, original Minton-tiled tessellated floor of the entry hall. Lift your eyes to the lofty 14 ft ceilings and the ornate decorative plasterwork around an archway which frames a view of the magnificent red cedar staircase.

Massive cedar doors, wide cedar architraves, deep skirtings and tall sash windows framed by wooden shutters are striking features of this majestic home, complementing the original kauri pine polished floorboards. There are seven marble fireplaces in the main rooms, which have been constructed on a grand scale which reflects the dignity of the residence.

After enjoying a meal in the huge formal dining room, you can choose to retire to the spacious drawing room, with traditional wool carpet and elegant bay window, or to the cosy informal sitting room. The ground floor also boasts a library and a stately ballroom with an impressive stone fireplace. 

The original underground cellar with brick floor, accessed down timber stairs from what is now a laundry room, has been converted for wine storage. The kitchen has been tastefully modernised to today’s standards and the adjoining butler’s pantry, with cedar-lined ceiling and timber floor, is ideal for informal meals. A small powder room completes the downstairs facilities.

The upper level accommodates the master bedroom with en suite, four guest bedrooms, main bathroom with claw foot bath, and an additional bathroom with spa tub. Two smaller bedrooms, originally for servants but now used as a sewing room and a study, sit atop an internal rear staircase leading downstairs to the kitchen area.


Wide verandahs, displaying decorative wrought iron lacework, surround both storeys on all sides, and the roof is of Welsh slate. The house has commanding northerly views to the Barrington Tops. There are external security lights and internal security and communication systems.

Outbuildings include a double garage, a large workshop and several storage rooms. Both mature and more recently planted trees provide shade in the extensive gardens, which feature an orchard and an olive grove.

Skellatar House is waiting for new owners to write the next chapter in its colourful history.