History of Brislington

Medical & Nursing Museum


Brislington House

     This gracious, two storey, Georgian building is the oldest existing dwelling house in the inner city of Parramatta. The building was constructed in 1821 for ex-convict John Hodges as a condition of his application to Governor Macquarie for a Liquor License, using money won in a card game at the nearby Woolpack Inn. To commemorate his win of 1000 pounds in gold with the eight of diamonds card, Hodges had the convict workers incorporate the diamond pattern into the rear wall in darker brick.

     When Hodges was found guilty of stealing stones from the Government Quarry amongst other misdemeanours, he was forced to sell the property. The following advertisement appeared in the “Sydney Gazette” on 14th April, 1825:-

    The property  has been recognised as being of historical significance due to its

association with notable people, playing a major role of colonial and state government in Parramatta.

Historic Medical Links

    The property was acquired by various owners until 1857 when Walter Brown took up residence, naming the house “Brislington” after his home town in Bristol, England.  Three generations of the Brown Family, spanning ninety two years, practiced medicine at the residence.

Parramatta Hospital , established since early colonial days in 1818, needed to expand as the town grew and as more land was needed the Hospital resumed the whole property of Brislington for its use. From 1949 it was used as a nurses’ home.

    Termite damage and general deterioration of the building in the early 1970s prompted questions of demolition. The State Heritage Council recommended restoration of the exterior and renovation of the interior. Self-contained accommodation was provided for Resident Medical Officers of Parramatta Hospital.

    The Medical & Nursing Museum was put together in November 1983 in response to Parramatta Council’s request to have a display on medicine. The Board of Directors made funds available for the establishment of the display, and members of the Graduate Nurses Association and other interested locals have been volunteer workers and guides for 30 years.


The house built by John Hodges in 1820’s

Dr Walter Brown c.1857