Almost 60 members and guests attended the Society’s Annual General Meeting and Christmas Party held at ‘Swifts’, Darling Point on 4 December 2012.
A Victorian castellated mansion, Swifts was designed by architect G. A. Morrel and built in several stages from 1876. It reached its present size of 50 rooms in the late 1880s. It was built for brewer Sir Robert Lucas-Tooth, Bt. and then owned by Sydney’s other major brewing family, the Resches. From 1964 to 1984 Swifts was the residence of the Catholic Cardinal of Sydney. After the Church sold it in 1984 the house fell into disrepair and by 1997 it was in a perilous condition. In 2000 restoration as a private residence commenced, involving extensive stone conservation and roof works as well as interior decorative paintwork restoration of the most elaborate kind. The interiors are now the most detailed Victorian period interiors in Australia.
Members and guests enjoyed champagne in the gardens of this beautiful and historic house before proceeding into the ballroom where former Chairman Clive Lucas detailed the history and extensive restoration of the building.
Current Chairman Liam Bathgate thanked the owners of Swifts, Dr and Mrs Shane Moran, for making the house available for the function. He also welcomed guests including the Chairman of the Victorian Furniture History Society, Relton Leaver, and his wife Bernadette. At the meeting office bearers were elected. Retiring Events Co-ordinator Jill Saxon made a presentation to Clive Lucas on behalf of the Society. Following the meeting, members and guests enjoyed a light supper and inspected the ground floor rooms of Swifts.