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Burnett House Bliss

The simplest things in life can often be the most indulgent, and one such activity that humbly brings an air of sophistication to one’s day is enjoying afternoon tea in a beautiful garden.

By Tierney Seccull

IF THIS IS your jam (and cream), you’d be delighted to know afternoon tea at Burnett House makes a welcome return, kicking off the year with a special event to celebrate International Women’s Day. Fay Gurr is the Secretary of National Trust NT and says it’s a lovely experience in a very special place.

“To be able to sit outside in a beautiful garden, at a house that has weathered many storms and speaks to you in its own quiet way, makes it very special,” she says.

“The energy of the people that come, they’re so excited to be here. Although the offering we have here is a very simple one, I think that’s part of its charm. It’s not extravagant, it’s not over the top, but it’s charming in the sense this was built as a house for families, so there’s a certain level of that.”

Burnett House, a K type building, is the only remaining two-storey house designed by architect Beni Burnett. Built in the 1930s, it’s situated in the Myilly Point Heritage Precinct, an area that has endured the blasts of WWII as well as the catastrophic winds of Cyclone Tracy.

The resilience of Burnett House is something to celebrate, and International Women’s Day is the ideal occasion to welcome back the afternoon tea series, with women playing a bigger role in Darwin’s early days than you might realise.

“These houses were built for executive government people, who were brought up from down south. The houses in the ‘20s were low-set houses and they were terrible, the families left within the first few months. The women did not have a sense of the community, they did not feel part of anything, and the houses were so hot it was very hard to raise their children,” Gurr says.

“While International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women all around the world … this is also an achievement by women who came here and didn’t work, which was part of the culture and the time. They made homes and social connections, and supported the infrastructure of Darwin by enabling the whole family to remain.

“That in itself, pre-war, built a level of expertise and professionalism that sustained the government and the leaders of this town through dire times. I feel honoured to be part of this story and to share that with the tour groups.”

Indulge in a pastime of yesteryear in the gorgeous gardens of Burnett House. Spend a sweet afternoon sampling scones and sandwiches, washed down with tea and coffee – even a glass of bubbly. Tickets are limited, so get onto them tout de suite!

International Women’s Day High Tea
WHEN SUN 10 MAR | 1.30PM

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