Welcome to the Turkish Bath Museum, located in the grounds of the Wynstay Estate. Wynstay, then known as Yarrawa, was the first property to be established in Mt Wilson in 1875, by Richard Wynne, the first Mayor of Burwood NSW and the benefactor of the Wynne Art Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW. The evidence now available suggests that Richard Wynne built the Turkish Bath in the 1880s for his wife Mary Ann, who had been in poor health. His library shows us that Richard Wynne had a keen interest in natural therapies and in the therapeutic benefits of Turkish Baths.
The Turkish Bath is an unusually fine example of the late Victorian style of architecture, with polychrome brickwork and Italianate details. It also bears some Turkish allusions in the red-brick cross pattern along the upper exterior walls. The brickwork throughout is skillfully laid and finished with fine tuck-pointing. For insulation against rapid loss of heat the 450mm double cavity walls were a most unusual feature for those times.
Richard Wynne had come to Australia as an assisted migrant from Dublin in 1842. He was described on the ship's manifest as a bricklayer, and according to family tradition he made the darker red bricks in the building from local clay.
The stained and hand-painted glass windows, identified as having been made in England in the 1880s, are a rare and beautiful feature of the building. The elaborate turret has oval timber louvres for ventilation, an ornate cast-iron filial and other ornamentation. Cast-iron cresting extends along the ridge of the roof. The original corrugated roof sheeting was only replaced in 2010 with galvanised steel barrel-rolled in Adelaide to match the original.
The three main rooms have tiled floors which slope downward from a centre ridge to floor-level wall vents. The original ceilings, covered by a 1920s adaptation of the building, were concrete and coke barrel-vaulted structures, similar to one that may still be seen in the basement area.
In 1995 the owners of Wynstay began planning, with other interested local people, to make this fascinating building available to the community to set up a museum of local history. In 1996 this dream became a reality when the building and its precinct was leased to the local historical society for a period of 50 years at a nominal rental of $2 per year. With the help of local fundraising and generous financial support from all levels of government, the building was conserved and refurbished and in the Spring of 1997 was officially opened by Ms. Hazel Hawke, who at the time was Chairperson of the NSW Heritage Council. At the same time a spectacular exhibition was opened to celebrate the Centenary of the Wynne Art Prize, displaying paintings by past winners of this award.
The Museum is now open to the public regularly, with volunteer guides on hand to tell about the exhibitions of local history, the building and many other heritage-listed sites in this garden village.
The wrought iron gate to the Museum area was recently made by Scott Leonard, a local resident and metalworker.
Call Milba - 02 4756 2120 if you have questions about opening times.
A very interesting historical paper pdf Historical Paper No 6 The Turkish Bath in 19th Century Australia (1.45 MB) is linked here; this published paper, along with others, are found on the Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine Historical Society section of this website.