2011 Australia's Oldest House? The National Trust Parramatta Lecture Series. In this painting by Conrad Martens, P. L. Campbell’s substantial house is depicted on the rise of the hill on the northern side of the Parramatta River on. Experiment Farm Cottage is located across the river to the left of the two-storey store building on the banks of the river. Campbell purchased a copy of this painting in April 1839. [Parramatta from grounds of H. H. Macarthur, Conrad Martens, 1837/1839 watercolour on paper. Caroline Simpson Collection, Historic Houses Trust of NSW] ArchitecturalSocial HistoryBiographicalColonialConference Papers/Lectures Author: Dr Sue Rosen I think its fair to say that all here would hope that when visiting an historic house, such as Experiment Farm Cottage that we could have confidence that its conservation had been undertaken to the standards set by ICOMOS, the International Council of Monuments and Sites. I believe that that the general public assume that the interpretation of historic places and the stories told of them by their trustees are based on sound research undertaken by specialists from a wide range of disciplines. People have faith in institutions like the National Trust and the Historic Houses Trust and the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Yet what I hear, when I question some dubious claim, is that the funds are not there for research. What happens is that changes are made to our most important and valued places without understanding the nature and meaning of the place. Its invariably damaging. And the stories told to school groups and interested visitors bear no relation to the actual history. Its my concern that the conservation and continuing interpretation of Experiment Farm Cottage suffers from the lack of involvement of a qualified senior historian with a broad knowledge of the early colonial period that could provide a context for interpreting the on ground architectural reality.