Lt. William Caswell (1789-1859) retired from a 23 year career in the Royal Navy to become a settler in NSW.  He arrived with his wife Susan(1806-1886) and two children per ship Pyramus in 1829.  Lt. Caswell received his initial land grants of ‘Balickera’, ‘Tanilba’, and ‘The Woodlands’ in March 1831.

Today, the property features:
  • Convict built 6 bedroom stone homestead built in 1831.

  • Overlooking magnificent Port Stephens.

  • 3 Acres of gardens and grounds.

  • Home to the first vineyard in the region.

  • Stone and timber column 30m long wisteria arbour.

  • Stone wishing Chair.

  • Original convict gaol.

  • Oldest olive tree in Australia.

  • 150 year old fig trees.

  • 150 year old Mulberry tree..

  • Circular stone wall driveway with magnificent entry columns.

 The 50 acres at Tanilba was chosen as the homestead site because of its commanding views across Port Stephens. ‘Tanilba’ signifying a place of white flowers near the water. In early 1830, prior to the grant becoming official, the Caswell family and three assigned convicts arrived by sailing ship to Tanilba. A rough slab house was built, convict huts were erected and as the family grew, a larger cottage was built, more convict servants were assigned and a gaol built, a fruit orchard, vineyard and vegetable gardens were also established. 


The Tomaree Museum Association Incorporated aims to develop a  regional museum and interpretative centre to document, protect and promote the history and changing natural environment of Port Stephens.


The Tomaree Museum Association acknowledges the Worimi people,
the traditional owners and custodians of the land and waters upon which Tomaree Museum stands. We should like to pay our respect to the Elders
past and present, and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this
website contains a range of material which may be culturally sensitive
including records of people who may have passed away.