by Emmeline Leslie (née Macarthur)

In January 1836 Charles Darwin came to lunch at ‘Vineyard’, the grand neo-classical house designed by John Verge and owned by Hannibal Hawkins Macarthur, which is now the site of a factory at Rydalmere. After over four years at sea on HMS Beagle, Darwin was amazed at how English the house and its occupants seemed.