The famous Vaucluse House, that commands the impressive view of Sydney Harbour , is actually the second house to be built on that site.
The first house, also called Vaucluse, was built by a wealthy convict who rid the area of snakes.
Sir Henry Brown Hayes, a wealthy Irish chappie who'd been Sheriff of Cork, was a strange old bird who was transported over as a guest of His Majesty in 1802.
He was in and out of trouble more times than a honeymoon dick, and on and off Norfolk Island faster than a brides nightie, yet he still managed to be pardoned by Gov Macquarie in 1810 and took himself back to Ireland in 1812.
Back in 1803 the wealthy Hayes managed to buy 105 acres at Vaucluse and build his 'umble abode with convict labour. He cleared just over half the land and spent £2,000 alone planting it with fruit trees. Awwww.
But at the time the area was crawling with enough snakes to give anyone the willies so Hayes, who firmly believed St Patrick had done the deed with the crawly buggers in Ireland, had a ditch dug all the way around his property and filled with a whole ship-worth of Irish soil he'd imported.
Must have worked coz there's no snakes there now!