George Oakes, a well known pastoralist and politician purchased the land, on which History House was built, in 1857 when he was a member of the Legislative Assembly representing Parramatta, but it was not until 1871 that plans were drawn up for a house on the site. During the 1860s Oakes had spent a considerable amount of time overseas, but by the early 1870s he returned to his Australian interests including politics. In 1872 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly representing East Sydney and probably used his new house in Macquarie Street as a town house when Parliament was sitting. His family home was in Parramatta.
To learn more about the life of George Oakes visit the Australian Dictionary of Biography.