Tempe House sits on the southern shore of the Cooks River, in the southern suburb of Wolli Creek. This heritage listed house was designed by John Verge and built in 1836 in the Neo-Classical Georgian architectural style. The estate was owned by merchant Alexander Brodie Spark and named after the 'Vale of Tempe', a beautiful valley in ancient Greek legend set at the foot of Mount Olympus in Greece. The small hill on the eastern side is also known as Mount Olympus and the estate gave its name to the suburb of Tempe, on the northern shore of Cooks River. In 1863, philanthropist Caroline Chisholm ran an educational establishment for young ladies in Tempe House. From 1887, along with the nearby St Magdalen's Chapel, it was part of The Retreat, a charitable refuge for women known run by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan.