Thursday, January 17, 2008

Historic Point Cook Homestead

2 weeks ago, I travelled to Werribee to visit the Werribee Open Range Zoo and Werribee Park.

Last week, I went to Werribee again, but to visit two other places; the Historic Point Cook Homestead and RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) Museum, Point Cook with Phiaw.

As we entered the Point Cook Homestead property, our attention was focused on a humble fig tree.

At first glance, it looks pretty ordinary; however,

...this fig tree is believed to be the largest in Victoria, and is listed on the National Trust's Significant Tree Register. It fruits twice annually, however the figs are small and inedible and are only consumed by chooks and possums.

In 1852, a Scotsman, Thomas Chirnside purchased the property and finished building the main homestead in 1857. Together with his brother Andrew, they built a vast and successful pastoral empire and in 1877 completed the grand Werribee Mansion.

Overall view of the Homestead

An architectural historian, who happens to be my lecturer in the University of Melbourne summarised the importance of the homestead as follows:

"One of Victoria's earlier pastoral homestead complexes, incorporating part of a particularly early timber house thought to be of c.1849, a bluestone house and service wing of 1857 with a number of essentially compatible additions but with intrusive internal alterations from 1920's onwards, and a stable block of a similar date and of some charm, and with association with the famous racehorse Newminster. The group is enhanced by its bayside location and its relative isolation in a rural landscape, and is unusual in its proximity to Melbourne."

Miles Lewis, 1984

This small timber building is possibly part of the original homestead. Of course, it now has a zinc roof to protect the original shingled roof from the elements.

Rear view of the main building

How I wished that I could have a house next to the beach, and wake up to this sight every morning ! You can barely see Melbourne's skyline to the right.

Dead tree

The front of the main building built by Thomas Chirnside in 1857. The glass windows to the verandah were part of a major refurbishment of the property in the 1980s.

The house is currently being restored by the National Trust. This is the interior of one of the front rooms.

The rest of the house has been tastefully refurbished to accommodate the caretaker and her family

We then proceeded to the rear of the house.

Side view of the house. You can see how close the house is to the seaside on the right.

The supervisor of the property who works with the National Trust has built a little farm to the back. The sheep were pretty startled by our presence when we approached them.

Now I know how it feels like to be the black sheep of the family.

The small little buildings to the left are portable toilets. They were necessary because there was no sewerage system available on the property at that time.

The building on the left is an abandoned water tank, while a blue stone stable is to the right.

This remarkable stable has housed several Melbourne Cup winners during its use. Those days, people would poison each others horses to foil their attempt to win the Cup.

The farmers would use those pulleys to hoist hay into the attic, and drop them down to the horses below during feeding time.

A National Trust volunteer (of which our tour guide was one of them) restoring and painting an old wagon.

By the way, the colours don't have any significance on their own. They were simply chosen to make the wagon look more 'pretty'.


Aleckii said...

How do you take those pictures? They all look amazing... Which digicam do you, I need one soon!

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