Mansions, Homesteads and Significant Villas of Victoria

Mansions, homesteads & significant villas: Colonial, Victorian, Edwardian. I'd cover all Australia, but there are 100s in Victoria alone - so I'll start there...
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Mawallok Old Homestead, Stockyard Hill (174km W of Melbourne). The land was acquired 1847 by Alexander Russell of the Russell pastoralist dynasty; he built the homestead, woolshed and bluestone stables before gaining pre-emptive right in 1858. The two dams he built were fed by, reputedly, the third largest spring in Victoria. The homestead was extended in the 1860s, but eventually replaced in 1907-8. It remains on the property along with the stables, coach-house and woolshed.

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Melville Forest Homestead, Melville Forest (324km W of Melbourne), was an early subdivision off the great Koonong Wootong run. The complex, which includes a timber house (built after 1858, altered and extended), a woolshed, stables and a Chinese gardener's room, had a succession of notable owners: the pioneering Whyte family; Samuel Proudfoot Hawkins, early surveyor of Melbourne (1858-77); famous merchants Buckley and Nunn (1877-82); and the influential Laidlaw family.

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Manor House, Bacchus Marsh (57km W of Melbourne). The land was taken up 1836 by Kenneth Clarke, one of the first pastoralists in the area. In 1838 Capt. William Bacchus, retired officer and English magistrate, took over the run and in 1846-7 built a Regency style house fit for a country gentleman. In 1856 it was sold to James Elijah Crook, whose family occupied it for the next 90 years. In 1959 it was one of the first properties to receive a Nat Trust classification.

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The Manse, formerly Stanthorpe, St Kilda (Melbourne), was built c1875 for merchant Alexander Sutherland. With portico and elegant balcony, the classical residence is most likely the work of architects Crouch & Wilson. After Sutherland's death it was owned or rented by a few prominent men, inc politician Thomas Bent, then purchased by the Presbyterian church in 1919 for use as a manse. In 2000, following infrequent use and neglect, it was sold and renovated as commercial offices.

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Maretimo, Portland (357km W of Melbourne), was built c1854 for Scottish-born gentleman pastoralist and parliamentarian, John Norman McLeod. The architect was probably John Barrow. The 22-room basalt colonial Georgian house overlooks the bay, and has been called one of the most beautiful of its period in Australia. Its finely crafted Regency interiors are impressive. In 1925 the house was bought by sisters Eleanor Downing and Edith Smith, who ran it as a guest house over summer.

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Marida Yallock, Boorcan (200km SW of Melbourne). In 1854 pioneer Daniel MacKinnon acquired the lease and built the first section of the homestead in Scottish vernacular style. In the 1860s-70s the central block and north wing were added in unusual harled bluestone (rough-textured lime plastering, common in Scotland). MacKinnon's descendants still occupy the homestead and have maintained and preserved the house, outbuildings and garden essentially in 19thC condition.

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Medley Hall, formerly Benvenuta, Carlton (Melbourne), is an opulent 1893 boom-style mansion designed by Walter Scott Law for rich widow Leah Abrahams. Her family lived there until 1925; it was then used as govt offices, an Italian Club (hosting dances and boxing matches), a boarding house and, reputedly, a brothel. It housed the Italian Consulate until WWII. In the 1950s it was purchased by Melb. University for a residential college; it presently accommodates 65 students.

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Medley Hall, formerly Benvenuta, Carlton (Melbourne), is an opulent 1893 boom-style mansion designed by Walter Scott Law for rich widow Leah Abrahams. Her family lived there until 1925; it was then used as govt offices, an Italian Club (hosting dances and boxing matches), a boarding house and, reputedly, a brothel. It housed the Italian Consulate until WWII. In the 1950s it was purchased by Melb. University for a residential college; it presently accommodates 65 students.

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Espedair, Sandringham (Melbourne), was built in 1895 by George Brown, of solid brick on bluestone foundations. Overlooking the beach, and originally surrounded by a large verandah, its large block was one of over a hundred sold in the 1884 'Sandringham Estate' subdivision. The house has been modernised and extended but retains original features. Its tower, accessible via trap door and iron ladder, was used by the first residents to watch for the entrance of the mail boat into Port Phillip.

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Mandeville Hall Toorak, 1986 (1 of 10) | MANDEVILLE HALL 10 … | Flickr

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