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BOOK REVIEW

Remembering Melbourne 1850-1860 by Richard Broome et al.

(Published by The Royal Historical Society Melbourne, 2016, $35.00)

This new release celebrates the history of the suburbs and the city of Melbourne. The RHSV, in collaboration with historians and local historical societies, has delved into its incredible collection of images (35,000 photographic prints) to produce this well indexed and captioned reference. The evolution of photography, coinciding with Melbourne’s progression, has facilitated this record of architecture, parks and gardens and Melbournians going about their daily business.

Part One takes the reader on a journey down the streets and back lanes revealing the mixed heritage of styles and eras throughout the city. Part Two explores suburban Melbourne with images and captions of the built environment in each local area. Open space, the Yarra River and our most significant parks and gardens complete the record of Melbourne’s development. Thank goodness for our founding fathers wisdom, as the developer’s practice of filling every space with built structures is as evident in the 1860’s images as it is today.

Anne Vale – contributing author

REMEMBERING MELBOURNE FRONT COVER for web
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Eurambeen Historic Homestead and Gardens

An Historic Landmark of Victoria’s rural heritage, built in 1850 with a three acre garden designed by Edna Walling which was commissioned when the home was extended in 1927.

Originally named ‘Mt. Cole Station’, the property was taken up by the Campbell brothers who built a wooden homestead on the site in 1840.

The blue stone wool-shed was built in 1845. The homestead was begun in the 1850′s by Francis Beggs.

The present owners are in the process of restoring the homestead, gardens and out buildings back to their original condition.

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Heritage garden Narmbool recovers from devastating fire

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The heritage garden at Narmbool (just outside of Elaine) was severely damaged by a significant bush fire just before Christmas 2015. According to the Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Johnson ‘the beautiful homestead precinct, the lodge, some of the garden and the learning centre survived thanks to the efforts of staff in particular Gill, Mick, Peter and Anthony and the CFA (Country Fire Authority) volunteers but the fire destroyed fencing, some bush camp facilities and a large number of sheep, there is a huge recovery task ahead’.

Narmbool is a magnificent 2,000 hectare pastoral property with a bluestone homestead and it had stunning gardens. I was fortunate to visit with the Australian Garden History Society in 2012. We thoroughly enjoyed the English-style gardens surrounding the bluestone homestead including beautiful roses and other ornamentals, native plants and grasses. A water feature leads to the Wayaperri Garden, which was planted in 2004 (In the language of the Wadawurrung – the Indigenous people of the area – Wayaperri means to ‘gather’ or ‘meet’). More recent additions to the garden included a large pond, complete with a footbridge, water lilies and frogs. Narmbool is also home to 12,000 sheep in a sustainably managed pastoral setting which includes koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and platypuses.

 

 

Five months on, after a mammoth effort by the garden staff, the restoration of the garden is well underway. The fire was so intense that even the blue stone path edgings had splintered. These have been replaced and reset. A fine black powder was all that remained in the 50% of the garden affected by the fire. Fresh soil and lots of organic compost has been brought in and the melted irrigation system replaced. And some would say now for ‘the fun part’, choosing a new planting palette. With any natural disaster like this there is often an opportunity to reassess the planting style. Water has been an increasingly precious commodity so much of the new planting has been selected for its ability to withstand long dry periods. The garden is a popular location for weddings with more brides wishing to have their wedding in the winter. Another selection criterion has been to choose plants that have long seasonal value including winter colour and form. The Narmbool Site Manager Gillian Armstrong and the two full time gardeners have done a marvellous job in preparing the garden for a new lease on life. The garden at Narmbool will resume its traditional Open Garden Day in November 2017.

Post fire images Gillian Armstrong

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