Here's my second second instalment in my Melbourne Summer Series and she's a stunner.
Nestled in outer Melbourne's picturesque Yarra Valley region is The National Trust's newly opened Gulf Station.
Gulf Station is a true pioneer farm and the oldest preserved example of its kind in Australia. Originally on 25,000 acres (now 640), Gulf Station was established by John Dickson in the 1840's. In 1856, the property was transferred to William Bell and Thomas Armstrong and when Bell married Mary Ann Little in 1860, he also purchased Armstrong's share and built the Gulf Station property as we see it today. They produced eight children between them and the surviving five lived and worked at Gulf Station for the duration of their lives until the last departed in 1951.
Jack Smedley, a nearby neighbour, purchased the Station from the Bell's and presently it is safely preserved by the National Trust as a national treasure of great significance.
The homestead and its numerous outbuildings are all solidly built, serious affairs reflecting the hardships of the times. Everything had to be grown, harvested or bred onsite. Long days and nights were a reality. Yes, Pioneers had it tough! The kitchen was an example of this fact. A huge open fire produced all the food and drink requirements of this working farm's inhabitants. I would
Things just don't get more Australian than this. It's like a movie set but with a vibe of ancient reality about it.
The home itself is so pretty and picture perfect. The entire homestead smells of old wood and dust with a hint of fresh florals from a gorgeous rebuilt cottage garden. Many of the trees are original to the property and still bear fruit. Beautiful little paths wind about fringed by miniature hedges, lavender and assorted flowers and bushes. Within minutes of our arrival, my children were happily racing about the pathways at the invitation of our well-versed guide.
The home on the property is viewed via a tour. It is so ancient; robust and delicate at the same time. Sparsely decorated to reflect the hard realities of pioneer life, only a few authentic items embellish the rooms which are original to the property.
Wallpaper is peeling, paint chipped, roof beams are exposed in places and water damage evident. It all adds up to a genuine pioneer experience.
(Clydesdales were originally bred here and sold to the British Army in India!)
There's a Farm Trail Investigation for kids to follow where they collect 'hints' around the property to earn stickers which also proved a hit with my younger ones.
For me, the prettiness of the rustic old intermingled with the fresh, stunning gardens were the highlight of the visit. There were serene scenes and picturesque Australian scenes at every turn.
|This ancient grape vine still produces fruit.|
|Pretty, pretty, pretty!|
You can learn more about Gulf Station by visiting the National Trust's website here.
Gulf Station is situated at 1029 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen, 3775.
*My family were guests of the National Trust in exchange for this review.
All opinions expressed are my own.
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