Monday, 20 January 2014

The Melbourne Summer Series #2...Gulf Station

Are you up for a pretty post? Lots of gorgeous images follow!
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 loathe not appreciate cooking here day after day in all weather conditions in the long dresses of the 1850's. (Great to visit these days though!)

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.

Despite the property being almost like a ghost town experience, my kids were thoroughly entertained here. There is so much space to run and many out-houses to explore. The farm has a series of children's activites on offer to keep busy bodies even busier! There's a Farm Trail Walk which introduces various buildings on the property like the old school house, butchery, hen houses and piggery. There are animals too. My kids loved offering grass to these Clydesdales.

(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!
 There is a Maize Maze currently growing on the property which was to open on Boxing Day 2013 and a hay bale waterslide too. Disappointingly for the kids, neither were operational when we visited. We will be returning in a short while however to experience these attractions at this precious heritage property.
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.

Linking up for IBOT


  1. Wow it does look like a beautiful spot. What a wonderful place for you all to go and hang for a while. Thanks for sharing.

    Leaving some fairy wishes and butterfly kisses from #teamIBOT

  2. Love that old historical places are being maintained and their stories being kept alive. Looks like a great place for a visit.

  3. WOW that looks amazing. I have written it in my notebook for next time we are down that way.
    Have the best day !

  4. What an amazing homestead, I just adore places like that and learning about our pasts, it's just fascinating. It reminds me that I need to get on the bandwagon of researching my nearly 100 year old house! Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos.

    1. Wow! How lucky are you?! We too used to live in an old house and I miss it so much. I love the feeling and look of an old home. Ours is modern now and while it is easy to clean and looks good, it has no vibe or heart feeling. Definitely look into its history.

  5. Wow, its gorgeous there! It's amazing what's around our state that I didn't even know existed. Definitely have to add it to the places to visit this year!

  6. I will definitely have to visit if we come down that way - I'm a sucker for a maze!

  7. Wow it looks like it's absolutely stunning there. I love visiting places like that and learning about the history of the area.

  8. Stunning! Just beautiful, thanks for sharing. xx

  9. Oh how gorgeous is the house, the yards, the history! Love all of it...does the owner live in the Heritage house or does he live somewhere else? I love how the Kitchen is set up as if it was back in the days where the Mum of the house had to cook, and the men had to work the land. Stunning. Will add this to our must see list next time we are down that way :)

  10. Visiting old homesteads really does give an appreciate for how tough they had it back in the day, especially mums! Lovely pics xx

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