Marnong Estate is a new community tourism project located in Melbourne’s northern region, just 15 minutes from Melbourne Airport and 35 minutes from Melbourne CBD. This exciting initiative has created a world-class tourism facility, whilst focusing on sustainability and protecting the rich history of the homestead and it’s location. Reviving the existing homestead and establishing an integrated heritage resort facility, vineyard, brewery and agribusiness is contributing to the local community by providing an authentic cultural and historical experience. The first of its kind in the region.
The homestead has been restored to its former glory and now provides a wonderful escape for our guests. The original Marnong homestead was constructed in sections over some decades.
The rear part of the homestead, comprising two long rectangular buildings with individual hip roofs, is the earliest part of the building and is constructed of roughly squared, undressed bluestone blocks laid in even courses. The long buildings are positioned side-by-side with a corridor in between, the whole running transversely across the rear of the rest of the homestead.
The western-most structure of the rear section is lower in height and possibly housed the kitchen and other outbuildings. The second structure, now almost in the centre of the present homestead, possibly incorporated the living and bedrooms. The front half of the homestead, which faces east, is substantially built of brick and is Victorian in styling with the front façade featuring pairs of windows on either side of a central door that has a stained glass fanlight and sidelights.
The roof to this front section is typically M-shaped and the chimneys are also Victorian in styling. The front veranda may have originally continued down both sides of this front section but has been truncated on the south side and filled in on the north side at a later stage. At the south end of the adjacent older bluestone structure there is also a faceted bay window, which would have been added at the same time as the front section.
The substantial rural holding now known as Marnong, and once called Green Grove, started off as a portion of a run called Bank Vale, which was held in the 1840s by William John Turner Clarke.
In the early 1840s, the Scotch Company was no longer able to maintain the venture and the run was subsequently taken over in early to mid 1841 by Clarke who quickly installed John Edols, a young overseer, in the vacated manager’s hut. This was Clarke’s first undertaking in a district where he was within less than two decades to own the freehold title to more than 100,000 acres. In the immediate area, however, by July 1841 he had installed his brother Lewis on the small Plover Plains run, which lay to the west of Bank Vale on the other side of the Deep Creek. And by the late 1840s, Clarke had taken over the Hill Head run which adjoined Plover Plains on the north.
The run they set up, Bank Vale, lay some twenty miles north of Melbourne, to the east of the Deep Creek (or Saltwater River), and just beyond the site of the future village of Mickleham. The land comprised undulating open pastures and was well suited for sheep. From such descriptions, it would appear that the present Marnong property is situated in what was the southwest part of this run.
The Bank Vale run itself was described as ‘one of Clarke’s most cherished stations and his only home in the Sunbury District. It was the address to which Hoddle wrote a letter in July 1850 informing Clarke that part of the Hill Head run had been leased to Captain James Pearson.
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