Yesterday as part of the Open Garden Scheme, with friends, I visited Banongill Station near Skipton in the Western District of Victoria, 120 kms from where I live. It was spectacular and well worth the hour and a half's drive to see such a place and enjoy its history.
William Guilfoyle in the 19th century – it features wide lawns sweeping down to Mt Emu Creek, formal garden beds, wide gravel pathways, unusual plants, massive European trees, garden beds with roses, shrubs and succulents, the most wonderful wisteria covered pergola, and bluestone terraces filled with bulbs. There are also wild areas where the grass has been allowed to grow long, full of more Spring bulbs, an orchard, and a formal vegetable garden. The brownish pinky colour is the creek, covered with a water weed that gives it that colour.
Banongill Station which was first settled in 1853, where the original bluestone cottage is now part of the homestead kitchen, has had only 6 owners in the time since, with one family owning it for over 100 years. The property is a working station with over 17,000 acres of productive land specializing in fine wool, beef cattle, lamb production and crops. The very large homestead is surrounded by over 14 acres of garden that was originally designed by
Despite its size, this garden was immaculate, no doubt the result of constant hard work by the three gardeners who care for it and the commitment of the present owners to safe guard its history and protect it for future generations. This kangaroo sculpture was made from the same brushwood as is used for fencing common in South Australia, and was about 7 feet tall. Some bright spark has placed a single daffodil under his arm, so he looks very much part of the day.
It was a great day out, with morning tea on the way there, and a late picnic lunch on the way home, followed by a quick visit to the Skipton Cemetery to locate the grave of one of my friend's great, great grandfather who had settled in the area in the 1850's.