Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A fun outing with bags of history

Last Sunday my sister Rachael and I went on a historic tour to a couple of local properties, both of which I had been very keen to investigate :)
We started our tour at Dorset House ( I call it Benjafield House, as do many).
Built in 1840, it is an amazing Georgian homestead and I have to say, we were all so happy to step inside its cool depths on a day that was about 36 degrees Celsius.
Having peered over the fence many times, I was thrilled to be able to wander through the property and grounds at my leisure. Because it was so dark inside my pics are pretty horrible, but I wanted to share them anyway :)

The subtly toned entrance stained glass.

A beautifully painted table top.

I absolutely adored this planter. The owner Val had the most incredible collection of blue and white china. Swoon!

Each room was so ornate and heavily furnished. We didn't know where to look!

It really was like a museum and the owners were most trusting letting us freely wander through the rooms.

Outside, the garden was just beautiful. I just haven't captured it well at all.

Lots of shady spots and nooks and crannies to explore.

Out front are two massive Canary Island Palms. Just beautiful (ha! I keep using that word).

From there we walked a few streets away to the New Town Rivulet and our destination, Greenleas.
Whilst we didn't tour inside the many buildings on this sprawling site, we wandered through the gardens with our host as she talked us through the highly interesting history of the site.
But first, we enjoyed afternoon tea!

Aren't these macaron beautiful? They were quite petite in size, hence me scoffing four of them. Well, someone had to eat them, it would have been rude not to :)

One of the interesting aspects of this property C1821 was the high walled garden, complete with security system aka broken glass bottles concreted into the top of the wall. The reason for this? The courtyard was used to grown crops of tobacco.

Originally a 3 storey home, it suffered considerable fire damage in the 1890's and was restored back to 2 storeys.

Lots of interesting textures...

Funnily enough, the daughter of the owner of Dorset House bought this home with her husband in 1911 (just after our house was built) and their descendants still live there today.

These last few images were taken in an engine room of what was a pioneering cool-store for the refrigeration of export fruit. Well, we are the apple isle, aren't we?

I was very interested to read that famous Australian artists Tom Roberts and Frederick McCubbin (amongst others) visited the site. A painting of the homestead by McCubbin is in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. Fascinating!
Well, I hope you enjoyed our little tour.
Oh my, can believe it's the last day of summer? I'm not very happy about that.
Happy Leap Year day to you all. Surely we should all have the day off work today?


  1. Great house Sarah...really gorgeous

  2. What a terrific tour Sarah and I absolutely adored seeing it all through your artistic eyes.

    As for that bowl of macarons?!?!?
    How picture perfectly mouth-watering are they?

    Happy day Lovely!

  3. Happy Leap Year to you too Sarah B.

    What fascinating buildings you have in Tasmania. I really do love Australian history, and being able to see it first-hand must be a thrill.

    I'm not sure I'd let hoards roam through my historic house (though I may feel differently if I indeed had one!).

    Kiss Molly.

  4. Wow how fantastic Sarah, is benjafield house the one in moonah/glenorchy? I love houses like that, always day dream about owning one some day! Fat chance : )

    Plus mini macarons! Awesome!

  5. What amazing houses! I would have loved to come along and explored them too, I would definately have loved those macaroons for afternoon tea! X

  6. So fabulous to see what you'd been raving to me about, Sarah. I can now see why! J x

  7. Oh wow, I wish we had something like that over here. Perhaps we do? The owners must be very trustworthy as you say letting strangers wander through their homes with all their precious possesions on display. How nice to have a stickybeak inside such lovely homes x

  8. My husband grew up in the Moonah area in the 50's, 60's and 70's and today was the first time he had ever seen the house. Absolutely impressed with it, its architecture and some of the very, very old plants. What a little gem. Treasure it as I know you will.

  9. What amazing houses! never seen one like it. Have fun


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