This majestic 42-room bluestone mansion and stables is largely in its original condition, resonating with the glory of Victoria's pastoral heritage.
On 30 June 1871 a grand ball was held at Barwon Park Mansion to celebrate the completion of the building.The imposing 42 room bluestone mansion was built for Thomas and Elizabeth Austin who had lived in the Western District at Barwon Park since their marriage in 1845.
Barwon Park, a combination of three original runs, was recognised for sheep, horses and many game species now considered vermin. As a member of the Acclimatisation Society, Thomas imported numerous species and is best remembered for his success in breeding rabbits. At the time, the rabbits and other game he bred were much acclaimed: today the praise has turned to blame.
Unfortunately Thomas Austin passed away just a few months after the magnificent housewarming ball and so the Mansion never fulfilled its potential as a leading entertaining seat in the colony. Elizabeth Austin was already established as an important hostess of the Western District (and had entertained royalty), and the Mansion was built accordingly.
The mansion hosted the wedding of her last unmarried daughter, Ellen, in 1876 but Elizabeth devoted her energies to continuing the philanthropic work begun with her husband. However, most of her contributions were given anonymously as society did not accept such a role for a woman.
The property has been owned by only two families, the Austins and the Batsons, and was left to the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) by Sidney Batson. It is gradually being restored and has benefitted from the outstanding efforts of the Barwon Park Promoters and local volunteers over more than 30 years.
Barwon Park also features a room devoted to locally born dramatic soprano Marjorie Lawrence.
GHOSTS OF BARWON PARK
*A strange moving light has been seen moving about the bedroom in which original owner Elizabeth Austin died in 1901.