It was about 15 years ago now that my then fiance' and I attended a lovely wedding at a place called "Emu Bottom Homestead". We travelled about 40 kilometres out of Melbourne into a lovely country setting and found the homestead quite easily with use of a map and the markers along the way on the major roads.
The story of Emu Bottom Homestead begins on August 30 1835, when the schooner "Enterprise" sailed up Port Phillip Bay. On board was the first party of settlers who built the huts of the banks of the Yarra from which the City of Melbourne then grew. Among that group was George Evans, who after exploring the area, chose to settle 40kms from the city, in a picturesque valley.
It was here, in 1836, that he built the handsome stone building now known as Emu Bottom Homestead. George Evans named his homestead 'Emu Bottom' because he had settled in the low lying ground of the valley well frequented by large flocks of emus. He was a bachelor of 51 years when he set about building his homestead of sandstone. This was gathered from large rocky outcrops he had discovered in the valley. The timber was also cut from the surrounding countryside.
At this time there were five thousand sheep and well as other live stock which grazed on the large parcel of land on which George Evans had claimed as his 'run'. Evans also became a successful breeder of draught horses. It was a tough life for the early settlers, but George Evans' early efforts were rewarded and life flowed on successfully at Emu Bottom.
In 1843, when he was fifty eight, he married a young girl of eighteen called Anne Holden and in the ensuing years six children were born. Towards the end of the fifties, Evans purchased "The Royal Oak" in Queen Street, Melbourne. He became licensee of the hotel from 1861 -1865 and after that time he lived next door until his death in 1876.
Nowadays, Emu Bottom Homestead hosts many a get together for families, friends and people in the local community. Not only for picnics, but for weddings, birthdays and even fundraiser events for charities. The homestead is heritage listed as is the Woolshed which is in the outer yard of the property and used to host many a get together.
The Homestead was the setting for the movie "Cash and Company" (1975) which was set in the Gold Rush era of the 1850's. It was a story about a Bushranger named Martin Cash which is a whole other history lesson yet again!
If you click on THIS LINK you can scroll through and see the events up and coming, and also get to see some quality photos of the place. The gardens are just divine.
It truly is a place worth visiting if you ever want to go for a day trip out of Melbourne. A memorable one at that.
*Images courtesy of travel.webshots.com Click on images to enlarge them.