WINTER (JUNE & JULY) 2015 OPENING HOURS:
THE HOMESTEAD, CAFE & GROUNDS: OPEN FRIDAY - SUNDAY 9am - 4pm
FRIDAY - SUNDAY 9am - 4pm
Available any evening of the week for private functions & weddings
In 1839 a Scotsman named Thomas Chirnside arrived in Australia with nothing but "..the Bible given to him by his mother, a few hundred pounds from his father, great faith and boundless optimism."* Together with his brother Andrew, he went on to build a hugely successful pastoral empire. In 1852, Thomas bought land in Point Cook and commenced construction of the elegant bluestone Point Cook Homestead.
Soon after the Homestead's completion in 1857, the brothers began work on the famous Mansion at Werribee Park, which became the home of Andrew and his wife Mary. Thomas, who remained a bachelor, often resided at the Point Cook Homestead, and in his absence, other members of the family used it as a holiday home. The brothers had a deep interest in bloodstock and imported racehorses from Scotland and England and bred a number of Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and Derby winners at the Point Cook Homestead stables.
The Chirnside family owned the Homestead for almost 70 years until 1920, when it was sold to private owners. Over the next 50 years its ownership changed hands several times, and the property eventually became abandoned and derelict in the 1970's. In 1978, after extensive lobbying by local farmer Norm Lawler to save the property, the State Government compulsorily acquired the Homestead. Mr Lawler was asked to oversee its restoration, so moved with his wife Peg onto the allegedly haunted property and spent the next 16 years restoring, and in some cases, rebuilding the Homestead. The Lawler's, known to many as "Mr & Mrs Point Cook" remained there until their retirement in 1994.
*Excerpt from "Wool past the winning post - a history of the Chirnside family"by Heather Ronald.