Mount Macedon Gardens

Mount Macedon Heritage Gardens

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Public Gardens around Mount Macedon

Botanic gardens that are open to the public seven days a week:

Other Public Gardens:

  • Memorial Cross on Mount Macedon

    War Memorial Cross on Mount Macedon
    War Memorial Cross on Mount Macedon

The Mount Macedon Memorial Cross
One of the major attractions of Mount Macedon is the 21-metre (69 ft) high memorial cross which stands near the summit of the mountain with manicured gardens.

  • This structure was established by early resident William Cameron in 1935 as a memorial to his son and those who died in World War I.8
  • The view from the summit of Mount Macedon is spectacular and takes in Melbourne city, the Dandenong Ranges and the You Yangs near Geelong.
  • Honour Avenue during Autumn in the Macedon Ranges

Honour Avenue, with its 154 Pin Oaks that line the road in Autumn hues.
Honour Avenue, with its 154 Pin Oaks that line the road in Autumn hues.


1. Kyneton Heritage botanic garden

Molliston Street and Clowes Street KYNETON, Macedon Ranges Shire

The Gardens are situated on the banks of the Campaspe River between the railway station and the centre of the town.

Kyneton Botanic Gardens
Kyneton Botanic Gardens


  • In 1861 Mr Stuart Murrray, a local engineer, surveyor and architect, won a prize of ₤15 for his design for the gardens.
  • Murray went on to design the Goulburn Weir and Victoria’s early irrigation schemes.
  • One of the first events to take place in the Gardens was the planting of three trees, including an Algerian Oak planted by Cr Jarrett on 19 May 1863 and dedicated to Queen Victoria, which still grows near the Ebden Street entrance. The first plants were provided by the community and during the 1870s more were obtained from Ferdinand von Mueller of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens.


Kyneton Botanic Gardens
Kyneton Botanic Gardens

The upper level of the Kyneton Botanic Gardens, known as the Kyneton Public Gardens, is formally laid out with garden beds and mature trees, and features an 1880 bluestone wall, the 1936 commemorative entrance gates, c1900 gardener’s office,1902 drinking fountain, c1905 rotunda, a shelter and two bluestone memorial pillars marking the entrance to McKenna Drive.

  • The gardens contain a fine collection of mature trees including elms, firs, cedars, sequoias and a collection of outstanding and rare oaks. The middle section now contains a caravan park, introduced into the reserve in 1959, and the lower level contains specimen trees, a fernery,

English Hawthorn hedges along the river, an oval and a pavilion relocated from the Kyneton saleyards during the 1970s.

Kyneton botanic garden
Kyneton botanic garden


  • Edward Gray, who had been employed there as a gardener for fifty years and was appointed curator from 1906 to c1909, prepared a display board inlaid with specimens of timber taken from seventy of the six hundred trees then growing in the Kyneton Public Gardens. The specimen board was given to the Kyneton Council by his widow in trust for the residents of the State.
  • Amongst the samples displayed are some taken from an American Red Cedar and from a Chinese Cypress. This specimen board is at present located in the former Congregational Sunday School (now the Kyneton Arts Centre).

A prominent and unusual design feature is the large “Oak Circle”, bordered by a privet, japonica and hawthorn hedge encircling rare oaks, and the single and double Hawthorn hedges lining the Gardens boundary along the Campaspe River.

  • The Kyneton Botanic Gardens are of scientific (botanical) significance for their collection of plants, especially the oaks and conifers, characteristic of late nineteenth century Victorian gardens, and including some rare and outstanding individual specimens.
  • Read more at: Victorian Heritage Database

2. Malmsbury Heritage botanic garden

91-99 Mollison Street Malmsbury, MACEDON RANGES SHIRE

The central focal point of the gardens is the Ornamental Lake with the formed island at its centre.

  • The land which was prone to flooding was reserved for public use in 1855, and the 1857 Urquhart survey shows the area as a “Reserve for a Botanic Garden”.
  • The Gardens were first planted and permanently reserved in 1863. The initial design is attributed to Dr E Davy, a local councillor, under the influence of Dr Ferdinand von Mueller.
  • The Malmsbury Town Hall on the edge of the Gardens is a civic building constructed in 1868 and forms a local landmark on the boundary of the Gardens. In the period 1880-1890, recreational facilities, including a bowling green, tennis court and croquet lawn, were added.
    • For more information, see: Botanic Gardens

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Private Gardens of Mount Macedon

1. Open Gardens 2017

This Autumn (2017) the following Mt Macedon gardens will be open to the public:[1]
Please check their open garden details and pre-book events at

  1. Duneira, Officer Lane, Mount Macedon.
  2. Gardens of Tieve Tara, 751 Mount Macedon Road, Mount Macedon
  3. Forest Glade, 816 Mount Macedon Rd, Mount Macedon
  4. Gresford Gardens: 27 Taylors Road, Mt. Macedon, 3441

More information:


2. National Trust Gardens of Outstanding Heritage Significance

  • Bolobek, one of Australia’s best gardens, and
  • Alton, Ard Choille, Braemar House, Duneira, Durrol and Hascombe
  • See more at: Victorian Heritage Register

3. National Trust Gardens of High Significance

  • Ard Rudah, Brookdale, Cameron Lodge, Cheniston, Curramundi, Drusilla, Dreamthorpe, Forest Glade, Glen Rannoch, Huntly Burn, Karori, Matlock, Marnanie, Penola, Penrith, Sefton, Tanah Merah and Timsbury
  • See more at: Victorian Heritage Register

4. Australian Heritage Registered Gardens

  1. Alton Garden, Alton Road Mount Macedon, VIC, Australia (Registered)
  2. Bolobek Garden Mount Macedon Road Macedon, VIC, Australia (Registered)
  3. Duneira Garden Mount Macedon Road Mount Macedon, VIC, Australia (Registered)
  4. Durrol Garden Mount Macedon Road Mount Macedon, VIC, Australia (Registered)
  5. Hascombe Garden Alton Road Mount Macedon, VIC, Australia (Registered)
  6. Taylor and Sangster Nursery Sangsters Road Mount Macedon, VIC, Australia (Registered)

Mount Macedon Heritage Gardens

  • In Order of Significance, then alphabetically

Gardens of Outstanding Heritage Significance

1. Bolobek Garden

370 Mt Macedon Road, Macedon

  • National Heritage Listed location[2]
  • An outstanding garden (National Trust)

The Garden is valued by the local community and visitors who regard it as one of Victoria’s outstanding gardens ( Criterion G.1).
Statement of Significance
Bolobek Garden is significant for demonstrating garden design styles as follows:

  • an Edwardian garden structure of geometrically shaped compartments, axial paths with terminal features and a central grand vista, formally enframed by tall trees;
  • a 1960s-70s garden overlay of soft planting detail in restrained colour arrangements with a number of ornamental features which demonstrates the unique style of the artist owner (Criterion D. 2).

The Garden is aesthetically important for its contrived scenery with the following features:

  • avenue walks where mature trees of different species create different visual experiences;
  • terminal features of the walks including a walled rose garden, a rock lined creek and a stone statue;
  • other features including the lake, a pergola, subdued plant colour and foliage combinations and ornamental plant details (Criterion F.1). The Garden is important for demonstrating creativity of design style through the retention of features of the original garden design, integrated with the highly individual design style of the later artist and owner, Joan Law-Smith (Criterion F.1).
  • The garden has an important association with its owner/designer, Joan Law-Smith who has based her writing and paintings on gardens and garden plants (Criterion H.1).

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Read more:

2. Hascombe Garden

Alton Road, Mount Macedon, VIC, Australia

Hascombe is a large garden owned by Linfox. It has an annual open day where all money received goes to charity.

  • It only has two gardeners working for the whole 28-acre (11 ha) property.
  • It has one of only two Himalayan Fir (Abies pindrow) trees in Australia, the other being located in Adelaide.
  • It is the highest private property on Mount Macedon by altitude.

Hascombe History

R.L.J. Elery, the original owner, constructed a villa on the site in the 1870s.

  • The garden was significantly expanded by R.S. Whiting who blended his design with the natural landscape of the creek and its backdrop of blackwoods and tree ferns.1
  • In the 1930s the owner at the time, S.Ricketson installed a log cabin, tennis courts and a Douglas Pine plantation.
  • The garden was further developed by Sir Thomas and Lady Ramsay from the 1930s to 1989 when the garden was purchased by Paula and Lindsay Fox.2

Hascombe Layout

The garden consists of a number of terraced levels with stone retaining walls. A system of pathways and steps link the various levels.[1]

Hascombe Planting

The garden has a holly and linden walk, hedges comprising Pittosporum, Viburnum, Ilex and Eucryphia species.

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3. Alton Heritage Garden

Alton Road, Mount Macedon, VIC, Australia

Across Alton Road from Hascombe, is the garden Alton; one of the locations for the setting of the 2006 Australian film adaptation of Macbeth, mainly due to its historic residence surrounded by an English garden.

  • The 26 acre hill station property includes a 10-acre botanical garden, a large Venetian-gothic house built in the 1870s and a small farm, all of which is being carefully restored by the owners, the Eshuys family.
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4. Ard Choille Heritage Garden

Cnr Glover Road & 80 Turner Avenue WOODEND VIC

“Ard Choille, laid out by prominent industrialist, (Sir) William Macgregor, during 1893-99, is of National significance:

  • as an integral component of the Mount Macedon area, a precinct of hill station gardens of outstanding cultural significance;
  • as a fine example of the work of the noted landscape designer and nurseryman, William Sangster, of the firm Taylor and Sangster;
  • for the intactness of Sangster’s original design including stone paths and edges, water features, land forms, water reticulation system and planting;
  • for the manner in which the awkward and steeply sloping site has been used to advantage by the incorporation of ‘lochs’ and cascades, befitting the Scottish ancestry of its owner;
  • for its fine collection of rhododendrons and other plants requiring a cool-temperate climate”

The garden of Ard Choille (pronounced Arda Hillier) both botanically and historically is one of the best of the renowned Mt Macedon gardens.

Ard Choille Garden
Ard Choille Garden

Ard Choille is unusual in the context of Mount Macedon Gardens for its siting on the Northern, rather than the Southern slopes of Mt Macedon.

  • Ard Choille was established in the 1890’s by (Sir) William McGregor, Chairman of BHP who sought to create a hill station reflective of his Scottish homeland with lochs and ponds, sweeping lawns and grandly designed gardens.
  • Today, 120 years hence, we enjoy the full majesty of the garden under the towering heights of Birches, Beeches, Elms, Oaks, Firs, Lindens, Rowans, Dogwoods, Planes, Catalpas, Viburnum, Conifers.
  • The garden includes a particularly fine and rare 19th Century metal shade house classified by the National Trust. This was made in Britain and shipped to Australia and reassembled in the Ard Choille gardens in the 1890s. This is the only one of its kind in Australia.

The native forests of Ard Choille are abundant with indigenous wildlife including a variety of birds, kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, echidnas and wombats.

5. Durrol Heritage Garden

Mount Macedon Road, MOUNT MACEDON, Macedon Ranges Shire

Durrol - Stairs
Durrol – Stairs

Durrol was laid out in the first years of the twentieth century and incorporates an enclosed garden by Edna Walling (1925) for the second garden owner;
The garden at Durrol has many fine specimens of deciduous and evergreen trees, including varieties of oak and tall lindens which form an avenue to the tennis court. Look out for the very rare weeping holly on the edge of the drive. A sunken garden designed by Edna Walling is a feature.

Durrol is of National significance:

  • as an integral component of the Mount Macedon area, a precinct of hill station gardens of outstanding cultural significance;
  • for the manner in which the garden is skilfully planned, with the residence, elevated on an earthen podium, providing a central pivot in the design which comprises open moss-covered lawns and clumped planting screening enclosed compartments of the garden and service areas;
  • as a fine surviving example of a small garden by noted garden designer Edna Walling, incorporating typical elements such as axial planning, stone paving, herbaceous plants and hedged boundaries;
  • for the balance between intensively maintained gardens, service areas and open bushland, all forming a complementary relationship as part of the overall design of the property;
  • for several outstanding trees listed on the National Trust’s Register of Significant Trees of Victoria;
  • for the manner in which the garden is complemented by the intact Edwardian residence, its picturesque design befitting the hill station ideal;
  • for its retention of early outbuildings which assist in the appreciation of the service functions of a hill station property;
  • for its pattern of long ownership (two family ownerships in 90 years) which has contributed to the exceptional intactness of the whole property.

I can find no regular open garden listing (or website) for Durrol, but organized garden tours do visit Durrol. For example:

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6. Braemar House


Braemar House is part of the group of Mount Macedon Gardens of Outstanding significance: Victorian Heritage; Heritage Overlay HO252.

  • The Braemar heritage lising states that the firm of Taylor and Sangster of Macedon and Toorak was employed to plan the gardens.
  • However the gardens themselves are not heritage listed.

Braemar College sits surrounded by the ferny undergrowth, Snow Gums, Alpine Ash and Mountain Ash bushland of the Macedon Regional Park.

  • On 16 February 1983, the school escaped relatively unharmed as the infamous Ash Wednesday fires raged around it.
    Parts of the Braemar grounds were burnt, however.

    • Despite the valiant efforts of local fire fighters and volunteers, the school did lose its historic stables and grand stand – now the site of a gymnasium and theatre building
    • The fire that burnt the stables took place on 1 February 1983, a fortnight before the Ash Wednesday fires.

    The building itself is unusually constructed, of timber and plywood.

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7. Duneira Heritage Garden

Mount Macedon Road and Officer Lane, Mt. Macedon, 3441

From the entrance by the lodge, a long undulating driveway leads to the house beneath a canopy of elms. In the spring, masses of forget-me-nots and
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bluebells carpet the area.

  • At the end of the carriageway the drive divides, the route to the right passing lower down the curve before climbing up to the house and sweeping around a curved lawn.
  • The house is set on a large earthen podium, a characteristic of many Hill Station properties. The oval front lawn is framed by an extensive tree and shrub planting.Among many fine native specimens here are several tulip trees (LIRIODENDRON TULIPIFERA), including one with a very thick bark, quite beyond the expected dimensions for a tree of this height. The native ACACIA MELANOXYLON has been used here to enhance the screening effect.
    • To the left the driveway leads to the garage area, where it divides again and the right fork crosses to the house to meet the main drive thus creating a turning circle.
  • Following the drive to the left, a huge bank of rhododendrons and several enormous Portuguese laurels flank the drive.
  • The laurels guard the entrance to what is known as the Secret Garden, where there is a combination of shrubs, trees and herbaceous plants.
    • A hedge of holly surrounds much of the Garden and a central path divides it in two. The hedge forms a small maze in the gardens south east corner.
    • There are several CORNUS CAPITATA, three evergreen southern beech trees and a magnificent moss and lichen covered PRUNUS SHIROTAE of considerable age.

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  • Leaving this area and moving to the driveway, the lily-of-the-valley flowers of a large CLETHRA ARBOREA may be seen. Further along this driveway, is a large lime, of which there are several in the Garden. An avenue of oaks leads further up the hillside.
  • To the east of the driveway is a large plantation of Spanish chestnuts (CASTANEA SATIVA) and, below this, a third avenue containing a large number of sycamores leads out to the main road at the gardens edge.
    • A very strong band of planting conceals the fact that the road passes very close to the garden boundary to the south and east.
  • At the rear of the house are a large fountain and a tennis court. Behind the court is a CORNUS CAPITATA and a PSEUDOTSUGA MENZIESII, one of the Garden’s nineteenth century conifers.
  • Beside the fountain is a weeping elm and opposite this is a horse chestnut (AESCULUS HIPPOCASTANUM). Included among the many plants with a nineteenth century origin in this Garden are several hollies, notably some golden variegated forms, large conifers, oaks and rhododendrons.

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National Trust listed Mount Macedon Gardens of High Heritage Significance

8. Ard Rudah Garden

49 Devonshire Lane, Mount Macedon

Ard Rudah is recognised by the National Trust as one of the top historic gardens in Victoria.

  • The front of the house is graced by a magnificent copper beech at least 100 feet high.
  • Giant oaks and sycamores form a woodland carpeted by bluebells in spring.
  • This magical garden has a maple walk at the bottom of the garden, a daffodil meadow at the front of the house, banks of azaleas lining the drive, a camellia walk leading to the house, peony beds in front of the house, and hundreds of meters of box hedges.

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9. Brookdale Nursery and Garden

451 Mount Macedon Road, Mount Macedon.

Has a heritage overlay HO186, illustrated below

Brookdale Nursery Mount Macedon
Brookdale Nursery Mount Macedon


10. Cameron Lodge Garden

767 Mount Macedon Road, Mount Macedon VIC 3441

Stroll through the gardens of Cameron Lodge
The garden at Cameron Lodge is richly populated with all sorts of species of trees and plants, many of which date back 100 years or more.

  • You can enjoy endless walks beneath the canopy of these ancient trees and soak up the beautiful scenery.
  • Surrounded by cypress, spruce, beech, elm, and oak trees, Cameron Lodge is a naturalist’s haven.
  • This gorgeous locale will surely tempt many a visitor to explore a bit further and into the incredible Mount Macedon and other fantastic locations near the grounds.

Spanning more than four hectares of land, the European-style gardens at Cameron Lodge create an idyllic setting for anyone who wants to get away from the busyness of everyday life. If you’re looking for rest and relaxation, there’s surely no better place to visit.

  • The unique climate of Mount Macedon, combined with fertile and varied soil types has resulted in a wealth of wonderful plant life, all cultivated to great effect within these gorgeous grounds.
  • Ensconced within the grounds of an historic hill station – one of the oldest in Australia – Cameron Lodge still encapsulates the essence of the era in which it was created.

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11. Cheniston Garden

12. Curramundi Garden

13. Drusilla Garden

14. Dreamthorpe Garden

445 Mt Macedon Rd (cnr Turritable Rd), Mount Macedon

Sublimely romantic historic garden where drifts of bluebells, daffodils and woodland plants have naturalised beneath a canopy of mature trees and a brook leads to a secluded lake.[3]

“Dreamthorpe is one of the renowned hill-station gardens of Mount Macedon in Victoria.

  • It was first planted by Nat Ronalds as part of his nursery business that provided flowers and foliage for his Melbourne florist shop. But it was (Lady) Alice Hodges, wife of judge Sir Henry Hodges, who established much of the present garden.
    • (Formerly) Alice Belinda, widow of Robert Chirnside of Caramballac and daughter of Joseph Ware.[4]
  • Many of the significant plants in the garden are from Ronald’s nursery or from Lady Hodges’s time.
  • Many charities have benefited from inspections of the lovely gardens of Dreamthorpe, and it was one of the show gardens of Mt Macedon to be thrown open for charitable purposes.[5]

Present custodians of Dreamthorpe are Jan and Peter Clark, who bought the property eight years ago. They say the influence of two major figures in late 19th-century English gardening, William Robinson and Gertrude Jekyll, is clearly evident and that their writings inspired Alice’s design and plant choices.

  • From early August until the end of October the woodland is carpeted with a progression of bulbs — crocus, cyclamens, hellebores, jonquils, daffodils and bluebells.
  • Large trees, including pin oaks (Quercus palustris) and Japanese maples (Acer palmatum), spread a dense canopy over the winding paths and mossy steps.”

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15. Forest Glade Gardens

816 Mt. Macedon Road, Mt. Macedon, 3441

Forest Glade is one of Australia’s finest private gardens, and has existed for nearly one hundred years. Forest Glade is open every day in season.
The magnificent landscaped garden covers fourteen acres (5.6ha) and has four distinct sections:

  • The large English section with its huge exotic trees and masses of colour
  • The delightful Japanese section complete with bonsai house
  • The beautiful woodland section displaying masses of shade-loving plants
  • The cool fern gully
  • The features of the garden include a stunning blue bell patch and an impressive daffodil lawn during spring; a topiary garden, two aviaries, a magnificent laburnum arch, a peony walk highlighted with climbing roses, as well as numerous pergolas, ponds, fountains and statues.

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More Information:

16. Glen Rannoch Garden

84 Devonshire Lane, Mt. Macedon, 3441

“The name comes from the Scottish Gaelic word ‘Glen’ meaning ‘within a ridge’ and ‘Rannoch’ which means ‘bracken’ or ‘fern’.”

  • Flights of beautiful stone steps link different levels in this hills garden of towering trees, massive rhododendrons and large collections of cool-climate shrubs.”[6]
Stephen Ryan visits a Mount Macedon hillside station
Stephen Ryan visits a Mount Macedon hillside station

“Glen Rannoch was built in 1873 making it the third oldest property on the mountain. The name comes from the Scottish Gaelic word ‘Glen’ meaning ‘within a ridge’ and ‘Rannoch’ which means ‘bracken’ or ‘fern’.

  • Glenrannoch is one of the few remaining hill-station type gardens at Mt Macedon, developed in the style of the Indian hill gardens around Poona.
  • Visitors are treated to a series of walks though the garden. There are collections of towering beeches, oaks, chesnuts and maples.
  • In late winter the southern slope is a mass of thousands of daffodils, while in spring an enormous hemlock stands on a carpet of lily-of-the-valley.

“The 1983 Ash Wednesday fires damaged much of the garden but it has since been completely renovated – partly by Stephen who was the head gardener for two years after the fires. “[7]

Garden design:

“The garden comprises formal and informal sections. The formal is closer to the house and has mass plantings of perennials and shrubs, beautifully set off by well-clipped box hedges. The informal sections become more apparent further away from the house and down towards the creek, the beautiful fern gully and bushland. The steep, three-hectare garden is broken up into four levels which are joined by paths and over 500 steps, of which Stephen has “raked every one of them!”


“The National Trust considers the Macedon Ranges to represent one of the most important collections of 19th Century gardens in Australia. Glen Rannoch is one of the best examples of these with its stands of towering trees.

  • Two trees of particular interest are:
    • The Monkey Puzzle Tree (Araucaria araucana) from South America, so named because they thought it would be a puzzle for a monkey to be able to climb it. Like many others in this garden the Monkey Puzzle Tree is on the National Tree Register as a significant tree.
    • The Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) which, in the wild, “grows to a monster,” says Stephen. “It often germinates on the tops of stumps of other plants, so when the roots eventually reach the ground the tree is standing on a pedestal of its own roots.”[8]
      • This specimen is also listed as a significant tree (a trunk circumference of 3.0 metres or more (measured at a point 1.0 metre above natural ground level).)
  • Glen Rannoch is listed in Victoria’s Open Garden scheme“, and was opened for OGV tour groups in 2016.

More Information:



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17. Gresford Gardens

27 Taylors Road, Mt. Macedon, 3441

18. Huntly Burn Garden

707 Mount Macedon Road Mount Macedon Macedon Ranges Shire, VIC, 3441


19. Karori Garden

106 Devonshire Lane Mount Macedon, Vic 3441

106 Devonshire Lane Mount Macedon, Vic 3441
106 Devonshire Lane Mount Macedon, Vic 3441

Karori is a 6 acre hill station property on the Southern slopes of Mount Macedon.

  • Karori was built in 1888 as the summer retreat of Charles William Chapman – a mining and pastoral investor from New Zealand. Chapman imported many materials for the house and trees for the garden.
  • Karori is one of the major gardens on Mt.Macedon and contains an important collection of conifers and deciduous cool climate plants, especially North American and New Zealand species.

Advertised for sale in 1898 as ‘the well-known Italian villa’ in ‘one of the prettiest gullies in Victoria’, with the grounds ‘laid out into lawns, shrubberies, flower, fruit and vegetable gardens’.

  • The garden is terraced with stone walls, and has many rare and exotic trees, including weeping elms, a huge monkey puzzle, cryptomeria, silver birch, Tasmanian waratahs and sycamores.
  • In one part of the garden there is a younger stand of Douglas Fir, large rhododendrons, Lawson Cypress, tulip trees and purple copper beeches.
  • These massive trees are backed by towering eucalypts, while in the flower beds there are masses of spring flowering bulbs, hellebores and lily of the valley.
  • In one area a huge Giant Redwood towers over the smaller trees and there is a cluster of silver poplars, variegated hollies, New Zealand hop bush, an Algerian oak and a sugar maple.
  • Along the drive are flowering currants, Irish strawberry, a huge New Zealand griselinia, and there is a bank of native bush in the gully.
  • There are outstanding specimens of a Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and a Tasmanian leatherwood (Eucryphia lucida).[9]

This site is part of the traditional land of the Wurundjeri people.

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20. Matlock Garden


The original ‘Matlock’ homestead was built in 1919 for G.W.P. Creed who founded Woolworths (Australia) and it was used to intern the Japanese consulate in the Second World War. – The Age

21. Marnanie Garden

53 Devonshire Lane Mount Macedon

Marnanie is positioned in one of Mt Macedon’s more private, charming and exclusive pockets, entered by a long driveway under a treed canopy.

  • One of Mt. Macedon’s Iconic Historic Homes
  • Historic hill station property
  • (Possibly rebuilt as) a large gracious weatherboard Federation style home

Constructed in 1890, this historically significant address was once the home of the first Australian-born Governor General, Sir Issac Issacs, in addition to being the primary residence of Kevin O’Neill – a prominent society florist and gardener.
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  • Entered by a long driveway under a canopy of mature Maples and Lindens, the historic hill station residence sits on a rise surrounded by old tree ferns, gullies, a cascading stream and healthy mountain air.
  • The large, two-storey weatherboard home comprises of a wide pine-lined hallway, formal drawing room, library, dining room and spacious country kitchen, flower room, laundry and an integrated garage.
  • Upstairs includes four large bedrooms, with magnificent garden views, two ensuites, a third bathroom and generous pool room.

The 16 acre garden is a sight to behold. With highly fertile top soil, the gardens of Marnanie include collections of exotic, native and English trees over a century old, perennials, bulbs, and extensive stands of tree ferns.

  • The garden and outdoor living areas are everything you would expect from an estate of this grandeur with a large, tiled, heated swimming pool, grass tennis court with pavilion, stone summer house, dovecote and a garden house.
  • The extensive stone pathways guide you to the many seating areas, garden ponds, creek, lawn, woodland and picking gardens. The nursery area, workshop, charming weatherboard garage, glasshouse complex and fully operational irrigation system complete the infrastructure.
  • The ever-changing seasonal gardens include original stone garden seats, statues, urns and many open lawn areas.

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22. Penola Garden

222 Alton Road, Mount Macedon, Vic 3441

Penola is a majestic 19th Century garden estate of 11.2 acres approx on the Witch creek, established by the sister of William Guilfoyle, creator of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens.

Penola, 222 Alton Road, Mount Macedon, Vic 3441
Penola, 222 Alton Road, Mount Macedon, Vic 3441
  • Historic Victorian residence of 20 rooms prefabricated in India using teak.
  • Rare original billiards room, 2 grand living rooms, 8 bedrooms, 8 open fireplaces & hydronic heating.
  • Six acres of terraced gardens, stone walls, ponds, waterfall and a lawn tennis court where the owner’s son Norman Brookes played prior to becoming the first Australian to win Wimbledon in 1907.
    View of Melbourne and the Bay from Penola, Mt Macedon
    View of Melbourne and the Bay from Penola, Mt Macedon
  • Spectacular views to Port Phillip Bay and Melbourne.
  • Water licence of 7.4 megalitres. Frontage also to Chapman’s creek and Devonshire Lane.


Foxes take over Macedon estate

The Fox trucking family has secured Penola, one of Mount Macedon’s historic 19th century garden estates.

  • Linfox executive chairman Peter Fox paid $2.85m for the 4ha garden estate, whichWilliam Guilfoyle, creator of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, helped establish for the family.
  • The hillside residence, sold through Lindsay Hill Real Estate, comes with 20 rooms underneath a striking tower with views to Melbourne.
  • There’s eight bedrooms, two grand living rooms, a rare original billiards room along with the requisite eight open fireplaces.
  • The timber teak-lining was shipped in from India.
  • The terraced gardens have stone walls, ponds and a waterfall. There’s also a lawn tennis court where Norman Brookes played before becoming the first Australian to win Wimbledon in 1907. It was the retreat of his uncle, Herbert Brookes.

Gallery of Penola Estate

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23. Penrith Garden

Devonshire Lane Mount Macedon, Vic 3441

  • High significance: Victorian Heritage
  • Mr.[10] and Mrs. M. G. Coles[11] from Penrith, grew and displayed rhododendrons, polyanthus, gentian, azaleas.
  • The Penrith Property was split up, probably after the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983
    • In the (century-old) garden can still be found a rill and remains of an old watermill used by sawmillers in the mid-1800s when Mt Macedon was the source of much timber for Melbourne’s early buildings.
    • A milking shed that was part of Penrith is now used as a wood shed.[12]


24. Sefton Garden

864 Mount Macedon Road, Mount Macedon VIC 3441

Sefton – A Gracious and Stately Country Estate Circa 1907

Built by the Baillieu family as a summer holiday home in the early 1900s, the 8.8 hectare English garden was laid out with obvious influences of the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens directors Baron von Mueller and W. R. Guilfoyle.

  • The estate includes a 910-square-metre seven bedroom 1907 Tudor-style Federation Arts and Crafts mansion, complete with a billiards room and a glass atrium sitting room.
  • It was designed by the architectural firm Sydney Smith and Ogg (NB no biography yet).
  • A four-green nine-tee golf course, tennis court, croquet lawn, heated outdoor swimming pool and helipad are surrounded by Capability Brown(?) style gardens.[11]
Sefton, Mt. Macedon 1966, Photo: John Collins, SLV
Sefton, Mt. Macedon 1966, Photo: John Collins, SLV
Front gardens of Sefton, Mount Macedon
Front gardens of Sefton, Mount Macedon

Sefton is undoubtedly Macedon’s star attraction.

  • With 20 bedrooms – admittedly housed in three buildings on the 8.8 hectares of botanic garden-like grounds – the 1907 “heritage-listed” spread could possibly qualify as the top trophy property in the old hill station area where Melbourne’s 19th-century wealthy folk went to cool off through summer.
  • If not for the distant backdrop of eucalypt-covered ridges, Sefton could transport you to the realms of great English country house estates.
  • It has daffodils, early blossoms, a nine-hole golf course, a backyard tennis court, croquet lawn and kitchen gardens.
  • The House and buildings are NOT heritage registered; only the Garden of Sefton is listed with those of Mount Macedon Gardens Heritage as of High Significance.


Sefton is undoubtedly Macedon's star attraction.
Sefton is undoubtedly Macedon’s star attraction.

Certainly, once behind that tall hedge, and having crunched quietly over gravel on the winding drive and past neck-stretching 100-year-old beeches, maples, oaks, cedars and the odd California redwood, visiting Sefton vividly recalls a more gracious time.

  • The house was passed down through the Baillieu family, to Lord (Clive) Baillieu of Sefton, and in the early 1980s (and under the auctioneer’s hammer of Baillieu Allard), it went out of private hands when it sold to Elders IXL, with John Elliott and his executives using it as a country getaway and conference centre.
  • In 2005, it was sold on for $8.17 million to the medical and health industry-related Gribbles Group. All through these sales, the property and the gardens have been maintained to a meticulous standard.

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25. Tieve Tara

751 Mt. Macedon Road, Mt. Macedon, 3441

Tieve Tara was originally part of an extensive property brought by W. Christian in 1854 and was known as Christian’s Orchard.

  • George Gratham purchased the property in 1907 and the original house was built on the present site.
    Gardens of Tieve Tara
    Gardens of Tieve Tara
  • In 1937 “Tieve Tara” was purchased by G Arthur Cooper and it remained in the family until 1966.

In 1983, the property was purchased by John and Dawn Wade. Shortly after, the Ash Wednesday fires that engulfed Mount Macedon, destroyed the house on the property and severely damaged the gardens.

  • The current owners, John and Judith Brand acquired the property in October 1995 and consider themselves blessed to be the current custodians.


Garden Development

  • It is believed two local landscapers’ Messers Taylor and Sangster laid out the original garden in the early 1860’s.
  • Messers Taylor and Sangster were held in extremely high regard as they had worked for Governor Sir Henry Barkly at Governement House, Melbourne.
  • The original garden extended to the present ligustrum hedge. Below that was a horse paddock and along the creek there was a lawn area with many deciduous trees.

Mother Nature has played a big role at Tieve Tara. In 1962 fire destroyed the original house and caused damage to the gardens.

  • In 1983 shortly after John and Dawn Wade purchased Tieve Tara, the Ash Wednesday fire that engulfed Mount Macedon, severely damaged the property. The house was destroyed and the gardens ravaged.
  • While the Azalea Walk was completely destroyed and some of the large trees bordering the creek were lost, including a scarlet oak of some renown, amazingly many of the century old trees survived.
  • These century old trees are the basis around which the garden has been rebuilt. The Wades built the existing residences and engaged in extensive landscaping of the former paddock.

Since John and Judith Brand purchased the property in October 1995 they have worked continuously to further enhance the beautiful garden.

  • With the assistance of landscape architect Peter McGain and head gardener David Johnston-Bailey, they have set about rejuvenating and developing the garden.
  • The bottom lake was enriched and a top lake was added, enabling the slope to be recontoured which has created the amazing rolling lawns.
  • New features have been established, including the rose walk and arbour, many new beds including the large perennial bed of the top lake, the fountain and bog garden area and “Treasure Island”, a fantastic children’s playground.
  • An amazing atmosphere has now been created that ensures magical moments and breathtaking experiences for everyone.


Tieve Tara Gardens
Tieve Tara Gardens

Presenter: Jane Edmanson, 03/10/2009[13]

ABC SERIES 20 Episode 36

‘Tieve Tara’ is a hillside residence with breathtaking views in Mount Macedon, an hour’s drive north of Melbourne.

  • The three hectare, manicured garden has existed in various forms since 1854 when it was known as ‘Christian’s Orchard.’

The current house is the third to be built there. The previous two were destroyed by bushfires in the 1960s and 1980s, and the garden was also damaged by fire.

Judith Brand and her husband John are the current owners. They bought the property in 1995 and have since added a new lake in the top garden, improved the original lake at the bottom of the garden, and installed irrigation strips in the lawn. They have combined new with old to give it a fresh look.

  • Jane says, “There is an overwhelming Monet inspiration as you walk through the garden. The reflections of the bridge in the lake are just lovely. It complements the Forget-Me-Nots planted close by.” The lake, which is covered in water lilies, is often visited by ducks, much to the delight of children who come to feed them.
  • Other features of the garden include copses of Jacquemontii trees, a colourful spread of Corydalis, a collection of aspens and a superb Rhododendron grande with magnificent large leaves.

‘Tieve Tara’ has a very special feel. It is a tranquil, spiritual paradise that Judith and John consider not just theirs but something they can share with everyone as a gift for future generations.

  • Judith says, “Yes, we’ve got the best of all worlds. We’re very lucky.”

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26. Taylor and Sangster Nursery

85 Sangsters Rd, Mount Macedon, VIC, Australia

(C.japonica) Taylor & Sangster  1889: Dark crimson
(C.japonica) Taylor & Sangster 1889: Dark crimson


Garden designer William Sangster shaped some of Melbourne’s most significant gardens including the heritage properties Como and Ripponlea in Melbourne and Rupertswood in Sunbury.

  • William Sangster (1831-1910) was a leading landscape gardener and horticulturalist who favoured the picturesque style.
  • Using the nom-de-plume “Hortensis” Sangster wrote a column for the Australian.
  • Sangster also worked on the Exhibition gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Government House and Como house.[14]

Statement of Significance

The Taylor and Sangster Nursery site, established in 1875 and operated until the 1930s by descendants of Sangster, is of State cultural significance for its collection of trees and plants, representative of nineteenth century horticultural fashion incorporating many species now rare in cultivation in Victoria and for several outstanding individual specimens listed separately on the National Trust Register of Significant Trees.

  • It is historically significant: for its links with William Taylor and William
    The nursery of Messrs. Taylor & Sangster on Toorak Road
    The nursery of Messrs. Taylor & Sangster on Toorak Road

    Sangster, who individually and through their nursery firm of Taylor and Sangster, were involved in the design, establishment and maintenance of many of Victoria and Australia’s finest gardens, including Como, Rippon Lea, Alton, Rupertswood, Ard Choille and Wombat Hill;

  • as an integral part of Mount Macedon, an area renowned for its collection of Hill Station gardens (this nursery supplied many of the plants which today comprise the most important components of this area);
  • for the retention of much of the early curvilinear layout, unusual in a garden type noted for rigid rectilinear plans but here befitting the hilly terrain;
  • for the manner in which the site demonstrates the working mode of Victoria’s early nurseries, especially its link with a metropolitan nursery and the commercial sagacity of Taylor and Sangster in establishing a nursery in the vicinity of a burgeoning horticultural paradise then being developed by Victoria’s most prominent gentlemen scientists, political figures and captains of commerce and industry;
  • for the retention of considerable documentary evidence which permits the early operations of site to be demonstrated, this material includes plant lists, catalogues and newspaper articles.

'Making Landscape Architecture in Australia' by Andrew Saniga, p,27
‘Making Landscape Architecture in Australia’ by Andrew Saniga, p,27

“It is upwards of 30 years since the Toorak Nursery was first established by Messrs. Taylor and Sangster. In the early (eighteen) sixties.[15]

  • “Mr. William Taylor had the reputation of being a good plantsman and an excellent all-round gardener,
  • “Mr. Sangster, for some years before he joined Mr. Taylor head-gardener at Como, where he was considered to be, at that period, one of the finest garden(er)s in the colony, in which fruits and vegetables equal to anything seen nowadays.
  • Landscape gardening was a specialty of Mr. Sangster, and his knowledge in this branch of the profession has been availed of by gentlemen in all of the colony.
  • The establishment at Toorak is a small one, the fruit and forest trees, bulbs and hundreds of kinds of shrubs and plants being grown in their beautiful nursery at Upper Macedon.
    Garden designer William Sangster
    Garden designer William Sangster
  • In the fine soil and gental climate found there at an altitude of nearly 2,000ft. all the hardier trees and root to an extent but seldom seen about Melbourne. .
  • Specimens of oaks planes, elms, and other trees for street planting, rhododendrons, azaleas and shrubs of various kinds, show what a pure atmosphere and suitable soil can do in growing plants.”[16]

The land on which this nursery was sited once formed part of the Macedon State Forest. An application for a licence to occupy the land was filed by James Smith Turner, a labourer of Upper Macedon, in October 1873 and was duly considered by the local Land Board.

  • Turner made some improvements to the block but, having gained employment in the goods shed at Benalla Railway Station, transferred his licence to Messrs Taylor and Sangster.
  • The site (or nearby land) was depicted in an engraving in February 1874 and this shows the land almost totally cleared, with small fenced lots, rudimentary cottages and a large steam sawmill in the foreground.
  • William Taylor had previously worked as gardener at Government House, then located in Toorak and in 1864 had established the Vice-Regal Nurseries, a private nursery business in Toorak Road. He was joined in 1876 by talented gardener and landscape designer William Sangster, who had since 1855 been gardener at John Brown’s South Yarra property Como.
  • The license transfer for the Macedon site was approved by the Board of Land and Works in January 1875 and in May of the following year Taylor and Sangster requested that the land be put up for auction to enable them to acquire freehold title….
  • The land was finally sold in September 1876 and Taylor and Sangster conducted a very successful nursery business, designing gardens and providing plants for many of the influential owners who made up the coterie of Upper Macedon.

The Nursery was glowingly noticed in the Australasian in 1883 (hardly surprising since Sangster was the pseudonymous author):

  • ‘It is understood by gardeners generally that most of the Melbourne nurserymen possess also nurseries in the colder districts, where the work of raising plants can be more easily carried on than in the immediate vicinity of the metropolis.
  • Such an establishment is the nursery at Upper Macedon of Messrs Taylor and Sangster, of Toorak.

‘In a lovely sequestered dell, on the southern slope of the mountain and within a cooee or two of the lovely residences to be found dotting the heights of Upper Macedon, is found perhaps the most picturesquely situated nursery in Victoria, not of large extent, but containing one of the finest, probably the very best, collections of coniferous plants to be seen anywhere in the Colony.’

Taylor died in 1892, leaving Sangster to carry on until his death in 1910. Jane Sangster, a daughter, then carried on both nurseries until 1930.

  • The property was sold after her death, although once sold, the Macedon site declined.
  • A more recent owner of the nursery was apparently head gardener at the Fitzroy Gardens, running this site with his wife as a nursery. He died in the late 1960s and his widow ran this site as a cut flower business, supplying Kellow-Fawkner with flowers for their Rolls Royce showroom.


27. Timsbury Garden

710 Mount Macedon Road, Mount Macedon

  • High significance: Victorian Heritage
    The Timsbury gardens include a specimen oak as the centrepiece of the sweeping front lawn, a mature tulip tree, Chinese pistachios – glorious in their autumn colour – mature Japanese maple, dogwoods, 100-year-old rhododendrons, a huge copper beech, mature Douglas fir, weeping holly, cherry blossoms, lilacs, camellias, an orchard, bush gardens and tree ferns alongside the Willimigongon Creek.

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National Heritage List of Mount Macedon Gardens


Alton Garden Alton Road Mount Macedon, VIC, Australia (Registered)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Bolobek Garden Mount Macedon Rd Macedon, VIC, Australia (Registered)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Duneira Garden Mount Macedon Rd Mount Macedon, VIC, Australia (Registered)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Durrol Garden Mount Macedon Rd Mount Macedon, VIC, Australia (Registered)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Hascombe Garden Alton Road Mount Macedon, VIC, Australia (Registered)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Taylor and Sangster Nursery Sangsters Rd Mount Macedon, VIC, Australia (Registered)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)

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