The old bluestone stables and blacksmiths have been masterfully converted into elegant accommodation.
The history of ‘Highbank’.
Highbank has a continuous history that starts in the late 1840s. The complete Watson family arrived in Australia from Scotland in 1848 on the good ship ‘Fanny’ and soon travelled to the rich farming land of Kyneton, Victoria. There they had been granted land of 1 square mile, and, being renowned stone masons, built their bluestone farmhouse and named it Highbank Hill Farm, an accurate replica of the house they left in Northern England, complete with blacksmiths and stables.While the Watson boys worked at building bridges between Melbourne and Bendigo, they also became known for the champion Clydesdale horses they bred at Highbank. Horses from the CUB brewery teams would be sent to Highbank for some rest and new shoes – and we are delighted to say we have a young Clydesdale grazing in our paddocks.
Both the house and gardens are being masterfully restored. This has been undertaken with Highbank’s history and era in mind; attics have been re-opened, return-verandahs restored, open fireplaces repaired and dry-stone walls repaired and extended. The bones of the garden have been re-discovered and two magnificent century-old Kashmir cedar trees and two ancient pear trees have been tended to and secured. Blackberries and gorse infestations have been cleared and the stone well has been repaired. Thousands of spring-flowering bulbs have been discovered and careful re-planting of cold-climate plants is well under way. Thousands of fragrant roses have been planted and Tonia is likely to become the largest fragrant garden rose grower in Victoria. These magnificent bushes bloom from October to May, and the gardens are open to visitors during Summer.