Tivoli Farm in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges listed with price hopes of $1.6 million plus

Alistair WalshApril 22, 20120 min read

A 20-hectare farm in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges has been listed with hopes of more than $1.6 million.

Tivoli Farm, on the banks of Menzies Creek at Clematis, comes with a 1910-built homestead set amid English gardens and laurel hedged paddocks, suitable for horses or cattle.

The farm was once a gooseberry farm owned by the Australasian Jam Company (AJC) and originally belonged to one of the earliest selections in the district.

Former St Kilda publican Michael O’Connor established the farm when moved there in 1900 – the same year the region’s famous steam train, Puffing Billy, opened. He planted an orchard and raised cattle until his death in 1915, when the farm was sold to AJC.

The produce of the berry and laurel bushes were transported to Melbourne via Puffing Billy.

The train ran until a landslide forced its closure in 1953. It has since reopened as a weekend tourist attraction.

AJC have since been incorporated into IXL Jam.

The current owners, Tanina and Logan Connolly, have been unable to further investigate the history of their property after shire records were destroyed in the Sherbrooke and Ferntree Gully bushfires in the early 1900s.

“We're not sure when they stopped growing berries on the farm; we think they went well into the 1920s or '30s. The berries are gone, but all the hedges are still here," Tanina told the Weekly Times.

"We just fell in love with the building – it has the most magnificent return veranda – and it's a beautiful place to live."

The garden has 100 year-old trees including Irish strawberry trees, tulip trees, Cunningham pine, copper beech, chestnuts, black woods, maples and elms including a weeping elm.

The four-bedroom homestead has been renovated since the Connollys bought the property 28 years ago. They’ve retained the original period detail while installing a new kitchen and bathrooms. It comes with a granite benched kitchen, conservatory, a formal lounge, five open fireplaces and a banquet hall with French doors leading onto a large veranda.

The house is surrounded by numerous outhouses, which were once used as packing sheds. The agents are marketing these as potential offices or granny flats.

The couple planted 600 hazelnut trees with the intention of growing truffles, but instead focused on their gift card and information technology consulting business.

The land consists of pasture country with rich red mountain soils.

The property is being marketed as a possible base for a country retreat or a bed and breakfast.

Matt Childs from Pat Rice and Hawkins Melbourne has the listing, which goes to auction on May 12.

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter
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