Mount Macedon garden estate Cameron Lodge hits the market

Mount Macedon garden estate Cameron Lodge hits the market
Mount Macedon garden estate Cameron Lodge hits the market

Mount Macedon has been known for its beautiful 19th-century gardens since Melbourne's wealthy took to the location for their inland summer retreats.

Set at the southern end of Victoria's Great Dividing Range, just 60km from Melbourne, its gardens often come with extravagant homes.

Cameron Lodge, one of the earliest hill station gardens, has been listed for spring sale through Abercromby's Armadale agent Jock Langley.

Dating back to the 1880s, Cameron Lodge sits on just over four hectares with Turritable Creek frontage. 

The estate features an original summer pavilion, a Temple of Winds, designed by Joan Anderson in 1932, along with Roman baths in its lower garden.

Closer to the home are topiary gardens along with a mod-grass tennis court and pool.

During their ownership, the current vendors sought to simplify the garden with a focus on the traditional English arts and crafts style. 

Mount Macedon garden estate Cameron Lodge hits the market

The property has a main house of three bedrooms, each with a marble ensuite, a three-bedroom guest lodge and a three-bedroom cottage.

The Indian colonial-style cottage surrounded by wide verandahs fetches over $700 a night on Stayz.

Owners through the decades have included used car salesman, Kevin Dennis Gowing, rag traders Michael and Michelle Hiatt, the pair behind women's fashion chain Living Doll, the tech entrepreneur Roger May, supermarket retailer Stuart Stoneman, and the consultant Alan Carroll, co-founder of Australian Ratings, the local subsidiary of international corporate ratings agency, Standard & Poors.

Its most famous occupant was Meryl Streep, the actress who stayed for six months at $2500 a week, when accompanied by her husband, sculptor Don Gummer, and children while filming of Evil Angels, the Azaria Chamberlain film in 1987.

Originally named Rahiri, Cameron Lodge was built in 1886 by Edward Woods, who had his city base in St Kilda at the now demolished Glenmore.

It was a time when the marketing for the district was pitched as "everyone knows distance lends enchantment to the view."

In 1916 William Cameron, a director of British American Tobacco, renamed it Cameron Lodge. His city home with wife Katy was Hammerdale in St Kilda.

Mount Macedon garden estate Cameron Lodge hits the market

Cameron, who died in 1949 aged 80, was from a family who'd emigrated from Scotland to Virginia in the United States, and began exporting tobacco to Australia in the 1860s.

The family company, which built tobacco factories in Sydney, on Beckett Street in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane, joined with the Dixson Tobacco Co in 1903 to form the British-Australasian Tobacco Co Ltd. The Australian companies supplied 75 percent of the manufactured tobacco for Australia and India.

His southern tobacco baron father George, was a gallant Confederate soldier who'd distinguished himself in the 1864 battle for Petersburgh.

The expatriate son was responsible for the cross erected in 1934 as a memorial to soldiers at Mount Macedon.

As a depression employment initiative, Cameron, who'd lost his son in World War I, constructed the massive 21m cross at the eastern lookout as a tribute to those who'd died in the war. 

It was dedicated by the Premier, Sir Stanley Argyle to the glory of God and to the memory of Australia's gallant soldiers.

Mount Macedon garden estate Cameron Lodge hits the market

Soon after pictures of the cross, set among elegant gardens with views back to the city, featured on railway promotion posters, tourist postcards and brochures.

The £10,000 cost of the cross, plus the roadway, was paid by Cameron.

Constructed of Wunderlich terracotta tiles, it was hit by lightning in 1975 and damaged in the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires, which I saw when reporting for the Melbourne Herald

It was replaced in 1995 with the Grollo family key to its restoration.

The first European to climb the mountain was the NSW survey general Thomas Mitchell in 1836, who had king Philip II of Macedon in mind when naming it.

This article was first published in the Weekend Australian.






Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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