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Before the Retreat was born

Welcome to Inverbroom homestead in the 1800s

Black and white photo of people on horseback and horse and buggy in front of homestead
Inverbroom Homestead c1800s

Firstly, I must confess I am not a local historian, nor am I an expert in the subject of local history

(or any history for that matter), but I write this blog to give you some insight into the history of Inverbroom as the stories of the past do continue to flow through the homestead to today. If some of my facts are not exactly straight, please forgive me and know my intent is to share what I have learned of the property.

From what I can find after hours of trawling the internet, asking locals and diving way too deep into Trove (for those of you who don't know Trove, it's an online version of newspapers dating back 100s of years), Inverbroom Estate was purchased by William Little in 1861 for 2,350 pounds. The 1,200 acre estate was bordered by what is now known as the Princes Highway to the east, the Maffra-Stratford Road to the north, Beet Road to the west, and along the Avon River to the south.

Two chimneys, rubble and timber frame of homestead ruin
The homestead when we purchased the farm, 2020

The Inverbroom Homestead when we purchased the farm, when the retreat was a product of my imagination, 2020

The homestead in the 1800s

An article from the Gippsland Mercury, published 2 February 1886 titled 'A farm on the Avon', describes the homestead as 'the large, comfortable, and attractive-looking residence, with other homestead buildings in the rear, and the foreground laid out in shrubbery, orchard, and avenue, together with the thorn hedges, give the farm a pleasing appearance...'.

While we were de-constructing the homestead in the early stages of the project, it was easy to imagine the home back in its prime. Typically Victorian, the homestead had two rooms at the front off the bullnose verandah, two more rooms further along (now the alfresco and kitchen/living areas highlighted by the original double sided chimneys. The hallway ran through the centre of the home, past the bedrooms and finishing with the back door facing the west. The kitchen was the last room on the left, extremely large with a cast iron oven, with a lean-to laundry with copper on the south side. On the opposite side of the hallway, a small bathroom.

During the de-construction, we found bits and pieces to put together the puzzle of what the homestead might have been. Decorative glass around a large entrance doorway. Many layers of linoleum from years of redecorating, showing the changing style through time. Cedar, double hung windows with brass and porcelain opening mechanisms (these are now pride of place as mirrors in all of the retreat's bathrooms). Newspapers from the mid 1900s atop what was left of the original floorboards. Bottles, hair combs, shoes.... all small signs of those who lived here before us.

Next step - Retreat deconstruction

I'll update you with the treasures we found, and more discoveries on my next blog, where you can see the process we undertook to de-construct, and save as much of the remaining homestead as we could before creating the retreat you see today.

Interested in seeing the transformed homestead for yourself? Click below to book your retreat.


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