Historic station opens its golden garden

THE renowned Banongill Station at Skipton will open its huge six-hectare garden to the public over the Father’s Day weekend of September 6-7 as part of Australia’s Open Garden Scheme.

Located on the Mount Emu Creek, eight kilometres west of town, the Banongill garden is renowned for its magnificent spring display of daffodils that have naturalised along the banks of the waterway.

Banongill was purchased in 1895 by the Fairburn family, who built the present homestead and planted thousands of daffodils in the garden. 

The Fairburns owned the property for nearly 100 years and commissioned William Guilfoyle, designer of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, to plan the extensive gardens running down to the Mount Emu Creek. 

Presently owned by former South Melbourne and Melbourne VFL footballer and property developer Stewart Gull and his wife Sue, of Ballarat, the Banongill garden surrounds the main homestead of a working station property of about 6900 hectares (17,000 acres).

Mrs Gull said the Banongill garden retained its distinctive design elements — vast sweeping lawns, wide gravelled pathways, unusual plants, rockeries with succulents and the signature feature of three Canary Island palms. 

She said the garden had evolved during its long history to complement the station homestead and was “not locked in time”.

“Visitors can meander along daffodil-strewn slopes, enjoy the vast bluestone terraces filled with magnificent spring bulbs, explore a rose garden framed by clipped hornbeams, wander through an immense wisteria walk, a hidden grotto, a wild garden festooned with blossoms and bulbs in spring and formal vegetable gardens and orchards,” Mrs Gull said.

The open days will feature talks at 11am and 2pm on the garden’s history and historical tours of the shearing shed at noon and 3pm. Boutique wine and beer tastings will also be available.

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