A restored Murweh owned by the council could have been a magnificent public property.
If the walls of one of Warrnambool's most stately homes could talk, it would tell stories worthy of a tour through a history museum.
And, in fact, it almost became one when it landed in the hands of the city council back in the 1970s, only for it to be sold off a few years later for $140,000.
Murweh is now on the market for $3.5 million - the owner parting with it after adding 38 years of his own history to the property which was first built in 1874.
The property's story - on the prominent Liebig and Princess streets corner - is not just a list of former residents but one of serendipitous moments that have weaved the lives of its many occupants together.
Murweh has links to one of the nation's most high-profile families, and one of its residents was responsible for the first sound recordings made in Australia.
The sandstone house was built for James Wotton Shevill who served as a councillor in Warrnambool between 1875 and 1878, including one term as mayor.
A builder by trade, he also ran a wheelwright business on Liebig Street repairing wooden wheels - probably for the horse and carts that would have travelled the streets of the town.
In a nod to an era long gone, an historic horse-drawn buggy still sits in the stables and coach house at the rear of the property. The buggy was already there when owner Michael Fitzgerald moved in.
By 1880, Murweh had been acquired by George Burden and just three years later it changed ownership again to pastoralist Jeremiah Ware.
The wooden door of the old stables ensures his connection to the property has not been forgotten - his name is still stenciled into the timber. So much of the house's history has been lost to time, but hidden beneath the layers of wallpaper paints a picture of some of those who have called Murweh home.
The house itself was modelled on a Scottish farm house. And if you peeled back the wallpaper in what is now the lounge room you would find a tribute to its celtic roots that painters Hammond and sons left on the wall - a large painting of a Scottish thistle and the words 'Scotland the Brave'.
Also hidden behind the wallpaper are portraits children had drawn of themselves early last century.
On the hall wall just inside the front door hangs two photos from the late 1800s of some of the house's most famous residents but for about 30 years Michael didn't know who they were.
It was the tragic Ash Wednesday bushfires that ravaged the region in 1983 that brought them into his possession.
He said one day Warrnambool photographer Gary Francis popped into his shop - Capricorn Records - in the '80s with the two photos saying "I think this is your front door".
The plates had been found in the rubble of an old dairy in Naringal that had burnt down during the fires, and someone had brought them in to be developed.
Then one day in 2015, a lady came into the record shop, and under her arm she had a pile of papers with those exact two photos sitting on top.
"I said 'I've been waiting for you for about 30 years'," Michael said.
She was able to tell him the photos were of the Ware family who lived at Murweh.
Jeremiah had married a wealthy lady called Ethel who had come out from England with an entourage of up to 11 people to look after her.
But also in the photo is Jeremiah's young niece - Marie de Lancey Forth - who went on to marry Rupert Greene in Warrnambool in 1900.
Marie was Dame Elizabeth Murdoch's mother and media mogul Rupert Murdoch's grandmother.
It is thought the de Lancey Forths had links to the Naringal property where the photo plates were found, Michael said.
The Ware's connection with the property ended in 1891 and at some point left Australia altogether.
"They sold everything up and moved to the Isle of Man," he said.
The house was owned by someone known only as Mrs McKellar until 1915 before Robert Whitehead took ownership until 1928 when Amelia Rome bought it.
Amelia Rome's husband Thomas - or Tommy as he was most commonly referred to - was known for having the oldest surviving sound recording in Australia.
And they were made right here in Warrnambool on his phonograph at the Warrnambool Industrial and Arts Exhibition which ran from December 1896 to March 1897.
The "miracle" of recorded sound on Mr Rome's Edison spring motor phonograph took centre stage at the town hall for the exhibition.
As well as playing records, it could record sound on brown wax cylinders.
Mr Rome had purchased it for more than 42 pounds - a lot in those days - and to cover costs was charging people three pence for the privilege of listening to a three-minute record.
Among those first recordings Mr Rome made in 1897 is one called The Hens' Convention - a humourous piece which featured local performer J. J. Villiers.
Mr Rome, who owned a footwear business in Liebig Street, lived at Murweh until he passed away at age 101 in 1974.
The phonograph and recordings had remained locked up in the coach house untouched for 80 years until Mr Rome's son sold them to a museum where historians discovered their priceless value
The significance of the house's connection to the nation's first recorded music is not lost on the current owner who ran one of the nation's most successful music stores in Warrnambool.
Five ARIA awards sit on the shelf in his study surrounded by signed posters of some of the who's who of music.
"Tommy stored his first recorded music here and of course that's how I made my living, by selling music," Michael said.
His store - Capricorn Music - was recognised at the ARIAs for best independent music store in Victoria.
Over the years Mr Rome's children have returned to the house to visit and even sent letters recalling the smallest of details about the house down to the colour and patterns of the wall paper.
Surrounded by the servants' quarters, the Rome children only remember their dad ever going into the courtyard twice in the 50 years he lived there, Michael said.
"This was the servants' area and the land of gentry was on the other side of the house," he said.
The bluestone paver between the kitchen and the rest of the house marks the spot where those who lived there in the 1800s would never have passed.
The bell in the old dining room - one of five in the whole house - is still in working order and rings through to the kitchen. "Nobody ever comes. Doesn't work for me," Michael joked.
The floorplan of the house is much the same as it was when it was first built.
Of the seven fireplaces, four are marble.
The blue glass from the stained glass windows capture the sunlight and reflect in the blue droplets in the lightshades - a 1920s addition to the house.
The lamp table where the candle wicks would have been attended to is still fixed to the wall outside the kitchen.
Outside are two toilets which are listed on the national trust.
At the end of the coach house a large sandstone arch leads into the milking shed - the old rope they would have used to tie up the cows while they were milking them is still attached to the wall.
Michael bought the property at auction in 1984 from Dr J Brookes who had bought it off Warrnambool council four years earlier for $140,000.
Dr Brookes, an obstetrician and gynecologists, had a shipment of $16,000 worth of Spanish slate to redo the entire roof already on its way before the contract with the council had been finalised.
"He was that confident," Michael said.
"He spent a fortune renovating."
All up, he estimates Dr Brookes spent as much as $130,000 on returning the house to its former glory - the receipts for all the work that was done came with the house.
Dr Brookes had purchased the house from Warrnambool council which felt it couldn't justify the amount it needed to spend on repairs.
The council had bought the property in 1977 for $130,000 with the help of a $87,000 grant from the state government in a bid to save the site from possible development.
One proposal was for it to become the headquarters of the Warrnambool historical society or a public exhibition centre.
There had even been an offer to turn it into a Christian community school.
Faced with a repair bill of $50,000 - the cash-strapped council decided to sell it in 1980.
Even the editorial of The Standard supported the move to sell off the house after the grand plans for the site proved costly for the council.
"There are few who would not want the building retained by the council but it needs extensive renovations. And without government assistance, that cost would be more than the council should spend on Murweh," the editorial read.
"A restored Murweh owned by the council could have been a magnificent public property."
But Michael said Murweh had been a wonderful family home.
The couple raised their four children there. "We came to the auction and the rest is history," he said.
When Murweh went on the market earlier this month, the real estate video caught the attention of a billiard table company in Melbourne.
The family billiard table that Michael had brought to the property in 1985 turned out to be quite rare, dating back to the 1880s.
It also caught the attention of a biographer in England who noticed a photo on the wall of Michael's grandfather with famous billiard players Walter Lindrum and Tom Reece.
He had written a book on Tom Reece in which he disputed the billiard player had come to Australia in 1953.
But that photo taken in Michael's grandfather's house was proof that he had.
While the sale has created new stories to add to the house's history, so many have been lost to time. "It's fascinating," Michael said.
He said occasionally they stopped and thought about Murweh's past when someone asked about it but after living there for 38 years, it was easy to forget about the house's legacy.
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