Upon moving onto the property with his sister Elizabeth, Harding erected a small house in 1840. It was originally constructed as a two-roomed stone cottage and later, a stone skillion and a weatherboard section were added. William lived there with Elizabeth prior to her 1845 marriage to neighbouring squatter Thomas Austin of Barwon Park.
|Original homestead 1975, J.T. Collins Collection,La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.|
|The Mt Hesse Woolshed, image from onmydoorstep.com.au|
In 1851 however, the original Mt Hesse Estate was divided in two with (I have read) Highett's part of the property passing to the Hopkins family at that time. Harding unfortunately had overstretched his finances and was forced to give up the lease so in 1853, the main part of the estate was taken up by local merchants William Timms (Snr) and John Wilson. Timms was at the time Geelong's largest wool exporter. Three years later in 1856, he bought out his partner, becoming the sole landholder. It was also around this time that the main Mt Hesse homestead was built for Timms to the design of architects Backhouse and Reynolds. This was later extended in 1873 for William Timms (Jnr) by Davidson and Henderson. At the same time, a gatehouse known as The Lodge was built near what was at the time, the main entrance to the property.
Timms however did not live long enough to enjoy his prosperity, dying in 1858, leaving his estate to be run by trustees until his sons were of an age to take over. During this time, there was a push by the government to break up the big squatting runs to allow smaller selectors on to the land. I described this process in my Woodbourne Creek post, but like that station, the Timms were faced with the division of "their" land. Like many others, they took up the pre-emptive right to which they were entitled then through a string of deals with family and friends were also able to purchase the majority of the land they had occupied and so keep the estate intact.
|Mt Hesse homestead prior to 1941, image taken from the Victorian Heritage Database|
In the end, the Mt Hesse Estate remained in the Timms family for only a few decades with the remainder of the original land divided into three properties (Mountside, Eurack and the homestead section - still known as Mt Hesse) which were run by William Timms Senior's three sons - John, William (Jnr) and Robert.
However, by 1882 the Timms brothers had also run into financial difficulties and, the whole of the estate was put on the market. William Jnr's Mt Hesse section of the estate comprising 15,707 acres was sold to James Kinninmonth and remained in the Kinninmonth family until 2002. By this time, the property was reduced to 8,772 acres as much of the remaining Mt Hesse land had been reclaimed by the Soldier Settlement Commission in 1956 for resale as soldier settlement blocks. In 2002 then, the property was sold to the German based Südwolle Group who are the current owners. David Kinninmonth remained as manager after the sale.In 1941, the Mt Hesse homestead was severely damaged by fire, however it was rebuilt in 1947 in part from original materials.
|The above sketch map taken from the Victorian Heritage Database shows the|
buildings on the Mt Hesse Estate. B1 = house built by Harding, B2 = stables,
B4 = woolshed , B5 = main homestead
Some years later - see comment below - Mountside was again placed on the market. In 1984 it passed back to the McIntyre family when Peter - son of Hector and grandson of Charles - purchased the homestead and the adjoining 2,500 acres of land. Today, Peter continues to run the property along with his son Alistair and Alistair's family including his son who will also one day work the property as his ancestors have done.
|Mountside homestead 1970, .T. Collins Collection,La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.|
Then, in 1882 when Mt Hesse and Mountside were sold, so too was the 8,231 acre Eurack Estate which was purchased by A M Edward. His tenure however was short-lived as the property was next purchased by Robert Chirnside during the 1880s. He in turn on-sold the property. Having left for a stint in England and Europe by late 1886, he put the property up for auction with the intention of subdividing the estate into smaller farms which would then be sold individually. The following year, the estate of roughly 6,000 acres was offered for sale in lots varying from 30 to 1095 acres in size. The largest portion including the bluestone homestead, manager's house, woolshed, stables and a substantial garden was to be sold with 1905 acres of the land.
|Eurack homestead, image held by the Department of the Environment|
Over the years, Eurack House has passed through various hands and today is owned by the Ingram family.