28 March, 2016

Branching out: 'Lynnburn'

As I explained in my previous post, diggers heading to the goldfields of Ballarat (and later Steiglitz), passed through land first occupied by Europeans in 1836; by John Cowie and David Stead at Bell Post Hill and by the Manifold brothers who arrived at a similar time and took up the land either side of the Moorabool River from its confluence with Sutherland's Creek, down almost to Fyansford. The Manifolds remained in the district only until December 1838. In 1837, they leased some of this land along the Moorabool to brothers John and Henry Bates who ultimately gave their name to the town of Batesford which prior to this had been known as Manifold's Ford and even Hopeton. By 1839 however, the Bates had also moved on, leaving only their name behind.
By the time of the gold rush however, this district was within the boundaries of closer settlement, meaning the squatters had long since moved on and the land was in the process of subdivision and sale.
Amongst those who took advantage of the push to open up new land for settlement, were the Hope brothers George, James and Robert. As described in my last post, by 1856 George Hope was establishing himself on Sutherland's Creek and along the Moorabool River at 'Darriwill', on land originally purchased by his brother Robert. At about the same time however, Robert himself was building a house of his own further downstream on the Moorabool below Batesford on land originally purchased by George. He called the property 'Lynnburn'.
Looking across the Moorabool River towards 'Lynnburn', November, 2015
Gazetted in April, 1846 and purchased by George at land sales in June of that year, the land consisted of 734 acres incorporating lots 9 and 10 of the Parish of Moorpanyal. These blocks, which straddled the Geelong-Buninyong Track, included the present site of Batesford east of the Moorabool River and incorporated river frontage from Batesford downstream to the present Batesford Quarry. It wasn't long however, before the more northerly part of the estate was subdivided and sold off in smaller allotments as part of either the Batesford township or the "Hopeton Estate" as advertised in the Geelong Advertiser of the 21st February, 1851.
The house built for Robert on the remaining land, was constructed from stone quarried on the property and is described on the Victorian Heritage Database as a "single storey squared basalt residence with double bay front, slate roof and two storey rear kitchen wing and encircling verandah, now demolished". It is thought that the architect responsible for the design was Walter Sheridan.
'Lynnburn', image taken from the Victorian Heritage Database
Like his brother George, Robert also planted grapevines and in 1864 in anticipation of substantial harvests, was in the process of building a three-storey building incorporating a cellar, fermenting rooms and a wine house. From the description, the building was set into the slope of the hillside descending to the river, with the 27 acre vineyard located between the house and the Geelong-Ballarat Rd overlooking the river.
In addition to the substantial cellar, Robert, along with his brothers, also had a flour mill erected at the water's edge. The mill was constructed of bluestone and located on the west bank of the river, south of Batesford - presumably on land purchased from the Port Phillip Association who by then owned the land along that part of the west bank. The mill was linked to the rest of the property on the east bank by a small footbridge. Most of the year, it was powered by a large waterwheel, with steam used approximately three months of the year when water levels were too low.
Early image of Hope's Flour Mill showing footbridge and additional outbuildings.
Image from the Wynd Collection, Geelong Historical Society
The mill was destroyed in 1880 when the Moorabool suffered major flooding which was said to have left around 50 people in Batesford homeless. It was mentioned at the time of its destruction, that the mill had stood for 23 years, giving a construction date of around 1857. This concurs with family documentation held by the Hope descendants which show the purchase of the land on which it stood in 1856 (The flour mills of Victoria 1840-1990: an historical record, Lewis and Peggy Jones, 1990).
Hope's flour mill on the bank of the Moorabool River, c1880. Image held by
the State Library of Victoria
Unlike his brother George, Robert Hope used 'Lynnburn' as his country estate and was not in permanent residence. By 1875, Charles Craike was operating the vineyard and was living at 'Lynnburn' with his family. Little did he or any of the Hope brothers realise however, that within a few short years, the Australian vine stock would be blighted by the arrival of Phylloxera - a small, sucking insect related to the aphid which attacks the roots and leaves of grapevines, causing growth deformities, depriving them of nutrients and rendering them susceptible to disease.
Phylloxera first made its appearance in Australia at Geelong in 1877 and according to the newspapers of the day, by 1879 there were signs of Phylloxera in the vineyard at 'Lynnburn'. In a move to control the outbreak of the pest, all vines within a certain distance of infected properties in the region were pulled up and an ongoing process designed to remove any remaining roots was implemented. What had been a thriving industry was brought to a standstill. By 1885 when moves to replant were afoot, remaining root samples from 'Lynnburn' revealed that the insect was still present in significant quantities in the soil.
In 1881, 'Lynnburn' was put on the market, however Craike seems to have remained at the property for several more years before Jacob Deppeler - a Swiss vigneron - took up residence, possibly in 1883. The property remained in the Deppeler family until 1954. Vines were eventually reintroduced and wine was again produced in addition to other pastoral enterprises.
Looking east across the Moorabool Valley to a modern vineyard on what was
'Lynnburn' land
Over the years, the size of the property has reduced and when 'Lynnburn' was sold most recently in April, 2015, the area was advertised as a little over 66.5 hectares (or 164.5 acres), less than a quarter of its original size, but retaining around 1.5 km of river frontage south of Batesford. In the preceding five years, the entire property, homestead included, had been returned to some of  its former glory with a program of weeding, fencing and soil-improvement to restore the land as well as refurbishment and repair of the house itself. Before sale in 2015, it was estimated that the property would sell for between $4.5 and 5.5 million.


  1. I have just discovered your wonderful blog, whilst googling for walking trails around Shelford and Five Mile Creek. What a fantastic resource you have created. I look forward to drinking many cups of tea whilst learning about my local area. Thank you.

  2. HI there - I've discovered this blog whilst researching some history of the Batesford area where my ancestors first settled. The Batesford Community Day is coming up at the Batesford Pub and I am on the committee helping organise the day which will feature a historical component for interested Batesfordians. I noticed your blog relating to Lynnburn and the Hope family who had the Flour Mill. Information I've found is quite confusing as to who actually built the Mill, some info says Robert, but he was the doctor, and other info says his brother James built it. The other brother George of course had Darriwill. We have a fantastic DVD of historical photos and a little book on Batesford history put together by Alan Buchter, a local historian and whose family were original Batesford pioneers, along with my own, the Dardels. James Henry Dardel was the first Swiss vigneron to bring vines from his homeland for planting here in Victoria. He planted some at Yering with the Ryrie Brothers and also in Heidelberg before settling in Batesford. One of the original vinyards is now producing wine again, Paradise IV Wines. His property Chaumont is still on the banks of the Moorabool where whats left of the ruins of his 3 storey winery lay, gradually deteriorating over time (unfortunately). I will post a flyer for the day here if I can - but will of course be happy if you have a better suggestion for where this could go. Glad I stumbled upon your blog. Thanks, Ali Jordan.

    1. Hi Ali,
      Thanks for your great comment! If you can post the flyer, please do! What is the date? I would be interested to come for a look. All the names you mention are familiar from the research I did for the post. I think you are probably right about James Hope having quite a bit to do with the mill. I have seen that suggested, but I didn't manage to find any documentary evidence other than the occasional comment. Certainly nothing official. James doesn't seem to appear in any of the land records etc...and I don't really know what his role was in the family. He was the eldest and died before the others - unmarried (I think) at Williamstown. Robert was the youngest. They are all buried in a family plot at the Eastern Cemetery...which reminds me...I meant to include a photo of the grave somewhere....might be time for an update...Thanks again!

  3. Thanks Jo - here's the flyer. We'd love to see you there - I think this page will only let me post a link to the flyer so here it is...

    We are certainly by no means historians but are just providing a very brief history on the area for interested locals.


  4. Thanks Ali! I should be able to make it.

  5. Further, do you mind if we reference your blog at some point in our display..?

    1. By all means! Feel free! I'm still hoping to get there on Sunday.

    2. Hi Ali. Looking for some local Batesford knowledge for another blog post and would like to pick your brains. If you get this could you please email me at jomitch@ncable.net.au ?