Winchelsea - Places to See

Barwon Hotel

The town's raison d'etre, the Barwon Hotel (1842), with a more recent facade, is still standing near the river in Main St. Inside is a collection of historical artefacts.

Bridge and Picnic Spots
Near the hotel is a three-span bluestone arch bridge (1867) over the Barwon River which is considered one of the most impressive stone structures in Victoria. The commemorative stone is undated as it was hurriedly prepared so as to be ready for an opening by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1867. It is the third bridge on the site which was an important link on the Geelong-Warrnambool Rd. There are a number of picnic spots beside the river.

Anglican Churches
Another survivor is Thomas Austin's original town church (1846). It adjoins the hall of the second Anglican church which dates from 1860 and which is located in Barwon Terrace.

Barwon Park
Austin's 'Barwon Park' homestead is 3 km north of town on the Inverleigh Rd which is signposted off the Princes Highway. It is a two-storey bluestone mansion with 42 rooms and a distinctive cast-iron verandah and a profusion of delicate cast-iron lacework. It originally accommodated Austin, his wife and their eleven children.

The project was apparently prompted by Mrs Austin's embarrassment when, in 1867, she had to accommodate the Duke of Edinburgh in the original house. When the new homestead was completed in 1869 it was the finest and most celebrated mansion in western Victoria. A special ship was chartered to convey the house's cedar, oak, marble and stained glass from England. There is an elaborate entry hallway, a fine oak and cedar staircase and a high-quality crafted interior. It is open from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays, tel: (03) 5267 2209.

Other Historic Buildings - Shops
Alexandra's Antiques and Art Gallery is located in a 19th-century bank building on Main St, tel: (03) 5267 2605. The Riverside Gallery is situated within the old red-brick public library building (1893) in Main St. It is open from Friday to Sunday, 10.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., tel: (03) 5267 2919. The Winchelsea Shire Hall Tea Rooms is a cafe-restaurant with arts and crafts in Hesse St which does a roaring trade. They are situated in a fine bluestone building (1908) which originally served as the shire hall, tel: (03) 5267 2769.

Lake Murdeduke, to the north-west of town, and Lake Modewarre, signposted off the Princes Highway 11 km east of town, are popular fishing areas with redfin and rainbow trout to be had.

Commercial Gardens
Otway Roses is an enclosed rose garden surrounded by the Wormbete Forest with its own cafe. It is located at 450 Wormbete Station Rd to the south-east of town. They are open from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on weekends from November 1 to May 1, tel: (03) 5288 7382.

Killarney Park Lavender Farm (80 acres) are also located on Wormbete Station Rd at the edge of the Otway Ranges, and they are also open on weekends, from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., tel: (02) 5288 7312.

5 km south of Winchelsea on the Mathieson Rd are Country Dahlias where the gardens are open from February to April.

'Ingleby' was the primary homestead of the Armytage family's pastoral empire, established in 1836. The Belgian-born George Armytage sailed for Van Diemans Land to make his fortune in 1815 as he resented a dependency on relatives occasioned by the Napoleonic Wars. He built that colony's first flour mill and sailed into Port Phillip Bay in 1834.

Today, cottage accommodation is available on the property, 200 metres from the two-storey 17-room bluestone homestead (1860) which replaced an earlier stone house that is now in ruins. To the rear is an elegant courtyard for coaches. There is an unusually decorated bluestone woolshed (1882-83) which was, at the time, one of Victoria's largest and arguably the first in the state to install shearing machines. Farm tours and activities are seasonal. It is located at 765 Ingleby Rd, 14 km west of Winchelsea, tel: (03) 5267 2415.

'Tarndwarncoort', located off the Warncoort Cemetery Rd, is another fine 19th-century homestead. It is built primarily of bluestone although freestone was used in the initial stages. Local blackwood was used for the furniture. The Polwarth breed of sheep was developed on this property in the late 19th century. Today it offers holiday cottage accommodation, tel: (03) 5233 6241.

Other Historic Homesteads
'Wormbete' (6 km south of town in Deans Marsh Rd) is an impressive homestead which was recently owned by Alan Bond. It may be open for inspection by prior arrangement.

'Murdeduke' is a fine bluestone homestead which is located by the lake of the same name. It can occasionally be visited as part of the open gardens scheme.

The Sea-Mist Palomino Stud furnishes horseriding, accommodation and a BYO restaurant. They are located on Wensleydale Station Rd, Winchelsea South, tel: (03) 5288 7255.

Kalinda Tours offer personalised tours of wine regions, the Grampians, the Twelve Apostles, Ballarat, Phillip Island and virtually anywhere else in Victoria (a two-person minimum), tel: (03) 5267 2581.