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1854 – The Golden Year

So much of Heatherbrae’s appeal is found in the history of unprecedented growth that the new colony of Victoria experienced just under 170 years ago.


1854 in Melbourne is broadly considered as a golden year in the state's rich history – it was a time of glamour, excitement, significant change and growth.

The affluence brought about by the gold rush provided unprecedented investments in architecture, design and advancements in functionality and industry.

Melbourne’s vibrant culture was coming to life, with architectural icons both making their start and completion in that year, including:

  • The State Library

  • The Melbourne Museum

  • Melbourne University

  • The MCG

  • Australia’s First Steam Railway

Heatherbrae was first constructed as a 6 room, one level villa. In 1875, successful pastoralist and businessman, John Holland, purchased the villa and transformed it into the heritage mansion we now know as Heatherbrae, adding a two-storey section and tripling the size of the magnificent home, which was completed around 5 years later in 1880.

Heatherbrae joins a list of extraordinary heritage homes in Melbourne, preserved for the benefit of current and future generations, reminding us of a bygone era of craftsmanship and tradition.


  • Como House: 1847

  • Heatherbrae: 1854

  • Ripponlea: 1868

  • Werribee Mansion: 1877

  • Labassa: 1880

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