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“Barrahead”, 149 Mirranatwa School Road, Mirranatwa.

One thing in particular these reviews do for me is take me on a journey, sometimes a long way back and sometimes right off the beaten track. In the last couple of weeks I have been looking at properties for this column and they have all had an interesting history, probably none more so than the one that we feature this week.

The property is on Mirrantwa School Road at Mirranatwa, not somewhere one passes through on a regular basis but a strong rural community established in that beautiful treed farm land nestled in the Victoria Valley partially surrounded by the Grampians Ranges.  The land was originally part of the Victoria Valley Run, one of the very earliest pastoral holdings in Victoria taken up by Thomas Woolley in 1838.  There was a quick succession of owners over the next 15 years or so before it was then settled by Thomas Robertson and Sons in 1855.  The family of the current owners of the featured property, “Barrahead”, have been involved in the Valley since 1857 and have had possession of it for just over 100 years acquiring it in 1919, shortly after the conclusion of the First World War.

The homestead was built in about 1859, and as Robertson’s owned the land at the time, it was probably built as their principal home being constructed of local stone in the Georgian style. as was, I might suggest, a very Scottish thing to do particularly at that time.  Now, we do not know when or particularly why the property was named “Barrahead” but a little research has discovered a strong Scottish connection.

“Barrahead” is the anglicised version of the Scottish Gaelic “Bearnaraigh”, an island in a small archipelago on the Southern edge of the Outer Hebrides.  The island takes it’s Gaelic name from old Norse and means “Bjorn’s Island”.   It has an interesting history showing signs of prehistoric settlement back to between the 6th and 9th Centuries and was inhabited until 1910 by a small community living by means of agriculture, fishing and fowling, it having masses of birds in rookeries along the sea cliffs.  Is it possible the Robertson family had a connection?  I do not know but there are some similarities here with the ancient blue mountain views in the distance from both Barrahead the island and this idyllic property, which must have seemed like an island on the outskirts of civilisation when it was first settled.

The holding now comprises some 481 hectares so a small portion of the original run, first headquartered some 9.5 kilometres distant.  The land is well watered undulating in nature and beautifully treed throughout.  During the stewardship of the current family the property has been significantly improved with the renovation of pastures, appropriate fertilisation and overall development but never disregarding the ecology and environmental aspects of the land.

Established on the property are two homes, situated a couple of hundred yards apart, a refurbished raised stand woolshed, associated yards and farm buildings.  The main family home is a superbly maintained and developed family home of four bedrooms, externally in the original Georgian style.  The local stone has been employed as the principal cladding, enhanced with quoins of bluestone. 

In recent years significant renovation has been undertaken to update and improve the family home, the most recent being in the kitchen and family living spaces.  The property has had a very stylish galley style of kitchen installed with a long central bench which can be set for casual dining.  A wood heater warms this space from one end and modern appliances, ample bench and cupboard space make life in the hub of this home a pleasure.  Off the kitchen the verandah has been built in providing a superb dining and casual living area with uninterrupted views over an 80 acre ephemeral swamp teeming with bird life to the Grampians beyond and to the north.  The balance of the home comprises four bedrooms, bathroom, office and stylish living.

The second home on this property has been utilised for farm stay and the internet reviews are exceptionally positive in regard to the quality of the property and the lifestyle to be enjoyed during a break from the everyday humdrum of life.

If you are looking for a diversified well developed exceptionally well maintained farm property and want to escape from the humdrum of life sipping a single malt (in keeping with property’s heritage) or something more Australian, the selling agents would be more than happy to give you additional details.

“Barrahead”, 149 Mirranatwa School Road, Mirranatwa.   Auction 2,.30pm Friday September 18.  For inspections contact Andrew Dufty at Charles Stewart Western Victoria, Thompson Street, Hamilton on 0419 842929.

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