Mt Rothwell Homestead

by AF

Mt. Rothwell Homestead
Expression of Interest

The Mt. Rothwell Homestead is a heritage-listed home built in 1873 for pastoralist Robert Chirnside. Mr. Chirnside purchased the land in 1865 and had architect P. Colquhuoun design the blustone Victorian Italianate mansion.  It is historically significant for its association with the Chirnside family – one of the leading pastoral families with extensive land holdings throughout the colony.

It is also architecturally significant as it remains a relatively intact example of a 19th century pastoral home. Some of the original features include hand-painted ceilings and walls by American artist Clay Beeler. These are said to be the last remaining examples in a private home in Victoria.

The home remained in the Chirnside family until at least the 1980s, after which it changed hands several times. The current owners purchased the home in 2007. By then it had fallen into disrepair and required an extensive and careful restoration.

The renovations included rewiring, re-plumbing, new gutters and restoring the floorboards and plasterwork. Restorations were carried out with consultation from Heritage Victoria. Servant bells in the guest wing bedrooms have been repaired and are functional. It is said to be furnished with several pieces of furniture that Robert and Margaret Chirnside brought back from a trip to England in the 1870s.

The property is 124 hectares (306 acres) and includes two other houses and a private airstrip. On a clear day it is possible to see the skyline of Melbourne’s CBD.

Heath Ledger and Naomi Watts filmed some scenes from the 2003 film, Ned Kelly, at the homestead.

Naomi Watts in a scene from Ned Kelly (2003)

The house is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.


The expression of interest campaign closes on October 23. The house has been listed for sale since early 2010, and had an initial asking price of around $5 million. In 2011, the price expectations were lowered to around $4 million, but failed to attract any suitable offers during a previous expression of interest campaign.


985-995 Little River Ripley Road, Little River, Greater Geelong City, Victoria, Australia
– 1hr drive to Melbourne International Airport
– 1hr drive to Melbourne CBD

Listing information and images via

‘Mount Rothwell Homstead – Victorian Heritage Database place details’ Hiertage Victoria, October 18, 2012.
‘Historic Mt Rothwell for sale’ Weekly Times, October 5, 2011.
‘A bluestone revival’, September 24, 2011.
‘Historic estate yours for $5 million’ Geelong Advertiser, April 6, 2010.