One of Victoria’s oldest homes up for auction

by AF

Wentworth House, Melbourne

Dating from 1842, Wentworth House is the second oldest surviving house in Victoria (the oldest is Emu Bottom in Sunbury dating from 1836). It was built for Dr. Farquhar McCrae, an early gentleman colonist and brother-in-law of painter and diarist Georgiana McCrae. The 110 hectare property was purchased from Arundel Wrighte, a superintendent of chain gangs in Launceston. 

The house, originally named La Rose, was built in three stages. The first stage was a simple Colonial Georgian house built of volcanic rock. It had three rooms with a kitchen attached at the rear. It was rumoured that this part of the house was built by slave labour as it had been constructed by the coachman of pioneer John Pascoe Fawkner. Larger additions were made in the 1850s and 1870s, when bluestone wings and staff quarters were added.

Portrait of Dr Farquhar McCrae by Georgiana McCrae, 1832. Held by the National Gallery of Australia.

Dr. McCrae was a magistrate and director of several companies and a bank, but moved out of the house in 1845 due to financial difficulties. He moved to Sydney and resided in the Lyons Terraces in Liverpool Street until his death in 1850. In the meantime the property had been leased and farmed by Coiler Robertson, who later purchased it in 1852.

The house was inherited a few years later by James Robertson, who, along with partners Robert and Peter McCracken, founded the Carlton & United Breweries.

The land was progressively subdivided from the 1880s as part of the ‘La Rose Park’ subdivision and now sits on an acre.

A map from a subdivision advertisement in 1887.

The property had been run as a dairy during World War II and the rear staff quarters had been used as feeding sheds. It was purchased in 1951 by former pilot Captain Gordon Savage. Savage restored the property and converted the rear staff quarters into two self-contained flats. Savage listed the house for sale in 1984 for $450,000.

Original features include a large cellar, marble fireplaces and two bluestone twin outhouse toilets.

For Sale

The house is scheduled to go to auction on July 28.


22 Le Cateau Street, Pascoe Vale South, Melbourne, Victoria

Listing information and images via

Victorian Heritage Database