The Wilderness Homestead complex is in two parts: the original site which is close to the woolshed and overlooks a branch of the Bryant's Creek valley, and the present site which is on higher ground about 1.2kms to the north-east. Pringle Whyte, one of several brothers who pioneered the Coleraine area, established the squatting run in 1849. It had a series of owners including Henry Monro, Andrew Rose Cruickshank and Alfred Arden in partnership who probably established the original homestead and garden. Single storey and built of timber, it assumed a simple vernacular form with a detached kitchen. Samuel Proudfoot Hawkins, formerly a surveyor with Robert Hoddle, was another important occupant. All the buildings of the original site have been demolished to ground level but many plants survive from the garden. George Broughton, of Kout Narien, established the present house and garden after his purchase and subdivision of the property in the early twentieth century. An early example of the Bungalow style, the house was designed by leading Melbourne architects, Oakden and Ballantyne. Its garden dates from the same time. Subsequent owners include a branch of the important Armytage family and the Botterill family. The present house has been modernised internally but remains substantially intact externally and is in excellent condition.
What is Significant?
The Wilderness Homestead Complex, both original and present sites, is of historical and architectural significance.
Why is it Significant?
The Wilderness Homestead Complex is of historical significance for its sequence of owners including several individuals and families who were important for the development of pastoralism in the Western District. Its ownership by a partnership is typical, local interests combining with metropolitan capital.
The Wilderness Homestead second house is of architectural significance as the work of leading Melbourne architects, Oakden and Ballantyne and as an early example of the informal Bungalow style.