Mawallok (also spelt Mawallock, Mahkwallok and Mawhallock) station of about 28,000 acres (now 5,851 acres) was acquired by Alexander Russell and Co. in 1847 and remained in the Russell family until 1980 when it was purchased by the present owners. Alexander's brother George Russell established Golf Hill in 1842 and other family members settled at Stoneleigh, Elderslie, Carngham, Barunah Plans, Native Creek No. 2 and Langi Kal Kal.
The pre-emptive right for Mawallok was granted in 1858. By this time the first wing of the homestead was built, as were the woolshed, stables, overseer's hut, dip and two dams. The dams were fed by a spring, reputedly the third largest spring in Victoria.
The original homestead was extended in the 1860s with a bluestone wing and cellar. A number of early structures remain on the property including the original homestead and outbuildings, the bluestone gable-roofed and dormer windowed stables, bluestone coach house, the stone and iron woolshed and iron meat house.
Alexander Russell died in 1869 and his son Philip Russell inherited Mawallok. Phillip Russell, and then from 1932 his son Alex Russell (1892-1961), were responsible for major changes at Mawallok. In 1907-08 the Arts and Crafts homestead was built to a design prepared by architects Klingender and Alsop, and the garden laid out to a plan prepared by William Guilfoyle, Director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens in 1909.
The large house was constructed in reinforced concrete, an early use of this material for a domestic residence. It has an asymmetrical composition with a dominant steep roof form featuring gables, gabled dormers and tall chimneys. The interior includes notable elements such as the handsome Arts and Crafts inspired timber staircase leading to a timber-balustraded upstairs gallery which overlooks the large living space below. Around 1927 the Melbourne engineer and World War I General Sir John Monash was commissioned to extend a small dam into a 22 acre lake. The pump house and a small shed were built in similar materials and style to the 1908 house. The raised terrace of the house looks across the sweep of lawn and lake to the distant vista of the Pyrenees Ranges and Mt Cole.
Alex Russell studied engineering at Cambridge and later served in both World Wars. In 1932 Alex and his wife Jess moved to Mawallok. Alex, pastoralist, soldier, golfer and golf course designer, developed Mawallok's merino stud. In the 1930s the view to the lake and beyond to Mt Cole was enhanced with the removal from the main lawn of several Canary Island Date Palms included on Guilfoyle's plan and the construction of a ha-ha wall between the garden and a six-hole golf course.
The Guilfoyle garden is protected by windbreaks of Monterey Pines, Aleppo Pines, Monterey Cypress, Sugar Gums, and Osage Orange, Cypress and Privet hedges and stone walls. The designed landscape reflects 18th century English picturesque design principles and later gardenesque elements, and includes both formal and informal design features. The design included a lawn and en-tout-cas tennis courts, curved and straight paths, rockery and pond, terrace flagstones and bluestone steps, pergola, sundial, urns and informally shaped shrubberies around the edge of a broad sweeping lawn. Later garden changes include a ha-ha wall, stone and timber pergola, and redesign of the terrace steps. A pleached lime walk designed by John Patrick was established in 1992. The former rose parterre on the east lawn has been removed and replaced with a Copper Beech. In March 1996 James Guilfoyle, grandson of William Guilfoyle, planted a Chinese Windmill Palm.
The garden is planted with a vast array of trees and shrubs, and herbaceous plants and bulbs. The plantings include conifers, palms, deciduous and evergreen species, with variegated and coloured foliage, strap and contrasting leaves, and colourful flowering plants. An outstanding Horse Chestnut dominates the main lawn, and the lawn is framed with Algerian Oaks and Pin Oaks and densely planted shrubberies with Pittosporum, Waterhousea, Laurus, Prunus, Arbutus, Corynocarpus, Alectryon, Cupressus, Erythrina, Fraxinus, Magnolia, Ulmus, and Cedrus. There are fine specimen trees of Liriodendron, Liquidambar, Betula, Metasequoia, Tilia, Cedrus, Platanus, Populus, Quercus, Ulmus and 3 old Morus nigra trees.
How is it significant?
Mawallok is of historical, aesthetic, architectural and social significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Mawallok is of aesthetic and historical significance as an outstanding example of a designed landscape. Mawallok, with its extensive windbreak plantings, hedges, stones walls, gateways, drives, gravel courtyard, its Guilfoyle garden, lake and views to Mt Cole, is amongst the finest and largest gardens in Victoria. William Guilfoyle, arguably Australia greatest garden designer, laid out the Royal Botanic Gardens from 1873-1909. Mawallok is his last known, and perhaps his grandest, homestead garden design, completed towards the end of his remarkable career.
Mawallok is of historical significance for its associations with the early pastoral settlement of Victoria and with the Russell family, important pastoralists in the early settlement of rural Victoria. The different phases of construction of the original homestead and the 1908 Arts and Crafts house and 1909 garden demonstrate the development of a successful pastoral station. The significance of the place is enhanced by the retention of the original homestead, woolshed, stables, coach house and other outbuildings and the intactness of the house and garden.
The 1908 house at Mawallok is of architectural significance as an important example of the Arts and Crafts style and for its early use of concrete in Victoria.
Mawallok is of social significance as an exceptional example of the Guilfoyle style, important in the study of garden history and landscape design in Victoria. It is highly valued by students, visitors and the community.