What is significant? The wild terrain, steep cliffs and a densely-forested strip along the south-western coastline of Victoria discouraged early settlers but during the 1840s, Captain Alexander Campbell, a whaler from Tasmania began taking shelter in the only navigable bay [later bearing his name] and pastoralists sought to take advantage of the rich grasslands beyond the coastal strip. In 1845-46 Superintendent Charles La Trobe sought to establish a coastal track between the Hopkins River and Cape Otway and returned in 1846 to establish a track from the landward side to facilitate the construction of a lighthouse on Cape Otway following a number of shipping disasters in the vicinity. The subsequent 1847 plan of the coast drafted by Contract Surveyor George Douglas Smythe which recorded details of the coastal plain in the Port Campbell region for the first time also noted the existence of Kernan's Station, the site of the later Glenample Homestead.
The land on which Glenample Homestead stands was originally part of the Kernan's Station pastoral lease established by 1847. In 1856-57, James Murray acquired Kernan?s Station and consolidated it with a neighbouring property to form a new holding which he named Glenample. Murray constructed some huts on the property, some of which survived in a ruinous state on the property until recent times. Hugh Hamilton Gibson, a Scottish born pastoralist, acquired the run in 1866 in partnership with Peter McArthur of Meningoort, and built a house of locally quarried sandstone between 1866 and 1869.
In June 1878, Glenample Homestead and owners Hugh and Lavinia Gibson came to national attention through a significant association with the Loch Ard disaster and the subsequent sheltering of the survivors, direction of salvage operations, and burial of the dead. The Loch Ard was a three-masted square rigged iron sailing ship which left England bound for Melbourne on the 2nd March 1878 under the command of twenty nine year old Captain Gibbs. At 3am on the 1st June 1878, Captain Gibbs was expecting to see land or the Cape Otway lighthouse but fog obscured his view. When the fog lifted, Gibbs was alarmed to find his ship much closer to shore than expected. Despite his best efforts the Loch Ard struck a rocky reef at the base of Mutton-bird Island and the ship was wrecked. Of the 54 crew and passengers on board, only two survived, Tom Pearce, an apprentice crewman, and a young woman passenger, Eva Carmichael who lost all her family in the tragedy. Pearce survived by clinging to a capsized lifeboat before eventually swimming into the gorge which now bears the name of the ill-fated ship. Eighteen year old Eva Carmichael spent five hours in the water until she too was swept into the gorge. Tom Pearce rescued the exhausted girl from a reef and brought her to a cave onshore. A few hours later Tom Pearce scaled a cliff in search of help and came by chance upon two men from the Gibson's Glenample Homestead. Pearce returned to the gorge while the two men rode back to the station to get help. Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael were taken to the station to recover. Eva stayed at Glenample for six weeks before returning to Ireland. The bodies of Eva Carmichael's young brother and sister Evory and Raby Carmichael were recovered and buried in a cemetery near the head of the gorge. Tom Pearce went to Melbourne where he was presented with the first gold medal of the Royal Humane Society of Victoria and a £1,000 cheque from the Victorian Government.
In 1886, the simple Georgian appearance of Glenample was altered by the construction of a verandah to three sides of the house by a carpenter employed by McArthur. In 1887, Gibson disposed of his portion of the run to Peter McArthur who had been the major shareholder. Peter McArthur's son Ernest McArthur inherited the property in 1897 following his father's death. In about 1911, Ernest McArthur established the Glenample Cheese Factory which established a wide reputation for quality cheese. The factory closed during the First World War but recommenced in 1929 when Ernest McArthur's sons Robert and Colin McArthur assumed control of the property. The McArthur family disposed of Glenample in 1945 and the house became uninhabited during succeeding ownerships. The dilapidated homestead was acquired by the National Parks Service and a restoration programme undertaken in the 1980s.
How is it significant? Glenample Homestead is of historical, social and architectural significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Glenample Homestead is of historical and social significance for its unique association with the disastrous wreck of the clipper Loch Ard through the projection of Glenample and Hugh and Lavinia Gibson into national prominence for the role played by the couple and their homestead in the sheltering of the only two survivors of the wreck. Glenample's co-owner Peter McArthur was also a significant figure in the rescue and salvage operations and the burial of the dead.
Glenample Homestead is of historical significance as an important pastoral run integrally associated with the early development of the isolated south-west coastal region of Victoria.
Glenample Homestead is of architectural significance for the accomplished use of locally-quarried limestone in its construction and for its unaffected Georgian vernacular form.