This is the story of a house and home – today there are still busy things happening in and around the buildings, There is still much laughter and many voices to be heard in and around the place.
George Evans would surely be surprised to see Emu Bottom today – the heritage buildings which make up the complex of Emu Bottom may have changed from his day and their uses too have changed and developed in a way that could not have been imagined by him.
After purchasing the property in 1968, Hedley and Janet Elliott lovingly restored the homestead to the period that George Evans and his family lived at Emu Bottom and to furnish the restored rooms with furniture and items, which would have been available in the Melbourne at that time.
Emu Bottom Homestead operated as a tourist attraction for the period of 1970 – 1975 and during this time approximately 90,000 each year visitors enjoyed stepping back to experience a small piece of Australia’s pioneering past.
Today, Emu Bottom Homestead is an important landmark and a treasured part of Australian pioneering heritage. It is as vibrant and important as ever. The homestead complex is the backdrop to all manner of functions and events and boasts two dining facilities – the Woolshed and the Homestead Dining Room.
When Hedley and Janet first came here, there was no trace left of the original woolshed and possibly this was because being built of wooden slabs, it is thought that the structure would have rotted away with the passage of time and been replaced by a much more modern structure.
The Woolshed, now standing at Emu Bottom, was moved from a property called `Runnymede’ owned by the Laidlaws at Sandford near Casterton in the Western District.
It was built there in 1854 by a team of Chinese on their way to seek their fortunes on the goldfields. At this time, the entry of Chinese into Victoria was banned and ship’s captains, bringing then from China, would let them off on the beaches near Robe in South Australia. In order to survive whilst making their way to the goldfields, they would get work where they could and this woolshed is evidence of their handiwork.
Through the years many facilities have been added to provide for the requirements of modern day dining for the Woolshed is now a unique venue for a wide range of functions and events.
The Homestead Dining Room
The Homestead Dining Room was built as an addition to the homestead from the sandstone collected from the property as George Evans had done in the building of the original homestead all those years ago.
The Dining Room has provided an elegant dining space, which captures the ambience of the original homestead and is used for weddings, meetings and special celebrations.
The Slab Hut
The Slab Hut sits on a small hill adjacent to the Woolshed and as the name suggests is built of timber slabs.
It was moved to Emu Bottom by Hedley and Janet after a visit to Whroo, a historic gold mining area. At Whroo, they met Mr Chong, a descendant of a Chinese family who had supplied the nearby gold fields with vegetables and who still lived in the same house. The Slab Hut had stood on Mr Chong's land since the gold mining days.