The story of Emu Bottom begins on August 30 1836, when the schooner Enterprize sailed up Port Phillip Bay.

On board was the first party of settlers who built the huts of the banks of the Yarra from which the City of Melbourne then grew.

Among that group was George Evans, who after exploring the area, chose to settle 40kms from the city, in a picturesque valley. It was here, in 1836, that he built the handsome stone building now known as Emu Bottom Homestead.

George Evans named his homestead ‘Emu Bottom’ because he had settled in the low lying ground of the valley well frequented by large flocks of emus.

He was a bachelor of 51 years when he set about building his homestead of sandstone gathered from large rocky outcrops he found in the valley and timber cut from the surrounding countryside.

At this time there were five thousand sheep and well as other live stock grazed on the large parcel of land on which George Evans had claimed as his ‘run’. Evans also became a successful breeder of draught horses.

It was a tough life for the early settlers but George Evans early efforts were rewarded and life flowed on successfully at Emu Bottom.

In 1843, when he was fifty eight, he married a young girl of eighteen called Anne Holden and in the ensuing years six children were born.

Towards the end of the fifties, Evans purchased the Royal Oak in Queen Street, Melbourne when his spacious squattage was reduced in size to surrounding estates and he was left with 640 acres, he found it too small for his old pursuit - that of grazier. He became licensee of the hotel from 1861 -1865 and after that time he lived next door until his death in 1876.

Photos courtesy of Jesse Raaen and Lizzie C Photography
Banner image courtesy of Lizzie C Photography