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The historic Ravenswood Homestead – considered “the birthplace of Bendigo” – is for sale again.
The 14-hectare estate, which once had its own train station, is expected to sell for about $3.5 million – about $1 million more than the vendor, a local businessman, paid in 2015 before obtaining a valuable permit to build a 150-person capacity restaurant and function centre in former stables.
Ravenswood Homestead was built in about 1857 on part of a former sheep station known as the Mount Alexander North Run, which covered about 47,753 hectares.
It was this area where Bendigo’s first gold was discovered at the start of the famous “rush” which made it one of the world’s richest towns.
The estate’s opulent main home, a 160-year old, pre-Georgian with seven bedrooms, is reported to be the first property in the district to have a flushing toilet.
About 140 kilometres north of Melbourne and 15 kilometres south of central Bendigo, the Ravenswood estate at 4912 Calder Highway includes eight servant’s quarters, a dining room capable of seating 48, a breakfast room, cellar and gymnasium.
Coupled with numerous outbuildings, the property offers 18 bathrooms and 23 bedrooms able to sleep more than 40 guests. It also includes an impressive fountain similar to one in central Bendigo (but reportedly, the area’s first item to be cast in bronze), established gardens and a solar heated pool surrounded by elm and poplar trees.
Ravenswood Homestead was vacated for 20 years during the Second World War when its then-owners found it hard to find servants and moved to the Windsor Hotel in the Melbourne CBD.
In 1969 the landmark property was purchased by the Beilharz family, who in the 1980s turned part of the estate into what is reported to be one of Victoria’s first bed & breakfast accommodation venues.
Another hospitality operator Art van Dyk, and Troy West, purchased Ravenswood from the Beilharz family on the day before a scheduled auction in 1994.
The pair listed Ravenswood Homestead for sale in 2014 with price hopes of between $3.1 million and $3.5 million, and relocated to the regional town of Harcourt, about nine kilometres north east of Castlemaine.
It was purchased by the then-owner of Bendigo’s Brewhouse Cafe business who is now offloading it with a redevelopment permit.
McKean McGregor Real Estate’s Nick Hall is the marketing agent.