Historic Land & Buildings

Emu Bottom

George Evans took up land in the Sunbury area in 1835 and built Victoria's first homestead, Emu Bottom, so named because large numbers of emus gathered on the flats in the small valley. Evans bred draught horses and grazed sheep in this area which the indigenous people called Buttlejorrk.

He married Anne Holden in 1843, raised his children at Emu Bottom and died in 1876. Emu Bottom was later named Holly Green and today the restored Emu Bottom homestead and out-buildings are used as a venue for events and receptions.


In the early 1840s a homestead was erected on a small run at what is now Oaklands Junction by William Pomeroy Greene, a former Royal Navy officer who emigrated from Ireland with his family.

This historic building remains today as the restored Woodlands Homestead, and is significant because it is a rare example of an early prefabricated building, designed and made in Britain.

It is now a feature of Woodlands Historic Park, which also contains the ruins of two other 19th Century homesteads, Cumberland and Dun Donald.


From 1850 William John Turner ('Big') Clarke acquired extensive acreage in the Sunbury region, taking over some properties held by the first pioneers the Jackson Brothers, Brodie and Page Brothers, George Evans and John Aitken. He died in 1874 and his son, William Clarke, inherited all the Victorian properties, becoming the largest landowner in the colony. That year William Clarke began to build a grand house in Sunbury, which he named Rupertswood.

Rupertswood was to become a mansion of fifty rooms, its own battery of horse artillery, a private railway platform, and extensive gardens. It became the centre of social life for the wealthy in the colony, and hunt meets, grand balls and house parties were common. Sir William died in 1895 and the mansion passed to his son Rupert Clarke.

By 1922 the property was owned by H.V.McKay, a millionaire industrialist and known as the inventor of the revolutionary Sunshine Harvester. However, McKay died just four years later and in 1927 the then owner, William Naughton, sold the house to the Salesian Order.

They established a boarding school for boys that is still in operation as a private secondary school, and a farm that remains on the small parcel of land left from the original property. The mansion has been partly restored and now offers accommodation, dinners and a function venue. It is one of the most renowned buildings in the Hume region.

The Ashes

In 1882, the touring English cricket team played a social match at Rupertswood, after which Lady Clarke presented to England's captain the ashes of the burnt bails and a stump in a small urn. This was a token reference to mythical ashes of England's cricket that had been mentioned in an amusing newspaper public notice lamenting England's earlier loss to an Australian cricket team. Hence Rupertswood is now recognised as the birthplace of cricket's revered 'Ashes'.


If ever a district seemed obviously named because of its topography, Broadmeadows is the place. The historian A.S. Kenyon claimed that it was named after a hostelry in the district which in turn derived its name from an estate in Berwickshire. The 'broad meadows' of Broadmeadows were among the first areas sought out by the earliest settlers. It was handy, light timbered, undulating country and ideal for their sheep. The first village of Broadmeadows, later a Road District, was in the locality now called Westmeadows, and on a tour around the area you will sight numerous buildings with a long history.

For more information, visit the Broadmeadows Historical Society Museum.

Will Will Rook Parish

Will Will Rook was one of three original land parishes of the Broadmeadows district. The first Will Will Rook lands were sold in 1838 and the blocks varied from 640 acres to 1,189 acres. Boundaries have undergone many changes and the present day Broadmeadows consists of most of the parish of Will Will Rook and very small portions from the parishes of Jika Jika and Tullamarine. For most of its history it also included the two parishes of Yuroke and Mickleham to the north as well as a small part of Doutta Galla parish in the Strathmore vicinity.

The names of the first parishes were mostly taken from an aboriginal word list supplied by an early missionary and Will Will Rook is reputed to mean "place of curlews". The Will Will Rook Pioneer Cemetery on Camp Road, Broadmeadows pays testament to both the British ancestry and short lives of many of the first settlers in the district.

View the  Hume city maps.



Updated : 10:19 AM, 24 May 2013