Melbourne’s Historic Houses and Gardens: A Journey Through Time

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melbourne house and gardens

Melbourne is a city that’s rich in history with numerous heritage buildings that have been well preserved over the years. These buildings include historic houses and gardens that offer a glimpse of the past and are a must-visit for anyone interested in Australia’s rich cultural heritage. These houses and gardens reflect the changing architectural styles over the centuries, and how they influenced the way people lived and interacted with each other.

Melbourne’s historic homes and gardens give visitors an insight into the past and how people lived. They also offer a fascinating view of the city’s history, with many of them still owned by the same families that built them. Some of the most popular historic houses and gardens in Melbourne include Ripponlea Estate, Como House, and the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Each of these places has its unique history and architectural style that’s worth exploring.

The Famous Houses and Gardens in Melbourne

1. Ripponlea Estate

Ripponlea Estate is a Victorian mansion that was built in 1868 for Sir Frederick Sargood, a prominent businessman and politician. The house is a great example of Victorian-era architecture, with its elaborate decorations and manicured gardens. The estate has been used in many films and television shows, and it’s open to the public for tours and events.

2. Como House

Como House is another great example of Victorian-era architecture that was built in 1847 for Sir Edward Eyre Williams. The house is known for its elegant decor, lush gardens, and historical significance. The house has been well-preserved over the years, and it’s open to the public for tours.

3. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria is a botanic garden that was established in 1846. The garden covers an area of approximately 38 hectares and features a wide variety of plants, including exotic and native species. The gardens also feature several historic buildings, including the Observatory building, a statue of Queen Victoria, and the Herbarium.

4. The Johnston Collection

The Johnston Collection is a house museum that was established in 1986 for William Johnston, a prominent Australian businessman and art collector. The museum features an extensive collection of art, furniture, ceramics, and other decorative arts from the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum is open to the public for guided tours.

5. Labassa Mansion

Labassa Mansion is a French Renaissance-style mansion that was built in 1862 for Alexander William Robertson, a Scottish-born entrepreneur. The mansion is known for its ornate interior decorations, manicured gardens, and unique architectural style.

6. Werribee Park Mansion

Werribee Park Mansion is a 19th-century mansion that was built for the Chirnside family, one of Victoria’s wealthiest pastoral families. The mansion is a great example of Italianate-style architecture, with its grand facade, high ceilings, and decorative moldings. The mansion is open to the public for tours and events.

7. The Abbotsford Convent

The Abbotsford Convent is a former convent that was established in 1863 by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. The convent is known for its beautiful gardens, Gothic-style buildings, and historical significance. The convent is now a cultural hub that features galleries, artist studios, and cafes.

8. Captain Cook’s Cottage

Captain Cook’s Cottage is a historic cottage that was built in the 18th century in the English village of Great Ayton. The cottage was transported to Melbourne in 1934 and was opened to the public as a museum. The cottage is a great example of Georgian-style architecture, and it’s one of Melbourne’s most popular tourist attractions.

9. Heide Museum of Modern Art

The Heide Museum of Modern Art is an art museum that was established in 1981 on the site of a former dairy farm. The museum features a large collection of modern Australian art, including works by Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, and Joy Hester. The museum is also known for its beautiful gardens and sculptures.

10. National Trust Victoria

The National Trust of Victoria is an organization that’s dedicated to preserving the state’s historic buildings, landmarks, and cultural heritage. The trust owns many historic houses and gardens in Melbourne, including Como House, Labassa Mansion, and the Ripponlea Estate. The trust also offers guided tours and educational programs for visitors.


1. How do I buy a house in Melbourne?

To buy a house in Melbourne, you’ll need to engage the services of a real estate agent who can help you find a suitable property, negotiate the price, and facilitate the sale. You’ll also need to work with a lawyer or conveyancer to ensure that the sale is legal and binding.

2. Can I visit these historic houses and gardens?

Yes, many of these historic houses and gardens are open to the public for tours and events. You can also visit some of them independently and explore at your leisure.

3. Can I rent a historic house in Melbourne?

Yes, some historic houses in Melbourne are available for rent, typically for short-term stays. However, these properties are often in high demand and may require advanced booking.

4. How can I get involved in preserving Melbourne’s cultural heritage?

You can get involved in preserving Melbourne’s cultural heritage by volunteering with organizations like the National Trust of Victoria, donating to heritage preservation funds, or participating in local government initiatives that support heritage preservation.

5. Are there any events or festivals related to Melbourne’s historic houses and gardens?

Yes, there are several events and festivals related to Melbourne’s historic houses and gardens, including open house tours, garden shows, and art exhibits. Check local listings for more information.

6. Do these historic houses and gardens have accessibility features?

Many of these historic houses and gardens do have accessibility features, such as ramps and designated parking spots. However, some historic buildings may not be fully accessible due to their age and architectural style. Check with individual locations for more information.


For those interested in architecture, history, and culture, Melbourne’s historic houses and gardens are a must-visit. From Victorian-era mansions to modern art museums, these locations offer a glimpse into the past and how people lived. Whether you’re a local resident or a tourist, exploring these sites is an excellent way to appreciate Melbourne’s rich cultural heritage.

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