Emu Bottom gives up its treasures

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 26th May, 2016

Emu Bottom – Victoria’s oldest existing farmhouse – is giving up its antique treasures in a special auction to be conducted on site at Homestead Way, Sunbury by Christian McCann Auctions from noon Sunday May 29.

Well-known these days as a wedding reception centre, husband and wife owners Hedley and Jan Elliott have decided to lease the property and as a result are disposing of the existing furnishings.

Built in 1836 by pioneer and one of Melbourne’s founders George Evans (1785-1876), the homestead was situated on one of the large squatting runs in the area.

In 1843, Evans (then 58) married 18-year-old Anne Holden and had six children – all of whom grew up on the property.

After squatting runs became available for outright purchase the immensely wealthy W.J.T. Clarke bought the Emu Bottom run, so Evans leased out the remaining land and homestead and moved to operate a hotel in central Melbourne.

In 1876, the family returned to Emu Bottom until the last of the sons died in 1916 and the property then passed through several owners.

Architects John and Phyllis Murphy painstakingly restored the property in 1968, which then became a major tourist destination, attracting 90,000 visitors a year.

At the time, several TV series were filmed on the property including Cash and Company and its sequel Tandarra (1974-75) and Against the Wind (1978).

The auction in part reflects the Emu Bottom period with an important collection of Australian colonial and contemporary art and outstanding antique furniture going under the hammer.

Major art works by colonial artists like J.H. Scheltema and an important oil by Norman Lindsay are among the paintings on offer – along with works by Pro Hart, Hugh Sawrey, David Boyd and Charles Rolando.

The furniture features English George III and Regency pieces purchased from some of Melbourne’s leading antique shops.

There also is fine 19th century French ormolu mounted furniture including marquetry inlaid items, Boulle salon and French provincial pieces.

The auction contains the finest collection of Royal Worcester that Christian McCann has sold for many years, an outstanding exhibition Royal Vienna vase and ormolu mounted Sevres pieces.

Apart from the bracket and carriage clocks and bronze mounted clock sets is a rare 10-tube striking grandfather clock.

Other auction items include a rare upright music box (complete with original disks) on a stand, a rare collection of antique pewter and copper, fine hand woven Persian carpets and garden statuary including settees and urns.  

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