Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Rippon Lea - expansion.

Continuing the story of Fred, his new wife Julia, an undisclosed number of children and their rather nice house.

Fred was knighted in 1890 and renovated his house again in 1897.

The front entrance was remodeled to what visitors see today.
He added a gentleman's wash room and study, enlarged the old study to make a drawing room, and made the old drawing room a less formal sitting room.

The staircase was remodeled to the grand staircase that's seen today, a bathroom added upstairs and bedrooms added making a total of 11 bedrooms, to accommodate staff and a growing family.

Fred's business continued to thrive in Australia and New Zealand and he was elected to the first Australian Senate in 1901.

Life was good.

However only two years later, in 1903, while on a trip to New Zealand, Fred became suddenly ill and died.

What happened to the house then?
Stay tuned for the next installment.

Rippon Lea Estate, Melbourne - May 2016

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Rippon Lea - development

Continuing our story of Fred, Marion, their 9 children and their house.

A little side note.
At the time of our visit the estate was hosting an exhibition of costumes from the movie The Dressmaker.
I've never seen the movie, though I've read the book.
Judging by these fabulous costumes, I should probably take a look at the movie.

We didn't realise the exhibition was on and were a little disappointed that we couldn't see the house in it's normal state.
As lovely as the clothes were.


I did try to get some shots around the mannequins but it was very difficult.

I think another trip is on the cards.

Now back to our story.

 All went swimmingly until in 1878 poor Marion died while giving birth to her 12th child.

Fred needed to get away so took his family, 3 staff and a cow to England.
(yes I said cow)

Fred returned in 1882 refreshed and with a new wife and child in tow, resumed his career in Parliament and became Minister for Defence.

Because he now had international dignitaries to entertain, Fred decided an extension was in order.

The dining room was extended to the size it is today, a second floor was added to the back and a tower built.

He remodeled the kitchen and added a verandah to the West front of the house.

The garden was redesigned to look less formal, the fernery enlarged, and the drainage extended.

Now those parties could begin.

Coming up - the 1890's

Rippon Lea Estate, Melbourne - May 2016

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Rippon Lea - the beginning.

Where shall we go today?

This looks promising.....

Shall we go in?

Ahhh a wonder to behold.

And now for a story.

Last May I turned 50 (no that's not the story).
Hubby and I went to Melbourne for a long relaxing weekend and daughter stayed with friends at home.

One place I had wanted to see for quite a while was Rippon Lea Estate, a beautiful house and gardens currently owned by the National Trust.

And now for the story.

Once upon a time there was a man named Frederick Sargood.
Fred became a rich man through selling soft-goods on the gold fields.  I'm not sure what soft-goods he sold, or indeed what constitutes a soft-good, but whatever they were, he made his fortune by selling them to the gold diggers.

He used his new riches to build a home for himself and his family.

He used a combination of his mother's maiden name, and an old English word for "meadow" to create the name of Rippon Lea for his new home.  He moved in with his first wife, Marian, and their 9 surviving children.  The year was 1868.

The mansion had 15 rooms (there are currently 33) and he employed 7 maids, a butler, 7 gardeners, a coachman and a groom.  Clearly soft-goods was good business.

Fred entered politics and became the first chairman of the Melbourne Harbour Trust in 1875.

He was a very practical man and liked to keep up with the times.  He had an underground watering system, electricity and indoor toilets installed in the house.
You might say he was a visionary victorian Victorian (slight geographical / historical joke there).

Fred was also a keen gardener (man after my own heart) and had many different plants imported.

Stay tuned for the next installment - the 1880's.

Rippon Lea Estate, Melbourne, Victoria - May 2016

Monday, January 16, 2017

Another year begins.

Well 2016 is done and dusted
and 2017 is upon us.

Time to pull up a comfy chair,
or seat myself at my writing desk.

Either way, it must include coffee.

And make my plans for the new year.

Happy new year everyone.

Photo of writing desk taken in Sydney  - Sept 2015
 Cafe shots from Ballarat, Victoria - March 2016