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A Fifth Generation Farmer’s Homestead Turned Boutique Accommodation

Stays

Woolbrook Homestead is a heritage-listed 1856 property that’s been in farmer Lachie Morrison’s family for five generations.

When his father sold the farm in 2019, Lachie and his partner Anise Boulot decided to lease the homestead back from the new owner on a long-term basis. The couple spent two years renovating the property to its full potential, which they now operate as an accommodation and events venue. 

Take a closer look at the renovated homestead, located in Victoria’s Golden Plains Shire. 

25th March, 2022

Woolbrook Homestead is a heritage-listed 1856 property in Victoria’s Golden Plains Shire, that’s been in farmer Lachie Morrison’s family for five generations. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Lachie Morrison and Anise Boulot. Photo – Marnie Hawson

When his father recently sold the farm, Lachie and his partner Anise Boulot decided to lease the homestead back from the new owner on a long-term basis. Photo – Marnie Hawson

This homestead was originally built in 1856 for pastoralist and first editor of the Geelong Advertiser James Bell, before a new owner commissioned a two-storey Federation style extension in 1901. The extension burnt down in 1906 (legend has it the farm manager rode in on a horse and shot holes into a water tank to save the original wing!), but was soon rebuilt in a very different Californian bungalow style that remains today. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Lachie returned to Woolbrook in 2018 to help his dad sell the property, but he didn’t go far! ‘Luckily, the new owner was not interested in the land or homestead and leased it back to us,’ explains Anise Boulot, Lachie’s partner who manages Woolbrook’s events and accommodation. ‘We moved into the homestead at Woolbrook as just the two of us at the beginning of 2019.’

Photo – Marnie Hawson

Anise and Lachie renovated the homestead, stripping spaces back to their original bones and furnishings. Photo – Marnie Hawson

‘We were really lucky that the house was already beautiful, which gave us a really big head start. Lachie’s parents renovated the kitchen, the heart of the homestead, making it really light which is great as many original homesteads are quite dark.Photo – Marnie Hawson

 Carpets were pulled up, floorboards polished, and rooms painted.  Photo – Marnie Hawson

Interior stylist Belle Hemming of Belle Bright Project was brought in for the finishing touches, placing her signature luxury rustic stamp on the decor. ‘I can’t recommend her highly enough; her taste and vision made our dreams for the homestead become reality,’ says Anise. Photo – Marnie Hawson

‘It’s the best combination of luxury and homeliness you will find in a natural setting. It offers a gathering place for young and old, just as its style is a combination of new and historic,’ says Anise. Photos – Marnie Hawson

Photo – Marnie Hawson

This grand piano survived the 1906 fire thanks to eight men who apparently carried it to safety! Photos – Marnie Hawson

The bathrooms and kitchen had been previously renovated by Lachie’s parents. Photo – Marnie Hawson

 Photo – Marnie Hawson

‘We were inspired by people like Belle from Belle Bright Interiors and Lynda Gardener – their style is so beautiful and timeless,’ says Anise. Photo – Marnie Hawson

The house offers a gathering place for young and old, just as its style is a combination of new and historic. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Woolbrook Homestead welcomed its first guests post-renovation in mid 2021. Photo – Marnie Hawson

The homestead is of historical, social and architectural significance to the Golden Plains Shire of Victoria. Photos – Marnie Hawson

Woolbrook remains a fully-operating farm. Photo – Marnie Hawson

‘I know many other people have never visited a fully working farm before. Coupled with the gorgeous homestead steeped in so much history it’s a very special place,’ says Anise. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Amelia Barnes
Friday 25th March 2022

Lachie Morrison grew up on Woolbrook Homestead — a heritage-listed property in Teesdale, located 30-minutes west of Geelong, Victoria.  

The homestead was originally built in 1856 for pastoralist and first editor of the Geelong Advertiser, James Bell, before a new owner commissioned a two-storey Federation-style extension in 1901. The extension burnt down in 1906 (legend has it the farm manager rode in on a horse and shot holes into a water tank to save the original wing!), but was soon rebuilt in a very different Californian bungalow style that remains today. 

Lachie returned to Woolbrook in 2018 to help his dad sell the property, but he didn’t go far! ‘Luckily, the new owner was not interested in the land or homestead and leased it back to us,’ explains Anise Boulot, Lachie’s partner and manager of Woolbrook’s events and accommodation. ‘We moved into the homestead at Woolbrook as just the two of us at the beginning of 2019.’

The couple signed a 10-year lease that allows them to make changes to the property. After hosting several private gatherings, they quickly saw the potential of the homestead as a boutique accommodation and events venue. 

‘In the dining room, surrounded by all that history, it made us think that Lachie’s ancestors would have been hosting their friends and family there for over a century,’ says Anise. ‘It made us realise what fun others would have in the house too.’

Anise and Lachie set to work stripping spaces back to their original bones and furnishings, including the grand piano that was saved in the 1906 fire. Carpets were pulled up, floorboards polished, and rooms painted. ‘I think we learned pretty quickly that everything took a lot longer than we thought it would!’ says Anise.

Interior stylist Belle Hemming of Belle Bright Project was brought in for the final touches, placing her signature luxury rustic stamp on the decor. ‘It’s the best combination of luxury and homeliness you will find in a natural setting,’ says Anise. ‘It offers a gathering place for young and old, just as its style is a combination of new and historic.’ 

Woolbrook Homestead welcomed its first guests post-renovation in 2021. Anise and Lachie still live in the house (when not rented as accomodation), as well as working on the farm and managing events on site. 

‘Running a farm and hosting events and accommodation keeps us very busy!’ says Anise. ‘We are able to work with each other really well. Sometimes Lachie is on a mop in the homestead getting ready for guests, and sometimes I’m out doing sheep work. Keeps life interesting!’

Book your stay at Woolbrook Homestead

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