Elgee Park is situated on land traditionally owned by the Boonwurrung people, who lived in the region for thousands of years before European settlement. The land was first settled in 1838 when pastoralist Edward Hobson was granted a licence to run cattle on a huge area on the Peninsula. When the licence proved to be temporary, the land was sold to Hugh Jamieson of Melbourne, who sold it very soon after. From then on, ownership of what would become Elgee Park is complex, involving several creditors, banks and descendants.
In 1958, the Myer family purchased Elgee Park. Initially it was dedicated to sheep grazing, however over the years the family diversified the property, introducing cattle, horses and a vineyard and saying goodbye to sheep in the late 1980s.
The Myer family bought Elgee Park as a getaway for their growing family; a place where the children could play and the family could pursue varied interests. In 1958 there was only a home and a shed and on the undulating hills of Elgee Park. Over the years, the Myer family added a new home, stables, a vineyard and winery, an orchard, a quarter horse stud and more than 45 sculptures. Their adult children own nearby properties, continuing the family’s strong connection with this region of Victoria.
The distinctive post and rail fences of Elgee Park also tell a story of connection. The fences, stables and vineyard gazebo were built by Cecil ‘Boxer’ Krohnert using timber grown and milled near the Myer family’s Yulgilbar property in Grafton, NSW. Boxer travelled often from NSW to stay and work at Elgee Park and his work and craftsmanship have been continued by his son and grandson.
The Myer family invested time, labour and love in Elgee Park. They were pioneers in winemaking, in commissioning and promoting art, and in quarter horse and cattle breeding.
In 1984, the first sculpture, Stanley Hammond’s ‘Commerce’, was placed at Elgee Park. In 1972, the family planted the region’s first commercial vineyard and later built a winery. In the 1960s, Santa Gertrudis cattle were introduced to the abundant grazing land and in 1976, the Yulgilbar Quarter Horse Stud was relocated from NSW to Elgee Park.
Today, the vineyard covers 4.5 hectares and is surrounded by established gardens and fruit trees. The winery building is now a gallery and function space, featuring impressive artworks from Baillieu Myer’s private collection. More than 40 sculptures live on the property amongst the vines, gardens and buildings.
Elgee Park is a working farm, a family home, a unique property that continues to evolve.