I grew up in the Yarra Valley on a 130 acre property called “Brampton Park”. It had a long history that always fascinated me. The property was purchased in 1869 by David Mitchell (Dame Nellie Melba’s father) as 1441 acres and held the land until he passed away in 1916. In the late 1930’s Mr Cyril Steele (Steeles Furniture) purchased the property and commissioned eminent Toorak Architect Geoffrey N. Sommer to design and build a brick residence to cater for his family as their country estate and to include ample accommodation for the domestic staff.
In late 1957 “Brampton Park” was acquired by the ‘Irving sisters’ (Kay, Pippa and Marjorie) when they retired from their renowned “Waverley Riding School”. Miss Kay Irving is described as an icon of Australian horsemanship, involved at an early stage in the introduction of Pony Club across Australia . Miss Kay and her sisters continued their equestrian activities continued at “Brampton Park” for many years until the property was purchased by my parents in 1984.
I grew up riding horses and exploring the 130 acres and always wondered about the mysterious Coombe Farm, connected to our home through Dame Nellie Melba. Dame Nellie Melba’s estate at Coombe Farm at the intersection of Maroondah Highway and Yarra Glen Rd was purchased in 1909. The cottage is still a private residence of Ms Melba’s descendants.
Recently, Coombe Farm was opened to the public after an extensive renovation and refurbishment. Featuring seven acres of stunning gardens and beautifully appointed facilities in the restored motor house and clock tower with a truly unique gourmet and cultural experience.
I recently visited Coombe Farm with my mother for lunch and was extremely impressed with the mix of old and new renovation of the buildings and of course the food was superb. Very happy to cater for my gluten free and pregnancy dietary requirements, I enjoyed the roasted tomato baked eggs with polenta fingers in their lovely dining room.
I’m looking forward to another visit soon to explore the gardens and gallery.