The Homestead

Historical Drawing of NarrapumelapBuilt in 1873 Narrapumelap exemplifies the aspirations of the squattocracy in the Western District in Victoria. In the desire to consolidate their successes and create their place in history the squatters indulged in building grand houses to both confirm their status and serve as dynastic seats for future generations of their families.

Inspired in concept by the grand estates of their ancestral homelands these mansions were usually on a much more domestic scale. These homesteads referenced various architectural styles; some expressed grandiosity in sober and more traditionally classical forms, while others sought to appeal to more romantic sensibilities.

Narrapumelap, of the latter category, is a uniquely whimsical expression of the architects Davidson and Henderson’s interest in the French Neo-Gothic style. All aspects of Narrapumelap are of architectural note. From the outstanding entrance gates and beautiful gatehouse a mile long serpentine driveway planted with a double avenue of pines and elms leads to a secondary set of gates that opens to the delightful garden surrounding the main house.

The homestead’s fabulous tower is barely visible on approach and is suddenly and dramatically revealed only when the visitor is almost at the front steps of the mansion. It is the tallest tower on a single storeyed domestic structure in Australia. Of particular note are the cast iron lions modelled by John Simpson Mackennal. The outstanding features of the house are not confined to the front of the building with a unique and spectacular outer walled courtyard maintaining the architectural momentum.


John Dickson Wyselaskie

The original owner John Dickson Wyselaskie was the illegitimate son of a Polish officer who was interned in Sanquhar in Scotland during the Napoleonic wars. John Dickson Wyselaskie’s father was reputedly the son of the illegitimate son of the last king of Poland.

Wyselaskie is still remembered for not only his grand homestead at Wickliffe but also for his bequest of scholarships to Melbourne University and the funding of assembly halls at Ormand College and Presbyterian Ladies' College in Melbourne.


Contact Narrapumelap Historic Homestead to view this historic homestead or stay a night or two.