Mont de Lancey - Yarra Valley
Mont de Lancey is a beautiful brick homestead that was built in the 1880s by stonemason and pioneer Henry Sebire. Sebire’s family continued living in Mont de Lancey until 1993, when it was donated to the Wandin township community in the Yarra Valley.
Sign up for a yesteryear tour that highlights the difference between a modern home and the historic homestead. You will see the homestead’s timber slab kitchen, home dairy, blacksmith’s forge and vintage machinery shed, plus the 1920s St Mary’s Chapel addition. You can walk through the homestead’s gorgeous gardens that include a 100+ year old oak tree.
Before you leave, visit the onsite museum, which showcases vintage photos, tools, radios, clothes, and much more. Mont de Lancey is also host to blacksmithing and woodturning courses, a machinery restoration society, and monthly country markets.
The Convent - Daylesford
The Convent at Daylesford is now a renowned art gallery and luxury hotel, but it has a long and interesting history. The property was originally home to Gold Warden and Magistrate James Daly, who had a house built high on Wombat Hill in 1862 to overlook the Daylesford township.
After changing hands several times, in 1891 the property became the Holy Cross Convent of the Presentation Sisters: a teaching order of nuns that originated in Ireland. Because this order was subject to enclosure, the house was converted into a convent and boarding school, with a new wooden school building erected onsite for the nuns to teach in. The Holy Cross Convent lasted for 90 years, educating hundreds of children. But with dwindling convent nuns and student numbers in its later years, the Convent and its gardens were abandoned in 1982 to decline into ruin.
Thankfully, art enthusiast Tina Banitska bought the Holy Cross Convent from the nuns in 1988. She spent two years working with local heritage architect Vladimir Chernov to transform the old convent into the restored Convent Gallery, which opened on Easter Saturday 1991 and immediately became a favourite destination for both local and international visitors.