Volunteer guide Ilma Hackett said it would be wonderful when the homestead was restored and ready to open its doors again. “It’s such a gracious old building, not in a grand manner but welcoming and homely,” Ms Hackett said. “The building grew like topsy over 100 years, so to walk from the oldest section through to the more recent additions gives a wonderful sense of continuing history. That’s a unique experience.”
The homestead is co-owned by the council and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria). Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Sam Hearn said the homestead was one of Victoria’s oldest pastoral homesteads and had links to French military leader and emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. As part of the work, the council will also display a collection of items presented by Bonaparte to one of the earliest European families to settle on the Peninsula. It was originally settled in 1840 by Captain James Reid, a retired army officer, before Alexander Balcombe took over six years later.
National Trust CEO Simon Ambrose said it was fantastic to see important conservation work going ahead at The Briars homestead. “We look forward to opening the doors of the homestead to locals and visitors once again,” Mr Ambrose said.