Swamp heritage on display

Sue Macleod playing the piano. 274835_09

By Shelby Brooks

Kooweerup’s colonial history has come alive at the annual Harewood Heritage Day, which even featured a royal visit from Queen Victoria.

Standing for over 150 years, Harewood House (located on the South Gippsland Highway next to Tooradin Airfield) is a privately owned, heritage listed property which was built by the pioneering Lyall family.

The heritage day, held Sunday 3 March, was the first public event held at the historic property since 2018.

Bev Edwards, president of Friends of Harewood, said it was wonderful to see hundreds of people flock to the property to learn more about the history of the swamp.

“We weren’t expecting the amount of people to show up that did,“ she said.

“There was a really good sense of being able to get out and about again.

“A lot of people came for the curiosity, they said they always wanted to know what the house looked like inside. Those who had been before said they were glad to come again.“

As the day always features period outfits, Ms Edwards took the opportunity to create two Queen Victoria outfits to wear for the day, as well as a Prince Albert and the servant John Brown costumes for her husband Rodney.

Many history lovers attended the day, which featured entertainment from a pipe band and Scottish highland dancers, local historical displays and tours of the grounds.

“People were in awe of the house, not so much because of its beauty but of all the historical aspects and items from the 1860s and 1870s,“ Ms Edwards said.

“Again we’re overwhelmed by the support from local businesses that donated items for the raffle.“

Harewood Heritage Day was created following the success of the previous ‘Scots on the Swamp’ event to allow for a broader celebration of Indigenous, post-contact and multicultural heritage.

Boonwurung N’Arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs welcomed visitors to Country.

Harewood House was completed in 1868 on a sandy rise on the northern shore of Western Port Bay for pastoralist William Lyall on the clan lands of the Yallock Bulluk people.

The Lyall family, who migrated from Scotland, are credited for introduced Victoria’s first hares (which gave the name to the property) and Shetland ponies, as well as partridges, deer, pheasants, shaggy highland cattle and plants including Scottish gorse and camellias.

A great great grandson of William Lyall was in attendance of the heritage open day, Ms Edwards said.