Barunah Plains Homestead is a heritage-listed homestead at 4484 Hamilton Highway, Hesse, Victoria, Australia.
- Area:32.526 km2
- Elevation:135 m
- Local Government Area:Colac Otway Shire Council
Barunah Plains Homestead is a heritage-listed homestead at 4484 Hamilton Highway, Hesse, Victoria, Australia. The original house, which was designed by architects Davidson and Henderson, dates from 1866; subsequent additions and alterations were made in the late nineteenth century and in the 1900s-1910s. The homestead also comprises large formal gardens, a bakehouse and laundry, stables, coach-house and implement shed (south-west of the homestead), a woolshed, two bluestone cottages north-east of the homestead, and a ram shed located 1 km south.
The property is strongly associated with the grazing history of the Western District, and prior to subdivision for soldier settlement in 1946, was the largest sheep station in Victoria. The homestead and outbuildings were listed on the Register of the National Estate on 14 May 1991; they are also classified by the National Trust of Australia and protected under the Golden Plains Shire Heritage Overlay.
The run on which the homestead sits was originally named The Long Waterhole. It was settled by Thomas Austin in 1846, who established a merino stud. It was sold to brothers Thomas and Philip Russell in 1851, who renamed the property Barunah Plains. The Weekly Times reported in 2000 that the Barunah Plains wool stud "has provided the genetic base for many of Australia's leading fine wool studs". At its peak, the station held over 50,000 sheep and was the largest sheep station in the state. It remained in the Russell family until 1978.Graham Mills bought the property from the Russell family in 1978, and subsequently restored the homestead and surrounds. In the early 1990s, GW Mills and sons decided that they needed an alternative source of income to supplement their wool business, and opened the property as tourist accommodation, using parts of the homestead, two cottages and the former shearers' quarters. In 1995, he added a 9-hole golf course, using the shearers' quarters as a clubhouse. The clubhouse was ranked by BRW as the fifth-best in Victoria in 1998; the course was then in the process of expansion. That year, the property had 11,000 sheep, crops of wheat, barley and oats, and the tourist business. In 1998, the local council approved plans to create a country-club development, motel and conference centre at the site, but this did not eventuate.In 1999, part of the property was sold off when the owners were unable to sell the property as a whole. It was bought by internet entrepreneur and politician Evan Thornley in 2001. He advertised the property for sale in 2012, at which time the Geelong Advertiser reported that potential buyers were visiting the property "in helicopters that cost almost half the property's $4.5 million-plus asking price."
# Things to do