Charm­ing past filled with gold

A gold mine is one among the many in­ter­est­ing fea­tures of his­toric Mon­ta­cute House and its grounds, writes Ben Hyde.

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AN in­ter­est­ing his­tory and an­ces­try of Mon­ta­cute House com­ple­ment the prop­erty’s unique fea­tures, which in­clude a gold mine. The two-storey home was built for pas­toral­ist Arthur Taggart Stain­bank and wife Florence in 1882.

Ven­dors Peter and Sue Chap­man, who have owned Mon­ta­cute House since March, 1966, say the prop­erty’s his­tory was one of the key at­trac­tions.

‘‘The house was built when they (Stain­banks) came out from Eng­land and they built the house out of sand­stone that was mined on the prop­erty,’’ Mrs Chap­man says.

‘‘(Stain­bank’s) dad made the bell for Big Ben, which was of a bit of in­ter­est to us.’’

An­other in­ter­est­ing fea­ture was the gold mine, which started in the late 1800s and was struck into the side of a hill, then down a deep shaft.

‘‘Stain­bank started the mine and his fa­ther, who made the bells for Big Ben, also owned ships and the gold from the mine was put on the ships as bal­last,’’ Mrs Chap­man says.

‘‘There is still gold in there – the thing is, how to get it out?’’

But it was the house, which sits on al­most 10ha of na­tive bush­land, that was the ma­jor at­trac­tion for the Chap­mans.

‘‘I think what at­tracted Peter most was the charm of the place,’’ Mrs Chap­man says.

‘‘It was just so quaint and it had this lit­tle ve­randa on the front.

‘‘It was in a lit­tle bit of dis­re­pair and Peter loves to fid­dle and do things up so with the help of other peo­ple, he was able to re­store it.’’

The house is loaded with orig­i­nal char­ac­ter fea­tures, in­clud­ing high ceil­ings, open fire­places, ceil­ing roses, lead­light win­dows and doors, lace­work, dec­o­ra­tive plas­ter arches, carved wooden ar­chi­traves and tes­sel­lated tiled ve­ran­das.

Down­stairs boasts a host of for­mal rooms, in­clud­ing din­ing, sit­ting and draw­ing rooms, and a study.

Also down­stairs is an eat-in coun­trystyle kitchen and a fam­ily room.

Up­stairs are three bed­rooms, in­clud­ing the mas­ter with an en­suite and ad­join­ing dress­ing room or fourth bed­room.

Pa­tios and out­door en­ter­tain­ing ar­eas sur­round much of the prop­erty, which the ven­dors say pro­vide the per­fect place to soak up the scenery.

‘‘The birdlife is won­der­ful be­cause there is loads of plant life that at­tracts all the birds,’’ Mrs Chap­man says.

‘‘It’s just a won­der­ful thing to do to just sit in the fam­ily room sur­rounded by all these birds and trees. On a sunny morn­ing, we’ll of­ten just sit on the porch and see koalas in the trees. It’s quiet and peace­ful and the air is clean and fresh.’’

Other fea­tures in­clude stone sta­bles, a swim­ming pool, plum or­chard, olive grove and a 10cu m cold room for the an­nual fruit har­vest.

Mrs Chap­man says the lo­ca­tion is one of the stand­out fea­tures. ‘‘We are only 20 min­utes from the heart of the city,’’ she says.

‘‘It’s amaz­ing how you can drive back up Mon­ta­cute Rd and as soon you turn the bend, it’s just so peace­ful and divine.

‘‘It’s just a lovely place to live up here and it has a great com­mu­nity spirit.’’

The Chap­mans won’t miss much of the lo­ca­tion, as they are only mov­ing a short dis­tance away.

‘‘We will miss the house be­cause it has been home, and it has loads and loads of happy mem­o­ries,’’ Mrs Chap­man says.

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