New custodians for Wombat Park

December 21st, 2021New custodians for Wombat Park

DAYLESFORD couple Tony De Marco and Theresa Albioli have bought the historic Wombat Park homestead and estate at auction.

DAYLESFORD couple Tony De Marco and Theresa Albioli have bought the historic Wombat Park homestead and estate at auction.
The asking price for the 101-hectare property on the Daylesford-Malmsbury Road was between $7 million and $7.7 million however the final price was not disclosed.
Wombat Park was created by William E Stanbridge and is known for its Arts and Crafts home and impressive garden.
Mr De Marco said he had been visiting Daylesford since he was 10 years old and had always loved driving past Wombat Park’s stunning driveway. He said the property would become the couple’s home.
“We’re just rapt. We’re going to live in it and be the next custodians. We have a bit of family around who can come and stay and it will be nice to have a place that we can be very proud of and love. We really love the garden and there are some productive acres so we will run a few sheep and cattle.
“It will just be our home and we will enjoy it, look after it and do whatever needs to be done. But that is very little. We are not going to modernise it at all, not even paint it. But we are lucky in that we have resources and we can give the garden a bit more maintenance and bring it up to scratch. The garden will be a real focus for both of us. We just want to get it up to where it used to be in its heyday.”
Mr De Marco said there were only three Arts and Crafts properties in Victoria. The Arts and Crafts movement has its origins in England during the second half of the 19th century and was a reaction against the mass production and homogenisation of Victorian design.
Features generally include an open floor plan, natural materials such as stone, brick, and wood, airy, light-filled rooms that encourage interaction with the outdoors and the tasteful arrangement of a few well-designed, decorative, and useful objects.
“The home has up to 16 bedrooms, so pretty massive, and it is a really interesting place. The history is just wonderful and the whole garden is magnificent.”
Mr De Marco said they had asked groundsman Stuart Henderson to stay on and would be opening the gardens to the public for future charity events.
“We do a lot of fundraising with Rotary Victoria and we will be having open gardens, to raise money for whatever we need around the local area, and also because the garden can’t be hidden away, people need to see it.”
Mr De Marco, who with Ms Albioli, owns holiday home accommodation business The Houses Daylesford, Bellinzona, the former Hepburn Chalet and Alkina Lodge on the Great Ocean Road, said settlement was not until July next year giving the family of the previous owner, the late Isabel Mackenzie, time to remove the home’s belongings.
He said, with a section of Wombat Park also sold for residential development, he would be planting “plenty of quick growing trees” along that fence line.
“But you can’t see that from the house and at the end of the day when you are inside, you can’t hear anything, it is just beautiful and all we need to do is add our own styling and that’s it.
“I said to Theresa ‘there is no work to do here’. I am done with renovation, totally worn out. We have been going hard for the past six years so I just can’t wait to take over in July and sit back and enjoy.”

Words: Donna Kelly | Image: Contributed

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