Ripponlea Estate - The Gardens @ Monday, March 31, 2014

Rippon Lea Estate is a historic property located in Elsternwick, built in 1868 in the Lombardic Romanesque style, it was one of the first in Melbourne to install electricity. Built for Sir Frederick Sargood, a wealthy Melbourne businessman, politician and philanthropist. He was an Australian politician, Minister of Defence and Education in the Government of Victoria 1890–1892 and Senator in the Australian Senate 1901–03. They must make a lot of money, but it does help that he came from money too. 

The extensive garden retains 14 of the original 45 acres, and features a lake, grotto, gardens, buildings and a magnificent fernery. The garden was preserved by the last owners Ben Nathan and his daughter Louisa Jones. Mrs Jones modified the interior of the house in the 1930s, adding a glamorous Hollywood-style swimming pool. Mrs Jones gave Rippon Lea to the Nation, in care of The National Trust in the 1970s.

Sargood's wife Marian died in childbirth on 6 January 1880, they had nine children. The last owner Mrs. Louisa Jones, died in 1972, aged seventy-eight. 

The Trust now runs Rippon Lea as a museum, conserving the architecture and the landscape, and presenting the social history of the owners and their servants. Visitors to Rippon Lea enter a mansion preserved as the Jones family lived in it after the 1938 modernization. 

And that reads like a conclusion to a post but isn't. :P

Running and late and lost (we ended up in Brighton) we got to Ripponlea at 12.30pm for their wedding open day. Out front there's a mini nursery, cafe and gift shop that leads to a long driveway (totally walkable - just not in heels) to the mansion.

We shall do the house tour next time.

Since we were here for the wedding open day we went to the ballroom on the side of the mansion beside the pool, rather than just start with exploring everything.

That's a tiny chandelier, but they do have stars and other things on the ceiling.

There's a balcony and stairs between the the main floor and upper area.

The room was nice, with the colour scheme being cream/beige and goes well with latte/cappacino/peach/nude and lighter colours. Not my style, which is sad as I really wanted to like it. Well I do like it, it's just not my style. That and the chandelieer was tiny compared to how big the room was. 

Min for Sunday is 100 guests, Fri/Sat is 130. Starting from $155 a head you're looking at 15,000-20,150. That is just food/venue. Not sure if it includes a 5hr beverages package (probably does). And that's with basic settings, no centerpieces, cake (other than stuff served for dessert) or anything. The bathroom were located to the side of the small stage and were old like retro 50s with honeycomb tiles. 

Peter Rowland is the main catering company in Melbourne, and does good food. Even the pasta they made for our college cafeteria is good, though the prices matched our school fees. We received a bag of flyers and business cards for their preferred vendors and box of loose tea leaves, English breakfast, for le beau. 

We met a baker who did lovely cakes, Jas likes the mud cake, while I like the frosting and salted caramel swirled over it. A tip with cakes - everyone has a church going friend who knows that little old lady who makes amazing cakes, ask your friend for help and offer than commision. 

Afterwards we went for a wander. Oh and the ballroom and pool is amazing at night, but for the day you might prefer the gardens. Also you can't float floating candles in the pool, only things the size of a beach ball and above.

A nature inspired hut, with bark-ish walls and beams. Why is there a BBQ by the door?


That's a lake that looks like perfect short grass. 

Glad this was here, I'm accident prone :P.

So much greenery...

The grounds here are huge! There's a lake (man-made), bridge, and a tree top high gazebo. I did find an archway I like. I also stepped into the lake, as it was covered in moss and therefore looked like grass, thank god for the signs. Saw a huge bird at least 30cms tall that moved fast like a cat. Ducks in the lake. Lots of spiderweb out there. I am reminded of why I don't like nature.

Where does this go? Note - this place is not wheelchair/old people friendly, 

or at least if you're going to climb all those steps and all, perhaps just for exploring.

 I do like this scene, perfect for a white (not wedding) dress photo shoot.

The view from the gazebo/tree top tree house. Not fluffy friendly.

Some areas were blocked off for safety. That thing has nuts inside that restaurants use.

In the gardens there was a fairy photo shoot going on and an out of cinq couple performing. A hedge lined the path with stops to a windmill-ish thing, and a garden patch of greens I don't recognize. 

At the end was an apple orchid, unfortunately all the apples were miniature and dried up. I saw a very small bird and two parrots. More veggie patch this time I see dill. Meanwhile Jas had wandered off to the stables. Old carriages with dust, look but do not touch.

View from the basement-ish entry. 

We found our way into the basement, outside white clothes 
including pantaloons and a boy's vest hung on the line. 

The Servant's Sitting Room

"The rooms of the basement kitchen complex are also of special interest, having been built in the 1880s and then abandoned in 1938 following the installation of a modern kitchen on the ground floor. Today they are a rare surviving Australian example of a 19th century kitchen suite; comprising kitchen, scullery, pantries, cool rooms (old fashioned fridge room), servants' hall and wine cellar." 

It was like seeing a version of Downton which as cool, Jas really liked it and he's into history too. Though my area is the Tudors. He showed me the ice box and how it works. And there was a cool room and by the stairs one of those boards with bells and room names when upstairs called for service, but instead it lit up (powered by electricity). 

 It was late and I had to go to class, so we missed the rose gardens (didn't notice it at the time).

 In the gift shop & cafe there's a cardboard model of the mansion.

Not sure what's with the lighting.

 I do love lemonade, with ice served with a strawberry on the side and a spring of mint.

On weekends they do tours of the mansion, though it's advised you call to check the time before you come or arrive before 1pm. We're looking forwards to returning, with a picnic and exploring areas we didn't see on this visit. Tickets are $15 and there's more info here. While we didn't go on the tour we did meet people (a week later, at an event) who did go and they all recommended it.

Do you like going on adventures and exploring new things? 
Have you been to Ripponlea or Como House? 

Blogger Ling said... on April 2, 2014 at 12:28 PM  

Ripponlea is gorgeous and I went for a visit for our wedding... We decided against it due to the amount of money we had to cough up for rain contingency. What a shame, I really liked it.

Blogger Charlie said... on April 2, 2014 at 10:41 PM  

That would be for an outdoor wedding would it? Where did you end up having your wedding?

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