The story of an enduring friendship, a business partnership and the creation of an outstanding homestead and property.
Located at the gateway of the Grampians Pyrenees Wine region, Orchards at Spring Vale Farm is a stunning 1860’s bluestone homestead surrounded by acres of picturesque gardens and a 1000 tree apple orchard. Providing the ideal base to explore the plethora of award-winning wineries in the region the farm is located near the township of Learmonth just fifteen minutes out of Ballarat.
Orchards at Spring Vale Farm hasn’t always been the beautiful tranquil property it is today. Marilyn and her husband stumbled upon the property when looking for a rural retreat to raise their three children and enable the children to pursue their love of horses. What they stumbled upon was a bluestone stable converted into a small home surrounded by derelict outbuildings, neglected and overgrown paddocks and fences that needed replacing.
The property was first settled by Scottish-born brothers, Thomas and Sommerville Learmonth in the mid-1800s as an outpost for sheep grazing and formed part of the larger Ercildoune Estate. It has changed hands a number of times prior to being purchased by Marilyn and Philip. Much of the original farming equipment found on the property has now been placed undercover in the ‘homestead museum’ to ensure it doesn’t deteriorate further. The property is located at the end of Ballarat’s Avenue of Honour, the longest Avenue of Honour in Australia.
Marilyn and Philip saw the potential of the property and recognised in it an outstanding opportunity to transform it into a fabulous home and property to raise their children. With Philip spending much of his time working overseas, Marilyn took the project on and over a twenty-year period gradually added onto the original stables transforming it into the stunning homestead that it is today. During this period of transformation, gardens and fountains were added, the original weatherboard homestead renovated, and stables and a horse arena installed. It was during this period and through their children that Linette and Marilyn met and a strong friendship developed.
Over the years, Marilyn and Linette often commented on the fabulous ambiance of the property and how it would be wonderful to share it with the wider community. As their children began pursuing their interests and moving away, Marilyn and Linette decided to embark on a venture that would see them commercialise the property for weddings, accommodation, and events. Orchards at Spring Vale is now an outstanding property helping to create and facilitate lifetime memories!
In addition to providing short term holiday accommodation, the property also produces a variety of award-winning ciders made using heritage cider apples. ‘321 Cider’ can be purchased from their cellar door located at Cafe Sidra in nearby Learmonth.
Both Marilyn and Linette have a passion for travel and are often exploring the far reaches of the planet while indulging their passions for theatre, history, the opera, art, and food. Marilyn has successfully run a number of small businesses and Linette has a background in the corporate world having managed a number of national projects, both are now enjoying the slower pace of managing Orchards at Spring Vale Farm and enjoying meeting the numerous people they cross paths with who either stay at the property or hold their wedding or special event at the property. Both now call Ballarat home and love living in regional Victoria and enjoy exploring the region, including Daylesford identifying new eateries, shops, and galleries. With its easy access to the Western Freeway and proximity to Melbourne, it provides the ideal location to live without the traffic and hustle and bustle of city living.
It’s everyone’s dream to experience new adventures and create lifetime memories whether on holidays or having a short break. Orchards at Spring Vale Farm delivers on all levels. The stunning bluestone homestead provides an insight of life in the 1860s, with its bluestone wall, concrete floors, open fireplaces, and fabulous country vistas. Unlike the 1860s, the home is beautifully warm in winter and cool in summer, its majestic rooms have views of the beautiful garden, water features or the sweeping countryside with its rolling hills. You can feel the peace and tranquillity that only Orchards at Spring Vale Farm can deliver when you drive through the beautiful bluestone and wrought iron gates, wander through the orchards, stroll along the banks of the dam, or simply relax with cider in hand and watch the evening roll in.