Ten years ago local residents and business owners, Jos and Michelle, purchased an historic building on the main street of Clunes. The shopfront came with a rear residence that had charming proportions and surrounds but was desperately in need of some love and attention. They saw the potential to convert this little gem into accommodation and with a little help from Interior Designer Suzanne Cunningham, they have finally realised that dream.
Sitting in a steep valley surrounded by extinct volcanoes lies Clunes, an historic gold mining town located in the central goldfields region of Victoria, north of Ballarat. The first European settler, Donald Cameron, took up a pastoral run in 1839, and named it ‘Clunes’ after his birthplace in Scotland. The name in Gaelic means ‘a green place’ or ‘a pleasant place’. The first traces of gold were found in1850 however, the discovery of gold was concealed until 1851 when Irishman James ‘Lucky Jim’ Esmond, mined some gold samples. When proclaimed genuine by a gold assayer in Geelong it marked the beginning of the gold rush in Victoria with Clunes heralded as the colony’s first gold town.
Today Clunes is one of the most preserved goldrush towns in the central goldfields, featuring many historic buildings and a famously intact 19th-century streetscape, one of the reasons Jos and Michelle were so attracted to the area. The historic streetscape has made it a popular location for film and television and Fraser Street, the main drag, has appeared in major Australian films including Mad Max, Ned Kelly, On The Beach and television series including, Queen Cat, Carmel and St Jude and Tomorrow When The War Began. The town is equally well known for its antique and collectable stores and since 2007 it has hosted the Booktown event, now held annually on the first weekend in May.
In the early 1860’s the shop on Fraser Street, now Jos and Michelle’s, was erected and used by the owner/occupier as an Iron Merchant and general store for agriculture and leather goods. The rear residence now known as Persimmon was erected a little later in the late 1860’s. The addition of the residence typifies the rebuilding and general upgrading of the area in the late 1860’s and early 1870’s.
To bring the residence back to life, the couple sought the expertise of interior stylist Susan Cunningham from One Girl Interiors. The restoration of this historic building has seen original period features kept that provide insight to and a reminder of a time long past.
The entrance is into a private sunny courtyard with a hint of Tuscany, with stones and large potted plants and stunning 19th century brickwork from the surrounding buildings still evident.
Small and elegant, the focus for the interiors has been placed on beautiful fabrics, and a contemporary period style to create a warm and welcoming environment. Although petite in size every piece has been carefully selected to provide guests with everything they need. A fully equipped kitchen with wood heater, comfortable lounge, king size bed, and claw foot bath in the bathroom, sit in stylish and sophisticated interiors. “We trusted Suzanne implicitly and took her advice on every detail and the result is better than we could have ever expected, we are thrilled!”, say’s, Michelle.
The couple really like the fact that you can relax and really make the most of this charming and quiet getaway, or simply stroll to the main street 50 meters away and peruse the quaint shops, groovy cafes and restaurants, immersed in the history and ambience of this brilliant place.
“A walk along our historic streets is sure to tempt the senses” say’s Jos, “with locally made Charcuterie, Wines, Butchery, the infamous Widow Twankeys, and The Clunes Greengrocer stocking local sourdough breads, pasta and the freshest fruit and vegetables, it’s a food lovers paradise”
Persimmon is ideally suited for a romantic and private getaway and the perfect springboard to discover Clunes and the surrounding areas.