One of Australia's most notable historic rural holdings has sold for about $10 million
The storybook pastoral mansion and gardens of Dalvui at Terang has been bought by an interstate farming family.
It is believed to be only the sixth time the property has sold since it was built by wealthy squatter Niel Walter Black between 1907-1911.
The present gardens (now a garden of national significance) date from 1898 when the landscape designer William Guilfoyle was commissioned by Niel Walter to do the work.
He built Dalvui as the luxurious lodgings for his soon-to-be bride from England.
In one of the great tragedies of the squatter era, he was lost at sea in 1908 off the coast of Africa while heading to England to be married and return with his new bride.
Dalvui remains a highly productive farming enterprise with its 227 hectares (562 acres).
But its majestic Federation Queen Anne two-storey 10-bedroom and 26-room home and extensive gardens, said to be among the best in Australia, set it apart.
For many fans, Dalvui is the pick of all the remaining imposing mansions dotted about the Western District from the days of the squatters.
Since settlement Dalvui has only changed hands five times and has been the country home of Melbourne cardiologist Peter Habersberger and wife Pam for 26 years.
The property, at the foot of Mount Noorat, also houses a large workshop, machinery sheds and a cattle yard complex.
Elders Camperdown real estate manager Rob Rickard said the property attracted buyer interest from Melbourne, interstate and within the south-west.
Mr Rickard did not disclose the sale price but it is understood to have been within the $10 million price range.
"Peter and Pam Habersberger had 26 very enjoyable years and not only maintained it but really worked hard on improving the property to the high standard it is today," Mr Rickard said.
He said Dalvui had sold to an interstate family which was "heavily involved in the agricultural sector".
"They're very keen to incorporate their existing livestock operation at Dalvui and equally as important, they have a very strong interest in historic homesteads and the surrounding garden.
"The land was very important to them but equally as important, the homestead and its surrounds. They're very keen to preserve it at the same high level that it's at today."
He said it was a great outcome for the vendors who had put countless hours into keeping the immaculate home and grounds.
"The owners are really excited that like-minded people have been successful in buying their property," he said.
"The buyers also intend to keep things very much the same including some staff that work on the property will also be able to stay on.
"The people who bought the property will be really well received in the south-west, they're a lovely farming family and their children have an interest in farming so it's also really good."
Dalvui is located on the rolling volcanic plains at the foot of Mt Noorat where the land was taken up in 1839 by Niel Black (senior).
The Scottish pastoralist ran stock across a 17,612 hectare property in western Victoria in those very early days and founded a family dynasty.
He also built a far more plain looking mansion for himself at Glenormiston which in more recent times was sold to the Victorian government to become an agricultural school.
Glenormiston still houses a marvellous staircase comprising 35 elaborate wooden panels carved by the master Robert Prenzel.
Dalvui also has a remarkable staircase, and the homestead showcases Prenzel carvings as well.
Following Black's death, his holdings were divided between his sons, and Dalvui was passed on to third son Niel Walter Black.
The dining room was once home to an organ installed by Niel Walter Black, which was donated to Geelong Grammar School following his death.
Dalvui is central to Terang, Camperdown and Mortlake.
- with Warrnambool Standard.
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