Buildings of Coolart

The Coolart estate was a working property until the 1970s and visitors to Coolart can explore the Homestead, a notable Victorian mansion, and many historic outbuildings. In the grounds are the original kitchen garden and orchard.

Around the grounds and pathways of Coolart are the Stables, the Buttery, the Barracks, shearing sheds and historic farm equipment. The Friends of Coolart are working with the state government to ensure that these historic buildings are preserved and retained for future generations to enjoy.

The Homestead

Coolart Homestead was constructed in the latter years of the 19th century and is an excellent example of a late Victoria mansion built in the Second Empire style. It overlooks the very beautiful formal gardens of Coolart.

The building, which is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, was designed by Melbourne architects Reed, Smart & Tappin for Frederick Sheppard Grimwade, who purchased the estate in 1895.

The wrap-around verandah, with its original lacework and tessellated tiles, leads to a wide main entry and into a grand reception foyer. Off this foyer are the formal reception rooms of Coolart: a morning room, a large sitting room and grand dining-room, each with fireplace. A generous timber staircase winds upstairs past an ornate leadlight window.

At one end of the ground floor are the original servants’ quarters and service areas of the house. Today, this area contains a large kitchen, sitting room and meeting room for groups that use Coolart including the Friends of Coolart.  This section of the house has its own staircase leading upstairs to what would once have been the servants sleeping quarters. Upstairs, off a wide landing, are the main bedrooms and an original bathroom. The house also has a three-storey tower with a mansard roof, one of its most prominent features, characteristic of the Second Empire architectural style.

In the main reception rooms is a photographic history of the Coolart estate, from its time as a pastoral lease-holding for farming and grazing, to its 20th century existence as a coastal retreat and stud for racehorses.

The Homestead is open to visitors for much of the year. While it has not been restored to a pristine condition in the manner of some Victorian heritage homes, it is an evocative house to enter, and the echoes of its inhabitants remain.