VIEW HILL, Tarrawarra

The original pastoral run known as View Hill consisted of about 12,000 acres (4,800 ha) extending between the present-day township sites of Yarra Glen and Healesville. The station was named for a distinctive knoll rising some 75m above the river flats, 0.7km north-west of the present Tarrawarra Abbey.

John Thomson took up a pastoral licence about 1839 which he held until his death in 1844. William Ryrie of Yering Station and a Melbourne merchant, James Graham, formed a partnership to take over the lease in 1845.

In July 1853 Ryrie was granted a Pre-emptive Right to 640 acres around his homestead, Elm Cottage, and James Graham withdrew from the partnership in October of that year. In December Ryrie sold the station and the Pre-emptive Right to George Symons for £13,000.

George Symons died in Melbourne on 16 September 1860 and in 1861 the property was purchased by William Nicholson who was Premier of Victoria during 1859-60. Nicholson died in March 1865.

In May 1870 the property was declared forfeit. In 1871 it was purchased by Thomas Francis Day at auction. However in 1872 the property was again declared forfeit and this time was sold to Richard Robert Woolcott. He extensively drained and cleared the river flats, after which the carrying capacity as a stock-fattening property was greatly increased. By1888 there were 7,000 sheep, 300 cattle and 120 horses and the Yarra Glen-Healesville railway bisected the property.

In 1893 Woolcott sold View Hill to David Syme, owner and editor of The Age newspaper (Melbourne). Syme renamed the property Tarrawarra and his daughter Lucie and her husband, William C Macalister, lived at Elm Cottage. Macalister oversaw extensive further developments and built up a major enterprise in the supply of horses to the Indian Army. A new house was constructed in 1901 which is now part of the Cistercian Tarrawarra Abbey.

With the end of World War I, settlement in the area intensified and in 1918 the parcel of land containing View Hill knoll was sold to the White family.

Sources: YGDHS Newsletter, no.40, August 2011