Morning Star Estate is amongst the Mornington Peninsula’s premier restaurant, functions and conference venues. Set amidst 22 acres of exquisite gardens, and 30 acres of vines, the century old mansion, “Morning Star” enjoys panoramic views of Port Philip Bay stretching from the Bellarine peninsula to Melbourne.
Morning Star Estate is a distinctive example of a Victorian era mansion built as a rural or holiday retreat on the Mornington Peninsula, it incorporates a variety of picturesque styles including Tudor and Gothic revival.
History – Francis Gillet arrived in the colony from London in 1853 and purchased ‘Sunnyside’ in 1865 and completed a new house to his design in 1867. Gillet also reputedly designed the nearby Manyung (now Norman Lodge) and the Church of England Vicarage in Mornington.
‘Sunnyside’ was purchased by the Catholic Church in 1932 with funds from a bequest. Known as Morning Star Boys Home, it was a country-training centre for delinquent boys, giving them exposure to the improving effects of rural life. As a conseqeunce of the number of boys an extensive building program was undertaken in the following years. Despite this, the mansion remained the dominant architectural feature of the property.
Renovations and extensions were undertaken by the Franciscans in 1944-6. Some effort to follow the lead of the mansion was made in the external Tudor/Gothic detailing of the large chapel to the south of the only addition to the orginal mansion. A number of courtyards were formed by the new buildings, including a large courtyard to the south which was used for sports and was later enclosed. The remains of a football field lie to the south of the building complex, and a tall angular concrete pillar near the highway originally carried a statue of the Virgin Mary sculptured by one of the Brothers.
Grounds and Gardens – Morning Star Estate sits upon rolling hills amidst vines and gardens spreading over 38 hectares. Looking out over Port Philip Bay and onto the Bellarine Peninsula and as far north as the city of Melbourne, the view from Morning Star Estate is simply breathtaking.
The extensive gardens surrounding the main mansion are now home to more than 700 varieties of ornamental roses. The elaborate fountain and sunken garden, with extensive planting of David Austin varieties and Iceberg Roses, make Morning Star Estate’s garden an experience in itself.
Guided group tours by appointment only – fees apply.
Morning Star Estate is proudly sponsored by Neutrog – manufacturers of Sudden Impact for Roses and Seamungus, as used on the rose gardens at Morning Star – www.neutrog.com.au
The Region – The boot-shaped promontory of land that curves south of Melbourne to form the eastern shore of Port Philip Bay is Victoria’s oldest and most popular holiday playground, and is now enjoying renewed fame as a major holiday destination only one hour from the CBD of the State Capital.
Surrounded on three sides by the waters of Port Philip and Western Port Bays, and Bass Strait, it provides the closest ocean beaches to Melbourne and a stunning crescent of safe bayside beaches. Between the bays, its rich hinterland boasts fine scenic views of grazing pastures, thoroughbred horse studs, fruit orchards and rolling, vine-clad hills.
This is Australia’s newest and fastest growing boutique wine district, featuring over 100 vineyards and 35 cellar door facilities, many of which include restaurants with breathtaking views over sea and countryside. When combined with its reputation for fine food and character accommodation, the Mornington Peninsula is attracting an ever-growing reputation for ‘the good life’.
The natural starting point for your Peninsula experience is Frankston, ‘City by the Bay’. Its major shopping facilities, range of quality restaurants and entertainment venues are located only 30 minutes from the heart of the tourism region. The Frankston Cultural Centre presents a year-round program of performing art to rival the offerings of cities many times its size, while the McCelland Gallery exhibits the visual arts in a delightful bush setting.