60 Objects McCrae Homestead Collection
An open forest of casuarinas, acacias, banksias and gum welcomed the McCrae family when they arrived at Arthur’s Seat. Georgiana McCrae and her children arrived into Hobson’s Bay, Williamstown in 1841, joining Andrew who had immigrated in 1840. After his legal practice flailed to flourish in Melbourne, he acquired the Arthur’s Seat run on the Mornington Peninsula. The landscape was not heavily wooded and required very little clearing. The land surrounding the homestead was quickly tilled for crop sowing, vegetable production and unusually for the time – an ornamental garden.
Georgiana McCrae spent her first year at Arthur’s Seat creating a garden. She designed an ornamental garden and grew colourful flowering plants – bulbs and shrubs. The floral beds were arranged in geometrical shapes of crescents and circles and contained over 40 different species of flowering plant. Many seeds and bulbs were brought with her from the McCrae’s Melbourne home of Mayfield. This collection included a variety of species given to her by Governor Charles La Trobe – who also tended his own pleasure garden – one of the few in the colony.
Georgiana mentions her garden often in her diary. She describes the growth of her plants and the progress of her work. Documenting whether her plants were thriving or damaged by rampaging geese…
‘The first bulb has sent up bright green leaves.’