Barwon Park Mansion

Barwon Park is an authentic bluestone mansion and stables set in a sweeping rural landscape.

Embarrassed by having to entertain the visiting Duke of Edinburgh at an undistinguished homestead, pioneer pastoralist Thomas Austin and his wife Elizabeth built this lavish 42 room mansion in 1871. Thomas Austin died just six months after it was completed, but Elizabeth lived at Barwon Park for many years and became a noted philanthropist. The house then passed into the hands of the Batson family who later bequeathed it to the National Trust. Visitors still marvel at the magnificent entrance hall and impressive room. The restored mansion and stables are also an ideal venue for weddings, photography and group functions.



Place Details

Barwon Park will be closed on Wednesday 29 May 2024.

Opening Times

September to May
Wednesday & Sunday

June, July & August
Last Sunday of the Month

Tours run on the hour: 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm (last tour).


Adult: $10
Concession: $7
Child: $4
Family (2A + 2C): $20

National Trust Members receive FREE general entry.

*Extra fees apply during an exhibition period.


105 Inverleigh Road
Winchelsea 3241 VIC

Wadawurrung Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Victoria and recognise their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

More Information

A VR headset is available for mobility impaired visitors courtesy of the State Trustees Australia Foundation.

Plan your Visit

Barwon Park Mansion


105 Inverleigh Road
Winchelsea 3241 VIC

Entry Fees:

National Trust members: Free
Adult: $10
Concession: $7
Child: $4
Family (2 adults + 2 children): $20
Please note extra fees apply during an exhibition period.

What we offer:

Significant History

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Thomas Austin

English born Thomas Austin arrived in Australia in 1831 and settled in the Western District of Victoria in 1837. Taking up land near Winchelsea of 12,000 hectares for grazing sheep and training horses, he named it Barwon Park.


A member of the Acclimatisation Society of Victoria, which introduced new animals and plants to the colony, Austin brought from England hares, blackbirds and partridges.


In 1859 he also brought 24 rabbits to breed as game for his shooting parties. Although welcomed at the time, Austin is now blamed for introducing this serious pest to Australia.

Royal Rabbit Shooting

In December 1867 Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Alfred, visited Australia. He stayed at the Austin’s homestead and went shooting there. In three and half hours over 1000 rabbits were shot by the party. The Prince alone shot 416 and was so delighted with the shoot another was arranged for the Prince’s return visit to Victoria the following February. On that occasion he claimed 432 of the 1532 rabbits shot that day, although one reporter argued that “in such an indiscriminate slaughter we cannot see how any precise conclusion can be arrived at.”



It was having entertained royalty in their modest homestead that prompted the Austin’s to built at a cost of £10,000, the present Barwon Park mansion, more suited to royal visits.

Elizabeth Austin - Philanthropist

Elizabeth Austin was born in England in 1821 and came to Australia in 1841. Four years later she married Thomas Austin and became involved in local churches and charities. After her husband’s death in 1871 she increased her philanthropic ventures and by the end of the nineteenth century was recognised as one of the Victoria’s leading benefactors.


She is best remembered for contributing to the establishment of the Austin Homes for Women in Geelong and the Hospital for Incurables (later the Austin Hospital) in Heidelberg.


She died in 1910 and The Argus Newspaper remembered her for bringing “into existence one of Victoria’s most useful hospitals —the Austin Hospital for Incurables … since the incorporation of the institution on January 21, 1882, it has won for its benefactress the affection and gratitude of hundreds of unfortunate incurables who were denied admission to the general infirmaries.”

The Batson Family

In 1912 Stephen Batson purchased Barwon Park, including the 320 acre estate, for £6,716.


In 1969 his son Sydney passed away having bequeathed the property to National Trust but allowing for his sister to live there for the duration of her life.


The mansion was virtually intact from its Victorian era origin as this picture taken by John Collins in 1975 shows (State Library of Victoria Collection).

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