A homestead and wildlife sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula steeped in local history, flora and fauna.
The Briars homestead was completed in 1851 and occupied by Alexander Balcombe. After failing to find his fortune at the goldfields Balcombe farmed the land and tended 40 hectares of vineyards – experimenting unsuccessfully in wine production.
Balcombe was born on the island of St Helena and when Napoleon was exiled there, his father had business dealings with the former emperor. Continuing that Napoleonic association, Balcombe’s granddaughter Dame Mabel Brookes established a collection of Napoleon related memorabilia which is displayed in the homestead. The Briars has a visitor’s centre, wildlife sanctuary, wetlands, gardens, nursery, vineyard, café, restaurant, kiosk and picnic areas.