The young Victorian Government undertook many important Law & Order and Administrative reforms following the diggers’ rebellion at Eureka in Ballarat in 1854.
Mr J. Warrington Rogers QC
A participant in those reforms was The Hon. John Warrington Rogers, appointed County Court Judge and Judge of the Ballarat Court of Mines in 1858. Rogers purchased two 5 acre lots in Lal Lal Street, Buninyong in 1859 and constructed his bluestone and brick home there.
Although Judge Rogers continued his association with Ballarat for a period, he only remained at Buninyong until 1870, at which point he sold the property to his brother in law the Hon. William Carter. At that time, the property was known as Durham Lodge. Carter owned the property until it was gutted by fire in 1878. During that time, one Sophia Hull ran the “Lightside Academy” (we think a ladies academy) at Durham Lodge.
The property was first named Brim Brim following Dr John Salmon’s purchase in 1891. Dr Salmon, a member of Buninyong’s Horticultural Society, was almost certainly responsible for the planting of many of the fine specimen trees at Brim Brim. Sadly, the deaths of many Salmons during World War 1 saw the sale of Brim Brim after 29 years of Salmon ownership (Brim Brim’s longest period of continuous ownership.) In the following 40 years, the property changed hands 6 times.
Then, in 1959, a period of stability again came to Brim Brim when Ballarat’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital acquired it for use as a “geriatric home”. Co-incidentally, both Brim Brim and the QEH had been established 100 years earlier in 1859, when QEH was established as the “Ballarat Benevolent Asylum”. For 24 years through the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s Brim Brim’s main homestead served as dormitory accommodation for up to 30 elderly gentlemen, who used the Pavilion as their day room. The Lodge was built then as accommodation for the carer staff, and a market garden was established to provide fruit and vegetables for the hospital.
In 1983, the QEH sold Brim Brim thus beginning Brim Brim’s present era. Brim Brim changed hands several times until present owners Sue and Jeremy Glassel acquired it in 2015.
Soon after Victoria’s first European settlement at Portland in 1828, Thomas Learmonth & his brother brought sheep from Tasmania to the Barwon River in 1837. Under pressure of drought at the time, Learmonth and others formed a party to explore the area to the North of the Barwon, drawn by the extinct volcanic mountain (Mount Buninyong) of 719 meters elevation visible from the Barwon region. The explorers passed the Lal Lal falls, Mount Buninyong and Mount Elephant on their way to the central Victorian areas including Bendigo and Castlemaine, finally returning home to the Barwon area through Buninyong. The future stations of the Scottish origin squatters Learmonths, Yuilles, Andersons and others were established as a result of this expedition. By 1839 the Learmonths had extended their run from the Mount Buninyong area to Burrumbeet, and the Yuilles had established themselves at Yuille’s swamp, later to be Lake Wendouree.
Township of Buninyong, Victoria
Lithograph by Henry Winkles, 1852
The first settlement on the Learmonth’s Buninyong grazing leasehold was a general store established in 1841. By 1844 an overland mail service between Melbourne and Portland was established through Buninyong, and a post office was established here in 1845. The Rev Thomas Hastie established the first church in Buninyong by 1847, quickly followed by a school in 1848. Interest and settlement in Buninyong began to grow, and the Government surveyor completed his survey of Buninyong in 1850, facilitating the first sale of Buninyong land in Melbourne in 1851.
1851 was also the year the colony of Victoria gained it’s independence from New South Wales, and gold was discovered. Discoveries at Clunes in July, at Buninyong in August by Thomas Hiscock, at Ballarat soon after and in the Castlemaine & Bendigo regions in November, began the world-famous gold rush to the central Victorian Goldfields region. The fledgling Victorian Government set up a police camp and Court of Petty Sessions at Buninyong in that same year to keep the peace. Gold was mined continuously in Buninyong until at least 1910.
Municipal government was granted in 1859 and Buninyong was later created a Borough in 1863. The first Buninyong Shire Council was elected in 1864, (Shire president Archibald Fisken), the Shire continuing for 135 years until the 1994 Kennett council amalgamations found us become a part of the City of Ballarat. The foundation of the present Town Hall & Court House was laid in 1886.