The Bundoora homestead, a 14 room mansion was built in 1899 by John Matthew Vincent Smith after he purchased a 600-acre property known as Bundoora Park. A competition was held in 1899 to design the homestead, which attracted 16 designs and Sydney Herbert Wilson, who designed the Malvern Town Hall, claimed the first prize of 50 pounds. The interior of the building contains outstanding examples of stained glass, architectural pyrography work, and other fine craftsmanship. The property was used to raise racing horses. The building is a Queen Ann federation style mansion and was owned by the Smith family until the 1920’s. Smith family moved to Scarboro in Toorak and listed the property for sale.
The best known horse associated with Bundoora homestead was ‘Wallace’ . Wallace was the offspring of Melbourne Cup Winner, ‘Carbine’. Wallace competed in at least 949 races and won close to £250,000 in prize money. Wallace is buried next to the stables at Bundoora Park. The painting of ‘Wallace’ by Mark Gawen now hangs at the Bundoora Homestead.
The Commonwealth Government purchased the property from Mr Smith for £28,000 after the World War I and turned it into a repatriation facility for returned Servicemen. The Bundoora Convalescent Farm opened on the site and was the first psychiatric facility in Victoria dedicated to returned servicemen. It remained a repatriation hospital from 1924 to 1993. After the closure of the repatriation Hospital the site was transferred to the Government of Victoria. In 1997, Bundoora homestead was gifted to the City of Darebin by the Victorian Government. This heritage listed building was restored in 2001 by heritage experts and craft people and was turned into an art gallery and heritage facility.
Today, Bundoora Homestead operates as a public art gallery, cafe and historic house. The public gallery hosts contemporary visual arts and crafts along with a public arts education programs, workshops and events. It also hosts the biennial Darebin Art Show. Bundoora Homestead is registered by Heritage Victoria and certified by the National Trust.
Address: 7-27 SNAKE GULLY DRIVE, BUNDOORA, VICTORIA