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Eastern exterior view of Strathdon House, overlooking the garden.
View of Strathdon House from the main entrance at Springvale Road.
View of the garden from the Eastern meeting room in Strathdon House.
View of the Reception Room entrance in Strathdon House.
View of Shed interior at Strathdon House.
View of entrance hall to the main entrance in Strathdon House.

Strathdon House and Orchard Precinct

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Walter John Fankhauser 1893, Charles Matheson Snr and Mary Lilias McLaren 1918, Lovell Chen 2021.


Strathdon House has a rich history. The commercial orchard was established in the 1890s by William John Fankhauser and the house was constructed in 1893. The homestead was subsequently purchased by the Matheson family, who extended the house in 1918 to suit their changing lifestyles and operated the orchard until WWII, when labour shortages made it unviable and the land was subdivided. The site was earmarked for a freeway reserve until it was eventually acquired by the City of Whitehorse in 1988 for community use. It is now the gateway site to the Healesville Freeway Reserve, a new stretch of parklands extending to the Dandenong Ranges.

Lovell Chen's masterplan unlocks the potential of the property, with the redevelopment recently completed, including the adaptation of Strathdon House, revitalisation of the landscape, and activation of the precinct. The masterplan's primary objectives were to maintain the character and heritage values of Strathdon House and its site, adapt the house for public access, re-establish the orchard and garden, and support the council’s wider aims by creating a multi-use wellbeing and sustainability hub.

What's On

Discover Whitehorse City Council's best-kept secret, purchased and refurbished by Council as the last remaining orchard property of its kind.

Tours will be held across the weekend, exploring the house, an exhibition of original household items, the orchard, the front garden, and the new educational kitchen garden, which are all representative of the past and the future of the site. The precinct operates as a hub for healthy living and sustainability, and runs programs that serve the community and those who appreciate the heritage of the property.

Coffee/tea and scones will be available to purchase, with indoor and outdoor seating available.

Children's Activities

There is a play area for children, and there will be some free outdoor games available.

Images: (1) Strathdon House, eastern exterior. Photo: Lovell Chen. (2) Strathdon House, view from the main entrance. Photo: Lovell Chen. (3) View of the garden from Strathdon House. Photo: Lovell Chen. (4) Strathdon House, reception room. Photo: Lovell Chen. (5) Strathdon House, shed interior. Photo: Whitehorse City Council. (6) Strathdon House, entrance hall. Photo: Lovell Chen.

Important Details

Time & Date

Saturday 27 July + Sunday 28 July
Open access 10am-3pm
Tours run 11am, 12pm + 2pm
Running for 30 minutes in groups of 12

No bookings required. Tour group capacity is limited and operates on a first-come, first-served basis.


Partially wheelchair accessible, Accessible bathroom, Accessible parking nearby

The gate can be opened to provide access up the driveway if there are additional accessibility issues.


449 Springvale Rd, Forest Hill VIC 3131

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