Lexington, Tom Wills' childhood home ground at Moyston, for sale
Lexington, at Moyston near Ararat, the childhood home of Tom Wills, the inventor of the Australian rules game, has been listed for sale with $5 million-plus hopes.
The 785-hectare holding, with the grandeur of the Grampians in the background, has been listed through Elders agent Garry Todd with offers due by October 19.The property was established in 1840 by Horatio Wills, whose son, Tom, inspired by a game he played with the local indigenous children, is credited as inventing the country's most popular sporting competition.
Tom grew up on the Moyston property before attending the Rugby School in England from 1852, where he excelled in all sports.
On his return to Australia in 1857, he adapted a winter game of football incorporating aspects of rugby and marngrook – a sport the Djabwurrong Aboriginal children played with a skin stuffed with charcoal.
At the time, Lexington spanned more than 20,000 hectares from The Grampians towards Great Western in the north and Ararat in the east.
Horatio Wills mostly ran sheep.
When the goldrush prompted the departure of many of his shepherds, he imported netting fencing and strychnine to control the dingoes.
The wool-press he imported – believed to be Australia's first – is still at Lexington.
Lexington's gracious 1850 colonial Georgian homestead has been refurbished throughout including re-plumbing, re-wiring, hydronic heating and ceiling insulation.
Its period features include three-metre-high ceilings with ornate cornices, cedar architraves, six open fireplaces and a return veranda overlooking Rick Eckersley-designed English gardens of sweeping lawns, mature specimen trees and scented plants.
The 60-square (558-square-metre) homestead has four bedrooms, study, library, sitting room, dining room, large central bathroom and modern kitchen.
It also comes with heritage two-storey barn, built of hand-made red bricks and local pit-sawn timber.
It's been listed by Peter Crauford and wife, Elizabeth, who bought the property in 2005.
They told Stock & Land they had have sown most paddocks to lucerne following a crop in the past seven years, put in new bores, an electric submersible pump, seven to eight kilometres of pipe, new fences and troughs. The new water system is automatic.
The property supports a herd of 300 self-replacing Angus cows, 1,500 ewes with prime lambs and produces ample fodder crops.
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