Galwiji Homestead has been in the Pryor family for 4 generations. Parts of the homestead date back over 100 years with a number of additions to the home over the past century. The following is a brief history from the only remaining second generation Pryor, Dr. W.J. (Bill) Pryor.
History and acquisition of the property
The region surrounding what is today Pryors’ Road, Scotsburn was originally Wathaurong aboriginal land and was ‘acquired’ and duly released by the Victorian government in the 1870s. It was made available for small buyers which included miners, who most commonly developed small mixed farms and cleared the timber then covering this region. Some purchases were speculative.
Some landholders later sold logs for boxing (timber framing for mines) to the nearby goldmining industry in Buninyong and surrounds.
The homestead block of Galwiji was purchased in the early 1920s along with several small holdings by William P. Pryor (following his return from World War 1) and his brother Alfred Pryor. The property had been owned by William and Annie Skewes who had bought it from John Williams in 1877. It is believed that the original homestead (a portion of which remains to the left of the wood heater in the kitchen) was built circa 1880 by a Buninyong builder, George West.
The brothers Pryor established a commercial timber mill and over the next decades cleared the property, initially for agricultural use with a range of production animals.
From 1950 the farming, which for a period included cattle, concentrated on fine wool merino sheep production. This continued until January 2013. It has been a successful operation resulting, on several occasions, in the top price in the fine wool market.
The name of the property Galwiji was adopted in 1950 and sought to give some recognition to its aboriginal origin soundwise and also to recognise the names of the four sons of W.P. Pryor (Alfred not having any children). Galwiji is made up of Gordon, Alan, William and Jim.
The present day property of nearly five hundred acres resulted from a number of acquisitions and sales in the intervening years. At its most extensive Galwiji was nearly 2000 acres but not all of it was developed.
Galwiji in the 50s before modern renovations.
The homestead, as seen above, has seen several extensions and renovations since the 1950s.
As the present owners have aged, the focus of the farm has changed. In 2005, nearly 250 acres were planted by the next generation of sons with sugar gum (Eucalyptus Cladocalyx). The planting was carried out in the expectation that an Australian timber industry would develop and go some way to replacing the vast amount of timber imported from Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, much of which is illegally harvested and very damaging to the environment. Time will tell whether this was a prudent move.
The cleared paddocks are currently leased to a local farmer for wool production.
Philosophy of the present owners
The owners of Galwiji, the Pryor family, are committed to an environmentally sustainable form of farming and land use. This incorporates reduction of the carbon footprint via the use of rainwater, solar power and overall respect for the land including the present forestry project.
The family opened Galwiji Homestead to the public in 2012 with the sole object of keeping it in continuing good order, so that it may be shared and enjoyed with others while continuing its history for a second century.
The frame of what’s now the Games Room in 1979.
10 out of 10 experience. We loved being together in a fabulous old spacious homestead, enjoying the peace and quiet in the gorgeous countryside.
Private and peaceful location, cut off from all the hassle. A fantastic facility. Good for a few families to stay together.
Ten out of Ten. The best part of our stay was the beauty of the estate and the peaceful environment.
It is peaceful and beautiful. I liked how you wake up to the sheep baaing and cows mooing.
Ten out of ten for facilities, service, and value for money. We loved the relaxing atmosphere in the house with all its provisions. It’s perfect!
10 out of 10 for everything. We really enjoyed the visit to see the cows milking on a dairy farm. Everything was perfect. Well done.
It was great for all the family to be able to stay together. We enjoyed the quietness and space in our home away from home. We can’t think of anything that could have made the experience better for us.
We all had a wonderful stay and we will all have many lovely memories staying here. A fantastic place for friends to have a wonderful weekend including sharing dinner and a games night.
Eleven out of ten for the overall experience! We loved the beautiful surrounds, the walks, the peace and quiet. Everything was perfect.
Glorious weather allowed students to explore outside. The big room was ideal for rehearsals. The beds were warm and comfy.