Homestead history

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 Homestead in 1950Galwiji 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.

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Galwiji Homestead Renovations in 1979The frame of what’s now the Games Room in 1979.
  • Our stay was like being at home with the bonus of new surroundings. What a wonderful part of the world.

    Esther IngramBonang, Vic (Feb 2015)
  • 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.

    Nick QuestedUK (Feb 2016)
  • 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.

    Leah DowMornington Peninsula, Vic
  • Oh! The serenity of the homestead. The sheep provided entertainment. We enjoyed the beautiful gardens, and the private and relaxed setting.

    Lindy DarleyMelton, Vic (Oct 2015)
  • Quiet, beautiful views in the evening, comfortable and relaxed, plenty of space to spread out.

    Robert CribbMacarthur, ACT (Feb 2014)
  • Galwiji Homestead was very appropriate for our big group, comfortable, warm and most of all, ‘farmlike’. The homestead facilities and service in particular were great.

    Erena RijnsbergerSt Kilda, Vic
  • Eleven out of ten for the overall experience! We loved the beautiful surrounds, the walks, the peace and quiet. Everything was perfect.

    Sarah and ShannonFlemington, Vic (Sep 2015)
  • I loved the cow milking, open fires, kangaroos, electric blankets, comfy beds and pillows.

    Rachel HailstoneBrighton, Vic (May 2014)
  • The best part of our stay was being with family in an environment that was almost like being at home. We loved the fireplace and sitting around and feeling relaxed. I can’t think of anything that could have made it better.

    David McRaeAuckland, New Zealand
  • We enjoyed the cosy feeling. Loved the fireplace, plenty of room for the whole family. Heating great. I enjoyed running up to the highway for a nice peaceful jog.

    Kristy BartlettBeaumaris, Vic (July 2015)