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Date Range of Records: 1955-1978
- University Of Melbourne. Faculty Of Agriculture And Forestry [1905-]
The Deer Park area was home to the "Mount Derrimut" field station of the University of Melbourne from 1964 to 1996. The site was also used by the Western Institute to deliver courses in the late 1980s. Before being used by the University of Melbourne, it was used by Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand Ltd (ICIANZ, ex ICI and now Orica) for training and conference purposes. The site is now occupied by the Sunshine Golf Club, the golf course having opened in November 2007. An early cattle stud, Mt. Derrimut was established as a grazing property in 1850 by the Morton Brothers and their friend Leach, all of whom emigrated to Australia from the Lakes District of England. The Mortons were successful in cattle breeding and won several prizes at Melbourne shows, becoming famous for their Derrimut Shorthorn cattle. The first great sale of Derrimut cattle was held at the end of 1867. Around the same time, Septimus and Leach returned to England, leaving Richard Morton to carry on his own stud at Mount Derrimut. Richard Morton returned to England in 1875 and the Mount Derrimut property was sold to James Howatson, a Scot, who had emigrated to Australia in 1859. Howatson raised sheep on the property, including merinos. In 1883-1884, he built the present homestead, also laying out substantial gardens and planting a grove of trees on the lower slopes on the Deer Park side. James Howatson died in 1897 but the property remained in the Howatson family for some forty years. The property was maintained as a pastoral property under Howatson's trustees until shortly before World War I. The property was then leased until 1944 when trustees of the Howatson estate sold a much reduced estate of 317 acres to Beresford Cole. In 1950, Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand Ltd (ICIANZ) bought the property to provide more adequate buffer areas around its Deer Park explosives Factory and magazine areas. The company enlarged and remodelled the homestead for use as a centre for staff training and conferences, with extensive restoration works being conducted. ICIANZ also used the property as a cattle stud from 1955 until 1960, when the stud herd were sold. In 1962, the ICIANZ Directors agreed to 800 acres being leased to the University of Melbourne for use by the School of Agriculture, with the land and buildings coming to be known as the "Mount Derrimut Field Station". Thirty-seven residential second year students from Dookie Agricultural College effectively transferred to Mount Derrimut where they were required to attend lectures, demonstrations and complete practical work. Mount Derrimut was to provide training for postgraduate students in such areas as animal husbandry and agronomy as well as providing research facilities for Agriculture and other University departments. Planning and building commenced in early 1963, with staff recruitment taking place later that year. The official opening was held on 30 September 1964, with the AUC providing funds to the Field Station to be used to supplement the accommodation and buildings already in place. An appeal was launched during 1964 by H.C. Forster, the Dean and Professor of Agriculture, so as to raise funds for student facilities at Mount Derrimut. A letter was sent out to 750 graduates of the School of Agriculture with an appeal target of £5,000. The funds raised, along with those provided by the SRC and the Melbourne University Sports Union, were used to create student accommodation, laboratories and class rooms. The original bluestone Morton cottage remained on the property until 1953 but was demolished, despite efforts by ICIANZ to retain the building. Howatson's Mount Derrimut homestead and stable buildings are now regarded as significant local buildings, being classified by the National Trust. The heritage citation for 275 Mount Derrimut Road Derrimut, Brimbank City, Victoria, Australia reads: "Mt. Derrimut homestead and farm is of State significance for its historical associations with the Morton brothers cattle stud - one of the first major grazing and breeding properties in Melbourne's West, renowned for the quality of its breeding stock, and important for the role it played in the development and improvement of cattle breeds for Australian conditions. It is also of regional significance as a rare example of a nineteenth century grazing property with its surviving Italianate homestead and garden, and some remaining outbuildings and stone walls. The role of the site as formerly the Melbourne University agricultural field station is also to its significance, demonstrating a longevity and continuity of use in connection with agriculture and animal husbandry in Victoria". The records in this series were created by the then Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and are comprised of correspondence regarding the establishment, administration and maintenance of the Mt Derrimut Farm and Field Station. The files are titled and arranged according to subject, the contents of which are arranged in reverse chronological order. The subject areas include: Development of the field station; History of the field station; Equipment; Staffing and staff salary policies; Buildings and Works; and Animal Research Units.
5 boxes (0.60 m)
Collection Category: University, official
Access Conditions: Access: Restricted
Finding Aids: Yes listed ONLINE
Online ListingUniversity of Melbourne Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry 2014.0097
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