Bundoora Homestead

In 1899 John Matthew Vincent Smith purchased the 600 acre property 'Bundoora Park'. Smith was a well known horse breeder and used the property to raise racing horses. Smith organised a competition for the design of a new homestead in the same year. Sydney Herbert Wilson, who also designed the Malvern Town Hall, claimed the prize of 50 pounds. To this day ‘Bundoora Homestead’ is a prominent example of the English Queen Anne Style of architecture in Australia. Smith sold Bundoora Park to the Commonwealth Government in 1920. The Bundoora Convalescent Farm opened on the site and was the first psychiatric facility in Victoria dedicated to returned servicemen. In 1923 the Convalescent Farm was renamed the Mental Repatriation Hospital and came under state control. The Victoria Police stud and stables operated from Bundoora Park from 1930 until 1952. The Homestead was renovated around 1965 and acted as a Day Hospital until it was de-commissioned in 1993. By December 1996, the majority of the buildings, covered ways, paths and other features that had formed the hospital complex were demolished, leaving the former Smith mansion standing alone and unoccupied. The former Bundoora Park stables, stud master's cottage and blacksmith's shop and sheds survive today. In 2001 Darebin City Council restored Bundoora Homestead and opened it to the community. Bundoora Homestead is registered by Heritage Victoria and certified by the National Trust.