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Narmbool

Experience Narmbool – a magnificent and historic pastoral property of 2,000 hectares located at Elaine, just 30 minutes from Ballarat and 90 minutes from Melbourne.

SOVEREIGNHILL 0168 NARMBOOL HEADER

All sites and programs of the Sovereign Hill Museum are temporarily closed to the public until further notice.


Owned and operated by Sovereign Hill, Narmbool exemplifies sustainable farming within a diverse and fragile ecosystem. Famed for its fine quality merino wool, Narmbool also protects bushland and Williamsons Creek as habitat for native wildlife and flora. 

Set in the luxuriant homestead garden is The Garden Room – an elegant restaurant available for pre-booked weddings and other special occasions. Nearby is Narmbool Lodge, a modern, environmentally-friendly accommodation complex for schools and groups. 

Narmbool visitors enjoy clean, crisp air and magnificent views across rolling hills and volcanic escarpments to Mount Buninyong. Narmbool was donated to Sovereign HiIl in December 1999 for development as an educational resource.

Click below to keep up-to-date with our upcoming events for the year including our open day, high tea and tree planting.

  • Education programs

    Our education programs are immersive explorations of the hidden wildlife on Narmbool. Our programs combine science, the arts and hands-on discovery, and suit upper primary and lower secondary groups.

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  • Weddings & functions

    With a magnificent garden and on-site accommodation, Narmbool is perfect for executive retreats, conferences, fine dining and weddings. The beautiful pastoral property at Elaine is just 30 minutes from Ballarat or 90 minutes from Melbourne.

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The property

Narmbool is part of the traditional lands of the Wadawurrung people. The word ‘Narmbool’ is thought to be of Indigenous origin, derived from a word meaning ‘kidney fat’. 

Changes to land management and use were significant with the arrival and settlement of the first Europeans in 1839. Narmbool was leased until the early 1850s, when squatters were allowed to purchase 640 acres. Freehold ownership encouraged Narmbool’s owners to build permanent structures such as the oldest building now on-site – the small bluestone cottage behind the homestead. 

Although the freehold increased, the homestead remained a timber residence until around 1887, when Mr Herbert Austin added a substantial bluestone front and a separate billiard room.

Today, Narmbool is a thriving, 2,000-hectare sheep property. Employed since 1980, the farm manager has made major contributions to the development of the farm and the protection of the environment.

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Gardens & historic homestead

European settlement of the land later known as Narmbool began in 1839 when a Mr Hugh Niven leased it from the Government to run cattle. A dozen other pastoralists followed in subsequent years. Built around 1850, the two-roomed bluestone cottage is the oldest known permanent structure. Today’s homestead, dating from 1889, holds a National Trust D-Classification.

The Garden Room Restaurant was Sovereign Hill's first project after assuming custodianship of Narmbool in 2000. Converted from an existing workshop, it is now an elegant function venue. Since April 2013, the original bluestone cottage has been home to the Narmbool Interpretive exhibition.

Visitors approach the homestead via a long driveway lined by trees planted in 1884. The gracious homestead (with a bluestone front and an adjacent billiard room) has English-style gardens surrounding the side lawns.

Down the bluestone steps, at the front of the house, a tennis court was removed in 2000 when the gardens were redeveloped and extended. The Wayaperri Garden, was planted in 2004, acknowledging the Wathaurong as the Indigenous people of the area.

The east plantings feature a large pond, complete with a boardwalk, footbridge, water lilies and frogs. Roses and other ornamentals further enhance this area. Further on, the garden includes native grasses and plants. There are many beautiful settings for bridal photography with birdbaths, whimsical statuary, a rotunda, a contemplative space with bronze eagles, and three gigantic bronze snails making their way towards the garden gate.


Narmbool Lodge

Opened in 2004, Narmbool Lodge combines eco-friendly features with accommodation for school groups. It has en-suite bathrooms, a large informal lounge and a kitchen and dining area with pre-booked catering. Visitors enjoy superb views of Williamsons Creek valley, across pasture, wetlands and bush conservation areas to Mt Buninyong.

Narmbool Lodge is also available for guests attending pre-booked events at Narmbool. There is ample car parking and a scenic walking track links the Lodge with the homestead.

Contact us

For more information, or to make a booking for one of our Narmbool Environmental Discovery Camps.

Contact us