IT IS only due to the dedication of a gardener in 1983 that the magnificent Cameron Lodge home and garden at Mt Macedon is still there for the public to get a rare glimpse of, this weekend.
Co-owner Ann Coughlan relates how on Ash Wednesday the couple who then owned the 10-acre estate had left for the day, leaving their parents and children at home.
Unable to return home because of the fire, they feared the worst.
Later they discovered the gardener, “Hamish senior”, who lost his own house, had put his life in danger to return to the estate and turn on the sprinklers.
The gardener's actions saved the grandparents and children, Cameron Lodge and the priceless garden which - with some of the oldest and most established trees in the Macedon Ranges - continues to delight new generations.
It is stories like this that demonstrate the connection many feel for Cameron Lodge.
At open days, visitors often brought photos of celebrations they enjoyed at Cameron Lodge and talk warmly about its significance in their life, Mrs Coughlan said.
“It’s a very historic and unusual place,” she said.
“Lots of people have come here on picnics or played in the garden as children, got married here or have other family memories.
“We had one family of four generations at one picnic who had a big reunion on the lawn.”
A newspaper article dating back to 1926 found under the floor of the Williamstown Town Hall during renovations, gives a glimpse into life at Cameron Lodge at the time with a ladies afternoon tea party held in the gardens.
The garden features wide sweeping lawns, impressive rhododendrons of diverse species, a pergola covered in wisteria and a magical ‘Temple of the Winds’ set in its own small lake.
Mrs Coughlan and husband Steve encourage visitors to bring a picnic during the open days today and tomorrow, from 10am-4.30pm, at 767 Mt Macedon Road.