Amongst the first of the permanent settlers of Gippsland, William O’Dell Raymond established his original runs in 1842 which encompassed an expanse of land that once surrounded the township of Stratford – followed the banks of the Avon River all the way southward to Lake Wellington – and enormous area of some 80,000 acres !!!
As can be seen from the squatter land holdings plan below as recorded in the mid to late 1850’s, the ‘Strathfieldsaye’ and ‘Stratford’ runs (as highlighted in yellow) encompassed a vast area:
The ‘Strathfieldsaye Run’ consisted of an area encompassing 64,000 acres – carrying 18,000 sheep and 1,000 cattle in 1849:
Records confirm that the ‘Strathfieldsaye Run’ was established by WO Raymond in 1842 – being amongst the first settlement runs in the area. The rough sketch below dated 11th July 1844 as signed by Commissioner Tyers, clearly indicates the lands occupied by Raymond’s sheep and cattle on what were the ‘Stratford’ and ‘Strathfieldsaye’ Runs:
WO Raymond’s land holdings ran along the Avon River – ending at Lake Wellington. Interestingly, it was not until 1854 that Raymond actually obtained a pre-emptive right for 320 acres situate on the northern banks of Lake Wellington. The acreage extended northward along the banks of the Avon River. It was here that the earliest structures of the Stathfieldsaye Homestead were first built. The original homestead was single storey, of timber frame, weatherboard lined walls, corrugated iron roofing and hand made brick hearths. It was sited just 130 m from the northern shores of beautiful Lake Wellington which marks the eastern-most end of the Gippsland Lakes system.
‘Strathfieldsaye Homestead’ bestows a rare glimpse into the past, as it remains essentially unchanged since the 1870’s. It has been lovingly researched, rescued and restored – thanks to the hard work and dedication of the the ‘Friends of Strathfieldsaye’, the Australian Landscape Trust, and, with the help of some of the inmates from the ‘Fulham Correctional Centre’.
In 2003, when the Trust first took over the property, much of the main house was on a lean and was in danger of collapsing entirely. The kitchen and some of the rooms within the house required the floors to be removed, the ground excavated, the stumps replaced and the floors restored. The restoration works have retained as many of the old materials, fittings and fixtures as possible.
It is truly amazing how so many wonderful volunteers dedicate much of their time, knowledge and skills to saving our fascinating history . . .
– Located some 22 km East of Stratford – obtain Directions here
– Other Historical POI’s in Stratford
– Facilities available at Stratford
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- Sealed Road