VVisitors walking to the lowest part of Cloudehill will find a two metre high standing stone, a dramatic piece of South Australian slate. Lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream have been carved into this by sculptor Ian Marr and this is the boundary marker on the path connecting Cloudehill and the neighbouring garden: Rangeview.
Rangeview is made from the bottom half of George Woolrich’s old 1895 ten acre block. Reclaimed first by Keith Purves and since further restored and gardened by Mary and Ches Mason, the Rangeview Gardens are the remnants of Edward Woolrich’s Rangeview Nursery. Ted (George’s eldest son) established the nursery soon after WW1 and by the ’30s and ’50s it was famous throughout Melbourne. The glorious trees and shrubs growing throughout Rangeview are old nursery plantings, survivors of bushfires that swept this ridge in 1962. Nature soon bounced back however. As weeds were cleared in the 1980s those original plants began to thrive. Mary and Ches acquired the property in 2003 and have been building stone walls, resurfacing the labyrinthine paths and steps and upgrading in every way since. They have also turned Ted Woolrich’s original 1920s cottage into luxury bed and breakfast accommodation: Woolrich Retreat
This is now an enchanted place – Puck’s garden on Mount Olympus. Much of Rangeview’s charm is in its serendipitous nature. A giant American Tulip Tree (planted in 1920) rears up from the end of a narrow path. It’s now one of the finest in the country. Elsewhere a grassy dell is curtained by an immense weeping beech (1928) and a little further one stumbles into a maze of Kurume Azaleas, the first planted in Australia (1922). They are tall and tangled now, yet bejeweled every spring with their tiny pastel flowers. And in a garden with Rhododendrons everywhere one abruptly finds a forest of them, their blossoms hidden under writhing branches stretching high into the canopy. It’s as though – astonishingly - here is a Himalayan cloud forest.
Look out for the wombats, and especially the lyrebirds. Many live along the heavily forested stream immediately below Rangeview. Lyrebirds are forever wandering into the garden. They are very relaxed with two-legged visitors to their domain and often stroll right up to people. Their glorious mimicry echoes through the garden most days.
Rangeview is always open with Cloudehill. We only ask visitors leave a gold coin donation in the ‘Lion’s Mouth’ near the entrance.Download a Map to help Plan your Visit