Summer Hill Homestead

Summer Hill in 1968

Summer Hill, a graceful hilltop bluestone homestead, was built by Dr. Thomas  Wilson, actual date unknown, but a carved bluestone block in the woolshed is marked "T. W. 1856" Dr. Thomas Wilson was born in 1816 in Longford, Ireland and this probably explains why visually the home is of an architectural style typical of the north of Ireland.

Dr. Thomas Wilson received a Doctor of Medicine degree from Glasgow University and married Margaret Lowrey of Donegal, Ireland.  Nothing is really known of their years on the homestead, as they were not active in social events recorded by the local newspapers.  But Dr. Wilson himself served actively in Presbyterian circles and the Port Philip Farmers Association.   He was also chairman of the Donnybrook and Wallan Wallan Roads Board in in 1886- 67 and again in 1869 and also served as a Justice of the Peace.

Thomas and Margaret had ten children in all.  One was born in Ireland before they left for Australia and Elizabeth came with her parents to Australia arriving in Melbourne in 1841.  Another eight were born to the couple while they were at Summer Hill.  John Lourey 1843 to 1863, William Hamilton 1844 -1935, Thomas 1846, James Allen 1848 to 1867, Henry Alexander 1852, Samuel 1852 to 1889, Charlotte Ellen 1858 to 1862, Andrew Denham 1858.

Thomas did not apply to the Australian Medical Association for a license to practice medicine until 1883 at the age of 67 when he gave his residence as "Drumearn", Princess Street, Kew.  This remained his address until his death of senile decay aged 77 on 24th May, 1893.

Boorondara Cemetery Kew

Dr. Thomas Wilson  who died 24th of May 1893, aged 77

"With Christ is Better"

Margaret Wilson, his wife who died 4th January 1909 aged 93 at 'Drumearn'

"He Giveth his Beloved Sheep"

Elizabeth Wilson, his daughter who died 11th of June 1926, aged 86 at 'Drumearn'

"Forever with the Lord"

Mildred Frances Wilson, wife of William Hamilton died 2nd of July 1932

William Hamilton Wilson, son of Thomas died 4th of November 1935 aged 91

Margaret Isobel Wilson, daughter of William Hamilton and Mildred died 3rd of February 1969, aged 79.


Subsequent owners have included the Harvey Brothers one possibly pictured right on the verandah with his wife at Summer Hill, Tro, Phil and William who were formerly flour millers at Geelong, and was later sold to Mr. W. J. Hill.  During the 1940s much of the land surrounding Summerhill was acquired by the Soldier Settlement Commission which divided it into sheep farms of 162 to 243 hectares. 

 

 

More recent occupants of the homestead have been the Yeo family and John Kernan and his wife who purchased Summerhill in 1959, lovingly restored the home to some of it's former glory and sold the property in the 1970's to Brick and Pipe Industries.  It is still standing but is totally surrounded by clay excavation and is only a shadow of it's former self.  Summerhill is now classified by the National Trust and from November 2007 is now also Heritage Listed and has been added to the Victorian Heritage Register.
 

 

 

 

Pictured right and left are the servants quarters at Summer Hill

 

 

 

My thanks to Yvonne Kernan, who's family resided at Summer Hill and to whom I owe thanks for the information and the photos on this page.

Summerhill Homestead July 2007

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