North-west of Melbourne, about 20 minutes drive from Melbourne’s International Tullamarine Airport, Sunbury has been a significant wine growing district for more than 100 years.
These days the noble grape is celebrated with the annual Sunbury Wine Festival in August when thousands of visitors toast the new vintages of such highly regarded wineries as Goona Warra and Craiglee.
Standout building in the area is stunning Rupertswood Mansion, a homestead steeped in history and urban mythology. Built for the first Australian-born baronet, Sir William Clarke, Rupertswood, whose guests have included the Duke and Duchess of York, subsequently King George V and Queen Mary, during their 1901 Royal tour, certainly has claims to be Victoria’s oldest surviving homestead.
Its claims to be the ‘birthplace of the Ashes’ are a tad more fanciful. The Ashes connection seems to be based on a long tradition of friendly matches between touring MCC sides and a Rupertswood staff XI.