Romantic, charming . . .
ON the slope of a hill on the East side of Bolton street and overlooking willows that trail gracefully in a creeklet which shows no great haste to blend with Diamond Creek and so to the Yarra, there stands a great old-fashioned home. Outwardly it speaks of past opulence rather than beauty of design, but the velvet green lawns and the formal neatly weeded rose gardens, the well established trees, tennis courts, wisteria covered pergolas and the great curved fronds of old palms produce an atmosphere that cannot be built-up in less than decades. Here is irresistible old-world charm. The jangle of today cannot penetrate ... it is a place to remember ... a place where events to be remembered have a perfect setting ... it is "Sunnybrook."
From the neighbouring ‘Beranto Lodge’ Mrs. Lenne can catch glimpses of ‘Sunnybrook,’ but the old home is well hidden from all quarters and only the faultlessly kept lawn can be seen by the curious. Like many other people, Mrs. Lenne was curious. Who can blame her.
‘Sunnybrook’ is a name to conjure with in Eltham. When the elderly men of the township were young bucks ‘Sunnybrook’ stood alone, a proud home that was known and established.
Amongst the simple homes of the valley of the Diamond Creek, ‘Sunnybrook’ was Queen.
In the roistering days of the Diamond Valley, when Kangaroo Ground was the seat of the Shire and when five pubs dotted the road from Lower Plenty to the civic centre, ‘Sunnybrook’ was off the track of the boisterous and tipsy.
‘Sunnybrook’ is still off the beaten track . . . but only slightly so; it no longer looks over cow pastures, but the neat, newly built houses which dot the length of the Main Road. They are still no closer than half a mile and while these houses have sprung up the fine trees and shrubs have quietly closed in around the boundaries of ‘Sunnybrook' as if to keep the old place to itself.
That is how it has become something to whet the curiosity. When the course of events put the place on the market Mrs. Lenne bought it.
When a modern house is bought it is pliable in the sense that the owner moulds it according to personality. It can remain severe, utilitarian and with a little neglect soon run to an ugly shabbiness.
But with old 'Sunnybrook' it is different.
There is in existence a character indelibly written into every line of the place . . . it is a LOVE OF ENGLAND.
Upon ‘Sunnybrook’ has been lavished the devoted love of England to such a degree that it must be seen. The gardens and lawns are formal, and though lovely and speaking of the leisure of past years they are not English . . . they are just lovely, with the beauty that only the long established seem to possess.
It is inside ‘Sunnybrook’ that the intense love of England is seen.
Years ago the home was bought by a Mr. Martin, who was getting on in years, as a home for his much younger wife. The couple spent thousands of pounds as well as endless care and imagination in the complete redecorating of their home.
Oak panelling imported from England was built in. Huge fireplaces shed their Colonial appearance to be become the fireplaces of England . . . and they were so in every sense because they were also imported from England.
One lovely specimen whose gracious lines are remarked upon by all who see it, is a certified antique of finest English Oak.
Care was taken to see what hand made wrought iron light fittings were in keeping.
The old place has three lounge, dining or living rooms according to taste and requirements, and all are bigger than the biggest attempted in a “big” modern home. This does not include an outside living space of ample proportions, all fine flywired in and enclosing a fernery. A turn of a tap and spray as fine as mist is released over the rockery. On a scorching summer day when no relief short of a swim could help ordinary people, the resident of ‘Sunnybrook’ found the coolness of a dell in which to sit and enjoy their evening meal. What is more, the temperature of the whole house could be reduced by merely turning on this extensive spray water system. Yes, comfort to luxury standard is built in.
And what happens to 'Sunnybrook' now?
Mrs Lenne is famous to thousands for her quite fabulous catering. Her home and her "Wanda Inn" at Hepburn Springs have long been a Mecca for those who want the different in catering . . . different in the sense that every client is treated as a friend, not a customer and the hospitality and attention one would give to an honoured friend is accorded. And the food! – ask anyone who has enjoyed the privilege. Ask those who attended the reception given to Mr. Menzies by Eltham Shire Council; ask those members of the Diamond Valley Chamber of Commerce who enjoyed it! [See EDHS_04736-1/2 https://victoriancollections.net.au/items/5d4c2fb521ea6727d892df72]
There is only one word anyone ever uses . . . “unbelievable!” it must be seen and eaten to be believed.
And ‘Sunnybrook’ will ring to the laughter, and offer its spaciousness for the fun of all who join in the happiest occasion in the life of those just married, whose wedding reception is intended to be “remembered.”
Mrs. Lenne is a dynamic ball of energy whose enthusiasm is not to be brooked.
She has acquired the home of her dreams.
13 March 2020 Note: Historian Stella M. Barber via the GSV members Forum cites that Clair Samwell and Doris Good ran a nursing home in Balwyn called Penquite (1946-1952). Prior to that the women had run a rest home called Beranto in Eltham.
Single newsprint page separated rest of paper