Historical information

Until the closure 40 years ago, the Myrtlebank Guesthouse near Halls Gap in the Grampians was a thriving family - run business. In 1962, all that changed when the government of the day purchased the land on which the guesthouse stood and some neighbouring farms and houses. For almost 40 Years, the remains of the buildings have been submered under the man made reservoir known as Lake Bellfield. Due to drought, the eater levels have dropped steadily and, in the past month, the memories underneath Lake Bellfield have come to the surface. Local resident Don warren 70, has been to have a look. His grandmother Anne Flower Warren, was 56 when she opened the guesthouse in 1916. Widowed, the year before after a horse kicked her farmer husband, Mrs Flower needed to provide for their large family. "She had 13 children - seven daughters. I think she built it to look after the girls," Mr Warren says, "The whole think was built on a 500 acre farm." With the guesthouse sited in the centre of the farm, the land was divided between two of her sons- Mr Warren's uncle working one side and his father taking the other. For Mr Warren, the grounds of the two-storey guesthouse were an extension of a huge rural playground in what he remembers as an idyllic childhood. "I used to get taken over there and I'd sit there and watch her make all the toast for the guests. It was quite full all the time - maybe 40 or 50 people. It was a great big place - very grand. In the bedrooms I can remember the great big bowls full of water to wash your face in. There was a big dining room, too. My grandmother was a great cook." By the time of Mrs Warren's death in 1936, her eldest daughter also Anne, had officially taken over the running of the business. "It was in the family right until the last bit. The youngest daughter, Auntie Hilda, took it over right at the end. they got a notice to say that's it - it's over There was no way out of that one." Mrs Ida Stanton, 78, is the historian for the Halls Gap and Grampians Historical Society. Can she remember it when it all happened? "Of course" she says "It's only 40 years ago" Her memories of Myrtlebank are of a place popular with honeymooners, who would often return year after year, bringing their families with them. "There was a lovely ballroom where they used to invite the Gap people and the tourists in to have balls. During the war it was one means of making money to send stuff over to the soldiers." Seeing just the stumps of the guesthouse and what had been his family home, Mr Warren says the bitterness is still there. "The hardest part was poor old dad. He was 70 years old when he got turfed out. Dad had been a farmer all his life - 214 acres, he had, and he got 22,000 quid. Had to move into town" Also showing beneath the drying lake is the concrete slab of the new home Mr Warren planned after his marriage to wife Anne in 1955. Another lost dream. " I was the only child, I was going to take over the farm, but that all changed. You can't take it over when it's full of water.

Physical description

Newspaper clipping of history of Myrtlebank by Don Warren and photo of Don at old site of pooland guest House photo

Inscriptions & markings

Article by Claire Halliday from newspaper 2002