Historical information

The original house was built around 1850 was one of Kangaroo Ground's earliest homes, part of which remains today. Built by Scottish farmer Andrew Harkness who acquired the property in 1849 at the top of the hill with magnificent panoramic views as far as Kinglake, the same year he married Sarah Oswin. The property was known as Garden Hill from at least 1865. Andrew and Sarah had four sons and five daughters. Harkness was a founder of the Kangaroo Ground School and one of the first to suggest establishing the Eltham District Road Board (1858-71) of which he was a member, the pre-cursor to the Shire of Eltham (1871-1994). He was also a Trustee of the Kangaroo Ground Cemetery. His daughter Fanny married farmer Alexander White who purchased the property in 1893. Alexander White died in 1906 and ownership transferred to Fanny White. Son, Robert White was a Councillor of the Shire of Eltham at the time the Shire acquired two acres of land on the adjacent property from the Mess brothers for the creation of the Shire of Eltham Memorial Park (1921) in which the Shire of Eltham War Memoirial tower was erected (1926). Fanny White donated a small section of land from the Garden Hill property to facilitate entry access to the park. The White family sold the property to Sir Herbert Gepp in 1925.

Covered under Heritage Overlay, Nillumbik Planning Scheme.

Published: Nillumbik Now and Then /​ Marguerite Marshall 2008; photographs Alan King with Marguerite Marshall.; p29


This collection of almost 130 photos about places and people within the Shire of Nillumbik, an urban and rural municipality in Melbourne's north, contributes to an understanding of the history of the Shire. Published in 2008 immediately prior to the Black Saturday bushfires of February 7, 2009, it documents sites that were impacted, and in some cases destroyed by the fires. It includes photographs taken especially for the publication, creating a unique time capsule representing the Shire in the early 21st century. It remains the most recent comprehenesive publication devoted to the Shire's history connecting local residents to the past.

Physical description

Born digital image file