Often I come across a picture of a woolshed or an interesting story surrounding one and I can find only the smallest amount of information on the building or the history of the property where it is situated. Sometimes there are also differing names and dates, the history tumbled together so that time and place blur and become hard to decipher. Colwyn Park (Kulwin Park) at Wycheproof in Victoria is one of those places. The holding has been producing wool for decades based on the age of the original woolshed which is said to be 110 years old. Known as the ‘Elston shed’ – to differentiate it from a second recently reconstructed woolshed on the property, the sheds have been the backdrop to thousands of woollies, a string of men as well as the heaven-reaching voices of opera singers.
Wycheproof is located in north western Victoria. The name refers to Mount Wycheproof which is the smallest registered mountain in the world, standing at 148 metres (486 ft) above sea level or 43 metres (141 ft) above the surrounding plains. Wycheproof originates from an aboriginal word meaning ‘grass on a hill’, and while today the region is known for its wheat, sheep were the mainstay originally feeding across thousands of acres of prime grazing land.
Melbourne Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Dr Murray J. Stapleton purchased Colwyn Park from his uncle, Charles Elston when he passed on. The still working Elston shed was only comprised of four stands and Dr Stapleton soon relocated another shed onto the property. This woolshed was unwanted and due to be demolished. Located at Sydenham near Melbourne the structure was dismantled and every single piece trucked to its new location by semi-trailers where it was rebuilt, until it finally rested once again on its original Boxwood fence posts. Right next to the original Elston shed.
Now they are two old buildings standing shoulder to shoulder, baked by the sun and rubbed raw by the weather, each with their own unique set of stories that now merge together thanks to the vision of one man.