It is now for sale. It is very unusual for a property in inner Melbourne to have this much land, let alone a lavender field:
and a lake:
and a turret and a ballroom (used by the owners as a kind of panelled games and trophy room, which made me feel a bit despondent).
So, I realise I can't afford this house (and trust me, it requires Quite a Lot of Redecoration Inside) but it did make me wonder what was happening in 1885 in Melbourne.
And the divinely seraphic Ruby Lindsay was born, sister to, and overshadowed greatly by her brothers Norman (who wrote The Magic Pudding), Sir Daryl (married to Joan Lindsay, see my post on these two here), Sir Lionel (influential art critic, illustrator, etchings artists) and Percy, all literary and artistic lions of the age.
I must say Percy, whom I had not previously heard of, sounds like the pick of the bunch. He is described in the Australian Dictionary of Biography thus:
Ruby had some artistic talent too, and illustrated a number of books and theatre notices (like the one below) and also produced charcoal drawings.
(very rare and for sale for $6,500)
Tragically she did not live to receive either the acclaim or the equivalent to the nubile ladies and knighthoods which rained down on her brothers. She died in Ireland in 1919, one of the many victims of the Spanish influenza epidemic.
On a brighter note, 1885 saw the birth in Sydney of Frank Hurley, intrepid explorer and photographer with a clean modern eye:
and Dorothea MacKellar, author of the poem 'I love a sunburnt country', which is, I think Australia's national poem and makes me feel like crying when I hear it. You can read it here.
(Images etc (1)-(3) Bona Vista (4) National Library of Victoria (5) catalogue.nla.gov.au (6) Picture Victoria (7) bsbgallery.com (for sale) (8) Shackleton-Endurance.com (9) Artnet.com (10) DorotheaMackellar.com)