Borambola

Wagga Wagga, NSW

 

“Borambola Homestead” is on the Sturt Highway, 25 kilometers east of Wagga Wagga in the Riverina district of NSW. A majestic and gracious home dating back to the 1880s, it stands high on a hill looking out over the rolling Snowy Mountain foothills in one direction and the rich plains of the Murrumbidgee in the other. Borambola has a colourful history: it was built by George Macleay, son of Alexander Macleay, the then Colonial Secretary who built Elizabeth Bay House in Sydney. It was host to King Edward VIII when, as Prince of Wales, he visited Australia in 1920.

Borambola reached its high point in the 1880s when it was the centre of a pastoral empire of about 1.4 million hectares, owned by John Donnelly. Borambola then passed through several hands and was finally purchased by F.W. Hughes, a famous figure on the Australian financial scene. He used the property to breed horses, including Hiraji, the 1947 Melbourne Cup Winner. In 1992 Borambola became the McMullen family home. 

The property, with its gray sandy loam soil, is now set on 70 hectares with an elevation of 180 meters and the homestead is surrounded by 12 hectares of vineyard. Though set in the Riverina, the vineyard is categorised in the Gundagai growing region.

The dream for a vineyard emerged soon after the McMullen family settled into the Borambola homestead in 1992. The rich red soil of the 6 acre (2.7 hectares) paddock on the western side of the house was full of promise; there was a year-round water supply from the creek and good annual rainfall in this district bordering the foothills of the Great Dividing Range.