Glenbourne Homestead


Shire of Augusta-Margaret River

Place Number



134 Old Ellen Brook Rd Gracetown

Location Details

Local Government

Augusta/Margaret River


South West

Construction Date

Constructed from 1888, Constructed from 2002

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
State Register Registered 27 Nov 1998 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument, HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Heritage Council Decisions or Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Municipal Inventory Adopted 17 Jun 1996 Criterion 1
Municipal Inventory Adopted 01 Jul 2012 Exceptional Significance
Classified by the National Trust Recorded 01 Sep 1978
Register of the National Estate Indicative Place

Statement of Significance

The following is an extract from the Heritage Council of WA’s Assessment Documentation for the place: Glenbourne Homestead, a timber slab, stone and weatherboard farm house (partly demolished) and associated stone oven, has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons: • the place has potential to yield information about, and promote the understanding of, a range of nineteenth century construction techniques used by early settlers in the South West region; • the place contributes to an understanding of the pattern of European settlement in the South West of the State and is associated with the development of the dairying, agricultural, timber and hospitality industries in that region; and, • the place is highly valued by the local community for its associations with the Keenan family and the development of Margaret River and the South West region.

Physical Description

The following is an extract from the Heritage Council of WA’s Assessment Documentation for the place (dated 1998):Glenbourne Homestead is situated on a grassy rise in established farmland to the north of the Ellens Brook water course.The homestead is in a semi-demolished state, with only three of the rooms with any semblance of intactness. The homestead is located in a fenced area peppered with peach, apple and almond trees and a large mulberry tree. The remains of a concrete path approaches the verandah from the east. Two corrugated iron cement lined water tanks stand on the south-west corner of the house in very poor condition.A rough stone oven [ruin] is located to the south west of the house just outside the existing fence line. This oven consists of uncut local stone piled up and mortared together, with iron bar lintels supporting the fire box roof. Several materials have been used to clad the exterior walls of the house: timber slab, weatherboard, stone and asbestos cement. Slab wall construction was used on the eastern, northern and western elevations, stone work on a small area of the south western corner, and weatherboard on the southern elevation and an enclosed portion of the verandah. Asbestos cement cladding is confined to wet area additions constructed in the 1950s. Wall construction is chiefly vertically placed split timber slab. This also determines the oldest part of the structure. The slabs are earth fast and fixed at the top with a dressed timber rail or plate. Dressed corner posts and intermediate studwork (for openings) have also been used. The external face of the slabs has been left undressed and the internal face lined with lath and plaster. Ti-Tree timber laths are rough split in the traditional way, and fixed to the slabs with flat head nails. Plaster appears to have been made from lime and sand and then coated with lime wash. Internal slab walls are lined with lath and plaster on both sides.Since that time extensive conservation works have been undertaken and the place has been restored to a weather tight condition, including the repair of walls, the replacement of fibrous cement sheeting with square-edged weatherboards, the installation of new casement windows, and a new corrugated profile roof. The immediate area includes the old fruit trees and new vegetable gardens and retains an informal setting. The place is overlooked by (but well-separated from) a large new residential building further up the hillside.There is no evidence that the place is actively used.


In 1870 Stewart Keenan took up a cattle run at the Margaret, securing 4000 acres around the area of Margaret River. The original lease was for a Mr Forrest and Mr Abbey as well as Keenan, but eventually Keenan took over the whole lease.In 1887 Keenan took up a 200 acre block on the north bank of Ellensbrook,facing Spring Road [now Caves Rd] and in 1888, together with his son-in-law, James Armstrong, began splitting timber for the building of a home.The original structure consisted of a large dining/living area at the south end, another good sized room and an adjoining sitting room. A gable roof covered this part of the building. At the rear of these rooms, under a skillion roof, were two small bedrooms and a kitchen with a stone floor. A door opened from the kitchen to a cobble stoned area at the back of the house and washing facilities were arranged on a rough wooden slab running along the outside of the kitchen wall.The family moved into their new home in the winter of 1889, and commenced dairy farming operations and a large, associated, cattle run consisting of 2000 acres in Rosa Brook area, and 2000 acres north of Margaret River, up to Bramley. About the turn of the century, Grace and Jack Catherall (niece and nephew to Keenan) lived at Glenbourne and added two more rooms higher up the hill at the north end of the front veranda. Although the Catheralls stayed only a short time this part of Glenbourne became known as ‘Jack’s House’ (demolished in the 1960s). The Keenan’s two daughters later cut a track between Glenbourne and the railway (north of the Margaret River) so that produce could be transported by horse and cart instead of by horseback. This track is now called Carters Road.During this early period, Glenbourne also had an association with the local Noongar community. It was visited by Aboriginals, and Queen Jinny stayed there on a number of occasions. It is believed that Queen Jinny and Isabella Keenan formed a strong relationship, particularly after King Bungitch died. Of Stewart and Isabella Keenan’s nine children, Robert John and Mary Ellen (a.k.a. Minnie) were the only ones to remain at Glenbourne. They inherited the property after Isabella's death and Minnie stayed on at the property until 1958, when it was sold due to her failing health. Glenbourne was purchased by John Williams, who owned it for two years before selling it to Robert and Thelma Brooke. The Brookes owned the property for fourteen years, during which time caretaker Albert Atkins occupied Glenbourne Homestead.The Margaret River Conservation Farming Club then purchased the property, in March 1977. One of the conditions of sale was that Albert be allowed to live in Glenbourne Homestead for as long as he wished. The Margaret River Conservation Farming Club, one of several established in the South-west during the 1970s, acquired Glenbourne with the object of combining simple farming with recreation and nature conservation. The Club built a large Clubhouse, which extends along a ridge above Glenbourne Homestead, and did not used the old farmhouse, aside from the occasional storage of timber.By the early 1990s, Glenbourne Homestead had become derelict and some members of the Club, who feared it could be dangerous to children, decided to commence demolition. Other members opposed this action, but by the time the demolition was halted considerable damage had been done to the fabric. When inspected in September 1997, the house remained fenced-off, unused, and in a semi-collapsed condition. Glenbourne was entered in the Sate Register of Heritage Places in 1998. A conservation plan was written in 2000 and major conservation works were undertaken in 2002.


Medium: The use has been altered, but the original use is still clearly evident through interpretation of the fabric. Medium: The place has had some alterations, but the original intent/character is still clearly evident.


Good to Fair *Assessed from streetscape survey only


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Glenbourne Homestead conservation works 2002
Glenbourne Homestead (00116) HCWA Assessment Documentation
Municipal Heritage Inventory 1996
Tamblyn M, 'Johns, Joseph Bolitho (1827–1900),' Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University
Cresswell, Gail J, The Light of Leeuwin: the Augusta/Margaret River Shire History Augusta/Margaret River Shire History Group, 1989
Hocking Planning and Architecture Glenbourne Homestead: Conservation Plan 1999-2000

Other Reference Numbers

Ref Number Description
A2799 LGA Site No.
GR-02 MI Place No.

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
5400 Glenbourne homestead, Margaret River : conservation works Conservation works report 2002
482 Historical sites in the Margaret River Augusta region : a photographic survey of documented and undocumented historical sites in the region carried out by students of the University of Western Australia, Department of Architecture. Heritage Study {Other} 1980
4458 Glenbourne Homestead : conservation plan. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2000
226 Glenbourne House Margaret River : heritage assessment. Heritage Study {Other} 1993

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use COMMERCIAL Hotel, Tavern or Inn
Present Use FARMING\PASTORAL Homestead

Architectural Styles


Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall EARTH Wattle and Daub
Wall STONE Granite
Wall TIMBER Weatherboard
Wall TIMBER Slab
Other STONE Granite

Historic Themes

General Specific
OCCUPATIONS Hospitality industry & tourism
OCCUPATIONS Grazing, pastoralism & dairying

Creation Date

30 Jun 1988

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

10 May 2019


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.