Glenbourne Homestead


Shire of Augusta-Margaret River

Place Number



Caves Rd Margaret River

Location Details

Local Government

Augusta/Margaret River


South West

Construction Date

Constructed from 1888, Constructed from 1889

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

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

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

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

Statement of Significance

Glenbourne is an important site in the Margaret River area. It was built by the well known Keenan family, whose contribution to the development of the south-west is considered significant. The house was built using only local products, and for a specific community purpose which may have been unique in that area during the early development of the district. It is a reminder of the lifestyle of the period, building techniques (both original and later) and the type of industry that was prevalent at the time – hospitality as well as dairying and agriculture. Like many buildings, it has a special feature – in the dining/guest room area there is a large beam, which was famous during those days because it was so well cut and that no adze mark can be seen on it. For the above reasons Glenbourne could be considered as having a special historical significance, which may be viewed as complementing Ellensbrook House. Because of this, Glenbourne is a valuable heritage and tourist site on its own, as well as in conjunction with Ellensbrook.

Physical Description

Glenbourne Homestead is a timber slab, stone and weatherboard farm house (partly demolished) and associated stone oven. Glenbourne Homestead is an uncommon example of a late nineteenth century house with later additions, in a semi-demolished state. As such, it demonstrates construction techniques not normally visible in an intact building of its type.


In 1870 Stewart Keenan took up cattle run at the Margaret, securing 4000 acres around the area of Margaret River. The original lease was for Keenan as well as Mr Forrest and Mr Abbey. Eventually, Keenan took over the whole lease. The in 1887 Keenan took up a 200 acre block on the north bank of Ellensbrook, facing Spring Road [now Caves Rd] and in 1888 Keenan and his son-n-law, James Armstrong, began splitting timber for the building of a home. Glenbourne was built on granite ridge between a large creek and a high granite cliff, and is surrounded by karri and peppermint trees. Despite being near the sea it is in a picturesque setting. It is about 1km inland form Ellensbrook house and is close to the caves visited from Ellensbrook. 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. The jarrah rafters and shingles were split and hand trimmed by Armstrong. Purlins were 3x1 inch jarrah sawn. After the useful line of shingles, galvanised iron was nailed over them. At the rear of these rooms, under a skillion roof, were two small bedrooms and a kitchen with a stoned floor. In early days the sitting room and the two bedrooms were uncoiled, the dining/living area was afterward ceiled with stamped metal. Many years later the other rooms were ceiled with plain galvanised iron. A door opened for 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 walls of the house from the kitchen door around to the south-east corner were built of rough granite stones from the immediate area. Two stone fireplaces, one in the kitchen and one in the dining room, served as a cooking and heating arrangements. Later, the dining room gave way under the weight of the chimney and so a timber frame was put in place, clad on the outside with jarrah weatherboards and on the stamped metal on the inside. A settlers fireplace (tin chimney) replaced the stone one. An earthen floor veranda ran the full length of the front of the house. Later the south end, nearest the brook, was made into a small bedroom with doors entering from the veranda and the dining room. This was known as Aunt Minnie’s room. The family moved into their new home in the winter of 1889, and commenced dairy farming operations. Glenbourne’s intended function was as a wayside inn – as a service for passing traffic on Caves Rd (former Spring Rd]. Most of the traffic was generated by the timber mills at Yelverton and Karridale. It was built by family members, including Keenan’s son-n-law James Armstrong, using materials from the immediate vicinity. The farm produce was used to feed the travellers. It was also the homestead for a large 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. These rooms were about 8x10 foot and 8 foot high, with a gabled roof. Although the Catheralls stayed only a short time this part of Glenbourne became known as “Jack’s House”. It was later used as a dairy and storeroom, but was unfortunately demolished in the 1960s. In the early 1920s Don Terry built a wall across the dining room to make it more private. He use a timber frame portion, clad with jarrah in the passage side and stamped metal on the inside. During the 1950s toilet and washing facilities were built adjacent to Aunt Minnie’s room. The work was done by Ray Keenan and Roy Hill. Alterations to the walls were also carried out. Most of the flooring was rough jarrah boards. Glenbourne has an association with the local Nyungar 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. Glenbourne was involved in some historical incidents and issues. Stewart and Isabella Keenan were Irish and often helped people who had similar sympathies. They hid illegal liquor trafficker from the Police and they also, as the tale is told, Helped Moondyne Joe escape from the authorities. The Keenan’s two daughters cut the 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.




Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Bob Blond;"Nomnaton Form".
Margaret Blond; "Transcript of tape recording- History of Glenvourne"
Ed Keenan;"Glenbourne: Margaret River" attached to nomination form 1992
Gail Cresswell;"The Lighthouse of Leeuwin". Margaet River 1989

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
Wall STONE Granite
Wall TIMBER Weatherboard
Wall TIMBER Slab

Historic Themes

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

Creation Date

30 Jun 1988

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

01 Jan 2017


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.