Redevelopment and Sustainability

Strathdon House and Orchard has been redeveloped into a vibrant sustainability and healthy living precinct for the community.


Built in 1893 by Walter Fankhauser, Strathdon is a 2.5 hectare site that includes the original cottage and orchard from Whitehorse’s early settlement. 

The property was purchased by the Matheson family in 1914 and developed over time. At its height, the Strathdon Orchard was 37.78 acres in size and grew apples, pears, cherries, apricots and plums. Fruit varieties that are now no longer grown were also planted, such as, Josephine apples, Winter Coles and Winter Nelis pears. It operated as an orchard until the 1930s and was acquired by Council during Bicentennial celebrations as an asset of historical and cultural significance. 


Through consultation with the community, Council undertook a redevelopment project that celebrates the rich history of the site while transforming Strathdon into a community precinct. Strathdon now hosts educational programs in sustainable living as well as opportunities for the community to rest and relax, play in nature and attend community events.

House restoration and packing shed

  • Sensitive restoration of the heritage homestead to include visitor reception and two new public meeting rooms
  • Construction of new ‘packing shed’ to become an outdoor education hub

Front and rear garden landscaping

  • Restore the original layout of the Strathdon garden
  • Restore planting beds and prepare for better access and drainage
  • Recreate front garden fence
  • Creation of a Kitchen Garden to promote sustainable living and community participation

Orchard re-establishment

  • Regrow the orchard from grafted stock collected in July 2019

Heritage interpretative signage, nature play and BBQ

  • Interpretative panels outlining the history and significance of the Strathdon site
  • Installation of a Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) compliant car park at Springvale Road
  • Upgrades to the Davey Lane car park;
  • Installation of bicycle parking hoops
  • BBQ and additional seating

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The Strathdon House and Orchard Precinct redevelopment team have made efforts to incorporate sustainable building standards, actions and materials where possible. We are proud to share the following actions taken to make this an environmentally sustainable project:

  • Aggregate used in concrete mix was sourced from recycling old concrete and/or crushed rock
  • Recycled materials used where possible including the re-use of old floor boards
  • LED light fittings throughout
  • Low Volatile Organic Components (VOC) paint used
  • FSC Certified Timber used where possible
  • Higher rating roof insulation to better control internal temperatures
  • Local trades used where possible. An example is Kelvinway, a commercial applied finishes contractor based in Nunawading who completed the hard plastering of interior walls.

Other sustainable measures taken that will assist with the effective operation of the site: 

  • 5kw solar system to offset electricity consumption
  • 13,000 litre rainwater storage tank used for toilet flushing and garden watering.

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