ABOUT OUR CLUB

 
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Welcome to the website of The Rotary Club of Highton.  We are an active and enthusiastic Club that supports our local community, our Rotary District 9780, and the international community through Rotary International.

The Picture above is a print of a water colour painting of Highton House by a former club member, Robert W Tantau.  It was formerly a practice of Highton Rotary to give a copy of this painting mounted in a presentation folder, to guest speakers at dinner meetings as a tangible demonstration of gratitude for their visit.

Highton House was a stately mansion of eight rooms, built by John Highett (1808-1867) for himself.  The two-storey building, sited on a fifty acre farm, with an orchard and vineyard, was approached by a long tree-lined driveway from Barrabool Road.  The mansion had a wide verandah on all four sides and cellars beneath the verandah contained a bar, a butcher's shop and dairy.  The sandstone walls of the building were two feet thick.  Highett bought much of the surounding land after coming from Tasmania in 1847 and the area became known as "Highett Town", which was later shortened to "Highton".  He tried to sell Highett House and his land in 1854, but could only lease it in 1858 to Edwin Hooper, who made it into the "Montpellier Hotel, Picnic Gardens and Pleasure Grounds".


The Hotel, with commanding views of Corio Bay and Geelong Town, became a popular family picnic resort, patrons walking from Geelong to the Barwon River to be transported free of cost across the river by punt.  It was then a short walk up the hill to the hotel. 
Highett resumed residence in 1865 and the house remained in the family until about 1886 after which it had several different owners until 1932 when it was damaged in a storm.  It was demolished shortly afterwards.  The foundations were partly restored by the Barwon Jaycees in 1974.  The remains of the building, with part of the original farm, is now incorporated into Montpellier Park.                           

 

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