Open House Melbourne 2020: Woodlands Homestead


Living Legends is proud to be part of Open House Melbourne 2020, and on 25 and 26 July we will share the history and stories of Woodlands Homestead in celebration of our historic home.

Woodlands Homestead at Woodlands Historic Park, the home of Living Legends, is a unique and treasured part of Victoria’s heritage. One of the only remaining timber kit homes in Victoria, it was brought from Britain for retired Royal Navy Officer William Greene and his family in 1843.

For the 2020 Open House Melbourne program, we’re breaking convention in unconventional times and adopting new ways to stay connected, think, explore and encourage change. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we can’t welcome guests inside the Homestead, but that won’t stop us from sharing it with you.

With support from Hume City Council, we have a wonderful 5-minute video tour of Woodlands Homestead to share, exploring the history of the home and its surrounding outbuildings. We also have two podcasts delving deeper into the stories of the families who called Woodlands home in the 19th and 20th centuries, and a Facebook Live Q&A with Dr Andrew Clarke available to answer questions from the public.

Schedule of activities

Saturday 25 July from 8am 

Open House Melbourne 2020 begins! All tours and information available on the Open House Melbourne website, including Woodlands Homestead virtual tour and podcasts.

Explore our Open House Melbourne page, video tour and podcasts here.

Saturday 25 July @ 2pm on Facebook

Woodlands Homestead Q&A with Dr Andrew Clarke live on Facebook here. All content will be available through Open House Melbourne until the end of Sunday 26 July, then posted to this website thereafter.

About Open House Melbourne

Open House Melbourne is an independent organisation that fosters public appreciation for architecture and public engagement in the future of our city. The thirteenth Open House Melbourne will present the largest collection of virtual tours in Australia, and an unrivalled program of free, live, interactive and on-demand digital content—in keeping with the true spirit of Open House Melbourne.

If 2020 has made one thing clear it’s that we’re in uncharted territory.

From harrowing Summer bushfires and the global climate emergency, to the impacts of Covid-19 shutdowns, we’ve been thrust into reconsidering how Melbourne’s built environment has been shaped—for the better and for the worse—through major moments in our past, present and soon to be future.

We are looking down the barrel of cultural, economic, technological and social disruption. We are at a tipping point of true change, and to succeed we must do things differently than we have before. Now is the time to look at things from another angle—to seek out new doors to open when the ones we’ve always known close. Now is the time to throw out old ways of doing and thinking; to take charge of our futures and build on what has come before to go where we haven’t been yet—together.

Chief De Beers passes away peacefully at Living Legends

The Living Legends team present Chief de Beers with his Blue Cross Medal

Former police horse and Doomben champion Chief De Beers has passed away peacefully at the age of 28, just days after being presented with a prestigious Blue Cross Medal for his service to the community. It follows a long illness that was first treated five years ago and had recently required ongoing treatment before he was euthanised late today.

CEO & Veterinary Director, Dr Andrew Clarke, said the much-loved Chief will be remembered fondly for not only his incredible racing story but his enormous impact on people and the community.

“Chief was only small in stature but he was big on attitude and spark and kept us laughing right until the end. He will be sorely missed at Living Legends and his unique achievements as a champion both on and off the track will be his lasting legacy,” Dr Clarke said.

Trained by Bill Calder, Chief De Beers had an extraordinary career with 20 wins from 51 starts, remarkably all at Brisbane’s Doomben Racecourse. He earned prizemoney on 42 occasions and was placed in Group company at five other tracks around Australia (Eagle Farm, Gold Coast, Caulfield, Flemington and Moonee Valley) but couldn’t win. At Doomben he was unbeatable, winning two Doomben 10,000s and nine other feature races at the track in the mid to late 1990s.

Chief De Beers was recruited by Queensland Police on retirement from racing in July 1999. He had a long and distinguished career including serving as the designated Governor’s police horse as well as search and rescue missions, assisting during bushfires and crowd control. He was inducted into the Doomben Hall of Fame while still a serving troop horse, before being retired to Living Legends in December 2012.

This year he was selected for a Blue Cross Medal by the Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation (AWAMO) in conjunction with the Blue Cross Fund (UK). This rare and prestigious honour dates back to the 1900s and is bestowed upon animals in service to acknowledge their loyalty serving alongside their human comrades.

“It’s wonderful that Chief De Beers has received such deserved recognition as the recipient of the 2020 Blue Cross Australia/New Zealand Award. In addition to his extraordinary contribution as a police horse,  ‘life after life after racing’ saw Chief become a very popular racing ambassador with fans of all ages from primary school students to residents at seniors’ homes. He encapsulated what Living Legends is all about and it is a very fitting honour,” Dr Clarke said.

“We extend our sincere condolences to his owners, the Greenup and Chapman families, his long-time companion Queensland Police Officer Belinda Worthington, and our team members who cared for him so lovingly every day,” Dr Clarke said.

Chief De Beers will be cremated and laid to rest in the memorial garden at Living Legends alongside past champions including Might And Power, Better Loosen Up and Doriemus.

Media enquiries:

Dr Andrew Clarke

0407 551 289