Rangeview : The Woolrich Woods

Ted Woolrich was amongst the first nurserymen in the hills and established his Range View nursery in 1917. He was the son of the original settlers of the ten acre allotment called Rangeview and what is now Cloudehill, his mother arriving in Olinda in 1862. Ted Woolrich also helped establish the National Rhododendron Gardens and entered a display into the Show in St Kilda Road every year. He was so well-known that his catalogues were bequeathed to the Royal Botanic Herbarium. Iris Woolrich, Ted’s wife, was the first proprietor of the Cuckoo Restaurant, then called Quambie. Their original cottage built in 1920 is now Woolrich Cottage.

Woolrich Woods are mature and secret. A small dell is overhung by a huge weeping beech. A giant American tulip tree rears up from the end of a narrow path. There is an azalea maze of Kurume azaleas, the first to be planted in Australia. In the gazebo area there is a mass of camellias, and on the bottom path a forest of rhododendrons, their blossoms only visible from above.

Keith Purves, the previous owner of Range View cleared the site of blackberries and established the paths. We have used our energies building rock walls from stone gathered on the site to combat the lyrebirds who constantly erode the banks. Ongoing tree works improve the health of existing trees and the clearing of weeds and replacement of the ground layer of plantings continues. We have been helped in this by Matt Nadji and Cloudehill.

Our garden was recently featured in Yarra Valley & Ranges Country Life magazine

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Woolrich Retreat - Map of grounds and gardens.

We suggest those exploring Woolrich look for lyrebirds. Most guests catch glimpses of them. A colony of them live in the gully below the property and they wander into the woodlands constantly. We also have wombats and echidnas from time to time and the occasional wallaby visits.

Next door we have Cloudehill Gardens to which our guests have free entry. Developed by Jeremy Francis in the early nineties, it has an international reputation and is constantly being transformed. It is divided into some twenty rooms in the style of properties such as Hidcote in England. It includes herbaceous and shrub borders, a tree peony collection, and a spring bulb meadow.