Margaret River: Sneak into an Abandoned Mansion
Get There: Just off Wallcliffe Road in Prevelly – but access the building via the river.
Victorian Georgian mansions aren’t buildings hobos get to frequent – unless, of course, they’re abandoned. In 2011, Wallcliffe House—an exquisite limestone homestead built on the banks of Margaret River in 1865—was gutted by flames that escaped from a controlled burn-off that went horribly wrong. While this was a fairly solid tragedy for its millionaire owners and Australia’s heritage list, what it means is the general public can now access its grounds with far less chance of being caught and told off than before.
There is significant doubt the house can ever be properly restored, and no work has started on it yet, but its skeletal remains still drip with evidence of extreme wealth and grandeur. The gardens, which were designed to mimic Spain’s Alhambra palace—continue to be kept in manicured condition, with immaculate lawns and exotic flowers galore. Walking around the enormous grounds feels like stepping back in time, falling down the rabbit hole or just having a really insane mushie trip.
The easiest way to get to the mansion is by canoe. Paddle upstream from Rivermouth about 500 metres, and as you round the bend, Wallcliffe House is unmissable. Mooring in the bushes that line the waters’ edge can be tricky, but you’re far more likely to gain access this way than by foot or car, as the driveway is shared by a number of other houses whose residents are less-than-stoked with voyeurism. Keep an eye out for groundspeople and gardeners, who tend to be working there during the week, and don’t be a scumbag if you come ladled with booze to watch the sunset– take your rubbish with you.
Photos by Django Tricker