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Burnham Beeches to become a luxury hotel
No, historic Burnham Beeches, that beautiful art deco building in the Dandenong Ranges, is not yet strictly open to the public.
But in some ways, it is or at least for a little while. Let me explain.
Burnham Beeches has a long history. The streamline-moderne mansion was built for Aspro-brand sales magnate Alfred Nicholas in Sherbrooke back in the 1930s. It has been many things since then including a children's hospital, and a research facility. Transport magnate Lindsay Fox hired out the whole house for his 50th birthday, and Prince Charles and Princess Diana were all set to stay in the Nicholas suite (refurbished especially for them) on their honeymoon but they cancelled at the last minute.
But like that marriage, the old mansion fell into Miss Havisham like decay.
Now there are plans once again to transform it into a luxury hotel. by entrepreneur and celebrity chef Shannon Bennett and partner Adam Garrison.
But before all the work starts the street artist, Rone, will be adding another level of decay to the already dilapidated venue for an art exhibition like no other.
In fact, Garrison and Bennett who purchased the property in 2014 have handed the entire property over to this renowned Melbourne street artist.
Rone whose real name is Tyrone Wright is known for his artworks that you can find in and around Melbourne's inner-north, and in abandoned houses and venues – as well as his works on the Silo Art Trail.
His works depict haunting, stylised portraits of women's faces and his aim is to represent the friction between beauty and decay.
Rone's large scale artwork will takeover Burnham Beeches. He has extenuated the property's present state of distress and decay and even highlights this with techniques he has developed to create the look of mould, peeling and chipped walls and surfaces.
With styling and sound effects added, each room at Burnham Beeches will evoke a different but intense feeling. Rone's muse for the project is actor Lily Sullivan (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Mental).
The exhibition called EMPIRE and open on March 6th for a six week period.
Tickets will be $15 for adults and $10 for concessions and can be booked online or bought at the door.
There will be eight sessions and day and some evenings. One day a week will be dedicated to school groups. Some private dinners will also be held with catering by the Vue Group.
When you attend this unusual art show you will not be at a loss for other things to do nearby.
There are of course beautiful walks in the area. In fact, the old mansion overlooks the stunning Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens
On the site is the Piggery at Burnham Beeches a warm and rustic café - housed in a restored piggery and stables – that offers an onsite bakery and delicious share plates filled with local produce from onsite and local farms and producers. It will be available throughout the Empire season, with extended hours and additional coffee facilities for all the extra visitors. 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke VIC 3789, 61 (03) 9691 3858
Sassafras is the nearest village to Burnham Beeches, and Proserpina Bakehouse is an absolute jewel. Six days a week they freshly mill flour that is turned into bread, pastries, delicious sweet baked goods and wholesome pies. This humming heart of Sassafras is the combined expertise of Gary Cooper (ex-Bella Vedere) and Carolyn Deutsher (ex-Ripe). Antique benches sit alongside purpose-built shelving filled with flowers, objects of beauty and the teams favourite local artisan produce. 361 Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, Sassafras VIC 3787, 61 (03) 9755 3332
Ripe, also in Sassafras, has a great range of baguettes, homecooked meals and cakes. It's cosy but also has an enclosed outdoor deck that looks into the trees and the colourful rosella's that have made them home. Perfect for families. 376-378 Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, Sassafras, VIC 3787, 61 (03) 9755 2100
Olinda is the next village along the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road. The Olinda Tea House, is new(ish) to the Dandenongs and brings with it a taste of China. Featuring both a full traditional Chinese menu, as well as morning and high teas influenced by Asian flavours, this restaurant is set amongst the forest and is open for dinner six nights a week. 86A Olinda-Monbulk Road, Olinda VIC 3788, 61 (03) 9751 0556
Olinda village also boasts plenty of window browsing and boutique shopping in The Olinda Collective which highlights local handmade items; Mangana Olinda a global treasure chest where visitors can lose themselves among the many antiques and leadlight lamps; as well as Olinda Sweet Company and Little Lands a business that specialises in terrariums.
High Tea is the Dandenong Ranges meal of choice and one of the most enticing options is Mary Eats Cake located at Leith Road. They do brunch, lunch and high tea in glam surroundings with expert tea and cake matching. For more information, click here. It is best to book this venue in advance.