It wasn't all Ned Kelly-style hard times in late 19th century Victoria. For a lucky (and just as determined) few Australia proved a more lucrative new world.
Take the Scottish-born Chirnside brothers for example. Despite their interweaving love life, they were a success as pastoralists in Werribee, just west of Melbourne. The results of that success can still be found at Werribee Park, where the plush Italianate-style mansion they built in the 1870s stands proudly.
After a 50 year tenure housing the Corpus Christi College, where budding Catholic priests were trained, the Victorian government acquired the buildings in 1973, when it was lovingly restored to its former glory. Now it's the centrepiece of a 'tourism precinct' that can provide at least a day's worth of distraction for adults and kids alike.
The mansion itself is a lesson in opulent 19th century decor, each of the rooms made up as they would have been 150 years ago. You can either let your imagination run wild or immerse yourself in the Chirnsides' world via the audio tour. For children there are quizzes provided to get them roaming the mansion and gardens on their own steam.
Outside offers more intrigue. Across the Great Lawn is a lake and the curious grotto, in which the Chirnsides would take afternoon tea during the hot summers. Behind the mansion is the Sculpture Walk, which features an eclectic collection of art being judged for the annual Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award. It takes you past the river, the farm and the Shadowfax Winery. Then there is the Victoria State Rose Garden - a huge expanse of every colour rose you can imagine.
But that's not all. Adjacent to the mansion is the Sofitel Mansion & Spa, where you can recharge the batteries with some food at the restaurant or some pampering in the Turkish steam room or Lancome beauty studio. And if all that's not enough to satisfy you, there's always the Werribee Open Range Zoo down the road for you to drive through.
Just a 45 minute drive from Melbourne, Werribee Park makes for a little-known but very rewarding day out.