By Tracey Matthies
KORUMBURRA will be placed on the international tourism map with the next edition of a major lifestyle magazine.
February’s Australian Country will feature an historic Bena Road house, The Borough Cottage, which is now operating as a bed and breakfast.
Owner George Manis got to know the area when he had a beach house at Venus Bay for about 20 years but it wasn’t until he moved to Kongwak to join his partner, Robert Buchan, that George considered buying property in the town.
“When I moved down here, I didn’t want to go back to the city,” George said.
“I looked for about three years to find the perfect house, then this house came on the market. I saw it on the Saturday. I made an offer on the Sunday and it was mine on the Monday.”
Number 4 Bena Road, Korumburra has had just five owners since it was built in 1904 by George Nason, an early shire councillor. Originally part of a much larger town property, the house remained in family hands until 1983.
According to current owner George Manis, each owner has put their own touches on the house but there have been few structural changes. Jennifer Trezise, who owned the home from 1995 until 2013, created the gardens.
“I’ve basically cleaned up the gardens, decorated and stuff like that, but I tried to keep it like it was, retained the character of the house,” he said.
“I basically think of myself as a custodian of the property. History – once it’s gone – you can’t get it back.”
The three-bedroom cottage has polished floorboards throughout and 12-foot high pressed metal ceilings. It’s furnished in the original Edwardian-style with George’s personal touch.
“Everything in the house has a bit of a story, a bit of George in it,” he said.
Unlike most houses of that era, the cottage was not named. After researching its history and learning more about the town, George settled on The Borough Cottage.
The spelling is the same as The Borough Dept. Store who gave their blessing for The Borough Cottage although there are no links between the two.
George reached out to Australian Country magazine last September and suggested they do an article about The Borough Cottage and Korumburra.
“The town has got so much going for it. I’ve been here three years now and we’ve got Coal Creek which would be the equivalent of Sovereign Hill, maybe not to the same scale, but the stuff’s all there, the history’s there,” he said.
“It’s always green – we have rainfall, beautiful old buildings – we haven’t destroyed the main street. You’re still close enough to Melbourne to have that medical stuff. You’ve got the mountains, you’ve got the sea. It’s basically the best of everything.”
Australian Country goes on sale on February 6 and, with 10,000 followers on Instagram, this issue is sure to provide a shot in the arm for Korumburra tourism.