Buda – Historic House and Garden in Castlemaine

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Today, Sunday the 14th of September, my friend, Jennie and I visited Buda, Castlemaine’s  grand property featuring a large house and extensive garden.

Buda was purchased by Ernest Leviny, a Hungarian silversmith and jeweller in 1863. He moved into the house with his second wife, Bertha, in 1864. The couple had 10 children and Buda remained the family’s home until 1981 when Hilda, the last surviving daughter, died at 98 years of age. The house was extensively renovated between 1890 and 1900 during which time it was given the name of  Buda. The property is now in community ownership being part of the Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum.

I am going to feature Buda in two posts, this first post features the garden.

The garden of 1.2 hectares was developed to reflect the tastes and interests of the family. Earnest Leviny was a member of the Mount Alexander (Castlemaine) Horticulture and Agricultural Society and was eager to acquire the plants of interest to collectors in the Victorian era. Whilst the family employed a team of gardeners, they were also hands on gardeners themselves. Hilda was still working in the garden in her 90s.

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As adults, the Leviny daughters were keen followers of the arts and crafts movement. This sun dial and fountain were made by Dorothy who specialised in metal and enamel work.

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The garden was altered to meet the changing needs of the family. The fountain and pond are part of a garden built to replace the tennis court. The old tennis pavilion now sits in a garden setting.

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Yes, that’s me.

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6 Responses

  1. What a beautiful day Margaret, in a beautiful garden of grace and gentle hues and drifts of spiring flowers. A visit in autumn would complete the picture I would think?

    • Castlemaine is ablaze with colour in autumn, Jennie. Yes, you would get a different perspective of the garden in autumn. Many of the deciduous trees were still bare on this visit.

  2. Lovely post, Margaret. These historic gardens are so beautiful and well-manicured. I wonder at the hours spent tending to them?

    • Hi Lori, It was a beautiful spring day when we visited Buda. The volunteers who tend the garden are attempting to keep it in the style typical of the era using plants which would have been available to the Leviny family and which would thrive in Castlemaine’s climate with limited water.

  3. What a beautiful garden. How lovely to be able to read and ponder the world in such delightful surroundings. I wonder how unusual it was for a woman to do metal and enamel work at the time when Dorothy did it. I think I would have enjoyed the company of these ladies and the garden environment! I hope I am able to see some of these places when i eventually travel south.

    • Yes, Jane. I wondered the same thing also. I think the Leviny family were very much pioneers of the large arts community which lives in this district.

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