The Briars Historic Homestead & Gardens

The Briars is one of the Mornington Peninsula’s oldest properties first settled in 1840 by Captain James Reid, a retired army officer. He took up a 2000 hectare pastoral lease which he named Tichin-Gorourke after the Boonwurrung name for Balcombe Creek meaning “voice of many frogs”. Boonwurrung people lived, hunted and gathered here for tens of thousands of years.

In 1846 Alexander Beatson Balcombe settled at Tichin-Gorourke with his wife Emma and their baby daughter. He erected the pre-fabricated “Hutch” in 1846, built the South Wing c. 1850 and the North Wing c. 1865. Alexander’s descendants, the Murphy and a’Beckett families, remained at The Briars until 1976. In that year, Richard a’Beckett sold the remaining 220 hectares to the Shire of Mornington and gifted The Briars Homestead and surrounding eight hectares of lawns, trees, gardens and outbuildings jointly to the Shire and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), for the people of Victoria and in memory of his wife Elizabeth Clare.

On entering The Briars continue along the roadway passing the Visitors Centre and continue half way up the hill to the homestead car park entrance on the left. There is no charge to wander around the homestead garden and other heritage outbuildings. For those wishing to tour the homestead please stop at the Visitors Centre on arrival to purchase your entry ticket.

Opening hours:

The Historic Homestead is only open on days when volunteer guides are on duty.

Please call the Visitors Centre on 5974-3686 or email to enquire about availability.

Tours are available for group bookings.

Cost of entry:  

  • Adult - $10
  • Concession - $5
  • Child - $5
  • Family - $15
  • National Trust members - free


  • Enjoy a picnic in the homestead grounds.
  • See the heritage breed Cochin and Dorking chickens.
  • Wander through the large heritage vegetable garden and apple orchard.
  • Enjoy a tour inside the Historic Homestead.

Outside toilets are available at the rear of the homestead – note these are not all access toilets. Inside the homestead toilets are all access. The homestead is only open when a volunteer guide is on duty.

Wheelchair and pram accessible.