The Briars Homestead and Gardens


Please note the Briars Homestead
is currently undergoing extensive
restoration work and will reopen
in 2024

The Briars is one of the first houses built by Europeans on the Mornington Peninsula’s. It was 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”.

In 1846 Alexander 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 Visitor 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 gardens, farm and heritage outbuildings.

Opening hours:

The Homestead Gardens and Outbuildings are open from 9am - 5pm.

If you would like a formal tour of the gardens and outbuildings, please book by calling the Visitors Centre on 5950 1221 or email

Tours are available for group bookings. 

Outside toilets are available at the rear of the homestead – please note unfortunately these are not accessible toilets.

Paths and lawns surround the homestead and are accessible for wheelchairs and prams.