Immerse yourself in the history and luxury that make Como Melbourne’s most glamorous stately home.
Built in 1847, Como House and Garden is an intriguing mix of Australian Regency and classic Italianate architecture.
Como offers a glimpse into the privileged lifestyle of former owners, the Armytage family, who lived there for nearly a century.
The Armytages became famous amongst Melbourne high society and equally famous for their many elegant dances, dinners and receptions. Those elegant dining and reception rooms are still furnished with Armytage family heirlooms and even the servant’s areas, kitchen and laundry have been preserved.
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Guided tours of the house operate on select Wednesdays (2pm only), Fridays (2pm only), and Saturdays and Sundays (11am, 12.30pm and 2pm).
Join the National Trust for a guided tour of the house for a rare glimpse into the opulent lifestyles of former owners, including the Armytage family, who lived there for over a century. Famous among
Melbourne high society for its elegant dances, dinners and receptions, the Armytage home remains furnished with original family heirlooms. Even the servant’s areas have been carefully preserved.
HISTORY OF COMO
The Early Years
Como was built on the land of the Ngaruk Willam clan of the Boon Wurrung people who were part of the five groups who formed the Kulin nation who had lived on the land for thousands of years. The settlement of Melbourne was a village barely two years old when the site that is now Como was used as a cattle run in 1837.
In 1847 Edward Eyre Williams, lawyer and later Judge of the first
Supreme Court of Victoria purchased land extending from the Yarra River to Toorak Road. He had a four roomed residence with separate kitchen built and named it 'Como' after the Italian Lake Como where he had proposed to his wife Jessie (pictured, with Justice Williams).
Como during the 1850s and beyond
In 1852 Williams sold Como, with its "noble frontage to the River Yarra," and "most commanding views of the surrounding country that could be desired" to Frederick Dalgety, owner of a firm providing supplies to wool, gold and settlers' trades.
Dalgetty paid £4,200 for the house and grounds, commenting that "I know it was not a bargain, but I foresaw that if I delayed I should not be able to buy except at a higher figure."
Dalgety, however, found Como “infernally dull” and sold it within a year to John Brown, master builder and later a wine and spirits merchant.
It turned out to be a bargain for Dalgety because Brown paid him £12,000 for Como!
Brown had the grounds landscaped and added a second storey to the
original four rooms, including a Ball Room overlooking the gardens. The Ball Room, divided by folding doors, can still be seen upstairs.
Portraits of John Brown and his wife Helen hang in the Billiard Room.
From the Armytages to the National Trust
In 1864, wealthy pastoralist Charles Armytage bought Como, originally as a town house for himself and his wife Caroline. The Ballroom wing was added in 1874 and includes an upstairs children's wing.
Charles died in 1876, leaving the property to Caroline.
Following Caroline's death in 1909, the property was sub-divided and, along with the house, put up for auction. Her daughters Ada, Laura,
Constance and Leila purchased some land and the house and continued to spend most of their adult lives at Como. Ada purchased another family property, Holm Park at Beaconsfield and lived there.
In 1959 Como and its contents was sold by Constance and Leila (pictured as children in the grounds) to the National Trust.