Our vision is to create a vibrant precinct that celebrates Whitehorse’s rich history and empowers a healthy and sustainable future for our community. 

Strathdon House provides opportunities for our community to relax, enjoy and play in nature. We also offer a program of workshops and events focusing on environmental sustainability, health, and wellbeing. The venue has indoor and outdoor areas, a nature play area, and a Kitchen Garden with several vegetable garden beds. 


Built in 1893 by Walter Fankhauser, Strathdon is a 6-acre site that includes the original cottage and orchard from one of Whitehorse’s early settlements. 

The property was purchased by the Matheson family in 1914 and developed over time. At its height, the Strathdon Orchard was 37.78 acres in size and grew apples, pears, cherries, apricots, and plums. Fruit varieties no longer grown were also planted, such as Josephine apples, Winter Coles, and Winter Nelis pears. It operated as an orchard until the 1930s and was acquired by Council during Bicentennial celebrations as an asset of historical and cultural significance. 

Guided Tours 

While there are interpretive signboards located in strategic areas on site for a self-guided visit, we welcome individuals and groups to come in for a personally guided tour. In this guided tour, we will bring visitors around the site while providing interesting historical information about the site and the past orchardist families. 

Please contact us directly to arrange a booking. Tour groups of up to 12 people at a time. Tour times take approximately 30–45 minutes. 

Redevelopment and Sustainability


Through consultation with the community, Council undertook a redevelopment project that celebrates the rich history of the site while transforming Strathdon into a community precinct. Strathdon now hosts educational programs in sustainable living as well as opportunities for the community to rest and relax, play in nature and attend community events. 

House restoration and packing shed 

  • Sensitive restoration of the heritage homestead to include visitor reception and two public meeting rooms 
  • Construction of a new ‘packing shed’ to become an outdoor education hub 

Front and rear garden landscaping 

  • Restore the original layout of the Strathdon garden 
  • Restore planting beds and prepare for better access and drainage 
  • Recreate front garden fence 
  • Creation of a Kitchen Garden to promote sustainable living and community participation 

Orchard re-establishment 

Regrow the orchard from grafted stock collected in July 2019 

Heritage interpretative signage, nature play and BBQ 

  • Interpretative panels outlining the history and significance of the Strathdon site 
  • Installation of a Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) compliant car park at Springvale Road 
  • Upgrades to the Davey Lane car park 
  • Installation of bicycle parking hoops 
  • BBQ and additional seating 


The Strathdon House and Orchard Precinct redevelopment team have made efforts to incorporate sustainable building standards, actions and materials where possible. We are proud to share the following actions taken to make this an environmentally sustainable project: 

  • Aggregate used in concrete mix was sourced from recycling old concrete and/or crushed rock 
  • Recycled materials used where possible including the re-use of old floor boards 
  • LED light fittings throughout 
  • Low Volatile Organic Components (VOC) paint used 
  • FSC Certified Timber used where possible 
  • Higher rating roof insulation to better control internal temperatures 
  • Local trades used where possible. An example is Kelvinway, a commercial applied finishes contractor based in Nunawading who completed the hard plastering of interior walls. 

Other sustainable measures taken that will assist with the effective operation of the site:  

  • 5kw solar system to offset electricity consumption 
  • 13,000 litre rainwater storage tank used for toilet flushing and garden watering. 

Kitchen Garden

Whitehorse City Council has a commitment to increasing healthy eating through information, and opportunities for the community to consume, cook, share, and grow food.

The Kitchen Garden here comprises several vegetable garden beds and wicking beds of varying sizes and heights to cater for use by the community of different age groups (including children) and abilities. We have seasonal planting and harvesting activities where volunteers and members of the community are invited to participate. The Kitchen Garden harvested produce, is also used for our cooking workshops.

We are actively looking for more participation in our kitchen garden. If you are an organisation, school, or individual who would like to utilise our garden for programs or workshops, please get in touch with us at strathdon@whitehorse.vic.gov.au 

Arty Parties for Kids

Are you looking for a fun and creative party for your child and friends? 

Strathdon House and Orchard Precinct with indoor and outdoor spaces including a nature-play area is the perfect place for an Arty Party for your child and friends. We can organise drawing, painting, craft work, and nature-treasure hunts designed for kids between ages 6 and 12 years.  You can book a private Arty Party with your own friends and we’ll set it up for you with all materials supplied! 

We can accommodate 4 – 15 children depending on the type of art activity. Contact us for more details and prices.


Do you have a passion for gardening, sustainability, local heritage or health and well-being?

Would you like to give back to the community, share your interests and make new friends?

Volunteering at Strathdon House and Orchard Precinct provides opportunities to engage with your community and share your skills. Volunteers work with our friendly and supportive team to take part in a variety of roles according to their interests, including Garden Volunteer, Front of House Volunteer and Heritage Volunteer. 

Garden Volunteers 

Join our friendly garden crew in the beautiful, edible and decorative gardens at Strathdon House. No experience? No problem! Our helpful team will show you the ropes. Volunteers help plant, maintain and harvest the vegetable and herb crops. 

Front Of House Volunteers 

Help maintain the warm and welcoming atmosphere at Strathdon House and Orchard Precinct. Front of House Volunteers chat to visitors, assist the team with day-to-day tasks and help out at a variety of fun and interesting events. 

Heritage Volunteers 

Undertake ongoing research around items in the Strathdon House and Orchard Precinct Collection and work with the Precinct Coordinator to present public displays at events such as Heritage Week.

Apply to volunteer at Strathdon House and Orchard Precinct