History of the Mont De Lancey property
When The Land Act of 1865 released virgin bushland beyond the city of Melbourne for settlement, the rich red land of the country beyond the small Lilydale township was settled by the first of Wandin's pioneer families. Whilst some of the new arrivals were experienced farmers others took up the challenge of carving a living from the bush with little or no agricultural experience, and brought the skills of their former lives to the new settlement.
Henry Sebire was born 1828 in the Parish of St Sampson in Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, and was a stonemason by trade. In October 1849, aged 21yrs, he sailed from Plymouth in the barque 'Maitland' and arrived in Victoria in January 1850. In 1856 he married Martha Rihoy who was also from Guernsey and they settled in Melbourne where Henry worked at his trade in for some 17 years.
In 1867 Henry, Martha and their four young children came to Wandin where Henry selected 80 acres of bush land at the corner of Hunter and Wellington Roads and began to clear the land by hand. A condition of his lease to clear and cultivate one-tenth of the allotment within one year was rigidly enforced. A small wooden house and fences were built.
In 1873, having complied with the conditions of his lease, Henry made application to purchase the land at a cost of one pound per acre. Rent paid previously was deducted from the purchase price. Raspberries were planted in the early years as they provided a quick return, and fruit trees that take several years to produce a crop were planted later.
In the 1880's Henry began to build a permanent, more substantial home, making bricks from clay on the property and quarrying stone from the hill for the foundations. The house stands today as solid as ever, on a hill overlooking the surrounding farmlands.
Henry and Martha's French speaking background is reflected in the name they chose for their home; Mont for its high outlook and De Lancey for a lane in their former homeland, Guernsey.
One of Henry and Martha's six sons, a grandson and a great grandson continued to farm the property. In 1993 members of the Sebire family generously donated the homestead and part of the property to be developed as a community based project.
In the 1880's Henry began to build a permanent, more substantial home, making bricks from clay on the property and quarrying stone from the hill for the foundations.