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Horses and Sheep at Emilyville

The legacy of horses stretches across Flemington from Travancore to Flemington Racecourse.  Travancore was named after the part of India where the Madden family traded horses.  The owner of the property at 98 Ascot Vale Road, like other locals, also bred, trained and later sold horses to buyers in India.

The house (built in about 1883) was named “Emilyville” after Emily McKenna who, with Richard McKenna, is listed in the 1884 Melbourne Directory.  The directory describes the stables and land used for McKenna’s horse-training business.  What was more recently described as “remarkably original 19th century timber stable block and yard” remain out the back of the house, but there are no longer horses being trained.  The house now hosts the Autism Training Institute’s Flemington campus.

Renowned horse-trainer Samuel Cooke appears to have briefly stayed here for one year (1884-1885), but otherwise McKenna occupied the house until past 1910.

In 1918 the property was sold to another horse trainer, William Clark from Essendon.

In later years, sheep were a feature on the property.  Until at leas the 1930s Hugh Coverdale appears to have operated shearing sheds adjoining the blocks to the south.  Various members of the Coverdale family owned the property for 60 years until 1984, when it was sold to the Western Autistic Association.

Twin Canary Island Palms frame the house and dominate the early garden layout, with the asphalt pathways retaining the 1890s garden plan.  The house is described in the in the Flemington and Kensington Conservation Study as “architecturally, a large prominent and near complete example of a popular suburban villa style (house) which is near original landscape setting and possessed stable buildings of remarkable integrity, of timber construction and fine detailing; of metropolitan importance.”


Butler G, Flemington and Kensington Conservation Study, Melbourne City Council, 1985

Cahill M (ed.), The Great Mansions of Essendon & District 1880-1892, Essendon Historical Society, 2013

Australian Heritage Database


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