Situated just 1.5 hrs north of Melbourne, Heathcote has a rich history of gold mining and sheep farming dating back to the 1850's. Situated at an altitude of just over 300 metres, the property lies on 20 acres of undulating hills and rocky outcrops with expansive views to Mount Alexander in the West. We discovered the property in August, 2007 while visiting the region for the Heathcote Wine and Food Festival.
When deciding what to plant, food production and edible plants are the priority. Here at 3DE, the garden and orchard produces an abundance of produce throughout the year. As well as citrus (lime, lemon, grapefruit, orange, mandarine) there is a full variety of stone fruit including nectarines, peaches, plums and apricots, as well as cherry, avocado, fig, pear and various nut trees (almond, walnut, macadamia). Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, pomegranate, strawberry, passionfruit and kiwi fruit are also thriving. The vegetable garden also produces a wide array of seasonal produce that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
The house was rescued from demolition in the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill and transported in two halves to the property in 2008. All the original Art Deco features remained intact and the house has gradually been completely renovated. We have also entirely retro fitted the property to be as energy efficient as possible by adding underfloor, wall and ceiling insulation, a roof air extraction system and external wall shading.
The off grid system has changed significantly since the original installation in 2008. Back in those days, a 120 watt solar panel would set you back almost $900.These days its possible to buy 1000 watts for $1000! The original 12 volt gel 110 Ah battery bank has been upgraded to a 24 volt system with 8 x 200Ah AGM batteries with a total capacity of 800 Ah (19.2kWh). The solar PV array has also gone from the original 360 watts to 1.8 kWts and can happily run our fridge, washing machine and even a split system A/C unit.