IN June 1932 the Essendon Gazette had an interesting article on the history of the Travancore estate up to that date.
In the 1840’s the land on which Travancore mansion once stood was part of the sheep run owned by James Watson, one of Victoria’s early squatters. In 1852 an area of this land was sold to Hugh Glass, who transformed the property with extensive landscaping and the construction of an elaborate mansion. The gardens contained a number of glasshouses, hothouses, arbours and aviaries. A number of Australian trees and shrubs were planted together with imported varieties. Glass experimented with a number of experimental garden plots, growing amongst other things, tea, coffee, sugarcane, bananas and rice. The grounds were also home to a variety of animals including kangaroos, ostriches, goats, llamas and camels. Camels from the estate were used in the relief expedition for Burke and Wills.
In 1865, Hugh Glass was forced to economise after a number of financial losses. After the death of Glass in 1870, trustees eventually sold the mansion to Henry Madden. Madden subdivided some of the land, but retained ownership of the mansion until 1922.
In 1926 the mansion was purchased by the Victorian Government and the 1932 article notes that it was soon to be used as a training school.
From the Essendon Gazette, Thursday 16th June, 1932
You can read the full article on microfilm in the Sam Merrifield Library.