Overnewton castle was built by William Taylor in 1849. The Scotsman bought 13,000 acres of rich grazing land just west of the Keilor township. Taylor built a simple single story bluestone colonial style homestead. This consisted of 6 rooms with large shuttered windows and wide verandahs. The homestead was positioned on a gentle slope overlooking Keilor and afforded extensive views of the surrounding countryside.
During the 1850’s Keilor became an important and busy stopover for travelers on their way to the Victorian Goldfields. This included the building of 2 schools, a new bridge and a new hotel.
It was not until William Taylor returned from a trip to Scotland in 1859 that the grandeure of his dreams became apparent. He set about turning the functional colonial homestead into a miniature Scottish Baronial Castle. The Stately two- storyied wing was added, along with the blue stone Dairy & Butcher Shop and the Private Billiard room now used as a chapel for wedding ceremonies.
Overnewton is built in the Victorian Tudor style, inspired by 16th century English & Scottish architecture. The Scottish baronial style is characterised by its rough textured masonary, steeped pitched roofs and overhanging battlement corner turrets. The candle snuffer roofs show the influence of the French architecture. The bluestone walls were quarried on the estate and rendered with a yellow gravel and stucco finish. Above the large windows of the master bedroom is the Taylor family crest – a mailed arm and fist enclosing a dagger and the motto “Semper Fidelis” (always faithful) and above several other windows are the carved initals of HT, T 1859 and WT.
After the completion of this wing the homestead consisted of over 35 rooms including 7 bedrooms (the master room included a small circular room and a dressing room) schoolroom, library, drawing room, 2 kitchens, 5 servants rooms and the Billiard room. There are still many original features such as tiles in the bathrooms, claw foot bath and the old IXL wood stove in the kitchen. Several out buildings on the estate include a bluestone butchery and dairy, lamp room, bootroom, coachhouse, stables, woolshed, shearing sheds and machine shed.
William Taylor passed away in 1903 aged 85 and six months latter is wife Helen aged 71 passed away. Their eldest son William Henry continued to manage the estate untill he passed away in 1939 aged 81 and his wife Beatrice in 1948. The estate remaind in the Taylor family untill 1959.
The Carr Family purchased Overnewton in 1959. They raised their three children on the property using part of it as a family home and the downstairs rooms were used as a wedding reception centre.
In 1975 Dr. L. J. Norton purchased Overnewton Estate to raise his own family on the property. Since then there has been many upgrades and changes to the property including mains water in 1976, a fire in 1980 burnt the old timber stables. Dr Norton purchased back 6 acres of land which included a dry stone wall and some of the original outbuildings.
The years have been kind to Overnewton, today it remains much then same as when it was originaly built. Hidden away amongst the old trees, it has seen many changes throughout the years. Gone are the days of horse and carriages, gas light and servants, but the old world grace and charm along with the elegance, grandeur and atmosphere of a bygone era still remain. Having been restored over the years and an elegant dining room added to the estate this is definatley a hidden treasure.
William Taylor and his wife Helen, together with their family of six sons and four daughters lived in the homestead attended by up to fifteen servants.
The Town of Taylors Lakes was named after Mr Taylor himself.
Access to the upper floor levels of the 1959 wing is by way of a unique spiral staircase in this circular turreted tower. The entrance door from outside to this tower is curved to fit the circular plan.
The staircase itself is geometric and is cantilevered out from the wall of the tower, requiring no central support. The treads are of stone to the first floor level but the continuation, which leads to the servants rooms above, is constructed of timber.
Originally used by the Taylor family as a classroom where at a young age their governess instructed children of the family.
The heavy wooden shutters, featured in many rooms of the homestead could be shut and bolted to help insulate the house and were also a form of protection from bushrangers and the like.
Was the Dining room of the original 6 room homestead built in 1849