Family harvesting 1800s

In 1859 vigneron George Francis bought two parcels of land totalling 20 acres on what was then the New England Road.

Successful gold prospecting at Major’s Creek near Braidwood meant he could build the cottage for his family and start the vineyard. The first vines were Black Isabella cuttings believed to have come from Major Innes’ vineyard at Lake Innes. George had worked for Major Innes for three years, planting his vineyard, before going gold prospecting.

The Property was named after George Francis’ first wife, Margaret whose maiden name was Douglas. Her family originated from Scotland.

Douglas Vale developed into one of the finest vineyards in the district. Its wines were exhibited in Bordeaux in 1882, Amsterdam in 1883, Calcutta in 1884 and 1885 and in London in 1886, winning commendations and medals.

George’s daughter Margaret Wilson continued to maintain Douglas Vale as a successful vineyard after her father’s death in 1898, until the last vintage in 1918.

When Margaret Wilson died in 1932, the ownership of Douglas Vale then passed to her daughter, Margaret Ethel Isabella Dick.

Margaret Dick was joined by her youngest son, Patsy, who remained living in the homestead after his mother’s death. In later years the State Government progressively resumed the land, mainly for educational purposes.

Margaret Francis (nee Douglas)

George Francis

In 1995 The Douglas Vale Conservation Group was formed to rescue the homestead and vineyard from vandalism and disrepair.

Our aim is to continue to preserve this iconic site as a working museum and vineyard for future generations.

The vineyard is the oldest in Port Macquarie and in the late 1880s it was the largest. There is an amazing collection of family memorabilia which has been donated by family members and is on display in the homestead.

The homestead and its curtilage are classified by the National Trust of Australia and it is included in the Port Macquarie/Hastings Council list of Heritage sites.

Leave a record of your family's support

You can leave a lasting record of your family's support of Douglas Vale Historic Homestead & Vineyard.

For a donation of $80.00 you can have your family name engraved on a single paver which will be laid at the bamboo entrance. Corporate supporters can have their logo or corporate message engraved into a set of four pavers

Publications are available from the Cellar Door

Purchase a Douglas Vale publication to learn more about our history when you visit the cellar door.

There are three to choose from:

  • Reflections: A condensed history of Douglas Vale Homestead & Vineyard.
  • Chronicle: Margaret Wilson (nee Francis).
  • Men of the Footpath: Brief biographies of the pioneering men on the footpath of William and Short Streets in Port Macquarie.