Helena: The Briars
on St Helena
away in a lovely rural setting just outside of Melbourne, Australia,
is a colonial homestead that can boast a terrific collection of
Briars belonged to the Balcombe family, who had been on St Helena
when Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled there.
former emperor had stayed with the Balcombe's while waiting for
his own residence of Longwood to be completed and had made great
friends with their young daughter Betsy Balcombe.
the family settled in Australia they named their new home after
the one they had left.
Briars is now a museum where visitors can see the Dame Mabel Brookes
Napoleonic Collection, which includes furniture that Bonaparte shared
upon his stay with them and a large number interesting items such
as some of his hair, papers, letters, a legion d'honneur medal,
artworks and cartoons.
famous of all is a rare death mask of Napoleon that is unbelievably
detailed and shows that rats took their toll on the remains of history's
greatest general - chewing off parts of his right ear.
1842 Briars homestead can be found just south of Mt Martha on Victoria's
Mornington Peninsula, about an hour south of Melbourne.
is one of the oldest pastoral properties on the Peninsula and also
boasts a conservation area in The Briars Wildlife Reserve which
allows visitors to explore woodlands along walking tracks through
manna gum bush. There are also wetlands so in addition to koalas,
wombats, wallabies and kangaroos tourists can see some extraordinary
Briars homestead is open daily 11am-4pm, but is closed on Good Friday
& Christmas Day. The Park is open daily from 9am to 5pm.