Mulla Villa

Situated in the scenic Hunter Valley countryside one kilometre south of the historic Wollombi village, Mulla Villa is a unique location. Set on 74 acres of tranquil bush land with numerous bush walks through our natural rain-forest and working farmland. Explore our caves and see an abundance of flora and fauna. With plenty of onsite parking for buses and cars, this picturesque location is perfect for weddings, functions, car clubs and bus groups.

The original home had been converted into a B&B with four spacious bedrooms, all with private facilities. In 2018 it was converted back into a family homestead where the new owners and their young family now reside.  We have a two-bedroom self-contained cottage that was previously the 1800’s dairy and has been recently renovated.
Bullock team travelling past Mulla Villa
Circa 1890s. Mulla Villa in the background and settlers kitchen to the right
Built in sandstone by convicts in the 1840s, Mulla Villa was the original local Magistrate’s home. Where did the name come from? We are not sure for certain but it has two possible origins. Mulla might be an aboriginal word. Or the name might be of Irish origin. Eliza Dunlop the wife of the first owner of Mulla Villa was from Ireland and there is a village called Mullagh. If you see a piece of sandstone look at the pick marks in the stone crafted by the convicts.

David Dunlop

David Dunlop, the Magistrate of Wollombi who organised the construction of Mulla Villa, was the first owner. He was a lawyer born in County Antrim, Ireland in 1794. He married Eliza Hamilton Law in 1823 in Scotland, and they had five children. In February 1838 they arrived in Port Jackson and on the 10th June that year he was appointed as the Police Magistrate at Penrith. On the 10th November 1839 he was transferred to Wollombi as its first Magistrate on a salary of £250 per annum. He held this position until the 1st January 1847, when he was succeeded by Major Benjamin Sullivan. He resided at Mulla Villa until his death on the 24th March 1863.

David Dunlop was a forceful man with strong convictions, and he was far ahead of his time in the treatment of aboriginals. He advocated the wisdom of contracting with any willing aborigine for the completion of a limited and specific task, and then letting him return, dignity unimpaired, to his own tribal business.
He was also a difficult and quarrelsome man by nature having been removed from office in Penrith after many disagreements with the unpaid magistrates. He was initially popular with the free settlers by improving convict behaviour through his stern disciplinary measures, and he was an efficient administrator who involved himself heavily in the affairs of the district. However, being autocratic and abrupt he soon made enemies in the district with people who were influential enough to have him removed through representation to Governor Gipps.
It is not known at this stage what he did in the last 16 years of his life, but it is assumed that he looked after some of the official administration of government agencies in Wollombi.

Eliza Dunlop

Eliza Hamilton Dunlop was born in 1796 in County Armagh, Ireland. The daughter of Honour Solomon Hamilton, a judge of the Supreme Court of India. She first married James Law an astronomer but he later died. A daughter, Georgina was born to them in 1816 at Coleraine, Ireland. She married David Dunlop in 1823 and died on the 20th June 1880 in Sydney. She is buried next to David in the Wollombi Cemetery.
Eliza was a lyric writer and a student of the aboriginals and contributed to the literary life of the Hunter circle. Some of her early verse were sentimental in nature e.g. “The Aboriginal Mother” was written in 1838 and it expressed her dismay and outrage at the Myall Creek Massacre. Her works were published in such magazines as the “Dublin Penny Journal“, the “Australian“, and the “Maitland Mercury“. Her Australian lyrics were set to music by Isaac Nathan, and from 1842 they appeared in his “Australian Lyrics” series. A volume of her collected works “The Vase, Comprising Songs For Music and Poems” remains in manuscript in the Mitchell Library.
She was one of the few people at the time to appreciate the literary worth of aboriginal songs and poetry. She translated aboriginal verse into English and recorded the aboriginal dialect in Wollombi.

We hope you enjoyed our small piece of Hunter Valley history!