of the Grampians Pioneer Cottages
Robert Webb is the builder and previous owner of the Grampians Pioneer Cottages. Robert was born in Banyena, Victoria on October 25th 1935. Robert was a farmer who formed part of the “Avon Farm Cooperative” during the 1970’s and 80’s, an experimental collective approach to farming whereby farmers pooled their resources. During this period, in the early 70’s Robert spent five years hand building a 32 square Redgum house in Banyena. This set in motion the dream to design and build a unique holiday experience for guests.
Moving forward to 1987, Robert and his wife Jackie purchased the site for the Pioneer Cottages. Nestled in a beautiful spot at the foot of the Grampians, the property provided spectacular sweeping views of the Grampians and beyond. Work began in 1990 with the aim of building four cottages in eight years. So at the age of 55, Robert & Jackie started work, three days a week allocated to building the Cottages and four days to part-time work to fund their dream.
Robert searched far and wide for recycled/second-hand building materials and furnishings for the cottages. In January 1993 the Log Cottage was completed. By April the following year the Redbrick Cottage was finished. The Mudbrick was completed in January 1996 and finally the Stone Cottage in July 1997. They had realised their dream in seven years.
During this building process, Robert and Jackie planted thousands of native trees in the low lying wetlands at the front of the cottages. This provided a haven for native wildlife as well as creating a picture perfect foreground to the views of the Grampians.
Between 2000 and 2002, Robert (now aged 65) used second-hand corrugated iron from a Melbourne warehouse to build his fifth and final cottage. Standing at the entrance to the property this was known as the Settlers Cottage. This became Roberts home and reception.
Like the pioneers before him, Robert had achieved his dream through hard work and dedication. He has a very close bond to all he has created and the land it stands on. Since their completion the cottages have hosted numerous weddings, engagements, family reunions, birthday celebrations and music events. Robert celebrated his 80th birthday at the Pioneer Cottages in October 2015.
We moved to Halls Gap from Melbourne in 2009 and were looking for a venue to get married. We were looking for something informal for a gathering of family and friends. The name Grampians Pioneer Cottages was mentioned as wedding venue so we drove out and met with Robert. We knew straight away this was the place for our wedding and were married here in January 2010.
We continued to live in Halls Gap and work in the local area enjoying the relaxed lifestyle and strong community that living in the countryside offers. Our beautiful daughter Anna was born in 2011. Life was good for us but we discussed the idea of career changes and what opportunities were available locally. Robert was a friend of Corinne’s family and it was mentioned that Robert was looking to retire. Another drive out to meet Robert and some long conversations. Robert placed a lot of trust in us to continue his life work and ensured that we could purchase the cottages. We are truly grateful to the faith he has shown in us.
Robert and his partner Elizabeth regularly visited us during his retirement to spend time in the cottages he built until his passing in 2021.