The Story of Willow & Stone

So many people ask us: “how old is this place?”, “how long have you been here?”, “how did Willow & Stone come about?”. This is our story.

I was a born-and-bred a Ballarat girl and, during the usual world backpacking adventure, I met my husband Carlos in South Africa more than 20 years ago. After a decade in Johannesburg where we were raising our son and daughter, we moved to Melbourne.

But in 2011 it was the discovery of this unique property – a faithful tribute to goldrush architecture and craftsmanship built in the 70’s – which drew us back to my home town.

Since then our love affair with this special place has survived doubts about whether it was just too big for us, alternative ideas for its use – even a flirtation with its sale. Ultimately we couldn’t bear to part, or to compromise its character.

About that time a local wedding photographer asked if he could start using the grounds as a location.

“No problem,” we said, and sat back on our private deck listening to the newlyweds and their friends roam our gardens for what should have been 20 minutes but typically became two hours, laughing and enjoying every moment – not wanting to leave.

Then it hit me: we needed to share our home’s love and joy beyond more than just the four of us.

Enter our amazing landscaper Rohan.  Our brief, his creativity and hundreds of thousands of hours of planning and hard work (here I should mention Rohan carefully hand-picked and laid every one of the thousands of stones in our walls) saw our vision of Willow & Stone Estate realised. This labour of love continues daily as we strive to ensure every square inch has a beauty and role to play in each couple’s special experience.

Now when we sit on the banks of our billabong, drinking wine as the sun sets through the majestic willow trees along the Yarrowee Creek, our journey brings a smile to my face.

Our home is now loved and enjoyed by so many people beyond our little family of four.  With each new couple comes new friends and amazing stories.  We love our ‘job’ and the privilege of sharing the best day of our guests’ lives, on the threshold of their own happy-ever-after.


Leisha & Carlos x

Peering through an opening between stone walls to a green lawn
A bride in the centre of greenery holding a bouquet of red flowers
guests at the wedding reception

Imagine This .....

You wake up in your luxurious bridal suite that is all yours, and look out over the spectacular gardens where you will be married that afternoon.

Photography locations are everywhere you turn, and you can’t imagine a more beautiful place to celebrate into the night with the people you love.
It’s not a dream … it’s Willow & Stone Estate.

For over 30 years the grand home and gardens of Willow & Stone have been one of Ballarat’s best kept secrets. Now, the gates of this luxurious estate are opening for very special events.

Guests will have private use of the gardens and the the wedding party will have full use of the grand cottage for the weekend. No rushing, no driving… no wasting a precious minute.

The extreme privacy of Willow & Stone’s incredible landscaped gardens offer two beautiful ceremony locations, where sound, light and water are part of the ambience. The property has the most unique and perfect location for your grand marquee.

Guests can indulge in a game of pétanque, explore the hidden gardens or simply relax in a multitude of locations throughout the property.

Willow & Stone’s central Ballarat location offers plenty of guest accommodation options within walking distance – some just across the creek which borders the estate.

Yes, such a place really exists.

Contact us today to experience Willow & Stone for yourself.

the bride and bridesmaids having a drink before the wedding
the bride and groom sitting down
women trying to catch the bouquet