Cristo, meaning 'Mount Of Christ', is an elegant Victorian homestead
located in the southern NSW country town of Junee. It was built
in 1884 by Christopher William Crawley, a local farmer who's fortune
changed after he acquired land under provisions of the Robertson
Act of 1861. He had the foresight to build the Railway Hotel opposite
what was soon to become a busy railway station. When the Great Southern
Railway Line opened in 1878, the town's growth exploded and Crawley
became a wealthy man.
Cristo's interior included three bedrooms, two box (storage) rooms,
a sitting room, drawing room, dining room and breakfast room. The
exterior boasted stables to house Mr. Crawleys prized race horses,
a dairy, and a grand ballroom which stood opposite the original homestead
which was converted into servant's quarters.
Crawley died at Monte Cristo on December 14, 1910 at the age of
69 when a carbuncle on his neck became
infected from rubbing against a starched collar. His wife, Elizabeth,
spent the remaining 23 years of her life in mourning. She converted
the upstairs box room into a chapel and immersed herself in the
Bible, reportedly only leaving the house on two occasions. On August
12, 1933, she died at the age of 92 from a ruptured appendix. In
1948, the last of the Crawley family left Monte Cristo.
to the high selling price, Monte Cristo had been on the market for
many years. One fateful morning in 1955, the house on the hill was
spotted by Reginald Ryan, a tailor from Wagga Wagga. He felt drawn
to Monte Cristo and somehow knew, without a doubt, that he would
one day live there. It took eight long years for Reg to purchase
the homestead and finally, on the 3rd of June, 1963, Reg, his wife
Olive and their three children moved into their new home.
the homestead had been subjected to years of vandalism. Most of
the interior was in desperate need of repair. Windows and doors
had been smashed from their frames, the cast iron frieze was scattered
in hundreds of pieces, and the grand staircase had been cut in two.
Reg worked day and night, earning money to support his family and
restore the mansion.
hard work paid off and today, Monte Cristo is as grand as when it
was first built. The house is furnished and decorated much the same
as it was when owned by the Crawleys, with stunning period antiques,
furniture, and unique objects d'art.