Sunbury’s iconic Emu Bottom Homestead has been put on the market for the first time in 50 years.

The 25-hectare site, boasting what is believed to be the oldest surviving homestead in Victoria, has been listed for sale with Ernst and Young Real Estate.

The property has been owned by Hedley and Jane Elliott since 1968 and is leased to the Epicurean Group, which hosts about 100 weddings and functions a year within the grounds and in two dining facilities.

Ernst and Young Real Estate’s Ben Desmond said the property had already received a lot of interest.

“It is incredibly rare for a property of this calibre and with such historical significance to be in private ownership for so long,” Mr Desmond said. “Revenue generation through the existing lease and business activities, and the development potential, make it quite a unique opportunity.”

Seven years are left on the current lease, under which the owners receive a base rent plus a percentage of gross sales.

Mr Desmond said the property, at 410 Racecourse Road, had planning provision for high-quality accommodation, subject to council approval.

“It’s uncommon for town planning schedules on Green Wedge sites like Emu Bottom to make provision for otherwise prohibited uses,” he said. “Any approved development could greatly enhance the existing business activities, or a new owner could go in another direction entirely.”

The stone homestead was built in 1836 by Sunbury’s first settler, George Evans.

It is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register as “one of, if not the oldest surviving homesteads in Victoria”.

The National Trust of Australia has given the homestead an “A” classification, determining its preservation to be essential.

The property was restored by the Elliotts in 1968-69. The homestead was named Emu Bottom by Mr Evans because the low-lying ground of the valley was, at the time, well frequented by flocks of emus.

Some estimates have valued the property about $6 million. Expressions of interest for the property close on May 9.