A descendant of one of Mernda’s pioneering families says he is “devastated” by a fire at the historic Mayfield homestead.

A fire broke out at the Plenty Road homestead shortly after midnight on November 12.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by arson squad detectives.

The homestead was built in the 1850s by Moses Thomas – one of Mernda’s founding fathers.

Mernda resident Neil Johnson, who is a descendant of Thomas, said it appeared the fire had started at the back of the house.

“It appears the fire broke out at the back of the house which is timber. The front portion of the house is double brick and the interior walls are double brick so it is quite a sturdy house,” he said.

“From the road, you don’t get a sense of how much damage has occurred.

“From the images we have seen, the fire was quite intense … it’s pretty devastating.”


Mayfield fire

The fire broke out in the early hours of November 12. (Jess Shute)

Mr Johnson said he had been contacted by many Mernda residents who were saddened to hear about the fire.

“The sentiment on Facebook is that it is really sad that this happened to such a pretty house,” he said.

The homestead is part of a 26.5 hectare site that will become home to the Mernda town centre.

Land Capital’s Samir Latif said the company had been working with Whittlesea council and Heritage Victoria to develop a plan to restore the homestead.

In a Facebook post, he said the company had recently received a quote to carry out urgent work to make the Mayfield site safe.

“The plan has always been to make the site good and safe prior to handing it over to council for further development to be used by local community and special interest groups,” the post said.

Mr Latif told Star Weekly that it was too early to tell if the fire will delay the development of the town centre.