Welcome to Monte Cristo Homestead
homesteadRyan occupation and restoration of Monte Cristo Homestead took place in stages over several decades, the overall history of the estate stretches back even further in time, so here follows a chronological history of the homestead and outside world events which enables the reader to put significant events into the broader historical context.
1876 Christopher William and Elizabeth Lydia Crawley build the old Homestead.
1878 Great Southern Railway Line opens, Crawley land holdings skyrocket in value.
1883 Junee officially proclaimed the Village of Loftus; C.W. Crawley owns practically entire site of present day Junee.
1884 Crawley's build Monte Cristo in front of Old Homestead. Brick Dairy and Stables built.
1901 1st January Australian States Federate to form a Commonwealth and first Federal Parliament is opened. Edmund Barton sworn in as nations first Prime Minister.
22nd January Queen Victoria dies, Edward VII takes the throne.
1902 Monte Cristo lit by carbide gas, also connected to original Ballroom.
1910 William Christopher Crawley, homestead builder, dies at Monte Cristo aged 69.
1914-1918 Australia fights in World War I.
1927 Australian Capital moved from Melbourne to Canberra.
1929 Stock Market crashes, world plunges into Great Depression.
1933 Elizabeth Lydia Crawley dies at Monte Cristo aged 92.
1934 Reg Ryan born in Wagga Wagga to Stanley and Florence Ryan.
1939 - 1945 Australia fights in World War II.
1948 Last member of the Crawley family vacates Monte Cristo.
1952 Household furnishings and homestead farming equipment auctioned off. Caretaker hired to watch over homestead while Crawley children await interested buyer, willing to pay unrealistic price.
1955 10th September White teaching friend to drive in Junee Reg Ryan discovers Monte Cristo, on sale at 8,000, it's well beyond his means.
1957 Reg Ryan marries Olive Summerell in Wagga Wagga.
1958 First child, Deborah marion Ryan is born.
1959 Due to decay the asking price of Monte Cristo falls to 2,000.00. Reg Ryan arranges purchase from Alphonse Crawley, 80 year old son of homesteads original owner builder.
Putting 1,000.00 down and arranging finance Ryan's move into Monte Cristo, but due to a contractual misunderstanding three months later they are evicted. Heartbroken, the Ryan's move back to Wagga, later to Wyon where they run a mixed business.
24th December Second child, Noelene Karen Ryan is born.
1960 Monte Cristo placed back on the market, but there are no takers. Caretaker appointed but does little to stabilize homestead deterioration or stop looters, vandals start seriously damaging property.
1961 Monte Cristo caretaker, Jack Simpson, is shot by youth after seeing the Hitchcock classic "Psycho" three times. After which no-one will accept caretakers position. Left unguarded vandals have freehand.
1962 Vandalism increases dramatically, not a room or building of homestead escapes their relentless assault.
22nd July third child, Michelene Elizabeth Ryan is born.
1963 Unable to get Monte Cristo out of his thoughts Reg Ryan sell mixed business in Wyong and returns to Wagga to get back his dream house, however finds it guttered by vandals and is devastated.
3rd June Reg Ryan buys vandalized homestead from Crawley Estate for 1,000.00 and for second time moves into Monte Cristo, with pregnant wife and three daughters.
19th November Fourth child, Shiralee Matilda Ryan is born.
President Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
1964 Commenced dealing in antiques, trading as "Monte Cristo Antiques", same year bought first carriage. underground water tank cleaned and used for homestead supply.
1965 Secondhand doors purchased and fitted to house, second floor windows glazed, house fully occupied.
1966 Original homestead (kitchen and servants quarters) opened as a museum.
1967 Balcony and verandah floored. Cast iron railing and frieze repaired and re-erected.
1968 House repainted outside for first time.
1969 Kitchen and bathroom wing added to house with materials from demolished "North Park" homestead. Town water supply connected.
20th July Neil Armstrong first man to walk on the moon.
1970 Shops at Bethungra demolished, materials used to commence erection of gallery.
1971 Gallery completed. Monte Cristo opened to public as museum.
28th March Last child, only son, Lawrence David is born.
1972 Temporary floor removed from gallery and new floor, suitable for dancing laid. Interior of homestead redecorated and completed in period style.
1973 Major decoration completed. First Victorian period ball held to celebrate ten years of Ryan occupation at Monte Cristo.
1974 Small supper room added Ballroom. Re-designing and planting garden started.
1975 Fountain and Gazebo added to front garden.
11th November Prime Minister Whitlam dismissed by Governor General.
1976 Carriage shed added to side of Ballroom. Swimming pool constructed. An additional 20 acres of land purchased at rear of property.
1977 ABC TV program "Big Country" aired featuring Monte Cristo, results in huge influx of visitors, establishing homestead as a popular tourist destination.
1978 Entrance cottage built. Outside stairs added to balcony.
1979 Kitchen and toilet facilities added to Ballroom and supper room.
1980 Main bearers to balcony renewed.
1981 Exterior of house painted to original color scheme. Etched coloured glass replaced.
1982 New floor and ceiling to balcony. Painting completed. Coach house restored.
1983 Kitchen and living area re-designed.
1984 Rear verandah enclosed to make sunroom. Interior decoration of entrance cottage completed. "Big Country" segment featuring homestead re-aired, another major influx of tourists results.
1985 Breakfast room open to public.
1986 Last trip to Great Britain for antiques business. Buys historic Junee Hotel which stands on the site of C.W. Crawley's original hotel, sets to work restoring it..
1987 Lowered ceilings of Old homestead to original height using the area above for storage.
20th July Monte Cristo wins top honors in NSW tourism Awards for Excellence under category of "Significant Local Attraction" for the Junee region. Prize awarded to Ryan's in Sydney by NSW Minister for Tourism, Mr. Michael Cleary, MP.
1989 Re-roofed original cottage after storm damage. Sells the partly restored Junee Hotel, after owning it for similar time-frame as C.W.Crawley.
1991 Dormer windows fitted to cottage.
1992 Monte Cristo Roylene composed by Beth McMeeken, choreography by Roy and Noelene Chaplin.
1993 Planted trees and garden designed in front of Monte Cristo. Masquerade Ball held to celebrate 21st Ball.
1994 Started working on gardens and grounds of Monte Cristo in earnest.
1995 Replaced ground floor verandah for second time. Vintage hearse in collection used for re burial of bushranger Andrew George Scott AKA "Captain Moonlite".
1996 Planted the knot garden.
1997 Held the 25th annual Monte Cristo Ball. Ryan's awarded Australia Day award.
1998 Antique Clock auction held, 300 sold to collectors from all over the world.
1999 Carriage auction, over 30 horse drawn vehicle's sold to free up space, gains international attention..
October Reg & Olive Ryan featured on ABC TV's "Australian Story".
2000 Monte Cristo homestead is used for Beyond Productions Scream Test T.V Show, listed as Australia's most haunted house it was an obvious choice for a T.V show based on ghosts!