Constructed in 1860, and originally named Cadzow, Fairhall was purchased and renamed by William Johnston in 1952. Johnston occupied the house from 1972, until his death in 1986.
Internally the structure of Fairhall remains essentially as Johnston left it. Under his ownership, the house was remodelled to simulate the appearance of a Georgian townhouse. These alterations included changes to the fenestration, the replacement of the front door and the insertion of a semi-circular fanlight.
The house and its collection were bequeathed to the people of Victoria by Johnston shortly before his death.
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