The farm's founder was Edward Elworthy, from Somersetshire, in England. In 1864, whilst managing sheep farms in Australia, he heard of the Crown opening up good land for sale in South Canterbury, New Zealand. He came to Timaru, buying half ownership in a 42,000 acre farm in nearby Pareora. By 1872 he had bought out his partner and was running 46,000 sheep and extensive cereal cropping across 82,000 acres, with Holme Station Homestead established as the vibrant, beating heart of his farming empire. Edward and his wife Sarah had 11 children, four of whom died in infancy. The family lived a privileged and respected life, with the homestead a major social centre of the region, with regular hunts and balls.
Edward passed away in 1899, and the family split the large property between three sons. The original homestead was destroyed by fire in 1910, and the current homestead was completed in 1912, adjacent to the site of the original. The family wanted the new homestead to reflect the Lutyens style of architecture, and the design was completed as a sister to the "club-house" of the Royal Sydney Golf Club.
In 1919, Holme Station Homestead was host to Admiral Lord Jellicoe - the naval hero who master-minded Britain's great battleship victory in the 1916 Battle of Jutland. Churchill has described Jellicoe as "the only man who could decide the outcome of the world war in an afternoon". New Zealand asked Jellicoe to advise how the young nation could best protect its sea-lanes and approaches from a potentially belligerent Japan. Jellicoe - with his family, servants, wine cellar and horses - settled into Holme Station for several months to prepare and advise on the naval options, prior to his appointment as the country's first Governor-General in 1920.
The Elworthy family sold Holme Station in 1946 to a local farming family, and for years Holme Station Homestead was South Canterbury's leading reception centre, slowly losing her compelling place in history, and her commanding presence, to the ravages of time.
The current owners acquired Holme Station in 2002, and decided to restore this important historical icon to her former glory. After an extensive refurbishment, the homestead and grounds have been returned to their rightful place as one of the leading country residences. Holme Station Homestead today embraces visitors warmly - taking us to an earlier time of elegance, peace and comfort, gently sharing her secrets, and allowing us a privileged insight into times gone by.