Windsor House at Walhalla was built between 1890 and 1899 by Johannes Gloz, a stonemason who had emigrated from Switzerland in 1863, and his son Herman, a carpenter. Johannes was one of Walhalla's earliest residents. He worked in Walhalla as a miner before turning to brick-making and bricklaying. He purchased land on Stringers Creek at the eastern end of Walhalla, and had built two houses there by 1884, remnants of which probably still exist. In 1870 Gloz had planted a vineyard above these earlier residences, and made wine from the grapes, as well as selling some at local sporting events. The wine was stored in a cellar cut into the hillside at the rear of the house. Johannes and Herman built Windsor House themselves, and also built some of Walhalla's more prominent buildings, including the former hospital. Windsor house was built in two stages. The east end, of three bays with a temporary stair on the west side, covered at first by a skillion, was reputedly built in 1890, and the western half of the house was added in 1899. It is possible that the central stair hall at first remained open, with a gate where the front door is now. The bricks were made by Johannes and Herman at a site about a kilometre away from the house. Gloz faced the banks of the creek in front of the house with stone to protect it from erosion, and there was a footbridge leading across the creek to the house. From 1900, soon after its completion, until 1942 Windsor House was used as a boarding house. It was owned by the Gloz family until the 1970s.
Windsor House is a symmetrical brick house of two storeys with an attic under the gable roof, which is covered with corrugated iron. This two-storey plus attic form is unusual for houses in Victoria, being more commonly associated with flour mills (for example Smeaton and Oxley mills), though it was used for some early houses in Tasmania (such as Fairfield at Cressy, 1852) and in South Australia (for example Woodhouse at Piccadilly, c1848). This form might be associated with Gloz's origins in Switzerland. On the front facade, each floor has three windows, two pane sashes with relieving arches over, each side of the central entrance. There is a brick string course at the storey level, where it was probably intended that a balcony should be, though this was probably never built. The front door has an arched opening, though the fanlight has been filled in. The plan is unusual: the ground floor is only one room deep, but the first floor is two rooms deep, and is built back against the hillside and over the cellar. The house had living rooms and a kitchen on the ground floor, nine small bedrooms for the family and guests on the first floor, and maids' rooms in the attic. The steep central stair appears to be of brick, and rises in one straight flight from a small landing inside the front door to the first floor.
A remnant landscape of fruit trees (pears and figs), basket willows, a large Lombardy poplar and groundcovers of ivy and periwinkle survives, some of which might be original.
How is it significant?
Windsor House at Walhalla is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Windsor House at Walhalla is of architectural significance for its domestic building form which is unusual in Victoria. It has two-storeys and an attic under a gable roof, and the second storey is built back into the hillside, forms which might reflect the owners Swiss origins. It is also significant as the largest residence built in Walhalla's boom period, one of the few masonry houses, and one of only two now surviving, built in the town.
Windsor House at Walhalla is of historical significance as a reminder of its owner, builder and designer Johannes Gloz and his son Herman, who were of local importance as builders of some of the town's more prominent buildings and structures. It is historically significant as an unusual survivor of a late nineteenth century boarding house, a type of building once relatively common but now rare, and which reflects a way of life which has now disappeared. It is also historically significant as a reflection of the success of European immigrants to Victoria in the nineteenth century.