Eildon, now known as the Napier Club, was built as a two storey, red brick residence and surgery for Dr David Laidlaw in 1904 to a design by architects Ussher and Kemp in the Federation Queen Anne style. In 1939 the building was purchased by the Napier Club, a women's club established in 1921. During the war the building was taken over by the Royal Australian Air Force.
How is it significant?
The Napier Club has social, architectural and historic importance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The building is important for its associations with the Napier Club, an exclusive women's club whose membership largely comprised the wives of graziers and leading townsmen and is associated with many of the prominent Western District families, especially the founding members Mrs AJ Simpson, Mrs. AG Stewart, Mrs T Robertson, Mrs AC Mercer,
Mrs LEW Carty and Mrs MN Mackinnon. The club has been one of the main social organisations of its kind outside Melbourne.
The building represents an example of a way of life which encouraged the formation of exclusive clubs. These clubs were the preserves of the wealthy and membership was often restricted on ethnic, gender, social and economic grounds.
Eildon is an extraordinary example of the work of architects Ussher and Kemp who, both individually and in partnership, designed, perhaps, the finest range of Federation Queen Anne houses in Victoria. It is an asymmetrical two storey house with the diverse array of gables kept to the first floor eaves line. A total gable composition of this sort is rare in the practice of Ussher and Kemp as the asymmetrical house is usually treated with a dominant hip from which subsidiary gables protrude.
One of the finest smaller designs in red brick with Marseilles tiles from the notable firm of Ussher and Kemp, the house displays typical craftsmanship and decoration. It is particularly noteworthy for the clarity and boldness of its form and details, especially the external representation of the internal spaces as axial gables forms, the strong, vertical half-timbering and the striking chimneys with wedge caps an brick straps.