B0622 Ovens& Murray Hospital for the Aged Beechworth
Statement of Significance
Last updated on - April 30, 2008
A public meeting in 1861 initiated the Ovens & Murray Home for the Aged. Construction commenced in 1862 with the erection of two dormitories and other small rooms. This early structure comprises the central portion of the presentmain wing. The flanking gable wings were added in 1867 and the J A Wallace wing (architect - D Fiddes, contractor - T Sandhoun) dates from 1889. The complex of single storey brick structures overlooks the town.
The Ovens & Murray Home is a fine monument to the community-minded early settlers of Beechworth. The main wing is finely composed of a series of gable projections which are a landmark of the hospital, particularly when viewed from the town. This picturesque series of dutch style gables and the superb polychrome patterns of the brickwork are distinctive features of the main wing. The picturesque composition of the Wallace wing enhances the complex. The home is an outstanding feature of this important town.
The recent addition of an administration wing to the front of the main 1860's wing has detracted from the original appearance. There have also been unfortunate additions to the front of the Wallace wing.
Classified: 'Local' 24/10/1974
STATEMENT OF SIGNFICANCE (HISTORIC AREA)
Beechworth is a picturesque nineteenth Century provincial town. It is a well preserved example of a Government and private building, which resulted from the town's important historical role as the administrative and commercial centre of Victoria's north - eastern goldfields. Beechworth was once significant for its position on an early overland route from Melbourne to Sydney.
The town is located sympathetically to the topography, in an area of considerable landscape interest. Set admist forested undulating country, there remain many relics of the mining era in and about Beechworh. It is a rich field for the industrial archaeology.
There are within the town a large number of historical and architecturally significant buildings. These display a quality of form and richness of material and detail, which make Beechworth one of the most significant of Austraila's goldfield towns. Of particular interest is the common usage of local granite in construction. Its honey colour imparts a quality distinctive to Beechworth.
The highlights of Beechworth are the grid of wide streets flanked with granite kerbing; the streetscapes of considerable integrity with groups of homogeneous buildings set off by mature elms and other exotic trees; and the remnants of historic Victorian gardens. About the town there are many examples of nineteenth century street furniture, signs and fences. Beechworth's historical wealth is of national significance.