John Joseph Twomey migrated from Ireland in 1843 with his wife, six sons and two daughters. In 1851 he bought Kolor station near Penshurst, later acquiring several other runs in the area, including Langulac. In 1868 he built a house at Kolor which was designed by the eminent Melbourne architect Joseph Reed of Reed & Barnes, one of the few country homesteads designed by him. Reed dominated the architectural profession in Melbourne at the time. He designed many of Melbourne’s major nineteenth century buildings and ran the city’s first major architectural office. At the same time as he designed the house Reed probably also designed the Kolor woolshed, an unusual commission for an architect of Reed’s stature, which reflects the importance of the wool industry in Victoria at the time. Most early woolsheds had been simple vernacular timber structures, but the 1860s was the height of the wool boom in western Victoria, a time when many grand Western District homesteads were built and woolsheds also began to become more sophisticated. After Twomey’s death Kolor was taken over by his sons John and Daniel, and the property remained in the distinguished Twomey family for sixty years. The woolshed is now annexed from the original Kolor property, but is still known as the Kolor woolshed. It still functions as originally constructed, with only minor alterations.
The Kolor woolshed is built out of local squared coursed basalt. It is a total of two hundred feet long, and has a most unusual form, being planned symmetrically with an octagonal central shearing board and two long gabled wings attached to opposite sides of this. The central section is lit by means of a large impressive central octagonal roof light, supported on an intricate timber frame. The interior timber framework and joinery were prefabricated and meticulously detailed, and the timbers are numbered where they join together. One side wing was for storing and packing the wool, the other had pens where the sheep waited to be shorn. There are sheep yards on both sides of the building, and a long dip on the north side. The original roofing iron was riveted and screwed together but this was replaced in 1951.
How is it significant?
Kolor woolshed near Penshurst is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Kolor woolshed is architecturally significant as one of the most impressive woolsheds in Victoria and for its unusual design. It is a rare example of an architect-designed woolshed, and reflects the strong Western District tradition of building in basalt.
Kolor woolshed is historically significant as a reflection of the importance of the wool industry in nineteenth century Victoria and of the wealth resulting from it.