The Residence at 39 Finch Street, Beechworth consisting of a brick house and outbuilding built c1862 and the later kitchen building, now joined to the house, which was added in 1867.
The Residence at 39 Finch Street was built c1862 for Alexander Greig. The ratebooks note that in 1861-62 the land was cultivated and fenced, and by 1863 there were two buildings on the site: a 26ft x 17ft [7.9 x 5.2m] brick structure with a shingle roof, and a separate 13ft x 9ft [4.0 x 2.7m] kitchen of similar construction. Another 9ft x 17ft [2.7 x 5.2m] brick structure was added in 1867 closer to the house, and was later used as the kitchen. An 1875 photo shows the house with a verandah at the front, which by the 1970s had been removed, but a new verandah has since been added. Greig was a master builder who came from England to the goldfields in the late 1850s, and set up a business as a building contractor. In the 1860s he established the firm of Greig & Wilson, dealing in hardware and builders' supplies, and became one of Beechworth's most respected early citizens. The house has been used as a residence since it was built.
The Residence at 39 Finch Street is a single storey Picturesque Gothic Revival style house of rendered brick on granite footings. It has an L-shaped plan and a steeply-pitched gable roof. The two gables each has a small lancet window and decorative timber bargeboards. There is a French window on the ground floor opening into the garden. All the joints in the timber roof frame are mortised or bolted together, with no nails used. The original shingles remain under the corrugated iron roof. There is an attic bedroom in the rear wing of the c1862 house, with a rear balcony added to it in recent years, but there is no attic room in the front section. The original c1862 detached brick kitchen building is a few metres south-west of the back entrance to the house. The 1867 detached brick structure is now used as the kitchen and bathroom, and the original open breezeway separating it from the house has been roofed. The original front verandah has been replaced.
How is it significant?
The Residence at 39 Finch Street is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria. It satisfies the following criterion for inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register:
Importance to the course, or pattern, of Victoria's cultural history.
Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural places and objects.
Why is it significant?
The Residence at 39 Finch Street, Beechworth is significant at the State level for the following reasons:
The Residence at 39 Finch Street is historically significant as a largely intact example of a residence dating from the gold rush period. It is an outstanding example of the modest houses built in rural Victoria in the mid-nineteenth century, and assists in an understanding of housing conditions in rural Victoria during that time. [Criterion A]
The Residence at 39 Finch Street is architecturally significant as a largely intact example of the Picturesque Gothic Revival style houses built in country Victoria in the gold rush period of the mid-nineteenth century. The kitchen buildings demonstrate the contemporary practice of constructing kitchens detached from the rest of the house. The house is architecturally significant for its construction techniques, especially in the roof framing, and for its Gothic Revival style detailing. [Criterion D]
The Residence at 39 Finch Street is also significant for the following reasons, but not at the State level:
The Residence at 39 Finch Street is one of Beechworth's oldest surviving houses and is a reminder of the town's gold rush prosperity. Built in c 1862 and added to in 1867, it demonstrates the typical form of many of Beechworth's early houses. The house is significant for its association with Alexander Greig, a master builder who came from England to the goldfields in the late 1850s, and became one of Beechworth's most respected early citizens. The house is prominently located on a corner site and is an essential element of the Beechworth streetscape.