Statement of Significance
REVISED STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE, CONTEXT, 2010
What is significant?
The former police quarters, Eltham are part of a larger police complex designed by the Public Works Department and built by Langridge, Wright and Witney in 1859-60. The original single storey residence consisting of five rooms is constructed of brick and has a projecting front room and a timber verandah. Subsequent additions have been constructed of weatherboards. Following the relocation of police operations in 1952, the residence was used as the local office of the Lands Department and more recently as offices for the local council's Parks and Environment Section. The original single stall brick stables building with loft, built in 1859-60, is located at the rear of the residence but has been substantially altered. The original two-cell bluestone lockup was demolished c1950s. The existing detached weatherboard building, located close to the residence, is a c1980s replica of the original police office which was located in the same position but was initially relocated to the rear of the site but subsequently demolished.
A late 19th century or early 20th century portable timber lockup has recently been relocated to the site from Youth Road, Eltham- see also HO67 (The portable lock up was formerly HO174 in the Nillumbik planning scheme).
How is it significant?
The former police quarters, Eltham is historically and architecturally significant to the State of Victoria.
The late 19th or early 20th century portable timber lockup is historically, technically and aesthetically significant to the Shire of Nillumbik.
Why is it significant?
The former police quarters, Eltham, together with the brick stables, are historically significant for their early date of construction. The buildings are important for their relationship with the nearby courthouse which together form an example of an early justice precinct (Criteria A & B) The residence and stables are also important for their association with the earliest development of Eltham township (Criteria A). The former police quarters, Eltham is architecturally significant as one of the earliest examples of police buildings erected throughout Victoria in the mid nineteenth century. The simple detailing and lack of ornament are important features as they reflect the building's utilitarian function and demonstrate an important period in the development of the Public Works Department (Criteria F).
The portable timber lockup is historically significant because there are only a few similar structures in Victoria (Criteria B). It is historically, aesthetically and technically significant because it was designed to be cheap, effective and mobile and features: vertical framing members and an iron bar covered window (Criteria A, F & E).
BUTLER STUDY, 2001
The former Eltham police quarters is of State significance (historically, socially and aesthetically,):
. it is one of four Victorian police quarters known to survive in-situ from the large number of police residences built in the peak era of Public Works Department construction of 1859, prior to a long period of relative inactivity. It expresses an important phase of building which sought to establish the physical presence of centralised control over law and order in the colony after the 1852 Snodgrass Committee Report on the Victorian police force and the resulting 1853 'Police Regulation Act ';
' it is (with the Heidelberg and Kilmore quarters) the oldest masonry (stone & brick) example, and among a small number of similarly aged examples, of a building type and form which was largely built of timber outside of Melbourne and was still used for police residence construction well into the 1880s;
. its construction reflects (for its type) the great wealth gained by the community during the 1850s gold-era and the major boost in population which required and could pay for a permanent police presence in new locations;
. it was among the first group of quarters built to promote a new domestic image of the Victorian Police Force, in place of the quasi-militaristic image which had been blamed for provoking gold-field unrest.
The former Eltham Police Quarters is also of Metropolitan significance because:
- the police quarters and attendant court house were among the very few combinations of this kind (quartes and court house) built in Melbourne's suburbs during the 1850's -60's, unde4rscoring the importance of Eltham as an early and significance locality near Melbourne for its strategic position on the gold tracks going north;
- the Eltham Police Quarters, with Heidelberg, are the oldest known police residences in the Metropolitan Area.
The former Eltham Police Quarters is of significance to the Nillumbik Shire because:
- it (with the court house) is the oldest public building in the Nillumbik Shire;
- its sitting on the old town reserve, complements other early buildings in the vicinity and together they underscore this part of Eltham's role in the early history of the Shire;
- it has played a public role in the keeping of law and order and many other functions over an extended period in the district and is still recognised in the area for its antiquity.
The rear stable is one of just two 19th century stable buildings in the Municipality (the other being the local stone one at Sweeney's Cottage in Sweeney's Lane).
BASIS OF SIGNIFICANCE:
ILLUSTRATION OF THE THEMES
DEGREE OF SIGNIFICANCE:STATE SIGNIFICANCE
EXTENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: ALL OF BOTH BUILDINGS, REAR STABLE, DETACHED REPLICA TIMBER BUlLDING
ELTHAM POLICE QUARTERS & REAR STABLE (FORMER), - Physical Description 1
Style/era mid Victorian.
Plan rectangular, with projecting front room and timber verandah beside it.
Walls solid face brick.
Roof hipped with front gable and shallow eaves. Features are the projecting front room and timber front verandah, the chimneys, multi-pane windows, the simple design and the stable.
Style Victorian utilitarian.
Single storeyed with loft.
Walls solid face brick.
Roof gabled with no eaves, corrugated iron clad. Features are the simple design. The building has been variously unsympathetically altered.
ELTHAM POLICE QUARTERS & REAR STABLE (FORMER), - Usage/Former Usage
Original Use: Police residence
Later use: Lands Department's local office
ELTHAM POLICE QUARTERS & REAR STABLE (FORMER), - Historical Australian Themes
7.6 Administering Australia
7.6.3 Policing Australia
7.6.5 Incarcerating People8.14 Living in the country and rural settlements
Heritage Study and Grading
Nillumbik - Shire of Eltham Heritage Study
Author: David Bick
ELTHAM COURT HOUSEVictorian Heritage Register H0784
FORMER POLICE QUARTERSVictorian Heritage Register H1539
ST MARGARETS CHURCH AND ORIGINAL VICARAGEVictorian Heritage Register H0459
1) WEATHERBOARD FARM HOUSE AND 2) THE OUTBUILDINGSNillumbik Shire
ALLUVIAL GOLD MINING REMAINS, END BLUE HOUSE ROADNillumbik Shire