The Tottington complex consists of a rare surviving single storey, stone, brick and weatherboard homestead begun in the 1840s and completed in the 1850s around a courtyard, and various outbuildings. Other structures and places of importance in the complex include the ballroom constructed in the 1880s; the timber meat house and a brick building adjacent to the homestead; the timber slab woolshed constructed in 1845 and still in use; a stone cottage dating from the 1840s or 1850s; an early timber slab blacksmith's shop which retains the forge, bellows and some implements (The blacksmith's shop was demolished by falling tree branches during a storm in February 2015); a small cemetery; one of the two oldest steam engines in Victoria; the remains of the brick school house and the archaeological site of the winery. The property is located on the original pre-emptive rights of the Tottington and Ramsbottom pastoral runs.
The buildings are sited near the Avon River and retain their pastoral setting. Tottington homestead and outbuildings are architecturally significant at a STATE level. They demonstrate a sequence of development from the pre-gold rush period through to the late 19th century. The courtyard section of the homestead, substantially intact and unaltered from the 1850s, is significant. The late 19th century additions to the homestead contribute to the appreciation of the site as an evolving complex and are of social and historical significance.
Tottington homestead, outbuildings and cemetery are historically and socially significant at a STATE level. The unsawn timber framed and slab timber walled woolshed, with some minor alterations, is historically and socially significant as a rare working example of an early woolshed.
The outbuildings, including the meat house, blacksmith's shop, stone cottage, brick cottage, remains of the schoolhouse and the site of the winery, and the cemetery, each contribute to the appreciation of the site as an evolving complex and for commemorative reasons and are of social and historical significance.
Tottington is historically significant for its association with Lawrence Rostron, a pioneering pastoralist, racehorse stud breeder and sheep breeder. Rostron is credited with having first introduced artificial fertiliser to Australia.
Tottington is historically significant for its association with Andrew Anderson, Member of Parliament, Chairman of the 1890s Royal Commission into Water Supply in Victoria and sheep breeder.
Tottington is historically significant for its association with the Count de Castelnau, naturalist, consul and landowner.
Tottington is scientifically significant at a STATE level. The early steam engine (which was used to power equipment from the 1850s to the early 1900s) represents a rare form of 18th century technology.
The Tottington homestead and outbuildings, beside the Avon River near St. Arnaud, are situated in a special pastoral setting. The homestead consists of a house around a courtyard, while the outbuildings include a timber meat house, a brick building adjacent to the house, a timber slab woolshed, a stone cottage, a timber slab blacksmith's shop, the remains of a brick school house and some winery ruins. The house has early gardens, lawns and trees, including a large pine tree and perimeter hedges. There is also a small cemetery nearby.
The single storey, asymmetrical, stone, brick and horizontal weatherboard Victorian styled house is characterised by hipped and gabled roof forms about a courtyard, largely comprising a U form. These roof forms are clad in lapped galvanised corrugated iron. Several unpainted brick chimneys with multi-corbelled tops adorn the roofline. Narrow overhangs are a feature of the eaves.
Within the courtyard are also early broken back skillion verandahs, supported by timber columns and simple timber valances. The timber framed double hung multi-paned windows are also early, as is the turned timber finials.
Early decorative features of the design include the timber bargeboards on the brick gable wing.
The unpainted and painted brick building near the house has a gable roof form (hipped at one end) which is clad in painted and lapped galvanised corrugated iron. Other early features include the narrow eaves, slightly segmentally arched window and door openings, brick window and door voussoirs, timber framed multi paned windows and timber vertical boarded doors.
The vertical slab blacksmith's shop has a pitched roof form and accommodated the brick blacksmith's forge, bellows and related implements.
The random rubble stone cottage has a simple hipped roof form clad in lapped galvanised corrugated iron. It has a random rubble and unpainted brick chimney at one end, and early window and door openings.
The unsawn timber framed and vertical slab timber woolshed is characterised by a broad gable roof form, together with a lower gable at the rear. This building is currently clad in lapped galvanised corrugated iron.
The horizontal weatherboard and lattice meat house has a simple gable roof form clad in galvanised corrugated iron. The building is raised on timber piles and accessed by a flight of simple timber steps. A ventilator is situated in the gable. The timber screen door appears to have been introduced.
The brick winery and school house ruins consist of unpainted brick walls and wall bases, as well as scattered bricks at ground level.
The small cemetery is identified by the row of headstones near the boundary fence to the north of the homestead.
The cast iron steam engine is located in a field. It was assessed by Mathew Churchward of the Museum of Victoria as "if not the oldest steam engine, then certainly one of the two oldest in the State [of Victoria]."