Statement of Significance
What is significant?
The house known as Bellevue at 9 William Street, Beechworth and the former stables at the rear.
Bellevue is thought to have been built in 1861 as a boarding house. In 1866 it was a owned by J Tilsey, described as a boarding house keeper. The house was then described in ratebooks as a two storey brick structure with granite dressings, with a shingle roof and a balcony with balustrade on the upper floor. At the rear were a two storey brick structure and three weatherboard buildings. An 1880 photograph shows the house with face brick walls, a corrugated iron roof and a timber verandah with white posts, a white balustrade on the upper level and a hipped roof. In 1957 the original verandah posts were replaced with white Doric columns and the balcony balustrade was replaced with a classical one. In 1963 the verandah was again altered: the Doric columns were replaced by iron posts, a modern style wrought iron balustrade was added to the balcony, and the original hipped verandah roof was replaced with an almost flat roof. The building continues to be used as a residence.
The house at 9 Williams Street is a two storey brick house with granite quoins. It has a symmetrical front facade, a hipped corrugated iron roof, and a verandah and balcony across the front with French windows opening onto them at both levels. The verandah is supported by later twentieth century metal posts and there is a wrought iron railing from the same period at the upper level. Extending from the rear of the house are two single storey wings with the space between them roofed and used as a living space. A small extension has been made to the rear of this area. The first floor originally had four bedrooms, two on each side of a central hall, but the walls dividing the two bedrooms on each side of the hall have now been removed. The exterior brick walls have been painted, but not the granite quoining. In the rear garden, one early structure remains, which appears to have been originally used as a stable. This has a brick floor, timber walls and a roof with a frame of untrimmed bush poles and clad with corrugated iron. The other outbuildings noted in early ratebooks have not survived. The original timber front fence has been replaced with a cyclone fence.
How is it significant?
Bellevue 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?
Bellevue is significant at the State level for the following reasons:
Bellevue is historically significant as an unusual surviving example of an early boarding house, a residential type common in the nineteenth century. It is a demonstration of the larger residential buildings that began to be constructed in goldfields towns after the 1850s gold rushes. The stable at the rear is an unusual surviving example of a simple stable building constructed in association with a residential building. [Criterion A]
Bellevue is architecturally significant as an intact example of a large provincial residential building of the gold rush period of the mid nineteenth century. The composition and details are typical of provincial residential design of the time. It is an unusual example of a residential building which appears to have been purpose-built as a boarding house. [Criterion D]
Bellevue is also significant for the following reasons, but not at the State level:
Bellevue is one of largest houses built in Beechworth in the gold rush period and is a reminder of the prosperity of the town in the 1860s. The house is an essential element of this important historic town.
BELLEVUE - History
Beechworth owes its existence to the discovery of gold in 1852. The Beechworth area was first settled by squatters from 1837, but the discovery of gold resulted in a rush of miners to the area, with about 8,000 arriving by November that year. The Ovens was an important river system in north-east Victoria and gave its name to the goldfields in this area. The town developed around the Gold Commissioner's Camp, established in 1852 on the granite hill on the north bank of Spring Creek. The township was first known as Mayday Hills, but when surveyed in 1853, it was named Beechworth. The main overland route between Melbourne and Sydney passed through the town until the 1870s (when the railway was built further to the west), and until then Beechworth was one of the richest towns in Victoria and the financial and administrative centre of the north-east.
Until the mid-1850s most buildings in the town were constructed of wood, bark or canvas, but following the election of a town council in 1856 building regulations were introduced. Many of the town's major buildings were erected during the following five years, including the Ovens District Hospital (1856, VHR H358) and the Burke Museum (VHR H345, begun in 1857 by the Young Men's Association as a hall and library). The first town hall was built in 1859. By the early 1860s a group of important administrative buildings, known as the Beechworth Justice Precinct (VHR H1464), had been completed along the south side of Ford Street, and a large gaol (VHR H1549) was begun to the north of this in 1858. The Beechworth Lunatic Asylum, later the Mayday Hills Hospital (VHR H1864-67) was built in 1864-67, and the landmark post office (VHR H867) was completed in 1870.
The Ovens gold rushes peaked in 1857, and during the following two decades the population of Beechworth decreased (though the last mining company in the district only closed in 1956). Despite the decline in the gold industry the town was sustained well into the twentieth century by the presence of the government institutions founded in the 1850s and 1860s: the asylum and the gaol.
Tourism has now become a major industry in Beechworth. Tourism began in the 1880s with the town's reputation as a health resort and picturesque beauty spot. The declining prosperity of the town had the advantage that the post-World War II development that led to the destruction of so much of Victoria's nineteenth century fabric between the 1950s and 1970s was avoided. At this time there was an increasing awareness of the importance of Victoria's early history and heritage. In the 1960s the National Trust was active in classifying Beechworth's early buildings, and efforts began to restore buildings which had fallen into disrepair. The retention of much of the town's historic character has now made it a popular tourist destination.
Beechworth's early houses
With the introduction of building regulations in 1856, housing standards in Beechworth improved markedly. The first brick houses had appeared early in 1855 in Camp Street, and soon brick, stone and weatherboard houses began to be constructed. By March 1857 there were nearly 800 houses in Beechworth, and new houses continued to replace the tents that had been erected earlier even in the central part of the town. Substantial residential building continued during the 1860s-70s, and many early makeshift houses were converted into more substantial structures. The main residential streets were gradually filled with rows of houses of weatherboard or brick , and occasionally granite, with gables or hipped roofs, often decorated with ornamental bargeboards in the gables or iron lacework on the verandahs. Occasional grander residence were also built.
The house at 9 Williams Street was built by 1861. In April 1856 the land had been owned by M McCormack and J Tilsey, a boarding house keeper. In 1866 the building was used as a boarding house run by Tilsey, and was described in rate books as a 37ft x 18ft two storey brick structure with granite dressings, a shingle roof, and a balcony with balustrade on the upper floor. The ratebooks identified several other structures at the rear: a 25ft x 13ft 6in two storey brick structure with a shingle roof; and three weatherboard buildings (one 21½ft x18½ ft with a shingle roof, one 24ft x12ft with a bark and 'zinc' roof, and the other 14ft x10½ft with a bark roof). An 1880 photograph shows the house was then unpainted, with face brick walls, a corrugated iron roof and the original timber verandah with white posts, a white balustrade on the upper level and a hipped roof.
The house had been painted white by 1950. In 1957 the original verandah posts were replaced with white Doric columns and the balcony balustrade was replaced with a classical one. In 1963 the verandah was again altered: the Doric columns were replaced by iron posts, a modern style wrought iron balustrade was added to the balcony and the original hipped verandah roof was replaced with an almost flat roof.
KEY REFERENCES USED TO PREPARE ASSESSMENT
Peter Freeman Pty Ltd, 'Indigo Shire Heritage Study', 2000.
Carole Woods, Beechworth A Titan's Field, North Melbourne 1985.
Copies of Beechworth ratebooks of 1856 and 1886, available in Burke Museum.
BELLEVUE - Plaque Citation
Built c1861, this residence, with several other buildings at the rear now demolished, was originally used as a boarding house. It is an unusual example of a building type common in the nineteenth century and retains its early stables.
BELLEVUE - Permit Exemptions
General Condition 1
All exempted alterations are to be planned and carried out in a manner which prevents damage to the fabric of the registered place or object.
General Condition 2
Should it become apparent during further inspection or the carrying out of works that original or previously hidden or inaccessible details of the place or object are revealed which relate to the significance of the place or object, then the exemption covering such works shall cease and Heritage Victoria shall be notified as soon as possible.
General Condition 3
All works should be informed by Conservation Management Plans prepared for the place. The Executive Director is not bound by any Conservation Management Plan, and permits still must be obtained for works suggested in any Conservation Management Plan.
General Condition 4
Nothing in this determination prevents the Heritage Council from amending or rescinding all or any of the permit exemptions.
General Condition 5
Nothing in this determination exempts owners or their agents from the responsibility to seek relevant planning or building permits from the relevant responsible authority, where applicable.
SPECIFIC PERMIT EXEMPTIONS
. Minor repairs and maintenance which replace like with like.
. Removal of non-original items such as air conditioners, pipe work, ducting, wiring, antennae, aerials etc and making good in a manner not detrimental to the cultural heritage significance of the place.
. Installation or removal of external fixtures and fittings such as hot water services and taps in a manner not detrimental to the cultural heritage significance of the place.
. Repair of non-original fences and gates. Note: The construction of new fences will require a permit.
. Installation or repair of damp-proofing by either injection method or grouted pocket method in a manner which does not affect the cultural heritage significance of the place.
. Painting of previously painted walls and ceilings provided that preparation or painting does not remove evidence of any original paint or other decorative scheme.
. Installation, removal or replacement of non-original carpets and/or flexible floor coverings.
. Installation, removal or replacement of non-original curtain tracks, rods and blinds.
. Installation, removal or replacement of hooks, nails and other devices for the hanging of mirrors, paintings and other wall mounted art.
. Demolition or removal of any of the following non-original features: stud/partition walls, suspended ceilings or wall linings (including plasterboard, laminate and Masonite), glazed screens, flush panel or part-glazed laminated doors, aluminium-framed windows, bathroom partitions and tiling, sanitary fixtures and fittings, kitchen wall tiling and equipment, lights and built-in cupboards.
. Removal of non-original glazing to timber-framed, double hung sash windows, and replacement with clear or plain opaque glass.
. Refurbishment of existing bathrooms, toilets and kitchens including removal, installation or replacement of all fixtures and associated piping, mirrors, wall and floor coverings.
. Installation, removal or replacement of ducted, hydronic or concealed radiant type heating provided that the installation does not damage existing skirtings and architraves and that the central plant is concealed, and is done in a manner not detrimental to the cultural heritage significance of the place.
. Installation, removal or replacement of electrical wiring provided that all new wiring is fully concealed and any original light switches, pull cords, push buttons or power outlets are retained in-situ. Note: if wiring original to the place was carried in timber conduits then the conduits should remain in situ.
. Installation, removal or replacement of bulk insulation in the roof space.
. Installation of new built-in cupboards providing no alteration to the structure is required.
BELLEVUE - Permit Exemption Policy
The purpose of the Permit Policy is to assist when considering or making decisions regarding works to a registered place. It is recommended that any proposed works be discussed with an officer of Heritage Victoria prior to making a permit application. Discussing proposed works will assist in answering questions the owner may have and aid any decisions regarding works to the place.
The extent of registration of Bellevue on the Victorian Heritage Register affects the whole place shown on Diagram 355 including the land, all buildings, trees, landscape elements and other features. Under the Heritage Act 1995 a person must not remove or demolish, damage or despoil, develop or alter or excavate, relocate or disturb the position of any part of a registered place or object without approval. It is acknowledged, however, that alterations and other works may be required to keep places and objects in good repair and adapt them for use into the future.
If a person wishes to undertake works or activities in relation to a registered place or registered object, they must apply to the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria for a permit. The purpose of a permit is to enable appropriate change to a place and to effectively manage adverse impacts on the cultural heritage significance of a place as a consequence of change. If an owner is uncertain whether a heritage permit is required, it is recommended that Heritage Victoria be contacted.
Permits are required for anything which alters the place or object, unless a permit exemption is granted. Permit exemptions usually cover routine maintenance and upkeep issues faced by owners as well as minor works. They may include appropriate works that are specified in a conservation management plan. Permit exemptions can be granted at the time of registration (under s.42 of the Heritage Act) or after registration (under s.66 of the Heritage Act).
It should be noted that the addition of new buildings to the registered place, as well as alterations to the interior and exterior of existing buildings requires a permit, unless a specific permit exemption is granted.
Cultural heritage management plans
It is recommended that a Conservation Management Plan is developed to manage the place in a manner which respects its cultural heritage significance.
Cultural heritage significance
Overview of significance
The cultural heritage significance of Bellevue lies in it being an early example of a building constructed for use as a boarding house. It demonstrates a number of features typical of residential buildings of the period, including symmetry, quoining, a small rear service wing and French windows opening onto the verandah and balcony. The stable at the rear is an unusual surviving example of a simple stable building constructed in association with a residential building.
a) All of the buildings and features listed here are of primary cultural heritage significance in the context of the place. A permit is required for most works or alterations. See Permit Exemptions section for specific permit exempt activities:
. All of the house, including the rear wings
. The former stables at the rear.Archaeological: Ground disturbance may affect the archaeological significance of the place and, subject to the exemptions stated in this document, requires a permit.
FORMER BANK OF VICTORIAVictorian Heritage Register H0348
LONDON TAVERNVictorian Heritage Register H0350
FORMER OVENS DISTRICT HOSPITALVictorian Heritage Register H0358