Former Presbyterian Manse from the east (Lyons Street) side. The 1991 garage building is visible at the end of the driveway on the left.
Statement of Significance
WHAT IS SIGNIFICANT?
The Former Presbyterian Manse, including the 1856-57 building, its verandahs, and the c.1882 additions.
The mid-1980s single-storey-addition, and 1991 garage and pool enclosure buildings, are not significant.
HOW IS IT SIGNIFICANT?
The Former Presbyterian Manse at Williamstown is of historical and architectural significance to the State of Victoria. It satisfies the following criteria 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 Former Presbyterian Manse at Williamstown is significant at the State level for the following reasons:
The Former Presbyterian Manse is historically significant. Built in 1856-57 it is among the oldest group of extant houses in the metropolitan area and the earliest group of religious residences in Melbourne. The Former Presbyterian Manse is also a major and early surviving building in Williamstown and is thus associated with Williamstown's early growth. It is the oldest religious residence in the town, and marks the site of the Presbyterians' first reserve in Williamstown. Sited within parkland, it was designed by one of the region's early architects William Bull who was also Williamstown's first municipal surveyor. [Criterion A]
The Former Presbyterian Manse is architecturally significant as an early and large example of a villa building constructed of local basalt (bluestone). Stylistically derived from Georgian architecture, its initial 1856-57 stage of construction demonstrates early details and materials. Of note are the deep timber eaves brackets which may have once served other than a decorative purpose in supporting the gutters. The south-facing external wall of the 1856-57 portion contains two 'blind windows'. The chimneys are stuccoed with slim cornice mouldings, dressed stone blocks are used as quoins, and some six-pane timber-framed window sashes survive. [Criterion D]