What is significant?
Elvezia is a large and intact example of a dairy farm built and run from the 1860s onwards by Swiss Italian (Ticinese) migrants. Its buildings demonstrate construction and farming techniques brought to Victoria by Swiss Italians.Seven vernacular stone and corrugated iron structures, some of which contain domestic and industrial equipment, constitute the Elvezia complex. They are: the main house, barn, piggery/stables, kitchen, toilet, creamery and blacksmith shed. The Barn and house are the largest buildings and best display the highly skilled stonework. The interior of the house, kitchen and barn also demonstrate skilled timber work in the form a staircase, turned balustrades and the use of adzed, milled and sawn bush logs for structural purposes. The complex also includes a number of associated features, these are: A well, the road that serviced the complex and the remains of a smokehouse.
The creamery includes industrial equipment used in Elvezia's function as the Yandoit Butter Factory and the kitchen building contains a wine press. The well and cellars in the kitchen building and the house are of potential archaeological significance.
Elvezia is a direct and tangible link to the exponential and multicultural growth of Victoria during and after the gold rush period of the 1850s which facilitated the development of a secondary sector such as commercial agriculture and, particularly, dairy farming. Dairying is presumed to have provided capital for the ongoing development of the Elvezia complex during its formative stages. Its most prosperous period is believed to be from the late 1880s to approximately 1906, the time when the Royal Commission on Vegetable Products 1884 provided financial incentives for butter made for export and the centrifugal separator made large volume butter manufacture possible. Elvezia functioned as a butter factory and local creamery in this period.
The ownership of Elvezia has been in the Righetti family since the allotment on which the buildings are located was alienated from the Crown in 1863 by Battista Righetti, a Swiss Italian from the village of Someo in the Swiss canton of Ticino. Government legislation such as the Land Act 1862 enabled cheap acquisition of land for potential farmers and the prerequisite of British citizenship was vital in encouraging Ticinese to remain in Victoria after gold petered out. Battista?s naturalization in 1862 and land acquisition in 1863 appear to be motivated by this legislation.
How is it significant?
Elvezia is of historic, architectural, scientific (technological) and archaeological significance to the state of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Elvezia is of historic significance for its association to Swiss Italian immigrants who came to Victoria in response to economic hardships and political instability in Switzerland, and the lure of gold on the central Victorian goldfields in the 1850s. The Jim Crow diggings of 1854 attracted miners to the Daylesford district including Swiss Italian immigrants who established a large community in the area.
Elvezia is of historical significance to the history of migration and settlement in Victoria as a multicultural society began to develop during the gold rushes of the 1850s. It is a large and intact collection of buildings that demonstrates the self-sufficient Swiss Italian way of life and their adaptation to the land. The Ticinese are an important cultural group as one of the first to settle in the state.
Elvezia is of scientific (technological) significance as an early, large and intact collection of purpose built structures of which the creamery and its industrial equipment demonstrate nineteenth century dairy practices and development.
Elvezia is of architectural significance because the buildings display skilled use of local (Ordovician) sandstone in a random coursed rubble manner. The use of stone is both unusual and aesthetically adept and illustrates vernacular construction by Swiss Italians.
Elvezia is of architectural significance for the highly skilled timber work demonstrated by adzed, milled and sawn bush timbers as structural elements in the barn, or decorative turned balustrades in the kitchen and a staircase in the house.
Elvezia is of potential archaeological significance for the presence of cellars beneath the house and kitchen building, and the existence of the well. Archaeological investigations could reveal objects that are associated with the early running of Elvezia.