What is significant?
Hawthorn Bank is a farmhouse complex (now in a ruinous state) apparently constructed in three main stages. The construction dates of the various stages are not known, though the earliest portion of the complex was possibly built in the early 1840's when Reeve's Special Survey was undertaken.
The first stage of the complex is a timber framed structure comprising round, timber posts and wattle and daub infill panels for walls. Wattle and daub is a form of construction employing a background of woven wattle branches, with an applied finish, typically consisting of mud and other additives, including in the instance of Hawthorn Bank, animal hair. The structure is roofed with a double gabled corrugated iron roof, probably replacing earlier timber shingles.
The second stage of the complex (now in a poor state of repair, due to the collapse of an adjacent mature tree in 1978) is also timber framed, with timber weatherboard cladding and a timber shingled gabled roof.
The third stage of the complex, constructed sometime in the late nineteenth century, also has weatherboard cladding, a gabled corrugated iron roof, and remnants of a returning concave profile roofed verandah.
There are a number of mature exotic trees surrounding the complex, including a large Ficus macrophylla, Araucaria heterophylla opposite the front entrance of the 1890s house, Araucaria cunninghamii, Araucaria bidwillii, Cedrus atlantica f. glauca, row of Pinus radiata along the west side of the former driveway, and 3 senescent Pinus radiata along the west side of the garden, and four pear trees in the former orchard. Scattered around the complex are several clumps of Amaryllis belladona, and next to the Araucaria bidwillii there is a large old Coprosma repens.
Despite deterioration in the physical condition of the complex, due to the collapse of the tree, harsh weather conditions, and some poorly executed cement based repairs to the daub (undertaken approximately 20 years ago) the complex retains a high degree of integrity as a complex of simple, primitive vernacular buildings.
How is it significant?
Hawthorn Bank is of historical and architectural significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Hawthorn Bank is historically significant as a rare surviving rural complex, some of which would appear to pre-date 1850. The complex is strongly evocative of the early pastoral settlement and development of Gippsland. The large mature trees, comprising of Araucaria cunninghamii, A. heterophylla, A. bidwillii, Cedrus atlantica f. glauca, Pinus radiata, Ficus macrophylla, Coprosma repens and Amaryllis belladona and pear trees are all species popular in the nineteenth century are of landscape and historic value.
Hawthorn Bank is architecturally significant as the oldest surviving example of wattle and daub construction in Victoria. The complex stands as an important document of changing traditions in rural vernacular architecture, from the 1840s through to the late nineteenth century.