Statement of Significance
Because of its relatively undisturbed integrity, this place has a very rare ability to inform of life in a past era. Its lack of the trappings of the 20th and 21st centuries make it a rare example of a dwelling that can explain the nature of life of a struggling family on the Goldfields in the mid-19th century. It is an almost unique example of a mining era dwelling that has not been modernised in some way and that is directly associated with its contemporary mining landscape.
Its ability to evoke the visual character of the Goldfields is outstanding because of its integrity and its associated environment of contemporary mine workings and other infrastructure such as water, races, etc.
For these reasons, the place has cultural significance at a very high level.
Statement of significance.
The stone cottage and its associated site at 21 Doye Street, Golden Square is of historic, aesthetic and architectural significance to the State of Victoria.
- It is historically significant for its rare capacity to inform of the lifestyle of early mining families of the mid-19th century Bendigo goldfields and for its historical connection with the early (pre-deep lead, company) phase of gold mining in the region. The place exemplifies the evolution of a family home, the range of activities involved and the techniques of providing for a struggling family in a harsh and limiting environment.
- It is aesthetically significant as a collection of vernacular mid-19th century structures expressed in the consistent theme of rubble stone work. It is intensely evocative of the visual environment of its era and location.
- It is architecturally significant for its ability to demonstrate characteristic vernacular design and construction of the goldfields era and for its very high level of integrity.
VHC; A - historical associations; B - rarity; C - educational; D - representative place.
Elements of major significance.
The whole of the built structures, including retaining walls, well, water races, etc. Landscaping elements (subject to further investigation).
Samson Cottage - Physical Description 1
The whole of the dwelling is on the level of Doye Street, involving a considerable excavation into the slope to the east and north. The spoil from the excavation appears to have been placed on the north side of the dwelling resulting in a raised level garden area supported by stone retaining walls almost to the height of the north verandah beams. The garden and well beyond is accessed by stone steps at the east and west of the north verandah.
Apart from the substantial stone wall construction, everything about the cottage is of small scale, the clearance below the verandah beams being less than two metres.
Initial analysis suggests that the two room south facing gable and verandah closest to Doye Street was the original cottage, with the slightly smaller north facing (formerly) two room gable added as the second stage. This is evident by the keyed connection and the displacement of the wall on the west elevation.
The stone is stratified sandstone rubble laid in rough courses with distinctly smaller stone used in the gable ends. Also in the Doye Street gable ends are small four pane sashes with timber lintels providing additional light to the west rooms. The front(south) elevation has multi-pane double hung sashes (without counterweights) on either side of a central door, which opens directly into the larger eastern room.
This room (presumably living room), has a large fireplace centred on the east wall, beside which is a stone enclosed wood store (?) probably added later. To the north west room is a stone fireplace of lesser quality construction with a roughly tapered shaft above the roof line. This chimney is notably different from other stone construction on the site and may even be of the mid-late 20th century 2.
The whole complex is roofed in corrugated galvanised iron, in the case of the two earlier gables at least, covering the original timber shingle sheeting. Some of the verges are in timber with others in metal ridge capping, probably of later origin. The roof structures become increasingly disorganized as the complex extends east and a level of extemporization is evident in the various additions, changes to and connections of the roofs.
The second (north) gable has been extended as a further stage with its original east wall removed to form a long east west room with a kitchen fire recess in the east end. The chimney of this has since been removed and a more recent brick chimney has been added to accommodate a range (since replaced with a gas stove) on the north wall. This room has a window opening onto a stone flagged courtyard to the south. All north rooms have windows to the north verandah. The verandah floors are also flagged, raising the question why the exterior was paved and not the interior. It is possible that the interior floors of a damp proof material such as oilcloth (now gone) were preferred to stone.
Both the south and north verandah roofs are contiguous with the main gables, but at a flatter pitch. They have simple square timber posts and basic roof structures, the only decoration being scalloped fascias over the edge beams and end rafters.
Further east, offset to the south slightly, is another small parallel gabled room that is connected to a further room with a north south gable by a short vaulted stone "tunnel". This latter room has stone walls only to the north, south and west and extends into a timber skillion structure, sheeted with random corrugated iron at the east. This section may well have been devised to accommodate the increasing size of the family (up to 10 children) or it could have been Thomas Samson's boot-making workshop. The north verandah extends the full length of the complex in varying widths until it reaches the last skillion.
To the north of the last gable is an elevated corrugated iron tank on a high, mild steel pipe stand of relatively recent origin. Further to the north, outside the house lot fenceis a wide circular open top stone well with a small stone channel extending towards a water race that runs across the hill above the dwelling and its outbuildings.
The remaining outbuildings are a "dunny" with rusted mini-orb iron roof and walls and set on the hillside to the north east of the dwelling and a stone structure with a north south gabled corrugated iron roof. The latter has a vertically clad timber elevation to the west and has been used as a poultry house with pens (the westerly with a stone base) extending to the north and west. It may originally have had a different function.
The water race from the distant Specimen Hill reservoir via the mine workings above the site extends past the back of the poultry shed to the paddock at the south of the dwelling. The paddock is separated from the dwelling by a relatively recent picket fence and wire gate. All of the fencing around the property is relatively recent, being mainly post and wire.
The garden to the south is basic, with agapanthus clumps and one windmill palm. Agapanthus have also been planted at the base of the west elevation. To the north, paths and garden beds of perennials, succulents, bulbs and iris are defined by curvilinear stone edging. The age of this landscaping is not clear, but it may be relatively recent.
Internally the dwelling is extremely basic. The ceilings are coved (lined on rafters and collar ties) and finished with lining boards of various origins. The stone walls are simply bagged and painted, presumably over the original white wash.There are no original floors in any rooms. In some, extemporized timber, panel and brick floors have been laid on the ground, but it is assumed that the original floors were earthen, although they may have been of stone flags or oilcloth.
There are no remaining fittings of interest and the internal timber joinery, doors, etc, requires further analysis.
2 This could probably be clarified by Arther Doye.
Samson Cottage - Integrity
Samson Cottage - Physical Conditions
Fair condition. Sound structurally.
Major deficiencies: Deferred maintenance, general repairs. South elevation painted. No floors.
Reversibility of changes: Various minor/superficial works required only.
Issues noted: Partial lack of roof gutters and downpipes. Valley gutterquality?Chaoticroofing to eastern elements. Fixing of roofinggenerally.Internalflooring, lack of. Rising damp?
Heritage Study and Grading
Greater Bendigo - Heritage Advisor report
Author: City of Greater Bendigo
FORMER SAMSON FAMILY RESIDENCEVictorian Heritage Register H2231
SPECIMEN HILL REEF WORKINGSVictorian Heritage Inventory
Former Samson Family ResidenceNational Trust H2231