The mid-Victorian farm complex at 550 McKenzie Road, Marong includes a single-storey red brick villa, a two-storey bluestone store/barn and mature trees in a landscaped garden to the south. The brick dwelling (c. 1870s) is square in plan and built on bluestone base walls. The south elevation (principal facade) is symmetrical, with a central door flanked by a window to each side. The windows are double-hung sashes, and there is a timber-post verandah, with concave roof, timber frieze rail and grapevine lacework. To the rear of the house is a substantial gable-roofed two-storey bluestone barn (c. 1850s) whose east and west walls are battered. The loft is accessed by an external timber staircase and entered by a timber door surmounted by a long timber lintel. Additional elements at the site include single-storey skillion-roofed additions to the east and west of the barn, and two gable-ended steel clad sheds, which form a complementary group of working/storage buildings. The mature trees in the landscaped garden at the south of the property include Monkey Puzzle trees and Moreton Bay figs.
How is it significant?
The farm complex is of local historical and aesthetic/architectural significance.
Why is it significant?
The farm complex at 550 McKenzie Road, approximately 5km south-east of Marong, is of local historical and aesthetic/architectural significance. The property is of historical significance (Criterion A) for its associations with early settlement at Woodstock on Loddon, and for its capacity to demonstrate aspects of the agricultural and pastoral practices of Michael Bourke, a local politician and major dairy, meats and wine producer in the Bendigo hinterland from the late-1850s. The significance is enhanced by the survival of the unusual bluestone barn/store, believed to date to the late-1850s. The combination of house, barn and mature trees, all dating from the Bourke period of ownership and operation, is additionally of note. The property is also of aesthetic/architectural significance (Criterion E). The red brick house is a largely intact example of a simply detailed mid Victorian villa, with a steeply pitched hipped roof, symmetrical facade, timber-post verandah with concave roof, and grape motifs to the cast iron verandah lacework which refer to the viticultural activities of the historic property. The 1850s gabled bluestone barn is a comparatively rare example of this type of structure in the area with its battered walls and two storey massing (Criterion B). The building is enhanced by its stone construction, double sliding timber doors, oculi in the centre of the south facing gable, and loft with external access. The mature trees in the landscaped garden setting, including Monkey Puzzle trees and Moreton Bay figs, further enhance the aesthetic significance.
The mid Victorian farm complex at 550 McKenzie Road, Marong includes a single-storey red brick villa, a two-storey bluestone store/barn and mature trees in a landscaped garden to the south. The property is located approximately 5km south-east of Marong, near the border of Loddon Shire. The site slopes from the north towards McKenzie Road at the south. The buildings were not inspected internally; references to internal elements in the following derive from the 1998 survey.6
House and landscape
The brick dwelling is square in plan and built on bluestone base walls. The south elevation (principal facade) is symmetrical, with a central door flanked by a window to each side. The windows are double-hung sashes, with a single pane to each sash, and projecting sandstone sills. There is a timber-post verandah, with concave roof, timber frieze rail and grapevine lacework. The verandah is accessed by a flight of three steps. The steeply pitched hipped roof of the main house is almost pyramidal; there are brick chimneys with corbels to the east and west sides of the roof ridgeline. The house has not been dated through documentary evidence, but in composition and details is estimated to date to the 1870s (see also 'Comparative Analysis'). As such, it is assumed to be a replacement of an earlier residence on the property. There are two brick skillion-roofed secondary wings directly to the rear of the main house, each with a tall brick chimney; these are early if not original elements which are flanked to the east and west by later brick additions with skillion roofs. A verandah of recent origin extends across the rear of the property and wraps around to the east and west elevations of the main house. All the roof areas of the property are clad with corrugated galvanised sheet steel (green), which appears recent and in good condition. There is a cellar and a well (covered over) at the rear. The front driveway is landscaped with mature Monkey Puzzle trees and Moreton Bay figs, which are of long-standing and assumed to have been planted by Michael Bourke.
To the rear of the house is a substantial gable-roofed two-storey bluestone barn with tooled joints to the front (south) only, and double sliding timber doors, diagonally lined. The barn is undated, but may be a remnant of Bourke's early occupation of the site from the late-1850s. The east and west walls are battered, for stability. The loft is accessed by an external timber staircase and entered by a timber door surmounted by a long timber lintel. There is an oculi surrounded by rubbed white bricks in the centre of the south facing gable. Ventilation at the lower levels is by narrow slits. The roof is clad with corrugated galvanised sheet steel. Inside, the main beams are adzed (i.e they show evidence of having been cut with a steel cutting blade, or adze) attached at right angles to a wooden handle, used for dressing timberand span approximately six metres. There is a well at the rear and associated timber-framed outbuildings. The barn appears to be in generally sound condition, albeit with some evidence of structural movement.
Attached to both the east and west elevations of the barn are later corrugated galvanised steel clad additions, with skillion roofs and large timber barn-style doors. To either side of these again, flanking the barn but projecting further forward (as 'wings'), are two gable-ended steel clad sheds, on rectilinear footprints. These components, with the barn at the centre, form a complementary group of working/storage buildings. Neither the additions to the barn, or the flanking sheds, have been investigated in detail but may be of long standing.
An additional ruin, referred to in the 1998 survey, was not found during the site visit. This brick structure, measuring approximately 15m x 4m on plan was set into a nearby hill and partially submerged.