The Belchers Corner building, 141 -149 Ryrie Street, Geelong, has significance as a legacy of the commercial developments in Geelong during the interwar (1920s - 40s) period and particularly with Norman Belcher, a member of the prominent business family whose father George F. Belcher had built the adjacent Hopetoun Chambers building in 1891. Constructed in 1926 to a design by I.G. Anderson, the building has further significance for its landmark corner situation, with visual connections to other significant interwar and Victorian commercial buildings.
The Belchers Corner building, 141 - 149 Ryrie Street, is architecturally significant at a LOCAL level. It demonstrates original design qualities of a conservative interwar modern Renaissance style. These qualities include the regularly arranged first floor window bays with a colonnade of square Corinthian pilasters on the Ryrie Street facade, entablature which reads "Belchers Corner" on the Ryrie Street facade and "MCMXXI" on the Moorabool Street facade, entablature roundels, steel framed 12 paned first floor windows with hopper sashes and blind panels above the panels outside the pilaster colonnade having decorative sculptural motifs, slight projection of the ground floor facades, three paned steel framed ground floor highlights, cantilevered verandah, shopfront composition and form, including the metal framed shop-fronts with ingoes, broadly projecting cornice and the parapets with alternating solid panels and voids. Internally, the significant features include the office layout and detailing, particularly the modern Renaissance timber joinery architraves, door-heads, transoms and timber doors, and timber staircase.
The Belchers Corner building also has a notable townscape relationship with three other prominent buildings forming the intersection of the two principal Geelong thoroughfares of Moorabool and Ryrie Streets. The building complements the architecture of the structures visually connected to it, notably the former T amp G Building 1934, former Mercantile Bank 1888 and former Bank of New South Wales 1938. The Belchers Corner building, 141 - 149 Ryrie Street, is historically significant at a LOCAL level. It is associated with commercial developments in Geelong during the interwar 1920s1940s period. In particular, this building has associations with Norman Belcher, auctioneer and estate agent, who had the building constructed in 1926 to a design by I.G. Anderson, architect, the contractor being J.C. Taylor and Sons. Belcher was a member of a prominent and established family in Geelong, with his father, George F. Belcher, having built the neighbouring Hopetoun Chambers in 1891.
Overall, the Belchers Corner building, 141 - 149 Ryrie Street, is of LOCAL significance.
M. Beraldo, 'Studio 4 Conservation Project Belchers Corner, unpublished manuscript, School of Architecture amp Building, Deakin University, 1991.
Beraldo used the following sources
Anderson, I.G. Original Drawings for Belchers Corner Building.
Anderson, I.G. Specification of work to be done, April 1926. Auction Notice 1938. "Geelong" Promotional publication for the City of Geelong, 1930.
Geelong Advertiser, 22 August 1891 and 21 August 1926.
Taylor, J.C. & Sons Statement of Accounts, undated.
Geelong City Rate Book, Barwon Ward, 1938.
D. Rowe (Authentic Heritage Services Pty Ltd), 'Geelong West Town Hall Heritage Report with Recommendations for Future Development', prepared for the Geelong Ethnic Communities Council, August - September 2001.
Geelong Town Plan, 1858, Geelong Historical Records Centre.
The site at 141 - 149 Ryrie Street, Geelong, is dominated by the former Belchers Corner building, which forms an important landmark at this central, major intersection of Moorabool and Ryrie Streets. This building has visual connections with other significant corner buildings, notably the former T & G Building (1934), former Bank of New South Wales building 1938, and the former Mercantile Bank building (1888).
The two storey, rendered brick and concrete, conservative interwar modern Renaissance styled building, is characterised by regularly arranged first floor window bays which are given further Classical emphasis on the south (Ryrie Street) facade by the colonnade of square Corinthian pilasters. Above the pilasters and window is an entablature which reads "Belchers Corner" on the Ryrie Street facade and "MCMXXI" on the Moorabool Street facade. The entablature is also adorned with roundels.
The first floor window openings are strikingly elongated to provide a prominent Renaissance composition. These steel framed 12 paned windows with hopper sashes are early, and have blind panels above. The panels outside the pilaster colonnade are embellished with decorative sculptural motifs.
The ground and first floors are separated by a plain band and slight projection of the ground floor facades. The ground floor has early three paned steel framed highlights above the cantilevered verandah with introduced signage. These highlights are punctuated by introduced air conditioning units and fans. The ground floor shopfronts have largely been altered, although the composition and form of some of the metal framed shopfronts with ingoes may be early. There is substantial inappropriate signage on the window shopfronts.
Surmounting the building is a broadly projecting cornice and a parapet, with alternating solid panels and void.
Internally, the upper floor largely retains its early office layout and detailing, including the corridor with its modern Renaissance timber joinery architraves, door-heads, transoms and timber doors, and timber staircase.