What is significant?
The Police Residence and former station is located on the west side of Martin Street between Bell and Cox Streets in the centre of the township of Penshurst. The residence is a conventional, modest, but fine example of the Queen Anne style as it matured in the Federation period. It uses typical red bricks, grouped casement windows, half-timbered gables and a large sweeping roof with tall chimneys. The complex also had a police stables located at the rear, and formerly served as the police station and residence. The land on which the Police Residence stands has a particular significance for its earlier use as the centre of the Mount Rouse Aboriginal Protectorate, dating back to 1842. The first constable to be permanently based in Penshurst was Samuel Watson, appointed in late 1861. He was given permission to rent a stone cottage and stables, which were located some distance from the current police residence, at the north-east corner of Chesswas and French Streets. In 1876, the police were operating from a timber and stone house with stables and a single cell on the eastern side of Scales Street, between Cobb and Watton Streets. In 1908 the Penshurst Progress Association agitated for the police to be moved from Scales Street to the more central Police Reserve, which they did in 1914, the date of construction of the present house. The timber stables and the single cell were relocated from Scales Street to the Martin Street site. There has been no architect or builder associated with the residence, but presumably, it was designed within the Public Works Department. The residence is in excellent condition, and retains a high degree of integrity externally.
How is it Significant?
The Police residence and former station is of historical and architectural significance to the township of Penshurst and the Southern Grampians Shire.
Why is it Significant?
The police residence and former station complex is of historical significance for several phases of development within the township of Penshurst. The land on which the complex stands has historical significance for its very early associations with the Mount Rouse Aboriginal Protectorate dating from the early 1840s. The land has further historical significance for its long association with the role of the Police, being marked out as a police reserve from the earliest surveys of the new Township of Penshurst in the 1850s. The presence of the police reveals something of the nature of Penshurst in the 1860s, when, as a rapidly developing township on a major transportation route the need for a permanent police presence arose in response to 'trouble' from several of the seven publicans in the township. The police residence is of further historical significance when compared with the previous police residences, all temporary, usually rented premises and especially the hut which had survived from the Aboriginal Protectorate and was proposed as a residence. The construction of the current police residence was an affirmation of the importance and role of law within the township of Penshurst and a statement of the townships permanency.