Statement of Significance
Burnbrae Homestead complex, located on the south side of the Hamilton Highway 7.0kms east of Penshurst, dates from at least 1880. It appears to have begun as a small stone house which has been added to twice, in 1886 and 1900, to create a large and deliberately picturesque rambling house in a modified Domestic Queen Anne style. Three architects have been associated with its development: William Brazenor in 1880, John Montgomery in 1884, and Percy Richards in 1900. The first owners were the Gubbins family. The next was a pastoralist, James Alexander formerly of nearby Woodhouse who was responsible for the important first and second additions. Woodhouse Homestead was also substantially remodelled about 1900 and both Burnbrae and Woodhouse can be compared with the present Blackwood Homestead, designed and built in early 1890s, and one of the most sophisticated examples of the style in Victoria. The third owner, from 1912 was Sir John Murray MP. The owner from 1917 was Sir John McWhae, Victoria's Agent General in London. By 1929, he had sold to a local family, the Krugers who occupied Burnbrae until the early 1980s. Members of the Kruger family built the neighbouring houses. The whole of the homestead complex is intact to its 1900 period and remains in very good condition except for the woolshed and men's quarters. The house is complemented by its extensive garden and broader landscaping, also dating from 1900.
How is it significant?
Burnbrae Homestead complex is of historical and architectural significance to the community of Penshurst and to the Southern Grampians Shire.
Why is it significant?
Burnbrae Homestead complex is of historical significance for its sequence of owners, including: the Gubbins family who began the complex; pastoralist, James Alexander in his retirement from Woodhouse; Sir John Murray MP and was Sir John McWhae, Victoria's Agent General. The next major ownership by the Kruger family reflects the success of the German Lutheran migrants to the area east of Hamilton and conditions for them during the Second World War.
Burnbrae Homestead complex is of architectural significance for its final appearance in 1900, the result of its modification by additions, designed by the architects John Montgomery in 1886 and Percy Richards in 1900. Its modified Domestic Queen Anne style provides a valuable comparison with the sophistication of the final Blackwood Homestead, recently built, and the contemporary modifications to Woodhouse Homestead. This is complemented by the range of outbuildings and working buildings associated with Burnbrae and its garden setting.
BURNBRAE HOMESTEAD - Physical Conditions
The whole complex is in very good condition except for the woolshed and men's quarters which are in poor condition.
BURNBRAE HOMESTEAD - Physical Description 1
Burnbrae is now a picturesquely asymmetrical, single-storey bluestone house. The many additions, the last in timber, which have been made to it up to 1900 were deliberately rambling with brakes and gables increasing the complexity of the roof and verandahs and bay windows heightening the complexity of the plan. The house appears to have started with a simple small stone cottage at the western end. This was extended to the east in two stages, the last being framed in timber with rounded-edge weatherboards at dado level and roughcast render on lathes above. The overall style is now a modified version of the Domestic Queen Anne. The style is evoked by the use of specific materials and particularly in the projecting half-timbered gables supported on small timber brackets. The gables are faced with roughcast stucco which matches the texture of the walls below. The existing stone walls may have been rendered only in the last 1900 phase. Some door and window reveals survive as finely dressed bluestone. The timber verandah unites the facade with its shallow segmental arches, perforated in the spandrils and supported on simple stilted timber brackets. The verandah floor is laid in ochre and terracotta encaustic tiles. All the roofs are painted corrugated iron except for the sheet iron over the segmental bay window. The bay windows have nine small square panes in their upper sashes and heavy rendered sills. The windows in the 1900 addition have twelve small panes in their upper sashes. The bay windows have wide eaves. The awning over the window in the eastern most wing is very wide and supported on large perforated timber brackets. The several doors opening onto the verandah are conventionally Victorian in style.
The rear of the house is utilitarian and also irregular from the various additions. Interestingly, there are more doors than usual, the result of the additions. One of the earliest gables has been refaced in half-timbering and roughcast render. At the rear there are several standard domestic outbuildings including a two room weatherboard building with a chimney possibly used as accommodation, a meat house with a double roof, another weatherboard building with a chimney possible a converted coachhouse and stable, and a dunny.
The garden is extensive and mature, apparently dating mostly from 1900, and is dominated by Monterey Cypresses, Cupressus macrocarpa. Conventional smaller shrubs and trees are planed in a late gardenesque style. The winding drive has two entrances, passes across the facade and is the garden's major feature. A large cleared area to the west of the house may have been used for sport such as tennis or croquet. The garden is surrounded by a substantial dry stone wall. Some distance from the house and beyond the garden are the timber and iron woolshed and the timber men's quarters. The date of construction of the woolshed is not certain but it does not appear to be particularly early. The latter has an all-embracing roof and a timber verandah on three sides. It appears to date from 1900.
BURNBRAE HOMESTEAD - Historical Australian Themes
Theme 3. Developing local, regional and national economies
3.5 Developing primary production
3.5.1 Grazing stock
3.5.3 Developing agricultural industries
Theme 5 Working
5.8 Working on the land
BURNBRAE HOMESTEAD - Usage/Former Usage
BURNBRAE HOMESTEAD - Integrity
Excellent degree of integrity for the whole complex including the garden to the c.1900 period.
BURNBRAE HOMESTEAD - Physical Description 2
Sharrock family, owners of land
Gubbins family, first owners of house
James Alexander, owner
William Brazenor, architect in 1880
John Montgomery, architect for additions in 1884
Percy Richards, architect for additions in 1900
Sir John Murray MP, owner
Sir John McWhae, Victorian Agent General, owner
Kruger family, owners
Heritage Study and Grading
Southern Grampians - Southern Grampians Shire Heritage Study
Author: Timothy Hubbard P/L, Annabel Neylon
PENSHURST PROTECTORATE SITEVictorian Heritage Inventory
A. J. PAGE ELECTRICAL STORESouthern Grampians Shire
ST ANDREW'S UNITING CHURCHSouthern Grampians Shire
"AMF Officers" ShedMoorabool Shire
"AQUA PROFONDA" SIGN, FITZROY POOLVictorian Heritage Register H1687