The Essendon North Fire Station was constructed by W.O. Longmuir & Son in 1930 to the design of Cedric H. BalIantyne. Ballantyne had extensive experience in the design of suburban fire stations, firstly, as a draughtsman for Oakden & Kemp, next, as a partner of Oakden and finally, as a sole practitioner.
The building is architecturally significant as a remarkably intact example of a fire station built in the English Domestic Revival idiom (Criterion E). The intact engine room doors are particularly noteworthy, since many suburban fire stations have been altered to accommodate the larger dimensioned fire trucks now used. The domestic aesthetic of the building reflects MFB policy of the early twentieth century, which sought to provide more commodious accommodation for employees and their families and encourage a sense of the fire brigade as a family friendly organisation.
The building is historically significant as a manifestation of this shift in Metropolitan Fire Brigade policy relating to the provision of quarters for married men and their families, a change brought about by Fire Chief Harrie B. Lee, who was appointed as the new Fire Chief in 1913.(Criterion A)
ESSENDON NORTH FIRE STATION (FORMER) - Physical Description 1
The Essendon North Fire station is a red brick complex, composed of a central two storey portion, flanked on either side by single storey gable roof wings. The building is sited on an angle to face the intersection on which the site is located. The building is influenced by the English Domestic Revival.
The central two storey bay houses the engine room at ground level, complete with original multi paned timber doors, and living quarters at the upper level. The upper level incorporates multi paned double hung timber windows, bay window projections along side elevations, incorporating shingled clad spandrels below window sills, and a small gable ended projection facing the street intersection emblazoned with a white painted rendered MFB crest. The two storey wing has a broad hipped terracotta shingled roof, surmounted by lofty brick chimneys.
The flanking single storey wings have steeply pitched roofs, windows to match the central wing, small gable ended entry bays with arched entry opening, and brick chimneys surmounting the roof ridge.
The complex retains a high level of architectural integrity. The fact that the engine room doors remain intact is of particular note. While the terracotta shingled roof to the two storey portion appears to be original, shingles to he single storey wings appear to have been replaced with terracotta tiles.