Statement of Significance
Greenhills, Toolern Vale, is significant as a predominantly intact example of a Federation style homestead built by Walter Browne in c.1903. The setting of the homestead (including outbuildings, former gardens, dams and relics of dry stone walls) also contributes to an understanding of the heritage values of the place, dating back to the pioneering era of this early pioneering Victorian pastoral property. Historically, Greenhills was one of the first pastoral runs, and centres of European settlement, established in the Shire of Melton.
The Greenhills pastoral estate, Toolern Vale, is historically significant at a LOCAL level (AHC A4, B2, H1). It was a noted early Victorian pastoral property established by John Hunter Patterson, prominent pastoralist and member of the early Port Phillip community, and Victorian MLA and Treasurer in the 1850s. Patterson established the property very early in 1837, making Greenhills one of the very first pastoral runs and centres of European settlement in the Shire of Melton. It was a very large run, of some 40,000 acres extending nearly to Bacchus Marsh in the west, and the largest population centre in the present Shire of Melton recorded in 1841. The station became the basis of the road system and early settlement of the Toolern Vale district, which was initially named after the station. The property was associated with John Batman's daughters Eliza and Adelaide who married the station's Collyer brothers; with Cr A Macintosh, the first President of the Melton Roads Board; MI Browne; Cr Walter Browne JP (who built the present house); and other Victorian pioneering pastoralists including George Hyde and George Urquhart.
The Greenhills homestead, Toolern Vale, is architecturally significant at a Local level (AHC D.2). It demonstrates original design qualities of a Federation style. These qualities include the hipped roof forms clad in galvanised corrugated steel, and the encircling verandah featuring a gabled portico at the front. Other intact or appropriate qualities include the single storey height, timber weatherboard wall cladding, strapped brick chimneys with terra cotta pots, paired turned timber verandah posts with solid timber fretwork between, more elaborate timber fretwork valances to one side, timber verandah floor, timber framed double hung windows (including the projecting banks), decorative gable infill and the turned timber finial to the verandah portico.
The Greenhills pastoral estate, Toolern Vale, may be of scientific significance at a Local level (AHC C2). It appears to retain evidence of the garden enclosure of a very early pastoral homestation.
The Greenhills pastoral estate, Toolern Vale, is socially significant at the local level (AHC G1). It was the subject of an excursion by the Melton and District Historical Society in the late twentieth century. It was identified as a place of heritage significance to the local community in a community forum held as part of this heritage study.
Overall, the Greenhills pastoral estate and homestead, Toolern Vale, is of LOCAL significance.
HO36 - Greenhills - Historical Australian Themes
Shire of Melton Historical Themes: 'Pastoralism'; 'Horses, Hounds & Hares';
HO36 - Greenhills - Integrity
Integrity - Moderately Intact (based on documentary evidence only)
HO36 - Greenhills - Physical Conditions
Physical Condition - Good (based on documentary evidence only)
HO36 - Greenhills - Physical Description 1
Physical Description -
The property known as Greenhills is situated in a rural setting, and comprises a main house, of two eras, with a few exotic ornamental trees (Canary Island palm, Ghost gum, and peppercorn) at the front (east side), and a domed underground water tank; shearing shed; shearers' quarters; tennis court; and a few remnant conifers in poor condition to the north of the house. Near the Yangardook Creek downstream (south) of the house is an isolated mature oak tree near a small concrete dam wall over the creek; this is situated in a formerly fenced 'grass paddock'. A little to the north of the house are the scant remnants of what appears to have been a dry stone wall around an early fenced 'garden' on the alluvial flat. There is a small dam next to the creek in this location.
The single storey, timber weatherboard, Federation styled dwelling is characterised by hipped roof forms clad in galvanised corrugated steel, and an encircling verandah featuring a gabled portico at the front. The verandah is supported by paired turned timber posts with solid timber fretwork between. There is more elaborate timber fretwork valances to one side. An open timber balustrade defines the perimeter of the verandah, which is elevated from the ground and has a timber floor and horizontal timber base walls. The gabled portico has decorative gable infill and a turned timber finial.
At least three early strapped brick chimneys with terra cotta pots adorn the roofline. Modest overhangs with exposed tibmer rafters are features of the eaves.
Other early features of the design include the timber framed double hung windows (including the projecting banks).
The interior features include timbered panel walls and ceilings, original brick fireplaces some with elaborate mantles, and gas light fittings in a number of rooms. There is a brick cellar that might date to the original house.
A large late twentieth century addition to the dwelling is included as a separate south wing. It is a long double gable weatherboard structure, which incorporates the southern wing of the original c.1903 building (the kitchen), evident in an original chimney. The concrete dome of an underground tank is situated near the junction of the c.1903 and the new wing.
Heritage Study and Grading
Melton - Shire of Melton Heritage Study phase 2
Author: David Maloney, David Rowe, Pamela Jellie, Sera Jane Peters