Mikado Park (with elms, oaks, and Monterey cypress) is significant to the Cardinia Shire for its association with the important architect and politician, Sir William Pitt; and the rarity of some of its out-buildings for their adobe construction. The intact stable interior is also notable. The complex provides evidence of the development of orcharding and early farming in the district as well as evoking one of the varied forms of the district's rural retreats, as pursued by city businessmen. The complex has some of the oldest out-buildings in the Shire and the house itself, although altered and incomplete, is also indicative of a nineteenth-century farm house design for a city owner. The siting of the house is prominent in the locality and is close to one of the few surviving parts of the Old Sale Road which have not been absorbed in new highway alignments.
The garden is of contributory significance to house & property.
MIKADO PARK, ELMS, OAKS, MONTEREY - Physical Description 1
This property includes three rendered mud brick gabled buildings (former cottage, cottage and stable, packing shed) and an altered nineteenth-century weatherboard house.
A stable is attached to the rear of the cottage and has an unusual split timber slab floor and a high degree of preservation.
The former cottage which is thought to be the oldest on the site is gabled in form, has bark inserted as a ceiling lining (recent?), a corrugated iron roof, a pole ceiling frame, and a concrete floor provided for its later use as a lemon store. The red brick chimney has a dog-toothed frieze set between string moulds.
The packing shed was reputedly a former house, moved to the site and used for the orchard activities of Pitt. Since it has been added to with a concrete block milking shed.
The house was double-fronted and verandahed, facing east, with the typical four-rooms and a central passage of the era, plus a verandahed servants wing at the rear and a ballroom (since removed) attached to what may have been a kitchen. A gabled bay has been added at the rear on one side and, more recently, another extension made on the other (south) side of the house. Aluminium siding has been applied to most of the walls. The chimneys are cemented, with cornices in the typical 19th century manner, and the front verandah rebuilt and extended.
There are remnants of pine rows along the old drive which entered the property from the Princes Highway near Towt's packing shed. Nearer the house there are mature Monterey cypress with elms and oaks. Among the farm structures is reinforced concrete insulage/grain storage tank near the former packing shed.
Garden A distinctive feature of the property is the house and surrounding garden situated at the high point of a hill, and the extensive rows of trees planted along the former main drive which led from the property boundary on Old Sale Road to the house. The boundaries were planted with Monterey pine and cypress, many of which remain as particularly large and mature specimens today. Apparently, many were cut down during the Depression, presumably as firewood or for timber.
The property had a lemon orchard in William Pitt's ownership; lemons ripened in mud building still on property. Mature ornamental trees include a large Waterhousea sp. and lillypilly. An old laurel tree was planted by Jill Salter's grandmother. (? date) A very large Cupressus macrocarpa had a buggy shed underneath it (now removed). Near the main house there is a row of elms and oak and, next to the apple packing shed, a peppercorn and Araucaria cunninghamii. As well as the Monterey pine and cypress, there are two mature (Eucalyptus ficifolia) flowering gums, and an old apple tree and lemon outside of the new kitchen. A very old pear tree may be the only remnant of the original orchard. A later layer of plantings, post 1900, include a liquidamber and Prunus serrulata from the 1940-50s.
Photographs of 1919 and others show the orchard and the cypress just growing over the top of the orchard trees. This would indicate a planting date of c1870s for the cypress.
MIKADO PARK, ELMS, OAKS, MONTEREY - Physical Conditions
The second cottage verandah has been enclosed but otherwise is well preserved, if in need of stabilisation. Openings to the first mud brick cottage have been altered and some of the render spalled from the walls. A concrete block milking shed has been added to the former packing shed.
The house walls have been aluminium clad, the ballroom demolished, the front verandah altered and extended and other rear additions have been made.