The Willows homestead, 76-82 Reserve Road, Melton, is significant as a moderately intact example of a Victorian styled homestead, as one of few surviving mid nineteenth century homesteads in the Melton Shire, and as a nineteenth century homestead built of unusual rendered random rubble wall construction with sturdy buttresses to the original portion of the dwelling. Situated within The Willows Historical Park, the original homestead is likely to have been built in the mid 1850s.
The Willows homestead is architecturally significant at a LOCAL level (AHC D.2, E.1). It demonstrates original design qualities of a Victorian style and represents one of the few surviving examples of this type in the Melton Shire. These qualities include the broad hipped, shingle roof form, together with a smaller hipped roof that represents an early addition (which also contributes to the significance of the dwelling), the whole forming an M roof configuration. Other intact or appropriate qualities include the single storey height, encircling verandah supported by solid timber posts, three rendered masonry chimneys with corbelled tops, timber framed double hung multi-paned windows, timber framed door openings, four panelled timber door on the entrance, two small timber framed windows flanking the entrance doorway, smoothly rusticated quoinwork and voussoirs with the keystones having a vermiculation pattern surrounding the window and door openings, and the sturdy rendered masonry buttresses on the original portion of the building.
The Willows homestead is historically significant at a LOCAL level (AHC A.4, B.2) for its association with the establishment of the local pound, as a scarce example of a reasonably intact building from the original era of farming in the Shire, and for its long association with the Minns family who were prominent in the local community and local government over several generations.
The Willows homestead is scientifically significant at a LOCAL level (AHC F.1). The rendered random rubble wall construction and particularly the sturdy buttresses that project from the original portion of the dwelling, represent an unusual form of nineteenth century construction.
The Willows homestead is socially and aesthetically significant at a LOCAL level (AHC G.1, E.1). It is a local history landmark, recognised for its special picturesque and townscape values by a community that was undergoing rapid transformation. This public sentiment culminated in its purchase and restoration by the Shire with the assistance of the local community and heritage organisations. It is now the headquarters of the Melton and District Historical Society and the centrepiece of a local heritage park.