1 coriyule homestead drysdale side view of homestead
Statement of Significance
Last updated on - April 16, 2004
What is significant?
Coriyule at Drysdale was built in 1849 for pioneer squatting partners, Anne Drysdale and Caroline Newcomb. Drysdale was an unmarried Scottish gentlewoman, who in 1839, aged 47, migrated to Port Phillip for health reasons. She was well educated and well connected, had owned a farm in Scotland, and intended to farm sheep in the colony. She first took up a squatting run at Boronggoop, on the Barwon River near Geelong, where she built a four room cottage. She formed a partnership with Caroline Newcomb, an Englishwoman who had come to Port Phillip in 1836 as governess to the children of John Batman, one of the founders of Melbourne, and together they ran the sheep station. They bought the lease of the nearby Coriyule run in 1843, and after obtaining the freehold in 1847, in 1849 commissioned Melbourne architect Charles Laing to design a new house on the run. The house was built on an eminence overlooking Corio Bay by Geelong builders: one named Henderson, who did the masonry and brickwork, and Brenton & Howell, who did the carpentry and joinery. The town which grew up near their station was named after Anne Drysdale.
Coriyule is a two storey picturesque colonial Gothic house of locally quarried stone. The foundations are basalt, the window and door surrounds and the chimneys are of dressed Barrabool Hills sandstone, and the walls are unusual in being of several kinds of stone, including ironstone, limestone and quartzite, laid in coursed rubble work. The roof is a series of steeply pitched gables, which have decorative timber bargeboards. The original drawings show slate on the roof, but Morwood and Rogers tiles, which had just begun to be imported into the colony, were used instead. An extensive cellar lies beneath the entire house. The plan is unusual, being geometrically derived, with a semi-circular hall with a lantern over in the centre of the house. The living rooms are on the ground floor, the bedrooms on the first floor, and there is a small service wing attached to the south-west corner of the house. On the north side, facing Corio Bay, the two living rooms each have a wide bay, surmounted by narrow rectangular windows on the floor above, beneath the twin roof gables. The window frames are all of cast iron, with the glazing in a diamond pattern. On the entrance front there was originally a porch, which has now been replaced, and the roof above this has three dormers, also with decorative bargeboards. There are a number of stone outbuildings.
How is it significant?
Coriyule at Drysdale is architecturally and historically significant to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Coriyule is architecturally significant as one of the earliest and finest homesteads in Victoria. Its picturesque Gothic Revival style was not common in Victoria, particularly in country areas. It is significant as an important early work of the celebrated colonial architect Charles Laing. This asymmetrically planned mansion with unusual entry hall and stair-case has few counterparts in Australia.
Coriyule is historically significant as a reminder of the partnership of the women squatters Anne Drysdale and Caroline Newcomb, who were important in the history of squatting in Victoria. It is a remarkable reflection of the close involvement of women in a pioneering pastoral enterprise.