Statement of Significance
What is significant?
Briery was built c1850 by Robert Herbertson (1804-79), one of Portland's early settlers. Herbertson was born in Scotland and in 1830 migrated to Van Diemen's Land, where in 1834 he married his wife, formerly Isabella Bailey, who was born in Scotland in 1810. He left Launceston for Portland in 1841 with his wife and three children, and after a short period farming, moved into a house in Julia Street, and became a builder and hotelkeeper. In 1842 he built the Steam Packet Inn (VHR H239), one of the oldest surviving buildings in the state, for its owner. In 1843 he opened the Union Inn and in 1847 the Britannia Inn in Julia Street. He built several other shops and dwellings in Julia Street. Four more children were born to the family during this period. In about 1850 Herbertson purchased 63 acres (25 hectares) just outside Portland on the Bridgewater Road and built the two-storey house for his family. Herbertson appears as one of the first ratepayers in Portland, was on the first electoral roll of the town, and in 1843 was one of the trustees of the Presbyterian Church building fund. He died at Briery in 1879, his death certificate describing him as a 'draper'. The house remained in the ownership of Herbertson's descendants until 2001.
Briery is a two-storey symmetrical Colonial Georgian style bluestone house, said to be built from bluestone quarried on the property. The front facade, which has no verandah, has been rendered and ruled to resemble sandstone. The western elevation was previously also rendered but the render has been removed, and the other exterior walls are unrendered. A verandah was added along the rear elevation in the early twenty-first century. Internally the house has a central hall with a dog-leg staircase with a fine timber balustrade leading to the first floor. There are four rooms on the ground and first floors. A new opening has been made between the kitchen and the adjacent room, and the render has been removed from many of the internal walls.
How is it significant?
Briery is of architectural and historical significance to the state of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Briery is architecturally significant as a fine and rare example in Victoria of a Colonial Georgian style house. This style was relatively common in New South Wales and Tasmania, but it is unusual in Victoria due to the later settlement of the colony.
Briery is historically significant for its association with the early settlement of the Portland region by settlers from Van Diemen's Land, and in particular with Robert Herbertson, a prominent citizen of Portland from the early 1840s, who built a number of Portland's earliest substantial buildings, including the Steam Packet Inn (VHR H239).
BRIERY - History
[Information on Robert Herbertson largely condensed from Herbertson family history website at http://home.exetel.com.au/rickeyh/family/robert_herbertson_1804_1879.html]
Robert Herbertson (1804-79) was born in Scotland, but following an outbreak of cholera in Glasgow left for Van Diemen's Land in 1830 with his two brothers. He is thought to have been trained as a builder by his father, and he found a government job in Launceston making water wheels, then used for generating power.
In 1834 in Launceston Robert married Isabella Bailey, whose brother Samuel was master of a ship trading between Portland and Launceston. They left Launceston on 18 January 1841 with their three children aboard the ship the Dusty Miller for Portland Bay. They first took up farming on land on the Heywood - Port Fairy Rd, but soon moved to a house in Julia Street, and Herbertson became a builder and hotelkeeper.
The 1997 Allom Lovell 'Pre-1851 structures in Victoria Survey' states that the Steam Packet Inn in Portland, one of the oldest buildings in Victoria, which was granted its licence in December 1842, 'was built by Robert Herbertson of Tasmania' for its owner. In 1843 Herbertson opened the Union Inn, another of Portland's earliest hotels, on the corner of Julia and Percy Streets, where the bank of N.S.W. now stands. In July 1847 he opened the Britannia Inn, which survives (though altered) at 41-3 Julia Street. He also built a number of shops and dwellings, including Glasgow House, in Julia Street, and owned a number of blocks of land. Four more children were born to the Herbertsons during this period.
In about 1850 Herbertson purchased 63 acres just outside Portland on the Bridgewater Road at Wattle Hill, and built a two-storey house for his family. The nominator states that his great-grandfather, Thomas Herbertson, was born on 15 March 1851 in the house, which was known locally as 'Herbertsons'. In 1855-1860 the whole family went home to Scotland for a visit, during which time the children were to complete their education.
Herbertson was a subscriber to the first Church of England building fund and the first Presbyterian building fund, and was also one of the trustees of the building fund in 1843. His name also appears as one of the first ratepayers in Portland and on the first electoral roll of the town. Mrs. R. Herbertson was a pew holder in the Presbyterian church in 1852. She is also mentioned in the Portland Pioneer Women's book of Remembrance by the late Miss Wadmore, in which book the author remembers the beauty and grace of the Misses Herbertsons at the time of the visit of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edingburgh, Queen Victoria's eldest son, in 1867.
Robert Herbertson died in 1879 aged 75 in the house at Wattle Hill. The death certificate described him as a 'draper'. He is buried in the old cemetery at North Portland together with other family members.
The house, later renamed Briery, remained in the ownership of Herbertson's descendants until 2001 (though the land is now reduced to 10 hectares).
In 2015 Heritage Victoria received additional information regarding Robert Herbertson and this place.
Included were the following points about Robert Herbertson:
arrived in Hobart 11 May 1833 [shipping records]
described as builder of Launceston [The Hobart Town Courier, 8 June 1838]
opened premises in Bentinck Street, Portland selling haberdashery, groceries and furniture [Portland Guardian & Normanby General Advertiser, 14 January 1843]
licence holder for Union Inn, Portland and store in Julia Street [Portland Guardian & Normanby General Advertiser, 29 April 1843]
bought portion of allotment 11 of section 3, Town of Portland in 1847 which he held until his death in 1879 [Last Will & Testament]; this is possibly the site where the Britannia Hotel was built on the corner of Julia and Percy Streets
licence holder of Britannia Inn by 1849 [Argus, 27 April 1849], by March 1854 this was taken over by Mr McConochie with Herbertson intending to devote time to other lines of business [Portland Guardian & Normanby General Advertiser, 27 March 1854]; Herbertson was still associated with this hotel in 1861 [Portland Guardian & Normanby General Advertiser, 11 March 1861]
acquired 63 acres of land at Portland (probably land where Brierly was built in Bridgewater Road) [Portland Guardian & Normanby General Advertiser, 16 March 1854]
Herbertson family left for Scotland in May 1855 and return in June 1857 [shipping records]
Brierly, Bridgewater may have been built after the return of the family from Scotland
death of his son James at Bridgewater [Portland Guardian & Normanby General Advertiser, 16 August 1861]; this is the first reference to the family living at Bridgewater found to date
Brierly (not Briery) was advertised for letting [Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser , 16 January, 3 February & 13 February 1868]
opened a new drapery establishment at the corner of Julia and Percy Streets [Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser , 2 March 1868]
his draper's shop on the corner of Julia and Percy Streets was advertised up until his death in 1879
death recorded [Portland Guardian 25 January 1879]
on death his estate was valued at £3,990 including an 'unfinished stone house with part brick partitions and slate roof' and the Britannia Hotel [Probate document]
his son Thomas purchased the property and lived there until his death in 1932 [Probate document]
BRIERY - Assessment Against Criteria
a. Importance to the course, or pattern, of Victoria's cultural history
Briery is associated with the early settlement of the Portland region by settlers from Van Diemen's Land. It was built for his own family by Robert Herbertson, a prominent citizen of Portland from the early 1840s, who built a number of Portland's early buildings, including the Steam Packet Inn and the Britannia Inn. The house remained in the Herbertson family for a century and a half.
b. Possession of uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of Victoria's cultural history.
c. Potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Victoria's cultural history.
d. Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural places or environments.
Briery is a fine example in Victoria of a Colonial Georgian style house. This style is relatively common in New South Wales and Tasmania, but is rare in Victoria due to the later settlement of the colony.
e. Importance in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics.
f. Importance in demonstrating a high degree of creative or technical achievement at a particular period.
g. Strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons. This includes the significance of a place to Indigenous peoples as part of their continuing and developing cultural traditions.
h. Special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in Victoria's history.
Briery was built by Robert Herbertson, an early settler in Portland, who practised as a builder in Portland and constructed some of the town's earliest substantial buildings.
BRIERY - Plaque Citation
This fine Colonial Georgian style house was built c1850 as his own home by Robert Herbertson, an early settler who arrived from Launceston in 1841 and constructed many of Portland's oldest buildings.
BRIERY - Permit ExemptionsGeneral Conditions: 1. All exempted alterations are to be planned and carried out in a manner which prevents damage to the fabric of the registered place or object. General Conditions: 2. Should it become apparent during further inspection or the carrying out of works that original or previously hidden or inaccessible details of the place or object are revealed which relate to the significance of the place or object, then the exemption covering such works shall cease and Heritage Victoria shall be notified as soon as possible. General Conditions: 3. If there is a conservation policy and plan endorsed by the Executive Director, all works shall be in accordance with it. Note: The existence of a Conservation Management Plan or a Heritage Action Plan endorsed by the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria provides guidance for the management of the heritage values associated with the site. It may not be necessary to obtain a heritage permit for certain works specified in the management plan. General Conditions: 4. Nothing in this determination prevents the Executive Director from amending or rescinding all or any of the permit exemptions. General Conditions: 5. Nothing in this determination exempts owners or their agents from the responsibility to seek relevant planning or building permits from the responsible authorities where applicable. Minor Works : Note: Any Minor Works that in the opinion of the Executive Director will not adversely affect the heritage significance of the place may be exempt from the permit requirements of the Heritage Act. A person proposing to undertake minor works may submit a proposal to the Executive Director. If the Executive Director is satisfied that the proposed works will not adversely affect the heritage values of the site, the applicant may be exempted from the requirement to obtain a heritage permit. If an applicant is uncertain whether a heritage permit is required, it is recommended that the permits co-ordinator be contacted.
BRIERY - Permit Exemption Policy
The purpose of the Permit Policy is to assist when considering or making decisions regarding works to the place. It is recommended that any proposed works be discussed with an officer of Heritage Victoria prior to them being undertaken or a permit is applied for. Discussing any proposed works will assist in answering any questions the owner may have and aid any decisions regarding works to the place. It is recommended that a Conservation Management Plan is undertaken to assist with the future management of the cultural significance of the place.
The addition of new buildings to the site may impact upon the cultural heritage significance of the place and requires a permit. The purpose of this requirement is not to prevent any further development on this site, but to enable management of possible adverse impacts on heritage significance during that process.
The extent of registration protects the whole site. The significance of the place lies in its rarity and intactness as a fine example of a Colonial Georgian style house. All of the registered building is integral to the significance of the place and any external or internal alterations that impact on its significance are subject to permit application. The plaster has at some time been removed from many of the interior walls, and the restoration of this would be encouraged.
WATTLE HILL METHODIST CHAPEL, BRIDGEWATER RD, PORTLANDVictorian Heritage Inventory
Road, Bluestone CobblesGlenelg Shire
"AMF Officers" ShedMoorabool Shire
"AQUA PROFONDA" SIGN, FITZROY POOLVictorian Heritage Register H1687