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Victorian Heritage Register
Statement of Significance
What is significant?The Former Geelong Grammar School including all of the south wing (interior and exterior) and all of the land. The bungalow at 55A Maud Street and the front fence are of contributory significance.
How is it significant?The Former Geelong Grammar School is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria. It satisfies the following criterion for inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register:
Why is it significant?The Former Geelong Grammar School is significant at the State level for the following reasons:
FORMER GEELONG GRAMMAR SCHOOL - History
The Geelong Grammar School
Steps towards the establishment of the Geelong Grammar School were made at the Masonic Hall, Union Street, Geelong, in 1853, but it was not until 1855 when Archdeacon Stretch opened the Grammar School in temporary premises in Villamanta Street, Geelong West. In 1856, the school purchased land in McKillop Street and architects Backhouse and Reynolds were commissioned to design a purpose built school for 525 pupils with a master’s residence. The foundation stone was laid in 1857 by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Henry Barkly, with the Bishop of Melbourne and the Archdeacon of Geelong in attendance.
The school was designed in the Gothic style and comprised three wings around a central quadrangle. The main entrance faced Moorabool Street with additional wings facing McKillop Street on the northern side and Maud Street southern side.
In 1860 the school was forced into bankruptcy and closed, however it reopened in 1863 with the aid of a new group of trustees and the support of a number of influential Western District families including the Armytages, Chirnsides and Manifolds. By this date, the grounds had been formally landscaped and featured garden beds and pathways behind a picket fence. Alterations and additions occurred in 1906-1909, including a single storey extension to the north wing.
In 1911 the Geelong Grammar School moved to a new 400 acre site at Corio, north of Geelong. The school vacated the Moorabool Street site in 1914, which was purchased by the City of Geelong for possible use as a town hall. The proposal did not proceed and much of the surrounding land was subsequently subdivided and sold as the Old Geelong Grammar School Estate. In 1916, the main entrance wing facing Moorabool Street was demolished and the north wing became the head office of the Beacon Trading Company. In the same year the wing facing Maud Street was acquired by Stephen Wrathall, Geelong businessman and Alderman of the City of Geelong. Architect I G Anderson was engaged to convert the place into a boarding house and in 1916, tenders were invited for the leasing of the Grammar School Mansions. The successful tenderer was Miss Cosgrove who named the place ‘Dysart’ after a well-known former boarding house of the same name in Pevensey Crescent, Geelong. In 1917, I G Anderson was again engaged to carry out extensive additions and Dysart became a guest house for the middle and upper classes. It continued in this use until 1961 when it was converted for use as the Reformed Theological College. The north wing facing McKillop Street was demolished in 1960. Following conservation and restoration works, the remaining wing of the Former Geelong Grammar School opened as student accommodation in 2018.
The residence at 55A Maud StreetThe residence at 55A Maud Street was constructed by 1918 on the south east corner of the former gardens of the master’s residence. It faces west into the former garden (now carpark) and is most likely to have been designed by I.G. Anderson as part of the extensive additions he called tenders for a year earlier. A low fence separated the residence from the guest house garden and a secondary entrance from Backwell Lane allowed for privacy. It is also likely that the existing fence to Maud Street of rendered piers with woven wire panels was constructed at this time.Selected bibliography
Kellaway, C (n.d.) Research into Old Geelong Grammar School, Geelong for National Trust of Australia (Victoria)Rowe, D (2020) About Corayo: A Thematic History of Greater Geelong, City of Greater GeelongRowe, D (2020) Historical Background of the former Geelong Grammar School SiteWillingham, A (1986) Geelong Region; Historic Buildings and Objects StudyWild, D (1950) Tale of a City; Geelong 1850-1950 Rowe, D (2020) Historical Background of the former Geelong Grammar School Site
 Oral history provided by Miss Elizabeth Backwell (deceased, 28.12.22-14.3.20) moved into 57 Maud Street as a young girl in 1927.
FORMER GEELONG GRAMMAR SCHOOL - Permit Exemptions
The following categories of works or activities (permit exemptions) do not require a permit from Heritage Victoria. They are considered not to cause harm to the cultural heritage significance of the place.
Outdoor areasHard landscaping and servicesSubsurface works to existing watering and drainage systems.
- Minor repairs and maintenance which replaces like with like. Repairs and maintenance must maximise protection and retention of fabric and include the conservation of existing details or elements. Any repairs and maintenance must not exacerbate the decay of fabric due to chemical incompatibility of new materials, obscure fabric or limit access to such fabric for future maintenance.
- Maintenance, repair and replacement of existing external services such as plumbing, electrical cabling, surveillance systems, pipes or fire services which does not involve changes in location or scale, or additional trenching.
- Repair to, or removal of items such as antennae; aerials; and air conditioners and associated pipe work, ducting and wiring.
- Works or activities, including emergency stabilisation, necessary to secure safety in an emergency where a structure or part of a structure has been irreparably damaged or destabilised and poses a safety risk to its users or the public. The Executive Director, Heritage Victoria, must be notified within seven days of the commencement of these works or activities.
- Painting of previously painted external surfaces in the same colour, finish and product type provided that preparation or painting does not remove all evidence of earlier paint finishes or schemes.
- Cleaning of external surfaces including the removal of surface deposits by the use of low-pressure water (to maximum of 300 psi at the surface being cleaned) and neutral detergents and mild brushing and scrubbing with plastic (not wire) brushes.
Interiors (Former Geelong Grammar School building, 55 Maud Street)Works to maintain or upgrade existing bathrooms, kitchens and laundries, including installing new appliances, re-tiling and the like.
- Repair and maintenance of existing hard landscaping including carparks, paving, footpaths and driveways.
- Removal or replacement of external directional signage provided the size, location and material remains the same.
- Installation of physical barriers or traps to enable vegetation protection and management of vermin such as rats, mice and possums.
- Gardening, trees and plants
- The processes of gardening including mowing, pruning, mulching, fertilising, planting, removal of dead or diseased plants, and disease and weed control.
- Removal of tree seedlings and suckers.
- Management and maintenance of trees including formative and remedial pruning, removal of deadwood and pest and disease control.
- Emergency tree works to maintain public safety provided the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria is notified within seven days of the removal or works occurring.
- Removal of environmental and noxious weeds.
Interiors (Residence, 55A Maud Street)
- Painting of previously painted surfaces in the same colour, finish and product type provided that preparation or painting does not remove all evidence of earlier paint finishes or schemes. This exemption does not apply to areas where there are specialist paint techniques such as stencilling, hand painting, graining or marbling, murals or signage, or to wallpapered surfaces or to unpainted, oiled or varnished surfaces.
- Installation, removal or replacement of window furnishings, light fixtures and devices for mounting artworks.
- Installation, removal or replacement of carpets and/or flexible floor coverings, Replacement materials should also be carpet or flexible floor covering such as linoleum or vinyl.
- Installation, removal or replacement of existing electrical wiring. If wiring is currently exposed, it should remain exposed. If it is fully concealed it should remain fully concealed.
- Removal or replacement of smoke and fire detectors, alarms and the like, of the same size and in existing locations.
- Repair, removal or replacement of existing ducted, hydronic or concealed radiant type heating provided that the central plant is concealed, and that the work is done in a manner which does not alter building fabric.
- Installation of plant within the roof space, providing that it does not impact on the external appearance of the building or involve structural changes.
- Installation, removal or replacement of bulk insulation in the roof space.
- Works to maintain or upgrade existing bathrooms, kitchens and laundries, including installing new appliances, re-tiling and the like.
- Painting of previously painted surfaces.
- Installation, removal or replacement of window furnishings, light fixtures, carpets and/or flexible floor coverings and devices for mounting artworks.
- Installation, removal or replacement of electrical wiring.
- Installation, removal or replacement of plumbing and associated pipes.
- Installation, removal or replacement of smoke and fire detectors, alarms and the like.
- Installation, repair, removal or replacement of heating and cooling systems.
- Installation of plant within the roof space, providing that it does not alter the external appearance of the building or involve structural changes.
- Installation, removal or replacement of bulk insulation in the roof space.
FORMER GEELONG GRAMMAR SCHOOL - Permit Exemption Policy
The purpose of this information is to assist owners and other interested parties when considering or making decisions regarding works to a registered place. It is recommended that any proposed works be discussed with an officer of Heritage Victoria prior to making a permit application. Discussing proposed works will assist in answering questions the owner may have and aid any decisions regarding works to the place.
It is acknowledged that alterations and other works may be required to keep places and objects in good repair and adapt them for use into the future. However, under the Heritage Act 2017 a person must not knowingly, recklessly or negligently remove, relocate or demolish, damage or despoil, develop or alter or excavate all or any part of any part of a registered place without approval. It should be noted that the definition of ‘develop’ in the Act includes any works on, over or under the place.
If a person wishes to undertake works or activities in relation to a registered place or registered object, they must apply to the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria for a permit. The purpose of a permit is to enable appropriate change to a place and to effectively manage adverse impacts on the cultural heritage significance of a place as a consequence of change. If an owner is uncertain whether a heritage permit is required, it is recommended that Heritage Victoria be contacted.
Permits are required for anything which alters the place or object, unless a permit exemption is granted. Permit exemptions usually cover routine maintenance and upkeep issues faced by owners as well as minor works or works to the elements of the place or object that are not significant. They may include appropriate works that are specified in a conservation management plan. Permit exemptions can be granted at the time of registration (under section 38 of the Heritage Act) or after registration (under section 92 of the Heritage Act). It should be noted that the addition of new buildings to the registered place, as well as alterations to the interior and exterior of existing buildings requires a permit, unless a specific permit exemption is granted.
Disrepair of registered place or registered object
Under section 152 of the Act, the owner of a registered place or registered object must not allow that place or object to fall into disrepair.
Failure to maintain registered place or registered object
Under section 153 of the Act, the owner of a registered place or registered object must not fail to maintain that place or object to the extent that its conservation is threatened.
Conservation management plans
It is recommended that a Conservation Management Plan is developed to manage the place in a manner which respects its cultural heritage significance.
Aboriginal cultural heritage
If works are proposed which have the potential to disturb or have an impact on Aboriginal cultural heritage it is necessary to contact Aboriginal Victoria to ascertain any requirements under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006. If any Aboriginal cultural heritage is discovered or exposed at any time it is necessary to immediately contact Aboriginal Victoria to ascertain requirements under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.
Other approvalsPlease be aware that approval from other authorities (such as local government) may be required to undertake works.
ArchaeologyThere is no identified archaeology of State level significance at the place. However, any works that may affect historical archaeological features, deposits or artefacts at the place is likely to require a permit, permit exemption or consent. Advice should be sought from the Archaeology Team at Heritage Victoria.
- All works should ideally be informed by a Conservation Management Plan prepared for the place. The Executive Director is not bound by any Conservation Management Plan, and permits still must be obtained for works suggested in any Conservation Management Plan.
- Nothing in this determination prevents the Heritage Council from amending or rescinding all or any of the permit exemptions.
- Nothing in this determination exempts owners or their agents from the responsibility to seek relevant planning or building permits where applicable.
- All exempted alterations are to be planned and carried out in a manner which prevents damage to the fabric of the registered place.
- Should it become apparent during further inspection or the carrying out of works that original or previously hidden or inaccessible details of the place are revealed which relate to the significance of the place, then the exemption covering such works must cease and Heritage Victoria must be notified as soon as possible.
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