The timber Residence, Stawell Street, Tarraville belonged to local storekeeper, Thomas H. Smith. Though its exact date of construction is unknown, it is most likely to have been constructed in the 1840s.
In 1841, John Reeve was granted land on the eastern bank of the Tarra River as a Special Survey. Farm allotments of various sizes in the 'Tarra Vale Estate', also known as 'Reeves Special Survey', were advertised for lease in September 1843, located on lightly timbered, rich alluvial flats. Within the estate, Reeve's township was named Tara Ville or Tarraville. Tarraville township was surveyed in mid-1843 and located at the south-west corner of the estate, adjacent to the later government township (also known as Tarraville). By 1845, it contained a licensed hotel, 'good stores' and various tradesmen and was deemed 'flourishing' by a newspaper correspondent in 1847. Tarraville was well placed to supply Tasmania (from Port Albert) with cattle and sheep, and it was important in supplying the Gippsland goldfields in the 1850s. Its population grew on the basis of this trade, increasing from 99 to 339 between 1848 and 1857 - the largest town in Gippsland in the 1850s.
The Residence is located on what was Loughnan Street in the township on the Special Survey estate and is one of only two buildings remaining from this township. Thomas H. Smith had arrived in Tarraville by 1850, as he was listed in the Victoria Directory of 1851. Smith's residence and shop were first cited in the 1856 electoral roll, the year Smith purchased the allotment from Reeve, and he was rated for this residence between 1863 and 1874.
The Residence, Stawell Street, Tarraville, is a weatherboard building with a pit-sawn hardwood frame and cladding and a high hipped roof. It has an asymmetrical facade, which faces what was the yard, rather than the street. The Residence comprised one large room and two smaller rooms. Internal walls were clad in lath and plaster, some of which remains in the smaller rooms. Other early internal features include ogee moulding on internal doorways, shingles in the roof, and a cedar fanlight, recently removed for repair from above the front door. A pear tree, believed to date from the 1860s, remains near the house and the area surrounding the house has the potential for archaeological relics from its early occupation.
How is it significant?
The Residence, Stawell Street, Tarraville is of historical, architectural, archaeological and aesthetic significance to the State of Victoria, and is also of State significance for its rarity.
Why is it significant? The Residence at Stawell Street, Tarraville is of historical significance as an early remnant of a once flourishing, commercially and geographically important town in South Gippsland. The construction techniques and materials indicate evidence of the area's early trade links with Tasmania, the basis of the area's growth.
The Residence at Stawell Street, Tarraville is of significance for its construction methods and materials, which indicate it dates from the 1840s, and is a rare example of pre-Separation and pre-gold rush settlement in Gippsland.
The Residence, Stawell Street, Tarraville is of aesthetic significance as an example of an early, simple residential building form in Victoria, dating from the pre-Separation and pre-gold rush era in Victoria.
The Residence at Stawell Street, Tarraville is of architectural significance for its demonstration of construction methods and materials which are unusual for the State of Victoria, and which indicate it dates from the 1840s.
The site is of archaeological significance for its potential to reveal relics relating to the pre-Separation and pre-gold rush era occupation of the site and early settlement in Gippsland in the mid-nineteenth century.