Shenton was built in 1890 for the coal, chaff and grain merchant John Shenton Gordon. The house was purchased in 1897 by George Swinburne, the prominent engineer, commercial entrepreneur, politician and member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly. Together with his wife Ethel, George Swinburne was an advocate of technical education in Victoria. Their support enabled the opening of the Eastern Suburbs Technical School in 1908 (later the Swinburne Institute of Technology) and in the 1916 the opening of the first technical school for girls in Australia as a branch of the school. The Swinburne family occupied the house until its sale in 1963 to the Immigration Department for use as an immigration reception centre. Shenton is a two-storey red brick building featuring an asymmetrical front facade, original internal features and garden landscape features created for George Swinburne.
How is it significant?
Shenton is of historic and architectural significance to the State of Victoria
Why is it significant?
Shenton is of historical importance because of its association with George and Ethel Swinburne. It is important in exhibiting the aesthetic characteristics of late nineteenth century house and garden design. It is important in demonstrating social and cultural associations with the Swinburne family who were prominent in Melbourne society and philanthropists of education. It is also important in demonstrating the status and lifestyle sought by nineteenth century families in their residences.