Statement of Significance
James Blair was appointed Police Magistrate in Portland on 18 August 1840 and arrived in October 1840. Blair Mona (or Blair Gowen as it is also known) was believed to have been built in 1841 for James Blair on 24 acres of land he had purchased. It is not known whether Blair actually lived in the house before he built his house known as "Greenmount", Wellington Road, in 1846. Blair Mona is situated on a hill south of Portland and enjoys a panoramic view of the town and the bay. It is a bluestone farmhouse with a verandah, timber sash windows, corrugated iron roof and a dormer window. The building exhibits the symmetry, proportions and simple rectangular form characteristic of the Victorian Georgian style.
How is it significant?
Blair Mona has architectural and historical significance to the state of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Blair Mona has architectural and historical significance as one of a relatively small group of pre-1851 structures surviving in Victoria. It is a notable example of a farmhouse exhibiting early 19th century vernacular rural building traditions through its form and material.
As one of the earliest permanent buildings erected in Portland, Blair Mona has historical associations with Portland, Victoria's oldest settlement. It has historical significance for its associations with James Blair, who held the important position as first Police Magistrate in Portland. He was later appointed magistrate for Bourke as well as Portland. During his 26 years as magistrate he held other official positions including deputy sheriff and immigration agent. He was also director of the Union Bank and the Bank of Victoria and patron of many charities.
BLAIR MONA - HistoryContextual History:
History of Place:
Sealing activities had already been taking place around the Portland area since the 1820s. William Dutton first visited Portland in 1828 as a sealer and settled there in 1829, establishing a whaling industry. The Henty family journeyed from Tasmania in search of land for their stock and settled in the Portland area in 1834. The township was laid out by Charles Tyers and Thomas Townsend in 1840 and £17,000 worth of land was sold in Melbourne on 15 October 1840. James Blair was appointed Police Magistrate on 18 August 1840 and arrived in October 1840. He stayed in the post for 23 years and was described by Noel Learmonth in his book "The Portland Bay Settlement" as a just, but severe man.
Blair Gowen or Blair Mona was believed to have been built in the 1840s for James Blair. It is not known whether Blair actually lived in the house before he built his house known as "Greenmount", Wellington Road, in 1846.
Associated People: James Blair
BLAIR MONA - Assessment Against Criteria
The historical importance, association with or relationship to Victoria's history of the place or object.
Blair Gowen has historical associations with James Blair, first Police Magistrate for Portland. It was one of the first bluestone houses built in Portland, the earliest settlement in Victoria.
The importance of a place or object in demonstrating rarity or uniqueness.
Blair Gowen is one of a relatively small group of pre-1851 structures in Victoria.
The place or object's potential to educate, illustrate or provide further scientific investigation in relation to Victoria's cultural heritage.
The importance of a place or object in exhibiting the principal characteristics or the representative nature of a place or object as part of a class or type of places or objects.
Blair Gowen displays the characteristics of early vernacular rural building traditions through its form and material.
The importance of the place or object in exhibiting good design or aesthetic characteristics and/or in exhibiting a richness, diversity or unusual integration of features.
The importance of the place or object in demonstrating or being associated with scientific or technical innovations or achievements.
The importance of the place or object in demonstrating social or cultural associations.
Any other matter which the Council considers relevant to the determination of cultural heritage significance
BLAIR MONA - Permit ExemptionsGeneral Exemptions:General exemptions apply to all places and objects included in the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR). General exemptions have been designed to allow everyday activities, maintenance and changes to your property, which don’t harm its cultural heritage significance, to proceed without the need to obtain approvals under the Heritage Act 2017.Specific exemptions may also apply to your registered place or object. If applicable, these are listed below. Specific exemptions are tailored to the conservation and management needs of an individual registered place or object and set out works and activities that are exempt from the requirements of a permit. Specific exemptions prevail if they conflict with general exemptions. Find out more about heritage permit exemptions here.Specific Exemptions:General 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.
2. Should it become apparent during further inspection or the carrying out of alterations 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 alteration shall cease and the Executive Director shall be notified as soon as possible.
3. If there is a conservation policy and plan approved by the Executive Director, all works shall be in accordance with it.
4. Nothing in this declaration prevents the Executive Director from amending or rescinding all or any of the permit exemptions.
Nothing in this declaration exempts owners or their agents from the responsibility to seek relevant planning or building permits from the responsible authority where applicable.
* Minor repairs and maintenance which replace like with like.
* Enclose front of verandah with glass.
* Removal of extraneous items such as air conditioners, pipe work, ducting, wiring, antennae, aerials etc, and making good.
* Installation or repair of damp-proofing by either injection method or grouted pocket method.
* Regular garden maintenance.
* Installation, removal or replacement of garden watering systems.
* All interior works are permit exempt excluding structural alterations.
BLAIR MONA - Permit Exemption Policy
The purpose of the permit exemptions is to allow works that do not impact on the significance of the place to occur without the need for a permit. Alterations that impact on the significance of the exterior are subject to permit applications. Alterations to the interior, excluding structural works, are permit exempt. It is the intention of the permit exemptions to allow works to the interior of the building, while ensuring that the overall structural integrity of Blair Mona is maintained.
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"AMF Officers" ShedMoorabool Shire
"AQUA PROFONDA" SIGN, FITZROY POOLVictorian Heritage Register H1687