What is significant? The former Austin Hospital for Incurables Complex, Studley Road, Heidelberg, was founded in 1882. Contributory elements include the Davies Building of 1889-90 and mature Washingtonia robusta palm tree, the former Gate Lodge of 1892 and 1906-7, the Bowen Centre of 1897 and adjoining mature ficus tree, the former Marian Drummond Nurses' Home of 1913-14, Zeltner Hall of 1917 and two mature plane trees, the former Edward Wilson Nurses' Home of 1925, and the mature oak avenue south-east of the Edward Wilson Nurses' Home planted prior to 1920.
The Austin Research Centre (former Kronheimer Wing) of 1905 is of local historic interest. The 1990s addition on the north side of the Bowen Centre is not significant.
How is it significant? The former Austin Hospital for Incurables Complex is significant for historic, social, architectural and aesthetic reasons at a Regional (metropolitan Melbourne) level.
Why is it significant? Historically, the former Austin Hospital for Incurables Complex is the only medical hospital within the metropolitan area to have retained a complex of 19th-century buildings. The Davies Centre, the Bowen Centre, and the Gate Lodge all retain recognisably 19th-century forms and building fabric. While the Davies Centre was altered by the addition of wide balconies in 1912, this change is part of the building's significant early history within the hospital complex.
The buildings are significant for their associations with early hospital benefactors. All of the contributory buildings were constructed with donations from private benefactors, and often named after them or their loved ones. The former Gate Lodge is the only surviving building in the hospital complex to have been funded by Elizabeth Austin, the founding benefactor of the hospital.
Zeltner Hall is of social significance for its role as the social, recreational and religious centre for the hospital.
Architecturally, the Marian Drummond Nurses' Home is an interesting and intact example of a late Federation transitional bungalow style applied to an institutional building. The combination of geometric pattern iron balustrading panels at the lower level and shingles to the upper level of the verandah is also unusual. The Edward Wilson Nurses' Home is a highly intact example of a Georgian Revival building designed by Melbourne architects Blackett and Forster.
The Bowen, Marian Drummond and Edward Wilson nurses' homes are of historic significance as a unique group of the earliest surviving purpose-built nurses' homes in metropolitan Melbourne.
Aesthetically and historically, the contributory buildings in a landscape setting with an avenue of mature trees, lawns, pathways and vistas create an attractive complex which is tangible evidence of the human scale of 19th and early 20th-century hospital complexes.