What is significant? A brick residence was recorded as existing on the site at the corner of Adair and High Streets in the earliest Maldon Rate Book of 1866. The recorded owner, Thomas Blenkiron, purchased the land in 1861, erected the residence by 1866 and subsequently sold it to John Lewis, a miner, in 1867. It remained in this family's ownership until 1894 when it was sold to James Rule, a legal manager who had arrived in Maldon in 1866 and took the mining lease of the South German Mine with Isaac Daniels. Rule became legal manager of this and other mines in the Maldon, Ballarat and Ararat districts. The house was owned by the Rule family until the 1920s. Throughout this period, the recorded value of this house was much greater than many other dwellings in Maldon.
Maldon?s wealth was based on quartz mining, with mines well established by the late 1850s. The town was surveyed and sites were sold in 1856, and from this date substantial and permanent buildings were constructed. Because of the nature of quartz mining, many miners bought sites and subsequently built houses throughout the town and by 1861 Maldon was the eighth largest town in Victoria. Quartz mining was profitable in Maldon until the early 1900s, with, in fact, a revival in the 1890s due to depressed economic conditions in other areas.
It appears that the house was built in two stages, although this is not reflected in the Rate Book valuations. It has been suggested that the first section, built by 1866, comprised two rooms each side of a central passageway, with the main entrance from Adair Street. An external concave verandah appears to have fronted Adair Street. The second stage would appear to have been added in the 1890s, probably by James Rule after he acquired the property in 1894. It included a ballroom, anteroom and new entrance hall from High Street and a new verandah which encircled both the High Street and Adair Street facades. It would also appear likely that the rear section, including kitchen and service areas, was added at this stage.
The house is a single storey brick dwelling with a render finish. The Adair Street frontage has quoined corners and an extensive verandah, with cast iron valance, encircles three sides of the house. A gable end, which faces High Street and defines the position of the ballroom, is of pedimented form, incorporating a cornice, architrave and acroteria and contains a bay window with spiralling Corinthian columnettes, a stylised architrave and lead light window panels.
The interior of the house is dominated by the elaborately decorated plaster ceiling of the ballroom. This features a finely detailed cornice and frieze and concentric ceiling details which incorporate a simple perimeter moulding and floral designs with a three-dimensional appearance. Etched glass doors lead into the ballroom which contains a black marble fire place, flanked by recessed arches. Similar arches also flank fireplaces in the four rooms which were thought to be built earlier. The plaster work in the entrance hall and sitting room is less elaborate, but complements that of the ballroom.
How is it significant? Gordonville, Maldon is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant? Gordonville, Maldon is of architectural significance due to its elaborate ballroom interior which is exceptional and intact. It contains some fine and unusual detailing, including the ballroom window and gable end. It is a substantial house which is conspicuously located in the historic township of Maldon.
The residence is of historical significance as an example of a house first built in the 1860s when quartz mining was developing in the area, and then extensively added to in the 1890s in a period when the town of Maldon was relatively prosperous, while many areas in Victoria went into decline. It is illustrative of these stages of Maldon?s development and, together with many other intact examples in the town, forms an important collection of 19th century buildings. Its association with the Rule family, who resided in Maldon for many years, is also significant. [Online Data Upgrade Project 2004]