OLD BOURKE STREET WEST POLICE STATION AND CELL BLOCK SOHE 2008
Statement of Significance
What is significant?
The Bourke Street West Police Station complex is comprised of a cell block and watchhouse, police barracks and station, sergeant's quarters and marshalling yard. The main barracks were erected in 1888-9 to the design of the Public Works Department. The drawings were executed by SC Brittingham and countersigned by SE Bindley, the district architect. The two storey building is constructed of face red brick on bluestone footings with Waurn Ponds limestone dressings, parapet and fleurons. The fleurons, foliated cornice and bowtell mouldings are all derived from the drawings of French architect Viollet-le-Duc, whose work was very influential in Victoria. The main facade is symmetrical except for the carriageway leading to the rear courtyard. The style is a restrained form of Gothic incorporating pointed Florentine arches on the first storey and stilted segmental arches on the ground floor. The axed bluestone cell block at the rear of the barracks was built to designs by Brittingham and Bindley in 1887. It is a simple rectangle in form with a hipped slate roof and louvred lantern along the ridge. The only elaboration is the segmental arch opening with smooth stone reveals contrasting to the surrounding wall faces.
How is it significant?
The Bourke Street West Police Station is of historical and architectural significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The Bourke Street West Police Station of historically significant as the only remaining intact nineteenth century police station in inner Melbourne. It is a significant remnant of continuous government administration in this area of the western end of Melbourne dating back to 1837.
The Bourke Street West Police Station is architecturally significant for its main facade which demonstrates the varied sources of High Victorian eclectic architecture, including face red brick, Florentine arches, and decorative dressings derived from the work of Viollet-le-Duc.