487-495 COLLINS STREET MELBOURNE, MELBOURNE CITY
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Statement of Significance
What is significant?
The Winfield Building, formerly the Wool Exchange building, 487-495 Collins Street, was erected in 1891. It became known as the Winfield Building from the mid 1920s. The architects were Charles D’Ebro and Richard Speight jnr. It is believed to have been built for J R Murphy, owner of Murphy’s brewery. Part of the financing for the building came from the architect and his father, Richard Speight Snr, a commissioner of the Victorian Railways. From 1892 to 1894 the building was Melbourne's first amalgamated wool exchange and incorporated an auction hall which brought together all the Melbourne wool sales. Other tenants in the rear stores included the Melbourne Chilled Butter Company and Melbourne Cool Storage Co. The front section to Collins Street is all that remains of the original, much larger complex. The rear of the Winfield Building was replaced by a fourteen storey extension in 1984, part of the redevelopment of the site as a hotel. The four storey building with a facade to Collins Street was built as two ground level shops with offices overhead. It is constructed of brick on a bluestone plinth and cement render mouldings. It is in the English Queen Anne style, reflecting the architectural influence of Richard Norman Shaw in England. The corner treatment echoes the adjacent Rialto building, being splayed and crowned by a conical turret. Characteristic of the Queen Anne style is the steep pediment at roof level, reminiscent of Flemish gables and penetrated by windows. Also contributing to the style is the banded cement contrasting to the face red brickwork and the wide variety of window treatments. The dormer windows and decorative iron ridgework add further interest to the variegated and picturesque roofline.
How is it significant?
The Winfield Building is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The Winfield Building is architecturally significant as one of the best examples of the Queen Anne style in Victoria. In contrast to the Gothic and classical modes, the Queen Anne style was employed only sparingly for Victoria’s commercial buildings in the 1890s. However, the style was well suited to the flamboyant and confident designs favoured by commercial developers during the so-called ‘boom period’. It is one of architect Charles D’Ebro’s finest buildings.
The Winfield Building is architecturally significant for its unique spatial relationship to the adjacent Rialto building, with which it formed a narrow laneway. Together they form an integral part of the exceptional block of late Victorian ‘boom’ period buildings in Collins Street.
The Winfield Building is historically significant as the location of the amalgamated Wool Exchange. The wool industry and its stores was a dominant force in the west part of the city and the Winfield Building became a focal point for the industry from the early 1890s.
The Winfield Building is historically significant as a demonstration of the building boom in Melbourne during the early 1890s, shortly before the economic depression halted building for most of the decade. The design demonstrates the new approach to office accommodation, being specifically planned for a range of commercial tenants and with shops to the ground floor of the street facade.
WINFIELD BUILDING - HistoryContextual History:
Influenced by the moralism of English Gothic Revivalists, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin and John Ruskin, the revival of medieval Gothic design principles was regarded by many architects as the answer to the problem of a modern style for the 19th century. An ‘honest’ idiom of expression with links to religious virtue, the Gothic Revival was favoured by designers of churches, schools and university buildings. Varying according to religious persuasion, the Catholic and Anglican churches were the most vocal champions of the Gothic, reflected in the commissioning of extreme High Anglican English architect William Butterfield to design St Pauls Cathedral. A different form of Gothic Revival was used in commercial buildings such as the Olderfleet and the Rialto, their rich, repetitive facades evocative of Venetian mercantile exchange (Philip Goad, Melbourne Architecture p.71).
History of Place:
Associated People: Richard Speight Jnr.
Richard Speight Snr.
WINFIELD BUILDING - Assessment Against Criteria
a. The historical importance, association with or relationship to Victoria's history of the place or object
The Winfield Building was the location of the amalgamated Wool Exchange. The wool industry and its stores was a dominant force in the west part of the city and the Winfield Building became a focal point for the industry from the early 1890s.
b. The importance of a place or object in demonstrating rarity or uniqueness
The Winfield Building has a unique spatial relationship to the adjacent Rialto building, with which it formed a narrow laneway known as Winfield Square.
In contrast to the Gothic and classical modes, the Queen Anne style was employed only sparingly for Victoria's commercial buildings in the 1890s.
c. The place or object's potential to educate, illustrate or provide further scientific investigation in relation to Victoria's cultural heritage
d. 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
The design of the Winfield Building demonstrates the contemporary approach to office accommodation, being specifically planned for a range of commercial tenants and with shops to the ground floor of the street facade.
e. 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 Queen Anne style was well suited to the flamboyant and confident designs favoured by commercial developers during the so-called 'boom period'. It is one of architect Charles D'Ebro's most exuberant buildings.
f. The importance of the place or object in demonstrating or being associated with scientific or technical innovations or achievements
g The importance of the place or object in demonstrating social or cultural associations
WINFIELD BUILDING - 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.
* Removal of extraneous items such as air conditioners, pipe work, ducting, wiring, signage, antennae, aerials etc, and making good.
* No other exemptions apply.
*Any works to the interior which do not effect the external structure, fabric or decorative scheme of the building
WINFIELD BUILDING - Permit Exemption PolicyThe purpose of the permit exemptions is to allow works that do not impact on the significance of the place to take place without the need for a permit.
The significance of the Winfield Building lies totally in the external shell. The exterior was completely restored in 1984. The internal spaces, considerably altered, are no longer considered significant. All works which do not affect the external structure, fabric or decorative scheme are permit exempt. All alterations to the exterior, including signage, will require a permit.
FORMER ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARMY MEDICAL CORPS TRAINING DEPOTVictorian Heritage Register H0717
MITRE TAVERNVictorian Heritage Register H0464
MELBOURNE SAVAGE CLUBVictorian Heritage Register H0025
"AMF Officers" ShedMoorabool Shire
"AQUA PROFONDA" SIGN, FITZROY POOLVictorian Heritage Register H1687