The Hermitage was upon completion in 1860 one of the finest Colonial Regency style mansion houses in Victoria, evocatively recalling the architecture of Van Diemens Land of the 1830s. The ionic portico and exquisitely proportioned, encircling wrought iron verandah is the most distinctive feature of this mansion, which is undoubtedly Edward Prowse's most impressive work. The mansion has considerable and important historical associations, firstly with the Armytage family and finally with the Geelong Church of England Girls Grammar School (1905-1973).
Former Van Diemens Land farmer and early Victorian pioneer, George Armytage, acquired the property, The Hermitage, from Geelong's retiring Police Magistrate N A Fenwick in 1851. Edward Prowse, architect, designed this two storey Colonial Regency style mansion for Armytage and construction from Barrabool freestone ashlar and basalt rubble was undertaken in 1859/60. The facade is dominated by an intricate wrought iron verandah and ionic portico.
The Hermitage, which was renamed Armytage House in 1973, has been restored and converted to the City of Newtown Council Offices. The fabric is largely intact, although the parapet entablature was not reinstated during restoration in 1973.
(Statement from the Register of the National Estate)
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