The Deanside Homestead Complex (formerly known as the Rockbank Head Station) being the Woolshed, Managers House, Shearers Quarters, Boundary Riders Quarters, Cookhouse, Stables, Drenching Shed and Well; a Causeway (Ford) across Kororoit Creek; the archaeological remains of the former Mansion Precinct, Killing Shed, Rendering Works and Store Ruin; and dry stone walls.
The Deanside Homestead Complex is the core part of the pastoral run known as 'Rockbank' originally held by William Cross Yuille (1819-94). It was part of Yuille's pre-emptive right of 640 acres and one of the first pastoral properties held in the district. Yuille held the property from 1846 until it was sold in 1853 to William John Turner Clarke (1805-1874). Known as 'Big' Clarke, he was a successful landowner with vast property interests including the massive 40,000 acre (16,000 ha) Rockbank Estate. Deanside became the head station of this pastoral empire on the western plains which was focused on growing wool and fattening sheep for the Newmarket meat trade. In 1864 construction commenced on the bluestone Woolshed which was designed by the architectural firm of Reed and Barnes. The Shearers Quarters were constructed in 1876, the Boundary Riders Quarters in 1878, and the Cookhouse and Stables were all built in or around the same time. During this era of development, the Managers House which was originally located near the Rockbank Inn, was re-erected on its present site, and Clarke built the single-storey bichrome brick 17 room mansion prior to 1875. Additions were also made to the woolshed by Reed and Barnes. On the death of WJT Clarke in 1874, all his properties in Victoria, worth about £1,500,000, went to his eldest son, William John Clarke (1831-1897). In that same year, WJ Clarke, later to become Australia's first baronet, commenced building the mansion Rupertswood (H0275) at Sunbury, becoming a leader in colonial society. Deanside remained in the Clarke family until about 1907. The original mansion at Deanside was destroyed by fire in 1980 and the remains were bulldozed after 1982.
The Deanside Homestead Complex is a substantially intact complex of agricultural buildings as well as archaeological remains of a mansion and other farm-related structures dating from the 1860s and 70s located in a rural landscape setting.
This site is part of the traditional land of the Kulin Nation.
How is it significant?
The Deanside Homestead Complex is of historical and archaeological significance to the State of Victoria. It satisfies the following criterion for inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register:
Criterion A Importance to the course, or pattern, of Victoria's cultural history
Criterion C Potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Victoria's cultural history.
Why is it significant?
The Deanside Homestead Complex is significant at the State level for the following reasons:
The Deanside Homestead Complex is a substantially intact complex of rural buildings dating from the 1860s and 70s. It was developed by wealthy pastoralist WJT 'Big' Clarke from 1853 who purchased the property from William Yuille. Clarke employed the noted architectural firm of Reed and Barnes to construct the woolshed in 1864, which is among the earliest substantial bluestone woolsheds in Victoria. The homestead complex is an important and early example of a prosperous rural holding in mid to late nineteenth-century Victoria. This is evident in the archaeological remains of the original mansion and other structures, as well as extant buildings including the Shearers Quarters, Boundary Riders Quarters, Managers House and Stables. The place demonstrates the wealth generated by the Clarke family from their vast pastoral interests. The extent of the Clarke's holdings in north western Victoria is evoked by the remains of the mansion that was used when the family visited from their principle residence Rupertswood at Sunbury from 1874. [Criterion A]
The Deanside Homestead Complex is of archaeological significance because it contains foundations, deposits and artefacts associated with the ownership and development of the property by William Yuille from 1846, and then by wealthy pastoralist WJT Clarke and the Clarke family from 1853 to around 1907. In addition to remains of the pre-1875 mansion, there is a grouping of bluestone ruins associated with slaughtering and rendering activities located away from the homestead. These and other structures at the site, as well as sub-surface artefacts and deposits, may contribute knowledge regarding the workings of a large pastoral estate from the 1840s. The archaeology may also provide information about the lifestyles of people from widely differing socio-economic backgrounds living and working in close juxtaposition on an early pastoral station. [Criterion C]
The Deanside Homestead Complex is also significant for the following reasons, but not at the State level:
The Deanside Homestead Complex is associated with the Clarke family who established a pastoral empire in the district through their development of the 40,000 acre (16,000 ha) Rockbank Estate. The place is believed by older local residents to also include graves of former quarry workers who died on the property.