12 August 2018

Port Fairy's Historical Buildings


Port Fairy has a wealth of 19th Century buildings built in amazing variety of styles and building materials. The national trust has classified over 50 buildings in the town and these range from small cottages to substantial homes and public buildings. Most of these buildings are privately owned and subsequently are not open to the public.

With the aid of a heritage supervisor, many homes have been restored to their former glory, the hours of work spent on them is obvious as you walk around the town. 

There are many interesting decorative features particularly on the cottages, intricate barge boards and cast iron lace, stone chimneys both round and square and fanlights over doorways. In the mains treets, bank & Sackville, some shops still have their original 19th century shop fronts and veranda posts.

Some of the more interesting buildings are:

The former ANZ bank, cnr Sackville & Cox St. In 1858 this building was described as the 'handsomest in the town' and is universally admired for its taste. In design terms, this building marks the transition between the Georgian style and the emergence of the Conservative Classical Revival style, in which most banks in Victoria were to be constructed. This building is one of the finest early banks in Victoria.

20 Bank st was originally the post office, purchased by the borough in 1881 and sold in 1991 to private owners.

Star of the West Hotel, corner Bank & Sackville St. This substantial two storey stone structure was erected in 1856 for John Walwyn Taylor, a West Indian negro and hotel entrepreneur. The colonial Georgian style building originally with a large timber verandah and later replaced with an iron structure, is a utilitarian design of unknown origin. One of the most notable of the many colonial Georgian style buildings in Port Fairy, it was, when completed in 1856, the largest and most commodious hotel in Western Victoria. The extensive balcony verandah was often used for public entertainment and political addresses. The hotel which was, for many years used as a Cobb & Co staging place, was intended to be part of a chain of 'Star' hotels to be built by Taylor, but which never eventuated because of Taylor's death in 1860. The 'Star of the West' hotel has been subject to many minor alterations necessitated by the Liquor Commission of Victoria regulations. The exteroir, including the later cast iron verandah, is intact

Woodbine Homestead was built of limestone, probably early 1840s (but possibly late1830s), the strong simplicity of form and lonely setting of Woodbine farm, where grey sand dunes sparsely laced with tough grasses lead to Mills' Reef and the wild seacoast east of Port Fairy, evokes the pioneering work of its first owner, Charles Mills, whaler and farmer, and one of Victoria's earliest settlers. 

The Merrijig Inn is of historical significance as one of the oldest surviving hotels in Victoria. Its location facing the site of the original jetty is central to the understanding of the development of Port Fairy in the 1840s following its officially sanctioned settlement. The remaining portion of the hotel is important for its association with governmental and municipal affairs in Port Fairy for more than thirty years. The Merrijig Inn is of architectural significance for its distinctive architectural form characteristic of early colonial building. Although the building has been substantially altered in detail, it retains the simplicity of its original form and much of the original and early fabric survives behind cosmetic changes.

The Caledonian Inn is of historical significance as probably the oldest continuously licensed hotel in the State having operated without interruption since 1844. The name Caledonian Inn is a reflection of the Scottish origins of the original owner David McLaws and the long-term association of the hotel with the McLaws family. The hotel is significant as a venue for social, commercial and official functions for more than one hundred and sixty years and remains a central element in the interpretation of the early development of Port Fairy, one of Victoria's earliest townships. The Caledonian Inn is of architectural significance for the retention of the early colonial forms such as simple shape, the chamfered entrance corner, and multi-pane sashes which are all essential characteristics of hotels in the pre-separation Victorian Georgian style. 

Port Fairy court house in Gipps st, now the Port Fairy Museum was built in 1859 and is an example of the Victorian Free Classical style with arcuated facade and gable roof. It is significant in its use of local bluestone. It was originally built to accommodate a circuit court, on the same plan as Pleasant Creek (Stawell), Hamilton and Creswick. Its alterations in 1864 and 1873-74 illustrate the sequence of usages over time to allow for additional accommodation including separate judge's room and barrister's room.

Gobles Mill House, former bluestone flour mill on the Moyne River

Mott's Cottage, Sackville st, originally the home to Charles Mills, one of our earliest residents. It later become the home of his brother John, believed to be one of the oldest houses in Victoria (early 1840's) it is now owned by the state government and opened regularly for visitor to peruse.

No 1, William St. Built of random stone this interesting cottage was built in the 1850's.

Seacombe House, corner Sackville and Cox st. Originally called the Stag Hotel and built in 1847. Used as a guest house and a school in the past, the small cottages on the south have served as council offices and a bank.

St Johns Church. The architect was Nathaniel Billing and the church was built in the 1850's with the tower added in the 1950's.

St Patrick's Church was built in 1858 and has interesting stone guttering, water spills and an octagonal belfry. 

Pick up a historical building walk map from the Port Fairy Visitor Information Centre to discover history around every corner.

About the Blogger



Follow the yellow and blue 'i' signs to the Visitor Information Centre in Port Fairy for tips, maps, brochures and advice on how to make the most of your stay. The Centre contains a comprehensive display of local attractions, wildlife and accommodation options that will help bring to life your Great Ocean Road experience.


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