Bannockburn Precinct



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Bannockburn Precinct

Level of Significance

Included in Heritage Overlay


Statement of Significance

What is it significant?

The township of Bannockburn is located on the Shelford-Bannockburn Road between the crossing of Bruce's Creek and the Geelong-Ballarat Railway line. The township stands on land originally held as the 'Wabdallah' pastoral run. It was occupied by George Russell on behalf of the Clyde Company from 1837 to 1840 and later by James Bruce from 1840 until 1850. The township was gazetted following the formation of the Bannockburn Road Board in 1862 and the opening of the Leigh Road (later Bannockburn) Railway Station on the Geelong to Ballarat line in the same year. The township was laid out in a conventional grid on either side of High Street, aligned north-east to south-west, with the Geelong-Ballarat Railway line providing the eastern boundary of the grid. Bannockburn became the civic administrative centre of the district after the proclamation of the Shire of Bannockburn on the 30th of June 1864. It was also a thriving commercial hub, servicing trade generated from the railway and the surrounding pastoral and agricultural settlements. The large number of surviving commercial and public buildings, including the former Post Office, the Shire Hall, the Public Hall and the Bannockburn State School erected in 1874, reflects Bannockburn's position as an important service centre. The first churches to be established were St John's Anglican Church and St John the Evangelist Catholic Church, representing the dominant denominations of the area. Other notable buildings include the Bannockburn Railway Station and the bluestone lock-up, which was relocated from Lethbridge to Bannockburn in 1869. These buildings serve as reminders of Bannockburn's association with two important colonial trade routes, connecting the Ballarat goldfields with the port of Geelong via rail and overland passage. At least five hotels operated within the township during the mid 19th century. The Railway Hotel situated opposite the Bannockburn Railway Station remains operational, while the Somerset Hotel and Leigh Road Hotel are now private residences. Bannockburn and District Soldiers' War memorial was erected adjacent to the Shire Hall in 1925 as a tribute to those members of the local community that served and fell during World War 1. While surrounding townships experienced a decline in population and services during the mid twentieth century, Bannockburn recorded slow, but steady growth. In 1930, the township's population exceeded 300 people, with an increase to 328 people by 1968. Some 20 years later, in the 1980s, the township's population had swelled to 850. Factors including the breaking up of large estates into smaller holdings at the end of the nineteenth century and the Soldier Settlement Schemes have influenced this growth. More recently, Bannockburn has undergone substantial residential and commercial development as a satellite of Geelong.

How is it significant?

The Bannockburn Heritage Precinct is of historic, architectural and social significance to the community of Bannockburn and the Golden Plains Shire.

Why is it significant?

The Bannockburn Heritage Precinct is of historic significance as a township dating from the 1860s and as an important commercial centre servicing trade generated from the railway and surrounding pastoral properties. It is of architectural significance for its range of commercial, residential and public buildings dating from the nineteenth century, the most important being the Bannockburn Shire Hall and the surviving shops and hotels located on either side of High Street. It is of social significance as the focus for community life, education and recreation, and as an administrative centre of the former Bannockburn Shire and the current Golden Plains Shire.


The township of Bannockburn is located on the Shelford - Bannockburn Road 23 km north-west of Geelong. The land falls away to the south west at the crossing of Bruce's Creek. The township is laid out in a conventional grid on either side of High Street and is aligned north-east to south-west. It is composed of seven sections, with the Geelong to Ballarat Railway line providing the eastern boundary and the Bannockburn Park Reserve running the extent of Moore Street to provide the southern boundary. Approaching from Teesdale, the Shelford - Bannockburn Road runs in an east-west direction, passing Rosemond or Rosemount, formerly the Somerset Hotel (82 Bannockburn-Shelford Road) before crossing Bruce's Creek and curving in a north-easterly direction to become High Street.

The Bannockburn Heritage Precinct is located either side of High Street bound to the south-west by Pope Street and to the north-east by McPhillips Road. Residential buildings and the surviving civic and religious buildings are located on the northern side of High Street, accessed by a service road between Milton Street and McPhillips Road. These include St John the Evangelist Catholic Church (24 High Street), the Bannockburn Primary School No. 932 (13 Milton Street), the Bannockburn Shire Hall and War Memorial (12 High Street). The Public Hall is located on the southern side of High Street (27 High Street). The are a number of early timber cottages surviving on the southern side of High Street between Pope Street and Milton Street, including the Victorian timber cottages (41, 37, 35, 31 High Street) and a Federation timber cottage (39 High Street). A row of important early commercial and residential buildings line the southern side of High Street and are accessed by a service road between Milton Street and McPhillips Road. These include the timber Hardware Store (15 High Street), former Post Office (13 High Street), the former Leigh Road Hotel now on two titles (9 and 11 High Street) is altered and extended, but the front sections still represent the situation, form and general appearance of the former hotel. From 1878 onwards John Joseph Halpin was the owner of the Leigh Road Hotel until his wife Eliza took over in 1885. The entire hotel complex comprised of what are now numbers 9 and 11 High Street, Bannockburn. The earliest reference to the Leigh Road Hotel is in Bailliere's Victorian Gazetteer of 1865, in which the Leigh Road Hotel is listed as "the principal hotel in Wabdallah, or Leigh Road, a postal town in the Shire of Bannockburn". Just one year later the Geelong Advertiser of 12/10/1866, under the heading 'Hotels' - 'Leigh Road Hotel', states"John J Halpin begs to inform inhabitants and squatters of the Western District that he has taken over the celebrated hotel". After Eliza Halpin, William McIvor became the next owner in 1889, then in 1890 Ludwig Menck took over until his wife became owner in 1896. Rate book records list Amelia Menck as the publican of a hotelin Bannockburnon Blocks 4 & 5, but there is no hotel listed at that location from 1912 onwards. This would indicate it may have been delicensed around 1912.Number 9 High Street has been substantially rebuilt. The original interior, comprising the entrance, the single rooms either side, the four rooms beyond and the attic room above have been modernised. Although the form of the exterior of the structure including the walls, roof, chimney and veranda remain, they have been reclad, re-roofed and, with the possible exception of the upstairs window, almost all the doors and windows have been replaced. Number 11 High Street has also been substantially rebuilt. A large Ficus rubigenosa (Port Jackson Fig) is located at the rear (11 High Street).

The Bannockburn Railway Station and the remnant grasslands of the rail reserve dominate the eastern approach into town, with Clyde Road and the Shelford-Bannockburn Road converging at the crossing of the railway line to form High Street. The Bannockburn Railway Station (Clyde Road) is located just outside of the eastern boundary of the original township grid. McPhillips Road runs parallel to the Geelong to Ballarat line. The Railway Hotel (2 High Street corner of McPhillips Road) survives, with a row of four Pinus Radiata (Monterey Pine) located opposite the Railway Station. The 19th century bluestone lock-up (relocated from the nearby township of Lethbridge) and a cement water tower are located at the northern end of McPhillips Road on a grass reserve (3 Victor Street).

Australian Historic Themes

The Australian Heritage Commission devised the Australian Historic Themes in 2001. The following themes have influenced the historical development of the Bannockburn Precinct.

2. Peopling Australia

2.2 Adapting to diverse environments

2.5 Promoting settlement

3 Developing Local, Regional And National Economies

3.3 Surveying the continent

3.3.4 Looking for land with agricultural potential

3.3.5 Laying out boundaries

3.5 Developing primary production

3.5.1 Grazing stock

3.5.2 Breeding animals

3.5.3 Developing agricultural industries

3.6 Recruiting labour

3.7 Establishing communications

3.7.1 Establishing postal services

3.8 Moving goods and people

3.8.5 Moving goods and people on land

3.8.6 Building and maintaining railways

3.8.7 Building and maintaining roads

3.12 Feeding people

3.12.5 Retailing foods and beverages

4 Building Settlements Towns And Cities

4.1 Planning urban settlements

4.1.1 Selecting township sites

4.2 Supplying urban services (power, transport, fire prevention, roads, water, light and sewerage)

4.3 Developing institutions

4.5 Making settlements to serve rural Australia

5 Working

5.6 Working in the home

5.8 Working on the land

6 Educating

6.1 Forming associations, libraries and institutes for self-education

6.2 Establishing schools

7 Governing

7.6 Administering Australia

7.6.1 Developing local government authorities

7.6.3 Policing Australia

7.6.5 Incarcerating people

8 Developing Australia's Cultural Life

8.5 Forming associations

8.6 Worshipping

8.6.1 Worshipping together

8.6.2 Maintaining religious traditions and ceremonies

8.6.4 Making places for worship

8.8 Remembering the fallen

8.12 Living in and around Australian homes

8.14 Living in the country and rural settlements

Contributory elements located in the proposed Bannockburn Heritage Precinct:

Bannockburn War Memorial, 12 High Street Bannockburn

Railway Hotel, 2 High Street Bannockburn

House, 9 High Street Bannockburn

House and Tree, 11 High Street Bannockburn

Bannockburn Shire Hall, 12 High Street Bannockburn

Real Estate (former house), 13 High Street Bannockburn

Hardware Shop, 15 High Street Bannockburn

St John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 24 High Street Bannockburn

Public Hall , 27 High Street Bannockburn

House, 31 High Street Bannockburn

House, 35 High Street Bannockburn

House, 37 High Street Bannockburn

House, 39 High Street Bannockburn

House, 41 High Street Bannockburn

Bannockburn Primary School, 15 Milton Street Bannockburn

The township of Bannockburn remains relatively intact and the surviving buildings and infrastructure from a range of periods retain a fair degree of integrity. Key public and civic buildings, open public space and surviving examples of commercial and residential buildings provide a clear sense of past and present settlement.

Heritage Study Golden Plains - Golden Plains Shire Heritage Study Phase 2, Heritage Matters P/L, 2009

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