BATMAN'S HOUSE

Location

SPENCER STREET and FLINDERS STREET DOCKLANDS, MELBOURNE CITY

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Heritage Inventory (HI) Number

D7822-1958

 

Heritage Inventory Description

First known visit by Europeans, 1803, Charles Grimes. In 1835 at commencement of the settlement John Batman built a house at the foot of the 61 ft high wooded hill, subsequently known as Batman's Hill. 1836 - first religious service. First race meetings held at course nearby. After Batman's death 1839, his house requisitioned for Government offices in 1841. During 1840s trigonometrical station and navigation beacons placed on hill. From 1856 the area became part of the terminus of the Victorian Railways. The Batman's Hill (Spencer Street) Railway Station opened in 1859. To enable extension of the railway yards the hill was cut down ('demolished') between 1863-1865.

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Heritage Inventory Significance: Site has extremly significant historical associations with the first European visitation and the initial settlement of Melbourne. Also associations with notable individual (Founding Father), John Batman. Strong archaeological potential to yield information/deposits relevant to the earliest settlement phase.VHR699THE VICTORIAN RAILWAYS ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES WERE BUILT BY JAMES MOORE TO A DESIGN BYTHE VICTORIAN RAILWAYS DEPARTMENT ENGINEERING OFFICE. WHEN IT WAS OPENED IN 1893 IT WASTHE LARGEST OFFICE BUILDING IN MELBOURNE. THE BUILDING CONSISTS OF A BASEMENT AND THREE ABOVE LEVELS AND EXTENDS 120 METRES ALONG THE WESTERN FACE OF SPENCER STREET. ALTHOUGH DESIGNED TO BE BUILT IN BLUESTONE IT WAS CONSTRUCTED IN BRICK WITH THE FACADES FINISHED IN STUCCO. THE BUILDING IS SYMMETRICAL IN PLAN WITH A CENTRAL MAIN ENTRANCE FLANKED BY SECONDARY ENTRANCES AT EACH END OF THE BUILDING. THE WHOLE DESIGN WAS CARRIED OUT IN WHAT WAS KNOWN AS THE ITALIANATE STYLE. ALTERATIONS TO THE BUILDING INCLUDE THE DEMOLITION OFTHE ORIGINAL PEDIMENTS AND THE ADDITION OF AN ADDITIONAL FLOOR AND ATTIC IN A NEO-FRENCHSTYLE, IN 1912 AND 1922 RESPECTIVELY. THE STATUARY ABOVE THE MAIN ENTRANCE WAS REMOVED IN 1930 AND THE DOORWAY UNDER CLOSED OFF IN 1960. THE WROUGHT IRON AREA FENCING UPON A BLUESTONE PLINTH IS CONSIDERED TO BE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE BUILDING. THE FORMER VICTORIAN RAILWAYS ADMINISTRATION BUILDING MAY BE REGARDED TO BE OF ARCHITECTURAL AND HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS: - AS THE HEAD OFFICE OF THE VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT'S MOST SUBSTANTIAL NINETEENTH CENTURY ENTERPRISE, CONTINUING IN THIS ROLE FOR MUCH OF THE TWENTIETY CENTURY. - AS THE LARGEST OFFICE BUILDING TO HAVE BEEN ERECTED IN MELBOURNE IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY AND A VITAL SYMBOL OF MELBOURNE AS THE ADMINISTRATIVE CENTRE OF THE STATE. - AS AN INDICATION OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RAILWAYS ADMINISTRATION IN VICTORIA IN THE LAST NINETEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURY. - AS AN IMPORTANT WORK OF ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN BY A VICTORIAN COLONIAL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT. - AS ONE OF AN IMPORTANT COLLECTION OF NINETEENTH CENTURY MELBOURNE BUILDINGS IN THE ITALIANATE STYLE. - FOR THE DESIGN QUALITIES OF ITS INTERNAL FEATURES, INCLUDING THE CENTRAL STAIRHALL.- FOR PROVIDING A CRITICAL VISUAL AND DESIGN ELEMENT TO THE WESTERN END OF MELBOURNE SEALING OFF THE RAILWAY LINES AND FACING FLINDERS LANE.XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX DRAFT ONLY XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX |SOURCE: MELBOURNE BACKLOG STUDY. PREPARED FOR THE AUSTRALIAN HERITAGE COMMISSION. JANUARY 1997: THE FORMER VICTORIAN RAILWAYS ADMINISTRATION BUILDING, BUILT 1888-93 BY JAMES MOORE TO A DESIGN BY THE VICTORIAN RAILWAYS DEPARTMENT ENGINEERING OFFICE, IS SIGNIFICANT AS THE HEAD OFFICE OF THE VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT'S MOST SUBSTANTIAL |NINETEENTH CENTURY ENTERPRISE, CONTINUING IN THIS ROLE FOR MUCH OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. AS THE LARGEST OFFICE BUILDING TO HAVE BEEN ERECTED IN MELBOURNE IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, IT EXPRESSED THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RAILWAYS ADMINISTRATION IN VICTORIA IN THE LATE NINETEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURY. IT ALSO SERVED AS A VITAL SYMBOL OF MELBOURNE AS THE ADMINISTRATIVE CENTRE OF THE STATE. (CRITERION A.4)IT IS ALSO SIGNIFICANT ARCHITECTURALLY AS AN IMPORTANT WORK OF A VICTORIAN COLONIAL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT AND AS ONE OF AN IMPORTANT COLLECTION OF NINETEENTH CENTURY MELBOURNE BUILDINGS IN THE ITALIANATE STYLE. IN PARTICULAR, THE BUILDING IS NOTABLE FOR THE DESIGN QUALITIES OF ITS INTERNAL FEATURES, INCLUDING THE CENTRAL STAIRCASE, AND FOR PROVIDING A CRITICAL VISUAL AND DESIGN ELEMENT TO THE WESTERN END OF MELBOURNE, SEALING OFF THE RAILWAY LINES AND FACING FLINDERS LANE. (CRITERIA D.2 AND E.1) VHR930THE "EXHIBITION" GOODS SHED HAS HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE PRIMARILY AS THE ONLY KNOWN REMNANT SURVIVING FROM THE EXTENSIVE TIMBER BUILDINGS OF THE HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF 1880 -81. THE EXHIBITION GOODS SHED FORMED THE CENTRAL AVENUE OF THE EXHIBITION OF 1880/81 PUT VICTORIA ON THE INTERNATIONAL MAP FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE GOLD RUSHES. THE SHED WAS RELOCATED TO ITS PRESENT SITE IN 1881. THE STRUCTURE OF THE SHED, PROBABLY DESIGNED BY NOTABLE ARCHITECTURAL FIRM REED AND BARNES, CONSISTS OF A TRUSS FORM (MODIFIED SCISSOR TYPE) UNUSUAL IN INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS AND MORE COMMONLY FOUND IN ECCLESIASTICAL BUILDINGS. THE STRUCTURE WAS REDUCED IN HEIGHT WHEN RELOCATED IN 1881, AND UNTIL RECENTLY (1989) WAS APPROXIMATELY 820' LONG. THE SURVIVING SECTION OF 7 BAYS IS A SMALL FRAGMENT OF THE ORIGINAL. THE EXHIBITION GOODS SHED IS THE OLDEST EXTANT GOOD SHED IN THE MELBOURNE YARD AND WAS ORIGINALLY USED ON ITS PRESENT SITE AS THE GRAIN STORE WHICH ACCOMMODATED BAGGED BREWER'S GRAIN ON ITS WAY TO THE VARIOUS METROPOLITAN BREWERIES. IT HAS BEEN IN CONTINUOUS USE AT THE RAILYARDS FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY.VHR932Statement of significance:* The retaining wall constructed in 1890 at Flinders Street extension and approximately 220m long rising to 5.5m high at Flinders Street extension is of historic importance in providing physical evidence of the existence of Batman's hill, the site associated with the foundation of Melbourne. * The retaining wall, with its patterned brickwork and general detail reflects the importance of Flinders Street extension as a gateway to Victoria dock and Melbourne goods terminal and is an expression of the interface between railyards and the docks. * The retaining wall is of social and historical importance as a gathering place for waterside workers during the boom years of the port, between 1900-1940. It was known by unemployed workers as the wailing wall. * The polychrome brick wall, although partially rebuilt at the viaduct end is essentially intact and in good condition. The wall is constructed of similar materials to the adjacent viaduct and nearby former No.3 goods shed, and complements these substantial contemporaneous structures. Berth 5, north Wharf, with its integrated Wharf Crane is important as the most complete of all the traditional (non-containerised) river Berths on the north side of the river. It is the only lace within the port of Melbourne and the once-triving river wharves, where it is now possible to see all the elements of a traditioanl Berth with equipment and facilities designed for the site. The Warf Crane, a 3 ton semi-portal fixed Crane with its Crane gantry built in above the eaves line of the cargo shed, was manufactured by Malcolm Moore (limited) of Melbourne, and erected in August 1946, is the oldest Wharf Crane in the port of Melbourne in its original position. Berth No.5 is an important element is a group of industrial sites and buildings within the docklands are which incloudes the Melbourne goods yare, bond and cool stores, mission to seamen building and the premises of stevedoring companies. VHR933* The scate and design of the former No. 3 Goods Shed, with its prominent mansard roofed clock tower to the office block section, elaborately detailed brickwork, and long slate-roofed goods shed behind, reflects the importance of rail operations to the historical development of Victoria. The total length of the shed is 1,263 feet (385 metres).* The former No. 3 or 'A' Goods Shed is historically important because it retains all the elements for demonstrating traditional goods handling facilities. In particular, the doors to the long goods shed, with 26 on the east side and 28 on the west side, illustrate the operation of the shed, with each door being allocated to a particular group of destinations. The building dramatically recalls the "pre-container" era when individual items were seperately handled, crated and stowed. The length of the shed allowed and entire goods train to be accommodated under cover. * The office block incorporates details of technical interest, such as the use of terracotta lumber partitions in the upper floor. This is the oldest surviving exampleof this type of partitioning indentified in Australia. * The former No. 3 or 'A' Goods Shed is an important element in a group of industrial sites and buildings within the docklands area, including river wharves, bond and cool stores, weigh bridges, signal boxes and locomotive sheds.

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Archeological Potential: Potential/Disturbed,Site

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History

Heritage Inventory History of Site: Date of first documented occupation, 1835
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