News

Overhaul for our historic buildings

By McIvor Times

THE City of Greater Bendigo in consultation with Heritage Victoria, is undertaking a project to restore the exterior of Heathcote’s historic former courthouse and shire council chambers to its original colour.

The building currently serves as the City of Greater Bendigo’s Heathcote customer service centre. It has been painted white since the 1950s and is currently in poor condition with visible mould, peeling paint and damaged render.

City of Greater Bendigo property manager Andy Walker said the removal of the paint will allow render repairs to be undertaken and a completely breathable paint system to be applied.

“By doing this we will reduce the possibility of longer term damage to the original render through a lack of breathability of the existing vinyl paint covering which will allow trapped moisture to evaporate naturally,” Mr Walker said.

“The work will greatly improve the external appearance of the building and will return the building to its original warm stone colour.

“The city is committed to protecting its heritage buildings and this is certainly an important, historic building for Heathcote.”

The work will commence on Monday July 2 and will be undertaken in stages. The City of Greater Bendigo has provided funding for the work to be undertaken.

The former Heathcote courthouse and shire council chambers was designed by Melbourne architect, John Flannagan and constructed in 1863. The building was funded by both the local council and the state government and is quite unusual for incorporating the town hall with the court house.

Only a small number of other Victorian local councils have such buildings and very few have survived particularly those dating from the 1860s. Flannagan designed a similar building for the Hotham Municipal Council in 1862 and this previous design was used as a model by the Heathcote Council when lobbying the state government for funding.

The building when constructed was a face brick symmetrically arranged building with courthouse and town hall in large wings on either side of a central entrance bay and is a good example of nineteenth century classicism. It was rendered in 1885.

The building has historical importance as it demonstrates the growth of the central goldfields area and in particular the period of permanent settlement in the 1860s and 1870s when temporary buildings were replaced with permanent buildings.