The Country Retreat – Restoration and Renovation

For many city dwellers, a country retreat is now desirable and sought after. With beachside property at an all time premium, the rural retreat provides a cost effective alternative. In areas like Victoria’s Golden Triangle with townships like Daylesford, Castlemaine, Maryborough and the Ballarat environs all within reasonable distance of Melbourne, rural retreats, whether a simple miner’s cottage or a more expansive property with acreage, offer delightful possibilities.


The key to enjoying such a purchase is to recognise that houses built in the 19th and early 20th centuries are often very cramped with poor heating and no insulation. Life was entirely different in those times with less choice, diversity and comfort.

Before purchasing any rural property, why not consult with a heritage architect? Discover what the possibilities are and what are the pitfalls that possibly await you. It’s sensible to commission an architect’s report, noting heritage overlay requirements. Those often dictate what is possible and what is not in any proposed renovation or restoration.


In many cases, restoration is an excellent proposition adding real value to a property acquisition.

Buyers need to know and understand what is physically possible with any property they consider purchasing or have purchased. Many older buildings for instance are dependent structurally on inner walls, so when considering ‘opening up a space’, it’s necessary to consider two aspects. One, is it permitted under Heritage regulations, and two, is it really possible?


What seems like a simple project (take out a wall) may in fact require a total internal rebuild. Older properties for instance are often built upon bluestone lintels for foundations. Under modern building regulations any extensions or renovations may require reinforcements or replacement supplementary foundations.

The weekend get-away can be a delight. Here we have displayed some fully renovated properties where restoration has been developed and supervised by Andrew Fedorowicz, Principal Architect with Balance Architecture.


What’s possible will be determined by your available budget. To know what can be achieved, consider a budget that includes your purchase price and any planned renovations and restorations. It’s very easy to overcapitalise on older dwellings, Bluestone constructions are a good example.


Stone houses are seemingly very attractive, with good natural insulation. It’s timely to consider when a property was constructed. 19th century dwellings were built using very rudimentary mortars and often require repairs, if not a full rebuild of structural walls. Stonemasonry is very expensive. Can you afford that ‘delightful bluestone cottage – a renovators delight’? Or will it become a ‘money pit’, a nightmare, a drain on your life rather than providing the peace and tranquility you desire?

Even some things as simple as a picket fence may be included in a heritage overlay. Your choices may well be limited to replacing it with an exact replica. In fact in some cases where expensive high stone walls have been constructed as replacements, municipal Council orders to remove have been enforced, at great expense to the property owners.

Andrew Fedorowicz is only too pleased to assist you with both advice and professional design, planning and implementation. With many years experience in all forms of Architecture, Andrew is passionate about heritage restoration and renovation. He is extremely knowledgable on all aspects of construction and renovation and can greatly assist you in developing your property to be that ‘Shangri-La’, the peaceful retreat you desire.


Call him now on 0418 341 443 for a free, no obligation consultation at your convenience, or leave your details here for a prompt response. Alternatively call 03 8696 9700 and ask for Balance Architecture and a booking can be arranged for a consultation.

Take the time to do it correctly. Whether you live in an inner city terrace, a modernist beachside home from the 1950s or an original farmhouse constructed in the 19th century, ensure you achieve and maintain genuine Heritage status for your property.

With Balance Architecture and Interior Design – The Heritage Specialists.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

The Fire – Notre Dame Cathedral Paris

For many people the Notre Dam Cathedral fire is a ‘tragedy’. Billions of dollars have already been donated towards its restoration. Why is this such an iconic building? What is it that creates such wonder, such admiration, and now – such sadness.


The Notre Dame Cathedral is the epitome of living heritage. It is an extraordinary construction. The stonemasonry is intricate and exquisite. Construction began reputedly between 24th of March and the 25th of April 1163. The French Monarch of the time King Louis VII and Pope Alexander III were present at the laying of the cornerstone. Four phases of construction took place with the original Cathedral completed and opened in 1302.

Consider that in those times simple building materials (such as nails) were yet to be in common use. The timber that was burnt in the intricate roof was harvested from trees planted in the 10th Century. 13,000 trees were estimated to have been used in the extremely complex timber ceiling. The joinery and carpentry of the times was simply amazing for a building of this size.

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Equally astonishing is the Stonemasonry of the medieval masons (actually their guild was the forerunner of the actual Masonic Movement that still exists today). With no mechanised lifting equipment, no pumps as we know them and no modern adhesives, these artisans created the most intricate of buttresses, and the stone vaulting that forms the inner ceiling. Without this ‘inner ceiling’ the building would almost certainly have been lost.

Because of the simply breathtaking finesse and competence of the original stonemasons, in all likelihood this incredible edifice can and will be restored.


A full report on the fire from the ABC documents the disaster.

Notre Dame cathedral staff took 23 minutes to discover catastrophic fire, Paris judicial official says


It took Notre Dame staff 23 minutes after the first fire alarm sounded to discover the blaze that went on to cause widespread destruction to the 850-year-old cultural icon.

Paris public prosecutor Remy Heitz said the cathedral’s fire alarms went off twice on Monday evening, beginning at 6:20pm (local time).

A Paris judicial official, speaking anonymously, said staff checked under the roof after the first alarm and saw nothing — but when the fire was discovered 23 minutes later, after the second alarm, it was already too late to stop the inferno.

The official said investigators had now questioned about 30 people, who were mostly employees working on the renovation of the monument.

The fire blazed for several hours and damaged the roof, causing the cathedral’s large spire to collapse and coming perilously close to destroying the entire building.

France’s deputy interior minister Laurent Nunez said saving the cathedral came down to a key timeframe of between 15 and 30 minutes, praising the work of firefighters who contained the blaze.

More than $1 billion has been pledged to the restoration of Notre Dame cathedral, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying he wanted to see the cathedral rebuilt in five years.

Mr Macron said Notre Dame would be “even more beautiful” after the restoration, however experts said the staggering amount of cash flung at rebuilding efforts might not be enough to replace what was lost.

‘Perhaps it can’t be recreated as it was’

Notre Dame’s heritage director Laurent Prades said the high altar, which was installed in 1989, was hit and harmed by the cathedral’s spire when it came crashing down in the flames, but many other relics and structures had been saved.

“All the 18th-century steles, the pietas, frescoes, chapels and the big organ are fine,” he said.

Mr Prades added the three large stained-glass rose windows had not been destroyed, though they may have been damaged by the heat and will be assessed by an expert.

However, there are concerns that even the $1 billion pledged so far may not be able to replace what was lost in the blaze — it also depends on the availability of materials.

Professor Peter McPhee, a specialist in French history at the University of Melbourne, said he feared “that the sheer heat of that fire may have chemically compromised some of the masonry” in the historic building.

Likewise, the centuries-old timber within the building’s internal structure, much of which was crafted into an intricate support structure by medieval artisans, may be irreplaceable.

“One of the extraordinary things about Notre Dame was that … an estimated 13,000 trees had been felled to create this delicate timber infrastructure,” he said.

“Those trees had been saplings in the 10th century, they were mature trees by the 12th century when they were felled. They’re the beams that caught fire and then brought the lead roof down with them.

“Is it possible to recreate that kind of medieval artisan work with timber on that scale? Or in fact is that the great compromise you’d make?”


He said there was a huge debate in Europe around the restoration of medieval castles.

“Certainly heritage architects argue that the most important thing to do is stabilise and where necessary use modern materials to make them safe,” Professor McPhee said.

“You might say, ‘well it’s not actually recreating Notre Dame as it was’. But perhaps it can’t be recreated as it was.”

Prayers for an icon


Hopes for a rebuild of the iconic cathedral are strong among Parisians the ABC spoke with.

With the beloved cathedral partially in ruins, tens of thousands lined the Seine to observe the historic moment — a masterpiece of gothic architecture forever changed.

Sister Madeleine, a Dominican nun from Paris, was visibly upset when she arrived to inspect Notre Dame, a day after the blaze.


“It’s a very deep sadness. The spire … is what we saw from a distance in Paris,” she told the ABC.

“I hope we’ll be able to rebuild.

“Even now that the situation is under control, we feel a lot of sadness. This is something huge for western culture, and for the world. It was hard to imagine this could ever happen.”

Parisian Beatrice Champetier arrived to lay flowers — it was the least she could do, she said, for a building that “is our life”.

The Friends of Notre Dame, a society founded to foster the preservation of the cathedral, has held concerns about the building’s structural integrity for a long time.

One of the group’s members, Ron Ivey, said he was “heartbroken”.

“One of the most moving things was to see all the French people who were there that were singing French hymns and songs, it was deeply moving,” he said.

“The people, the spirit of the people, is going to help rebuild this building.”


Ultimately, the Cathedral is an extraordinary construction, and a creation of breathtaking beauty. It is an iconic remnant of time long gone and it is with great hope we look forward to its restoration.

For those inclined, here is an historic summary from Wiki of its construction, its history over nearly 1000 years and its extraordinary features.

The chronicler Jean de Saint-Victor [fr] recorded in the Memorial Historiarum that the construction of Notre-Dame began between 24 March and 25 April 1163 with the laying of the cornerstone in the presence of King Louis VII and Pope Alexander III.[18][19] Four phases of construction took place under bishops Maurice de Sully and Eudes de Sully (not related to Maurice), according to masters whose names have been lost or were not recorded.


Cross-section of the double supporting arches and buttresses of the nave, drawn by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc as they would have appeared from 1220 to 1230.

The first phase began with the construction of the choir and its two ambulatories. According to Robert of Torigni, the choir was completed in 1177 and the high altar consecrated on 19 May 1182 by Cardinal Henri de Château-Marçay, the Papal legate in Paris, and Maurice de Sully.[21] The second phase, from 1182 to 1190, concerned the construction of the four sections of the nave behind the choir and its aisles to the height of the clerestories. It began after the completion of the choir but ended before the final allotted section of the nave was finished. Beginning in 1190, the bases of the facade were put in place, and the first traverses were completed.[8] Heraclius of Caesarea called for the Third Crusade in 1185 from the still-incomplete cathedral.

The Crown of Thorns was placed in the cathedral in 1231 by King Louis IX, during the construction of the Sainte-Chapelle.

The decision was made to add a transept at the choir, where the altar was located, in order to bring more light into the center of the church. The use of simpler four-part rather than six-part rib vaults meant that the roofs were stronger and could be higher. After Bishop Maurice de Sully’s death in 1196, his successor, Eudes de Sully (unrelated to the previous Bishop) oversaw the completion of the transepts, and continued work on the nave, which was nearing completion at the time of his own death in 1208. By this time, the western facade was already largely built, though it was not completed until around the mid-1240s. Between 1225 and 1250 the upper gallery of the nave was constructed, along with the two towers on the west facade.[22]

Another significant change came in the mid-13th century, when the transepts were remodeled in the latest Rayonnant style; in the late 1240s Jean de Chelles added a gabled portal to the north transept topped off by a spectacular rose window. Shortly afterward (from 1258) Pierre de Montreuil executed a similar scheme on the southern transept. Both these transept portals were richly embellished with sculpture; the south portal features scenes from the lives of St Stephen and of various local saints, while the north portal featured the infancy of Christ and the story of Theophilus in the tympanum, with a highly influential statue of the Virgin and Child in the trumeau.[23][22] Master builders Pierre de Chelles, Jean Ravy [fr], Jean le Bouteiller, and Raymond du Temple succeeded de Chelles and de Montreuil and then each other in the construction of the cathedral. Ravy completed de Chelles’s rood screen and chevet chapels, then began the 15-metre (49 ft) flying buttresses of the choir. Jean le Bouteiller, Ravy’s nephew, succeeded him in 1344 and was himself replaced on his death in 1363 by his deputy, Raymond du Temple.

Philip the Fair opened the first Estates General in the cathedral in 1302.

An important innovation in the 13th century was the introduction of the flying buttress. Before the buttresses, all of the weight of the roof pressed outward and down to the walls, and the abutments supporting them. With the flying buttress, the weight was carried by the ribs of the vault entirely outside the structure to a series of counter-supports, which were topped with stone pinnacles which gave them greater weight. The buttresses meant that the walls could be higher and thinner, and could have much larger windows. The date of the first buttresses is not known with any precision; they were installed some time in the 13th century. The first buttresses were replaced by larger and stronger ones in the 14th century; these had a reach of fifteen meters between the walls and counter-supports.


Plan of the Cathedral made by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century. Portals and nave to the left, a choir in the center, and apse and ambulatory to the right.


Early six-part rib vaults of the nave. The ribs transferred the thrust of the weight of the roof downward and outwards to the pillars and the supporting buttresses.


The massive buttresses which counter the outward thrust from the rib vaults of the nave.


Later flying buttresses of the apse of Notre-Dame (14th century) reached 15 meters from the wall to the counter-supports.

During the Renaissance, the Gothic style fell out of style, and the internal pillars and walls of Notre-Dame were covered with tapestries.[26]

In 1548, rioting Huguenots damaged some of the statues of Notre-Dame, considering them idolatrous.[27] During the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV, the cathedral underwent numerous alterations to comply with the more classical style of the period. The sanctuary was re-arranged; the choir was largely rebuilt in marble, and many of the stained-glass windows from the 12th and 13th century were removed and replaced with white glass windows, to bring more light into the church. A colossal statue of St Christopher, standing against a pillar near the western entrance and dating from 1413, was destroyed in 1786. The spire, which had been damaged by the wind, was removed in the second part of the 18th century.

Modern history


East facade of Notre-Dame in the 1860s.

In 1793, during the French Revolution, the cathedral was rededicated to the Cult of Reason, and then to the Cult of the Supreme Being. During this time, many of the treasures of the cathedral were either destroyed or plundered. The twenty-eight statues of biblical kings located at the west façade, mistaken for statues of French kings, were beheaded.[28] Many of the heads were found during a 1977 excavation nearby, and are on display at the Musée de Cluny. For a time the Goddess of Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on several altars.[29] The cathedral’s great bells escaped being melted down. All of the other large statues on the facade, with the exception of the statue of the Virgin Mary on the portal of the cloister, were destroyed.[8] The cathedral came to be used as a warehouse for the storage of food and other non-religious purposes.[27]

In July 1801, the new ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte, signed an agreement to restore the cathedral to the Church. It was formally transferred on 18 April 1802. On 2 December 1804 Napoleon and his wife Joséphine, with Pope Pius VII officiating, were crowned Emperor and Empress of France. The cathedral was also the site of Napoleon’s marriage to Marie-Louise of Austria in 1810.
19th century reconstruction

The cathedral was functioning in the early 19th century, but was half-ruined inside and battered throughout. In 1831, the novel Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo, published in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame had an enormous success, and brought the cathedral new attention. In 1844 King Louis Philippe ordered that the church be restored. The commission for the restoration was won by two architects, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who was then just 31 years old. They supervised a large team of sculptors, glass makers and other craftsmen who remade, working from drawings or engravings, the original decoration, or, if they did not have a model, adding new elements they felt were in the spirit of the original style. They made a taller and more ornate reconstruction of the original spire (including a statue of Saint Thomas that resembles Viollet-le-Duc), as well as adding the sculpture of mythical creatures on the Galerie des Chimères. The restoration took twenty five years.[27]

During the liberation of Paris in August 1944, the cathedral suffered some minor damage from stray bullets. Some of the medieval glass was damaged, and was replaced by glass with modern abstract designs. On 26 August, a special mass was held in the cathedral to celebrate the liberation of Paris from the Germans; it was attended by General Charles De Gaulle and General Philippe Leclerc.

In 1963, on the initiative of culture minister André Malraux and to mark the 800th anniversary of the Cathedral, the facade was cleaned of the centuries of soot and grime, restoring it to its original off-white color.[30]

Artwork, relics, and other antiques stored at the cathedral include the supposed crown of thorns which Jesus wore prior to his crucifixion and a piece of the cross on which he was crucified, a 13th-century organ, stained-glass windows, and bronze statues of the 12 apostles.[31]


The full description is far too involved to be added here. Suffice to say this incredible building must be restored if at all possible. It represents such an incredible and rich heritage. It is an absolutely irrefutable link to a time where such a design and construction was nigh on impossible. And even today, the lessons of engineering, construction and architecture of those times are still incredibly relevant. Then there is the history. Oh the history.


Viva la France!

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

Federation Square to Remain Intact – No Apple Store – The Heritage Council of Victoria Ruling

From an Architectural perspective, at Balance Architecture, we believe the right decision has been made. Juxtapositioning a rectangular box against the quirky eclectic design (the award winning design) of Federation Square and its buildings was never a great idea. Last week Heritage Victoria rejected plans to demolish the Yarra Building at Federation Square. And for many it will be remembered as “one of the great victories for heritage conservation in Victoria”

it didn’t seem to register with some people that the initial objections raised were in fact from the National Trust. These were backed up by the City of Melbourne Planning Department. The two State Government Ministers who proposed the project in Parliament are no longer sitting. From the outset is was economic benefit vs aesthetics. For once, this is the right result, aesthetics wins.

Here is the initial response from Felicity Watson, Advocacy Manager of the National Trust, from The Age dated April 9th

Rejection of Apple store at Fed Square a win for heritage conservation

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The Yarra building at Federation Square will not be demolished to make way for an Apple store

When the National Trust nominated Federation Square to the Victorian Heritage Register, many questioned how a place that was only completed 16 years ago could be considered “heritage”. While it is unusual for a place so “young” to be considered for its heritage values, it is not unprecedented. After the completion of the National Gallery of Victoria in 1968, another monumental government project, it took only 14 years for it to be included in the Government Buildings Register in 1982.

Federation Square is culturally and socially significant as Victoria’s premier civic and cultural space, representing the culmination of Melbourne’s century-long search for a public square. It is our greatest monument to Federation. It is also aesthetically and architecturally significant, with a high degree of technical achievement demonstrated in its construction.

Heritage Victoria’s decision has highlighted the importance of our heritage legislation in providing a process for places of significance to be assessed. However, this legislation is only effective when governments allow due process to take its course.

The Andrews government and Fed Square Pty Ltd are to be congratulated for accepting Heritage Victoria’s decision and announcing a review into Federation Square’s governance and funding, which will include a process of community consultation.

This is what we have been asking for all along, but it shouldn’t have taken a two-year battle to get here. The Apple store was never going to be a panacea for Federation Square’s long-term viability, and we now have an opportunity to address the underlying issues at play.

Governments at all levels should take heed of this decision. Dismissing the value and importance of community input can only be a perilous exercise. The National Trust raised heritage concerns about Federation Square as early as 2016, when planning for the Melbourne Metro Rail Project was under way. Despite our concerns, no further investigation of these values was undertaken by authorities.

This motivated the National Trust to research and consult industry experts and stakeholders, which ramped up in 2017 when the proposed demolition of the Yarra building and construction of an Apple Global Flagship Store was announced. In nominating Federation Square to the Victorian Heritage Register, the National Trust’s objective was to initiate a close examination of its heritage values, and for those values to inform management and change.

While heritage protection is seen by some as an obstacle to change, good practice in heritage is not about preventing change, but about managing it appropriately. The principles of good heritage apply to planning beyond the heritage context – managing a place in a way that is informed by its purpose and values, and in consultation with relevant stakeholders.

The National Trust does not want to pickle Federation Square in aspic. We expect it will continue to evolve. The current redevelopment of ACMI is an example of how change can occur while respecting the architectural and cultural values that define Fed Square.

And while the battle for the Yarra building has been won, the permanent inclusion of Federation Square on the Victorian Heritage Register is yet to be finalised, and will be considered later in April at a hearing conducted by the state’s independent body, the Heritage Council of Victoria.

Over time, the heritage significance of Federation Square will continue to be reassessed, as its community value deepens and its broader significance becomes clearer with the benefit of hindsight.

The National Trust has been fighting for our heritage since 1956, and the battle for our heritage will only intensify as our conception of heritage broadens to encompass more recent architecture, and development pressures continue.


And earlier in the first reporting of the issue and its resolution in an article on the 5th of April in The Age, a broader perspective where the positions of various players such as Melbourne Mayor Sally Capp, Councillors Rohan Leppert and Nick Reece (opposing views) are exposed.

Apple store plans shelved after heritage authorities say ‘no’

A plan to build an Apple store at Federation Square has been shelved, after heritage authorities refused an application to demolish part of the existing square.

Apple will not proceed with its plan, and the Andrews government will now review the operation of Federation Square.

The Koorie Heritage Trust, which includes an Aboriginal art gallery, was to make way for Apple and be relocated elsewhere in the square. It will instead remain where it is, for now.

Heritage Victoria on Friday issued a refusal to Federation Square management, which had applied to knock down the Yarra Building to make way for an “Apple Global Flagship Store”.

Heritage Victoria’s ruling found the Apple store would have been “visually dominant”, and that demolition of the Yarra Building would have “diminished” the public square.

Heritage groups and a Melbourne City councillor who had vehemently opposed the Apple plan welcomed the decision, saying the Apple plan had been inappropriate for Melbourne.

An Apple spokeswoman said the company was disappointed, and would no longer pursue its Federation Square plan.

The National Trust nominated Federation Square to the Victorian Heritage Register last August, in a bid to stop the Yarra Building’s demolition.

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An artist’s impression of the second proposal put forward for an Apple store at Federation Square.

This forced Fed Square management to ask heritage authorities if the Apple plan could proceed. It is understood the tech giant from then on was fearful of the public backlash to its plans.

In December last year though, Federation Square management forged on, applying to Heritage Victoria for a permit to demolish the Yarra Building for Apple.

The redevelopment would have added about 500 square metres of extra open space to Federation Square, and would have better linked the square to the Yarra River.

National Trust chief executive Simon Ambrose said his group had not opposed development at Federation Square, but that the Apple proposal “fell far short” of what was required.

“The National Trust’s [heritage] nomination of Federation Square … provided a vital opportunity to reflect on its cultural and architectural significance to the state,” he said.

Thousands of objections to the Apple plan poured in to heritage authorities while they were assessing the proposal. The 3418 submissions received were the most Heritage Victoria had got over a proposal.

Melbourne City Council’s Rohan Leppert, the deputy chair of planning and a Greens member, has been highly critical of the Apple plan.

“The entire planning process for the demolition of the Yarra Building to [construct] an Apple store has been a long-running farce, but common sense has finally corrected the state government’s folly,” he said.

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The original December 2017 Apple store proposal at Federation Square.

The proposal has been a recurring problem for the Andrews government since it announced the plan out of the blue days before Christmas 2017.

Those initial plans were re-worked in 2018, but opposition to the Apple proposal continued, with community group Our City Our Square running a spirited campaign against it.

While one of the original architects behind the original plan for Federation Square, Donald Bates, had been supportive of the demolition plan from the outset, last month his design partner Peter Davidson spoke out for the first time against the Apple plan.

Tania Davidge, the president of the group that launched the Our City, Our Square campaign, said Federation Square was “much more than bricks and mortar”, and it was great news the demolition would not take place.

Heritage researcher James Lesh said the decision meant Victoria’s system had worked: “Heritage Victoria has reflected community aspirations and conserved exactly what makes this place important,” he said.

Labor city councillor Nick Reece, who chairs the planning committee, had remained supportive of a revamped Apple plan for Federation Square in the face of this opposition. He opposed demolition of the Yarra Building, though.

Lord mayor Sally Capp had also been privately supportive of the Apple plan, but had never had to reveal her position publicly because she took a donation from the chairperson of Federation Square, Deborah Beale, during her 2018 town hall campaign.



Architecture speaks to the world of our city’s character. Stand on the corner of Flinders Street and Swanston Street. Look around you. What a wonderful conjunction of styles, eras and shapes. The stately magnificence of St Paul’s Cathedral, the royal bearing of the Flinders Street Station Dome, Young and Jackson’s and the people’s square – Federation Square. It’s Melbourne. Cross the Princes Bridge and look back. This is truly a world class city. Heritage – it’s worth preserving, it’s worth saving – it’s who we are and where we’ve come from. It’s living. It’s now. And this, there is no doubt, is the right result.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

Kyneton District Hospital – Heritage listed, now for sale


The original Kyneton District Hospital is now officially back on the market. The complex is renowned for its classic architecture, a mix of Georgian, Victorian and Gothic styles. The site has been mired in controversy for some time. Development plans presented by both previous owners left much to be desired, and did not proceed. The entire building is covered by a Heritage Overlay.

And it really is time to do something about preserving these wonderful buildings as Lee Lin Chin prescribed back in 2016.

From the Heritage Council of Victoria’s Statement of Significance…

Statement of Significance


What is significant?

Kyneton District Hospital, Simpson Street, Kyneton, was erected in numerous stages, the two storey central bluestone wing being the first of these, erected from 1854 to 1856. Stonemasons Smith and Rogers constructed the building to the designs of architect Gabriel Fleck. Subsequent stages included an additional east wing and mortuary designed by the well known Kyneton architect William Douglas between 1859 and 1861 and further work by Gabriel Fleck in the extension of the west wing in 1864. An emergency ward was constructed separately on the site in 1894 to the designs of architect William Tonks who was also responsible for the addition of a cast iron verandah to the main building in 1910. Of bluestone construction the original building is symmetrical inform and Georgian in character with two flanking wings either side of a two storey central section. The central doorway is arched, with a semi-circular fanlight and arched windows on either side and there is a central pediment at the upper storey. The Georgian design is somewhat masked by the cast iron verandah added in 1910. The mortuary is of random range quarry faced bluestone construction and the emergency ward is of redbrick construction. From its early beginnings the hospital has remained the centre for health care in the Shire.


How is it significant?

Kyneton District Hospital is of historical, social and architectural importance to the State of Victoria.

Why is it significant?

Kyneton District Hospital is historically and socially important for its association with Kyneton’s boom activity of the 1850s when the town became a service centre to the surrounding goldmining activity. The hospital is one of the earliest of a group of Victorian country hospitals built between the early 1850s and mid 1860s. The only other country hospital in Victoria that pre-dates it is Port Fairy Hospital, which is less intact than the Kyneton example. The original building designed specifically as a hospital, performed that function for almost 90 years, fulfilling only ancillary needs after completion of the new main ward block in 1942. The different stages of the building’s construction demonstrate the changing needs of the hospital and its development with the history of Kyneton.

Kyneton District Hospital is architecturally important as it demonstrates a range of architectural hands and styles, including Georgian, Gothic and Victorian. Of interest are the Gothic buttressed chimneys added by architect William Douglas contrasting with the Georgian style of the building and the Late Victorian cast-iron lace work added to the building in 1910. The stonemasonry demonstrates skilful craftsmanship with the quarry faced ashlar with drafted margins in the earliest wing of the hospital and random range quarry faced bluestone in the later sections. There were three notable architects involved in its construction Gabriel Fleck (1864 & 1854), William Douglas (1859-61) and William Tonks (1894 & 1910). The former emergency ward is architecturally important as it is relatively unaltered and demonstrates clearly the building/health regulations at the time it was built in 1894.


The original building is now on the market with two hectares of land – it is valued at between $5.75 million and $6.25 million.

This is a building that simply must be saved as it is – intact. The question is how? Kyneton is both a tourist/weekender destination and for some a commute to Melbourne. However, the complex is both extensive and of a different era. It will take some considerable imagination, planning and capital to adequately maintain the property and then develop some form of return on the rather substantial investment that will be required.

Suggestions have included a Wellness Centre, Accommodation (Bed and Breakfast), a Reception Centre, A Winery tasting complex and other food and beverage related activities. Or it could simply become someone’s home – and hopefully the surrounding two hectares be restored rather than subdivided.

Read the report from Domain dated April 2019…


67 Simpson Street, Kyneton is up for sale. Photo: Buxton Ballarat

Historic Victorian gold rush-era hospital in Kyneton looking for a buyer with healthy bank balance

It is a property sale that may just be good for the right buyer’s health as well as their bank balance in Kyneton, just an hour north-west of Melbourne.

The old Kyneton District Hospital is on the market and the sale includes the historic bluestone hospital building, no longer in use, and two hectares of land.


67 Simpson Street, Kyneton comes with more than 2 hectares of land. Photo: Buxton Ballarat

The asking price for the property at 67 Simpson Street is between $5.75 million and $6.25 million.

Selling agent Mark Nunn, of Buxton Ballarat, said it was a rare sale with lots of opportunity for the right buyer.

“It’s the first time in nearly 20 years of working in real estate that I’ve had something as rare and unique as this come onto the market,” Mr Nunn said.

“It’s a massive building so there’s lots that could be done.”

The hospital is covered by a heritage overlay. It was originally built in 1856 as Kyneton boomed during Victoria’s gold rush.

It had various additions, including an emergency ward built in the 1890s, and is known as one of the oldest hospital buildings in Victoria.

It is also renowned for its mix of Georgian, Victorian and Gothic architecture.

Kyneton District Hospital’s redevelopment has had a controversial past. Applications to subdivide the land, and use the building for two separate townhouses, met local pushback.


67 Simpson Street, Kyneton has significant architecture styles. Photo: Buxton Ballarat

The plans were put forward by developer and current owner Winport Kyneton Pty Ltd who bought the property in 2011, public records show. The redevelopment plans have not gone ahead.

Locals had campaigned to save the hospital and find other uses for the building other than residential development through the SaveOKH group. The campaign attracted the support of former SBS newsreader Lee Lin Chin who appeared in a video to launch it in 2016.

Kyneton has become one of the trendy hotspots for those looking to move away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but still be able to have a meal at a hatted restaurant.

Kyneton’s Piper Street has become a foodie haunt and even local distilleries have opened, offering the type of cocktails some may have once thought were only made in high-end bars in Melbourne’s CBD.

Mr Nunn said though the hospital had only been listed for a short time, it had already garnered a lot of interest from buyers wanting to turn the former hospital into a wedding venue or even an Airbnb short stay rental.

The hospital is for sale by expressions of interest, which close at 5pm on May 7.


As is stated, Mark Nunn of Buxtons Ballarat can be contacted for an inspection of the property. Expressions of interest will be accepted up until 5pm on May the 7th.

We wish this wonderful old building a bright future. But again it is another example of our magnificent heritage facing a significant challenge. As is evidenced by the demolition of the beautiful home we spoke of in Armadale back on August 24th 2018 at 34 Armidale St, there isn’t always a positive result – as reported in the Herald Sun dated the 2nd of April 2019. Often we don’t win, and these magnificent buildings are lost forever. So pass the word on, this is one property (Kyneton District Hospital) that simply must be saved.

Heritage – It’s who we are and where we come from.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.