As winter closes in often we find ourselves taking a day trip to stretch our legs and perhaps draw some inspiration for future lifestyle changes. Take the time to visit one of Victoria’s oldest maritime townships – Queenscliff. For many years Queenscliff was the seaside location where Victorian era folk would ‘take the airs’.
It was serviced by the Queenscliff-Geelong Rail Link, after having travelled from Melbourne no doubt. The line was constructed in 1881 and Queenscliff Station itself was located on the foreshore of Swan Bay. The station is of a unique design having been specifically built to cater for the large numbers of tourists arriving and departing at ‘Peak Holiday’ times.
The holiday visitors often stayed at the major hotels, such as the Ozone, or alternatively at specially built Guest Houses such as Lathanstowe (where Anglican clergy and their families holidayed). The Ozone Hotel was built is 1881, Lathanstowe in 1882-83, the Queenscliff Hotel in 1887, the Vue Grand Hotel also built in the 1880s, the Royal Hotel also in the 1880s.
Grand and imposing hotels were built to cater for the needs of both Melbourne’s gentry and high society, as well as wealthy graziers and miners from rural Victoria.
Queenscliff has many older, carefully restored homes as well as these hotels with many being included on the Victorian Heritage Register and enjoying National Trust protection.
Fort Queenscliff, the ‘other’ reason for its existence, was developed from 1806 onwards. Fort Queenscliff was the key component and played the commanding role in the defence of the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. The bay and its entrance was the most heavily defended British Port in the Southern Hemisphere at the time.
Take the time to visit ‘old’ Queenscliff. For many people it is the opportunity to step back in history and admire the many Italianate Victorian buildings and the infrastructure of the times that to some extent is still intact, very much a living heritage.
Many buildings and property within the precinct are now heavily protected. The Victorian Government introduced the Queenscliff Heritage Advisory Service in 1980. At the same time the Queenscliff Heritage Restoration Fund was established to provide grants and low interest loans to assist property owners in carrying out approved restoration works.
Much of the direction taken in the Borough is the result of the urban conservation study undertaken in 1984. The current planning scheme for the Borough actually incorporates many of the findings of that study. It provides a good blueprint on the exacting standards required to achieve real heritage protection in such an area.
Today, if you as a property owner in the area contact the Advisory Service you can gain real assistance. From the Boroughs website here is a summary of what is offered.
Heritage Advisory Service
The Heritage Advisor is an architect experienced in building conservation with detailed knowledge of buildings in the Borough. Advice is provided to the Council on proposals affecting the heritage precincts and buildings listed in the Queenscliffe Planning Scheme. This may concern precincts, individual buildings, trees or other elements in the streetscape.
The Heritage Advisor is available to consult with building owners, prospective purchasers, builders and designers. The advisor may be able to assist in the following ways:
- Advising on colour schemes.
- Locating early photographs of buildings to assist in restoration.
- Designing building elements such as fences, verandas and suitable extensions and alterations in styles to match particular buildings.
- Providing names of local suppliers or contractors for specialist building conservation work.
- Identifying sources of funding for restoration works.
- Recommending appropriate materials and finishes.
To make an appointment with the Borough’s Heritage Advisor please contact Customer Service on 03 5258 1377.
The Heritage Advisory Service is a partnership between state and local government and is funded jointly by the Borough of Queenscliffe and Heritage Victoria.
When considering Heritage precincts statewide, what an excellent program. If only other areas could adopt such a program.
Queenscliff – it’s a wonderful destination and a real inspiration to genuine aficionados of Victoria’s most interesting and inspiring heritage – be sure to include it in your travels.