Wyndham History

1 Rainsford Street,
(former Police Paddocks area),


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Dublin Core



1 Rainsford Street,
(former Police Paddocks area),


Edwardian timber house with gabled-hip roof.





Context Pty Ltd


City of Wyndham Heritage Study 1997






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Edwardian timber house with gabled-hip roof, symmetrical in form and typical of small c1900 farmhouses.  The façade retains its main features, the central entry and single double-hung sash windows.  The verandah has been replaced (it would have once extended across the whole front façade) and the chimney appears to have been rebuilt.  These changes may date from the removal of this house to the site.

The early history of this house is associated with the 1910 subdivision of the Werribee Police Paddock for closer settlement and the removal of a number of weatherboard houses from the Highton Settlement near Geelong to the Werribee Settlement.  Lands Department records confirm that John Lackington, labourer, lessee of the Rainsford Street in 1911, paid £150 for one of these Highton houses.  It is though that the remaining house on the site is that house.

From the late 1870s there was agitation for the subdivision of the 60 acre Police Paddock for selection.  It was pointed out in 1883 that the Reserve was “rich land” which could be cultivated but was “now used by the local constable for grazing purposes”.  The Police Department opposed the subdivision of the reserve, claiming that it was the only paddock for spelling police horses between Melbourne and Geelong.

However, in September 1905 the Police Department informed the Lands Department that the Werribee Police Reserve was “no longer required for police purposes”, and so could be revoked and “devoted to other purposes”.  When the reserve was inspected the following year, it was found that the land, still occupied by “barracks and police buildings” was “first classand “could be irrigated by a pump on the river”.  It would be ideal for cutting up into “small blocks of 10 acres or so, so that the poorer classes might have a chance of securing it”.

In November 1907, the Hon. A. R. Robertson (1865-1934) the local member from 1904 until 1924, submitted a petition from 19 Werribee workmen who wished to “establish workmen’s homes” on the reserve.  A further petition deputation in June 1908 argued that the decision of the Board of Works to discontinue dairying on the Metropolitan Farm meant that many “workmen on the farm and other workmen around Werribee … desired to get a bit of land on which they might carry on a little dairying”.

The reserve was revoked and the land made available for subdivision in April 1909.  It was reported in district press in August 1910 that surveyors were at work at the Werribee Police Paddock, cutting it up into various sized blocks.  The “Plan of Subdivision of the Police Paddock” shows the closer settlement blocks, ranging from two acres to four and five acres in size.  Bounded on the north by Synnot Street and on the east by Greaves Street, two new (and then unnamed) streets were created in the subdivision.  They were the present Hodge and Rainsford Streets.

Earlier in April 1910, it was suggested that “some of the houses on the vacant lots in Geelong” should be removed to the Werribee Settlement.  On 20 October, the Hon. Robertson was informed that “the contract for the removal of houses from the Highton Settlement near Geelong to the allotments on the Police Paddock subdivision at Werribee has been accepted”.

A pamphlet made available on 27 October 1910 laid down the rules for lessees.  A deposit of £10 had to be paid for the house “erected on each allotment”, the balance to be repayable over 20 years.  The leases would be for no more than 3 ½ years, when the balance of the purchase money must be paid.  There were also provisions about residence on the allotment, about improvements made to the property, and the need to keep the buildings in good repair.  Finally on 3 November 1910, it was reported that “one house has been placed on the Police Paddock at Werribee – presumably from the Highton small holdings”.

John Lackington, labourer, was granted the lease of Allotments 10 and 10A in the Police Paddock (the site of the Rainsford House) in March 1911.  A house “removed from the Highton Settlement” was “ready for occupation” for which Lackington paid a £10 deposit, the balance of £140 to be paid in 15 years.  He was given 3 ½ years to pay the balance of the purchase money for the house and land.

Lackington was rated first in that year for his dwelling on four acres of land in Lot 10.  His name is marked on the subdivisional plan, the land in the area being described as “reddish volcanic soil of good quality”. There is a well on the Hodge and Rainsford Streets corner.  Along the eastern side of the property was the steep bank of the stony “Old River Bed” and beyond an area of “red-gum and wattle, fair grass”, an area “subject to flood” beside the new course of the Werribee River.

On another block, between Rainsford and Greaves Streets, Allotment 15, the Carter family were to establish their first poultry farm in the 1920s.  John Lackington, farmer, continued to be rated for his Rainsford Street property.  By the middle 1920s, it had more than doubled in value.  When the Crown Grant was approved in October 1932, it was given to John Lackington, confectioners, of Main Street, Ringwood.  He may have been Lackington’s son.  The Crown Grantee’s business address was given in 1933 as the Regal Café, Main Road, Ringwood, whilst his private address was 139 Burke Road, Camberwell.


Wyndham City Libraries, “1 Rainsford Street,
(former Police Paddocks area),
Werribee,” Wyndham History, accessed March 23, 2023, http://www.wyndhamhistory.net.au/items/show/1057.


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