Wyndham History

Rockleigh,
111 Werribee Street North,
Werribee

Item

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Dublin Core

Type

Title

Rockleigh,
111 Werribee Street North,
Werribee

Description

An elaborate and finely detailed Victorian house within the Werribee township.

Contributor

Date

1997

Publisher

Context Pty Ltd

Source

City of Wyndham Heritage Study 1997

Coverage

Format

text

Language

eng

Article Item Type Metadata

Text

Rockleigh is an elaborate and finely detailed Victorian house, unusual within the Werribee township.  The house features a corner bay window with candle-snuffer roof, a verandah across the main façade with a gabled entry detail – scalloped boards, finial and cast-iron infill – and a deep valance of cast iron lace.  The other front corner integrates a more Edwardian feature – a gable bay with shaped bargeboards and scalloped weatherboards.

Relocation of this house to this corner site has required the removal of its chimneys.  Otherwise, the house appears externally very intact.

This house originally owned by the Beamish family and located on an earlier site in the same block, was moved to its present site in the late 1930s.  At that time it was moved by the Davis family.

The earliest history of the timber villa with its scalloped barge board and candle snuffer roof (now on the northwest corner of Werribee and Stawell Streets) was associated with John Beamish, farmer.  In the mid-1890s Beamish owned 1 ½ acres of land in Town Lots 4-6, Section 1, Parish of Mambourin.  These allotments were transferred to Ellen Beamish in the following year.  The valuation had increased from £5 to £20 by this time, suggesting the commencement of the dwelling rated first in 1897-98.

Allotment 8, the present site of Rockleigh, was vacant at the time and owned by Charles James, labourer, of Gippsland.  By late 1845, Ellen Beamish’s dwelling was listed as a farm homestead on Allotments 5 and 6, and part of Allotment 4.

The Beamish family continued to own the farm homestead while Charles James, later of Bairnsdale, owned the farm lots on Allotments 7 to 10.  At the turn of the century, Charles James transferred Allotments 7 and 8 to John Beamish Junior, selling for £100 the corner block he purchased in 1850 for only £4.  By 1920, Beamish’s corner allotment was still vacant (now listed as 8 and 9) while the dwelling on Allotment’s 4-7 had increased in value to £45.  Mrs Beamish’s house was valued at £55 by the mid-1920s.

The situation remained the same into the 1930s except that John Beamish occupied the old farmhouse.

According to Vera Davis, her father Herbert A. Davis (a successful commission and insurance agent), purchased the former Beamish allotment in Werribee and Stawell Streets in about 1937.  Lodge Plan 14605 shows the 1930s subdivision by the Davis family of Allotments 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 in Section 1, Parish of Mambourin.

The new owner decided to move the old timber farmhouse to the allotment on the corner of Werribee and Stawell Streets.  This site is shown as Lots 1-4 on the Lodge Plan.  Vera Davis told how her father organised the major relocation of the big house with its dairy and other outbuildings.  After it was moved, a couple more rooms were added.  A six-foot fence was placed around the earlier site, the boxthorn hedges were cleared away and the underground wells filled in.  The land was offered to the Catholic Church, which held property nearby.  Later, when Vera Davis became the owner of the Davis property after her father’s death in 1949, she sold some of her land to the Catholic school for a playground.

Shire of Werribee valuer’s cards confirm that by the 1950s Vera was the owner still of the dwelling at 111 Werribee Street, on the corner of Werribee and Stawell Streets.  She let the house to William Henry Yates.  Vera Davis made her home at the Davis residence in Synnot Street Extension, next to the Davis hardware store in Watton Street.

Citation

Wyndham City Libraries, “Rockleigh,
111 Werribee Street North,
Werribee,” Wyndham History, accessed September 27, 2021, https://www.wyndhamhistory.net.au/items/show/1068.

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