Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Out Bundoora Way Pt 2

Bundoora Homestead was built for horse breeder and racer John Matthew Vincent Smith and completed about 1900. I can't establish how he made his money but in my brief search, I have found that Resident Judge of Port Phillip has posted some colour about Bundoora Homestead. In 1920 it was sold, along with Bundoora Park to the Commonwealth Government by Smith for £28,000 and used to rehabilitate returned soldiers with mental health problems. It was initially known as the Convalescent Farm then later the Mental Repatriation Hospital. In 1924 control was transferred to the Victorian State Government who in 1930 to 1952 used the park and stables for the police mounted unit and a small adjacent hut was used to accommodate the police Aboriginal trackers.

In 1965 the house became known the Bundoora Repatriation Hospital. It was de-commissioned in 1993 and ownership transferred to the State Government. The outbuildings and covered walk ways that had grown over the years were demolished.

By 2001 it had been restored with funding from the Federal Government, the local Darebin Council and Latrobe University and is now principally used as an art gallery. Some parts are modern but most areas have been very nicely restored.

In this photo from the Bundoora Homestead website you can see that the house was in a very poor state compared to now.


It is open to the public and is free to visit. There is also a cafe within. Here are a few photos.

This work was done with a hot fire poker. Although once reasonably common, not much of that type of work survives.



Damn, the upstairs was closed while a new exhibition was being curated. I would have loved to stand on the balconies. It is a rather odd window placement, don't you think?


I loved this small painting of a car crossing a bridge over Darebin Creek.


Lots of stained glass throughout the house.


Remember this from last week's quiz?


The Tobin ventilation system was in a number of rooms. Tubes lead to the outside of the house and apparently differing air pressures force fresh air inside with the flow being controlled by the fist. Not sure what the issue might be about opening a window instead. Here is another photo so that you can see the scale.


Some lovely fireplaces.


A few nice bits of furniture, but not properly furnished.


Massively thick and heavy doors.


Peeking upstairs. It looked  just as grand.

12 comments:

  1. What a wonderful old house.
    Merle......

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    1. To my shame Merle, I did not know of it at all until I heard someone mention it which set me to google it.

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  2. I love that late Victorian architecture and decorative arts, just on the cusp of Edwardian. Some styles look old hat within 20 years... this has stood the test of time.

    Good to hear that in 1920 the house and park were sold to the Commonwealth Government.. and used to rehabilitate returned soldiers with mental health problems. I am doing a lot of reading at the moment about what happened to damaged soldiers, once they returned home in 1919. But my journal articles have all been British. I might now follow up on Convalescent Farm in Bundoora. Many thanks.

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    1. Hels, I did not notice but there is an interior Edwardian appearance about the house.

      I assume you will make a blog post about the returned soldiers, and I will read it with great interest. While Heidelberg Repat is familiar to me, Bundoora Repat was not.

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  3. massively thick and heavy doors - just what you need to guard against Zombies. perhaps the windows weren't opened because of flies and mosquitoes, so the air vent tubes kept the air fresh? Or maybe they created a cross breeze for better ventilation when a window was opened a little. I love all the stained glass.

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    1. River, I have never thought of it before but why very thick walls and very heavy doors? Just an architectural style, I suppose. I should have investigated the ventilation tubes further, but I am over it now.

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  4. Quite stunning. Had no idea there are so many gems scattered about the burbs. Is the ceiling in the last photo pressed tin?

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    1. FC, I took a look at the photo full sized and I don't think so. Suburb? It seemed to be along way from Melbourne, even if on a tram line. Just not my territory.

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  5. Gosh that would be something to see, bet it was hard to keep all those big rooms warm in winter, even with the fireplaces. I found the Tobin ventilation system fascinating the first time round Andrew and again so. Sounds quite ingenious for way back then. If it works I want one instead of this new fangled thing that costs me a fortune to run haha!

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    1. Grace, it would have been very difficult. Imagine the amount of wood and coal used to just try. Yes, no running costs for the ventilation tubes.

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  6. Ah- now I know why the little Tobin knobs looked familiar- they're from one of my favourite haunts, Bundoora Homestead! To be honest, I didn't recognize the knob, but I did recognize the not particularly appealing paintwork behind it and couldn't think where I'd seen it. What a shame that upstairs was blocked off- were you able to see the spectacular stained glass skylight from the ground floor?

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    1. RJ, I did see it from below. What a gem the house is.

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