Auld Reekie National Trust House
Architectural Style: Federation/Edwardian Period (1902-c.1918) Domestic Queen Anne
“Auld Reekie” is the last remaining example of the grand mansions once gracing Royal Parade and is listed with the National Trust of Australia. It is of architectural significance to the State of Victoria as an intact example of an Edwardian era villa in the Federation Queen Anne style – one of the first distinctive Australian architectural styles. This style is illustrated by the elaborate roof detailing, picturesque appearance and materials of red brick and terra cotta tiles. The belvedere to “Auld Reekie” and the first floor balcony with gum leaf pattern balustrading are significant, unusual and distinctive features of the style. The intact interiors with original decoration add to the stylistic importance of the building. The distinctive fence of marble pillars and iron palisade is highly unusual as timber fences were more usual during the Federation period.
Fully restored with exceptional craftsmanship, it features 13 principle rooms over two storeys. It is situated on a large site area of 2,400 square metres. The 20 metre lap pool in the backyard forms the centre piece of a lush well established garden. The house dates from 1910, but may incorporate an earlier six roomed villa named “May Day”, built in 1872 by a butcher called Henry Harper.
The house known as “Auld Reekie” on Royal Parade in Parkville dates from 1910, but possibly incorporates an earlier six roomed villa named “May Day” which had been built in 1872 by a butcher called Henry Harper. “Auld Reekie” was constructed by Alexander and Jessie Sturrock who purchased the site in 1908. It is built from red brick with a hipped-gable Marseilles tile roof decorated by tall chimneys, terra cotta chimney pots, ridging, scroll and dragon finials. The belvedere, attic with balcony and verandah complete the picturesque composition.
Internally the entrance hall is hexagonal with five rooms radiating outwards. Throughout the five front rooms all the joinery and fittings are original including lead lighting to many of the windows. The ceiling in the sitting room is hand painted with Art Nouveau foliated relief work. The decorative ceiling of the dining room boasts a beautiful centrepiece of Renaissance Art. The hall has intact blackwood joinery with elaborate door surrounds and fluted pilasters and carved pedimental motifs. The floor is divided into marble squares. On the walls are scenes painted by the original owner. The intact interiors with original decoration add to the stylistic importance of the building.
The first floor verandah has an iron balustrade featuring a gum leaf pattern. The front fence is a iron palisade, with scroll shaped picket finials. This is highly unusual as timber fences were more usual during the Federation period. The fence is set on a plinth of rusticated bluestone blocks. There is an off centre gateway, the metal gate in the shape of a shield, which is flanked by pink and white marble castellated octagonal posts with relief carving to each panel. The marble was imported from Italy. The other posts supporting the palisade are a smooth sided bollard shape with domed tops.
“Auld Reekie” is the last surviving intact grand private residence in North Parkville, Victoria. The house is unusual in that it is one of the few to have survived intact in Parkville as a large private residence in its original extensive and attractive garden setting. It is significant that the pedestrian-only entrance remains and that all vehicular access is still from the rear. The front garden remains intact and forms a unifying element between the fence and the house.
Heritage Conservation & Restoration
In May 2013, Lancaster Painters Australia were hired to repair and reconstruct the painting, decorating and artistic work to the dining room ceiling, cornices and walls above the picture rail of “Auld Reekie” that had been water damaged. Work included moisture testing, colour matching and sensitive cleaning of the affected areas. Gary Lancaster successfully reconstructed the original heritage paintwork, designs and artwork using specialist heritage painting, decorating and artistic skills.
We implemented the latest National Work Health and Safety policies and all works were performed to comply with the Australian Industry Standards. Work areas were kept clean and tidy at all times, and we safely disposed of all rubbish created by the works. For more information and photos of the stages of work, please click on the photos below.
Featured above: The stages of heritage conservation-restoration work in “Auld Reekie” heritage house. When you click on each of the photos above, it will take you over to our heritage site where you can view each stage of the work.