Moolooloo Homestead, Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia
Moolooloo homestead is one of Warrnambool’s most gracious and finely crafted and detailed gentlemen’s residence built for J W Sheville, a local councillor and former Mayor who was a prominent Warrnambool citizen of the 1870s. Moolooloo, pronounced “Ma-lo-la” is Aboriginal for calm water and a notable and stately example of a building style that defines Warrnambool’s 19th century architecture.
The refined single storey residence was built in 1877 from locally quarried sandstone for J W Sheville, a Warrnambool wheelwright and investor. Moolooloo sits at a prestigious elevated address beside the equally historic St John’s Presbyterian Church on Spence Street. In 1891 and 1895 prominent pastoralist J G Ware subdivided the extensive grounds to its present land holding. The stucco-rendered residence was extended in 1882 and 1903 and displays an “axial conservative Classicism” design by architect George Jobbins. More recently, in 2004 the homestead was extended and a large sitting room added to the rear of the property adjoining Manifold Street.
One of the architectural gems of the Warrnambool Shire has has been enhanced through a series of careful and considered improvements. Boasting wide bluestone steps which lead to the main entrance portico, Moolooloo has eleven principal rooms and is an expansive residence. Guests should be warned to take a deep breath as they step through the heavy timber and leadlight entrance door that signals one of Warrnambool’s grand old homesteads. Externally, the residence combines classical and Gothic features with an asymmetrically placed portico with decorative urns and Gothic barge boards creating a highly picturesque composition.
The mid Victorian sandstone residence is rendered in a terracotta shade and has wide concave cast-iron return verandahs and lacework that extend on three sides. The homestead enjoys elevated views across the city from the verandahs and drawing room and ballroom. Heavily corbeled cornices and ornate ceiling plasterwork with columned archways and chandeliers provide a pleasantly typical, mid-Victorian interior. Moolooloo has high decorative 4.3m ceilings that ensure all principal rooms enjoy grand proportions. A concealed trapdoor in the central hall opens to a subterranean wine cellar.
Special Comments from Chris Wilmar, Architect
Moolooloo is a rare and historic gem with gracious yet stately proportions set in elevated spacious grounds and is one of Warrnambool’s most elegant and admired properties. Sandstone and iron fences enclose the rear with low clipped hedges to the front which adds a traditional touch. A paved sunny rear courtyard with silver birches, offers a shady outdoor dining retreat during the hot summer months.
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