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Norwood Estate

Norwood Estate, Wareek, Victoria, Australia

Norwood Estate at Wareek is in the picturesque farming district of north-west Victoria. A hand-painted cream can on the roadside that says Norwood Estate is easily missed as you enter the long driveway. A distant glimpse of Norwood circa 1862 and Mount Hooghly to the north as you approach a large turning area with implement sheds, petrol bowsers, dog kennels, grain silos and old farm buildings.

Property History

The original owner and pastoralist Alfred Joyce employed one of the finest and most assured Melbourne-based architects Leonard Terry (1825-84) to design the two-storey grey basalt mansion.  The property was virtually derelict when new owners, Rick and Beverly James purchased the property in 1996 and embarked on a painstaking restoration of the entire house and gardens.

Architectural Features

Leonard Terry’s architectural practice was large and responsible for many buildings in Victoria but also in New Zealand and Tasmania, notably, the Melbourne Club of 1858 and the Bank of New Zealand in Auckland of 1865. Norwood is one of Leonard Terry’s most important works and exhibits a range of sources uncommon in Victorian, Tudor, Elizabethan and Gothic architecture which makes it a rare surviving example of its style.

Norwood is built of locally sourced and quarried grey basalt in a combination of dressed ashlar and coursed rusticated stone with picked window and door quoins. Gothic revival if it was to be properly done was expensive, especially with its stone detailing which had to be fully realised, but mostly, it needed to be done truthfully.

Norwood is one of the most distinctive Gothic revival buildings in Victoria and Listed by Heritage Victoria and by the National Trust. It’s steep pitched parapeted gables, picked stone quoining, label hood-moulds, crenellated and crested parapets and corbelled oriel windows make it an outstanding example of a Gothic revival manor house as you will find in Australia. However, we need to remind ourselves that we are in Australia so Norwood has verandahs, two bays to the left of the porch, three bays to the right both with richly detailed timber quatrefoils.

Special Comments from Chris Wilmar, Architect

The new owners have embarked on the challenging task of bringing back and replacing lost content, intent on making Norwood a family home once again and putting it back on its feet. The new work of the owner has inevitably added additional architectural quality to an exemplary standard. They have saved, maintained and restored the grand Gothic revival mansion with old stables and gardens which contain a very old classified Olive Tree and rare Osage Orange tree.

Look at other architectural properties in the Portfolio section of the website.