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Historic Buildings

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The city of Bathurst has one of the most important and intact nineteenth and early twentieth century 'townscapes' in New South Wales. Many workers' cottages, industrial and commercial buildings, terrace houses, mansions, slab huts and grand civic structures from 1815 to the 1950 remain intact.



Architecture

The Colonial Period (1815-1840)

Buildings of this time were simple structures, mostly of characteristic Bathurst red brick, sometimes lime washed, with twelve paned windows and four or six panelled doors.

Examples:

Old Government House (c.1820) behind No. 1 George Street
Holy Trinity Church in Gilmour Street, Kelso, is a simple picturesque Gothic building.

Early Victorian (1840-1860)

The buildings from this era tend to be small and domestic. Cottages were either built right on the street or back far enough to fit a verandah.

Examples:

'Loxley' at 46 Keppel Street (now a medical practice) is a fine example of a gentleman's townhouse.

Royal Hotel in William Street was originally a single storey building built in the 1830s or 40s.

Mid Victorian (1860-1880)

Subtle changes in detail to domestic houses occurred during this time as larger pieces of glass were available and windows were generally divided into two or four panes rather than twelve. Row housing was still being used, sometimes in a rustic, Gothic-influenced style with steeply pitched roofs.

Examples:

The Webb Building at 167-169 George Street built in 1862 (now painted).

Edmond Gell designed many of the churches, commercial buildings and larger houses of the period, in particular the magnificent St Stanislaus College in Brilliant Street and his own home, 'Hatherly', at 198 George Street.

The Railway Station (c.1875) at the bottom of Keppel Street is an example of Victorian Tudor which was also used for the great baronial mansion of James Stewart, now Abercrombie House, on Ophir Road.

Many of Bathurst's mansions were built in this period and the favoured style was Italianate, which included bay windows, verandahs, cast iron columns and lacework. Of particular note are 'Delaware' (1878) in Russell Street, 'Logan Brae' (1877) in Busby Street, now a convent, and 'Woolstone' (1870) Gilmour Street, Kelso, once a function centre, restaurant and bed and breakfast, now a private residence.

The Courthouse (c.1880) designed by colonial architect James Barnett is superbly situated in the heart of the city (Russell Street). Barnett also designed the Bathurst City Community Club (c.1875 formerly the Police Barracks) and Bathurst Gaol (c.1886).

The latter is designed to impress wrongdoers with the immense power and dignity of the law. An ornate sculptured lion's head dominates the gateway to the gaol. Legend has it that when the key falls from the lion's mouth, the prisoners are allowed to go free.

Late Victorian (1880-1900)

Bathurst showground buildings (c.1880s) represent one of the most intact groups of nineteenth century timber showground pavilions in New South Wales.

Examples of Late Victorian Italianate architecture are the former Masonic Hall (Carrington House) at 99 Keppel Street with stuccoed and decorated surfaces; and the Westpac Bank Building (86-88 William Street).

Federation (1900-1915)

This period was a time of experimentation in design and construction. Illustrating the new style is the administration centre (c. 1902), living quarters and farm buildings of the Experiment Farm (now Charles Sturt University). Most of the fine Federation homes have terracotta or iron roofs and decorative timber fret work.

Inter War (1915-1940)

Architecturally the inter-war period was one of great change. The Knickerbocker Hotel (c.1940) in William Street was uncompromisingly in the functionalist style. On the opposite corner, the former Commonwealth Bank building dating from around the some date is of the traditional Free Classical style. The highly individual lamp standards adorning the centre of George, William and Keppel Streets were built of cast iron in 1924 with the advent of electricity.