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The Former Campbell Residence

Heritage Listed Location


53-65 Spring Street And 1-9 Collins Street Melbourne, Melbourne City, Victoria, Australia

Places Nearby

Melbourne, 3000 0.4km Southbank, 3006 1.4km Fitzroy, 3065 1.5km Collingwood, 3066 1.9km Richmond South, 3121 2.0km

Details / Significance

What is significant?
The former residence on the south west corner of Collins and Spring Street was built for a wealth pastoralist, William Campbell (1810-96) in 1877 to a design by architect Leonard Terry. The house, of cement rendered brick construction, originally extended south along Spring Street, but the four storey service wing was demolished in 1975. The surviving two storey section contains the principal rooms. After Campbell permanently left Victoria in 1882 the house was let for a while to William McCulloch (1832-1909). McCulloch was Member of the Legislative Council for Eastern (Gippsland) Province between 1880 and 1903. Later the house was let to members of the pastoralist Chirnside family. Between 1887 and 1901 61 Spring Street was owned by eye and ear surgeons.

In 1901 the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia purchased the house, conveniently located close to parliament, for use as ministerial and departmental offices. The office of the Prime Minister was located in the building from 1901 until 1912, when it was relocated to a new purpose-built Commonwealth office block in Treasury Place. Between 1901and 1912 eight prime ministers occupied the 61 Spring Street - Barton, Deakin (three times), Watson, Reid and Fisher (twice). The Commonwealth continued to use the building until the late 1920s when all departments were transferred to the new national capital in Canberra.

Internally the house retains its original plan and circulation spaces, including the large entrance hall and the main stair with cast iron balustrades. The large stairwell window is in the form of a Palladian motif, with a large central window flanked by two smaller, narrower panes. The central pane of glass is etched with the Campbell crest, a repeating Scottish thistle motif, and the date 1877.

How is it significant?
The former residence at 61 Spring Street is of historical, architectural, and social significance to the State of Victoria

Why is it significant?

The former residence at 61 Spring Street is architecturally significant as a rare example of a substantial and largely intact nineteenth century townhouse surviving in the central business district. It has few peers as a townhouse. For its high level of integrity it may be compared to a much earlier house, 300 Queen Street, finished in c1858.

The former residence at 61 Spring Street is architecturally significant as a distinctive town house example of Leonard Terry?s work. Terry was a distinguished architect who produced a great number of notable buildings throughout Victoria, including many churches, banks and commercial buildings. 61 Spring Street draws on Terry?s favoured Renaissance Revival idiom, which is clearly expressed in many of his banks and particularly at the nearby Melbourne Club finished in 1858. However, 61 Spring Street is a less rigorous working by Terry of the Renaissance Revival theme, particularly in the treatment of the projecting central bay with portico.

The former residence at 61 Spring Street is historically and socially significant for its association with its original owner William Campbell, one of Australia's wealthy and prominent pastoralists, and with subsequent occupants including the noted Victorian businessman, pastoralist and politician William McCulloch, and members of the prominent Chirnside family. It is also historically and socially significant as the office of the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, and other government ministries and departments when the seat of federal government was in Melbourne, prior to its transfer to Canberra in 1927.

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1 former residence 61 spring street july01
H1945 former residence 61 spring street plan Aug 2001
Former Terrace Houses (5-7)Collins Street Melbourne 2001
Grosvenor Chambers 9 Collins Street Melbourne 2001

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