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Mr. Richard Peterson was our guest speaker at the June meeting with his topic the histories of "Charterisville" and "Banyule", two of Heidelberg's most significant houses. He showed a number of slides past and present of the properties and their surroundings, and gave a brief account of the lives and careers of the various owners.

"Charterisville" was built by the manager of the Bank of Australasia, David Charteris McArthur on property he purchased in 1839 from Thomas Walker. There was a hut on the site at first, then a cottage called "Honeymoon Cottage." The house dates from 1846. McArthur lived here until his death in 1887, when the property was sold to Roberts &. Fergusson. In 1890 the building was let to William Peet and James B. Durham.

Then followed a colourful period when sub-tenants included several artists such as Walter Withers. Sir Lionel Lindsay rented the gardener's cottage in front of the house - at that time the property stretched to the river.

Later came Mr. and Mrs. Francois de Castella who lived on here after World War II until the house was eventually sold to Mr. Bob Jane in 1964, on the death of Mrs. de Castella. In 1965 Mr. and Mrs. Donald Merry commenced careful renovations and restoration of the house. The present owners are Mr. and Mrs. Peter Wilson. Mr. Peterson also covered the history of the property which was being sub-divided after World War I and the area dwindled from McArthur's original 84 acres (later he increased his holding to 168 acres) to the half acre on which the house stands to-day.

"Banyule" now owned by the Victorian Government as an annexe to the National Gallery was also one of Melbourne's oldest houses. The first owner was the overlander Joseph Hawdon who built the house in the mid-1840's on 279 acres purchased in 1843 from Richard Henry Browne. Hawdon built his Elizabethan Gothic mansion and lived at the property until 1853 when his wife died, and he went to England. He returned after he re-married, but eventually went to New Zealand where he lived for the rest of his life. He left his affairs in the hands of James Graham, and the homestead and property were leased. One tenant was W.H.F Mitchell, formerly Police Commissioner and his son. An early tenant this century was Mr. Gordon Lyon who with his family lived at Banyule for many years, and during his occupancy, there were additions built in the original style effectively doubling the size of the house, (in 1908).

In 1942 Herbert Alfred Allen purchased the property. The land was further sub-divided as the Banyule Estate, in the late 1950's, and the property was eventually reduced to the small area on which the house now stands, with gardens, cottage and outbuildings. In 1963 Robert Simpson bought Banyule for £31,000, and finally the property was purchased by the Government in 1974."

The State Government sold Banyule in 1977 and it has since been owned by several private owners. In 2022, estimates that it is worth $6.58 million.


CHARLES ROUCH, from The News, Sept. 1934.

"A well-known resident of early Heidelberg, Charles Rouch, resided in Hawdon Street. He died in September, 1934, at the age of 72 years. He was born in Cambridge Street, Fitzroy.

His parents emigrated to the new land of Australia, several years prior to 1861, from London, his father who was a grocer, having entered into business as general storekeeper on several goldfields during the exciting gold rushes of the pioneer days before settling at Fitzroy. Those were the days when boys and girls in a new country had few of the facilities for education by which children in these modern days are surrounded, and very early in life they set about carving out a career.

Charles Rouch commenced work at the age of 12. Five years later he was a contractor for the erection of houses in Brae Street, Fitzroy, and he afterwards worked on the erection of St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Equitable Buildings and several other undertakings of Victoria's capital city.

Forty years ago when he was aged 28 years, a position as foreman at Holland's Timber Mill in Burgundy Street, attracted him to Heidelberg, and nine years later he purchased the business in which he was joined by his son, E.C. Rouch. Following several years of successful trading, extensions became necessary and large premises were secured at West Melbourne. Then Charles Rouch Pty. Ltd. developed into one of the largest importers of timber in Victoria with over 100 employees.

Mr. Rouch's youngest son, L. Rouch, and his son-in-law, J. Smith, have also for many years been associated with the directorate of the firm, and more recently, a member of the third generation, Mr. Alan Rouch joined the business. The other son is the Rev. Harold Rouch of Maryborough.

Apart from his very substantial business interests, Mr. Rouch was a lay preacher and for over 40 years his exceedingly strong interest in children and in the simple faith of Christian teaching was shown in developing the Methodist Sunday School as well as assisting those in other denominations.

For about 35 years he was Superintendent and retained that position until his death. Mrs. Rouch also shared this interest. He occupied at various times almost every office in the church and made liberal contributions. He also took keen interest in the Order of Rechabites.

As a sportsman he was one of the leading members of the bowling club of which he was a past president, and in his later years was probably never happier than when indulging in this pastime, in the jovial company of members."

When the above account was published in "The Historian" in 1984, the former site of Charles Rouch Pty. Ltd store and timber yards was occupied by Harry Heath's Supermarket. Harry Heath's has now also gone and as at 2022, Leo's supermarket and carpark occupy the site.

HEIDELBERG HISTORIAN No. 160 February 1994

Example: One Hundred Years Ago
Items from the 'Collingwood Mercury'

— 1 February 1894.

The second halfyearly meeting of the above was held on Thursday evening 25th ult at the Sir Henry Barkly Hotel, ex Cr J. Sill occupying the chair. The secretary's report showed a debit balance of 1 and the recent amount in aid of the Austin Hospital resulted in a profit of 12/16s. The following office bearers were elected for the ensuing year.

President;: Mr Laidlaw; Vice Presidents: Dr Rollason, Messrs G.T, Mathews, John Sill and B. Mills; Hon. Secretary: Mr H. V. A. Billings; Hon. Treasurer: Mr J. Dawson; Committee: Messrs J. Murphy, T. Flint., H. Charmes, M. Currie and G. Arden; Auditors; Messrs T. Flint and J. Mackie; Sergeant: Mr T. Parker; Corporal: Mr J. Murphy.

A SELL FOR CONTRACTORS — 8 February 1894.
At the last meeting of the Council, a contract was let for the cutting down of Darebin Street near the Show yards. It appears there is a large outcrop of basaltic rock just alongside the road where the cutting was to be made. The local contractors naturally conjectured that in doing the work, continued blasting would be necessary. In fact one 'old resident' went to the trouble of putting down a bore to test the country and according to his theory he struck rock. The loca1 men thus reckoned they knew a thing or two and sent in tenders as high as 99. Mr P. Sullivan, however, an outsider, not 'in the know' chipped in with a 47 tender which was accepted.

According to specifications, he had eight weeks to perform the contract. The local men chaffed Sullivan as a chump, but subsequent events have proved the boot to be on the other leg, because P.S. has gone clean through the cutting already without touching rock at all and will be finished a month before the contract time. Had the reef cut off like this in a mining venture, how many pounds would have been lost? Geology, what a deceiver art thou!

FROM THE COUNCIL MINUTES — 15 February 1894. A complaint was received from Fairfield regarding the herds of goats which roam the streets committing a general nuisance. They rush into shops and houses, trip people in the streets, destroy beautiful gardens and commit every other sin in the calendar of Satan. Cr Donnelly said one man had 30 goats and he moved that Inspector Goulding be instructed to take action against owners of the animals. This was agreed to.

Inspector Goulding reported that he had prosecuted four lads for bathing in the Yarra, Cr Lugton thought it would be well to set apart certain hours for bathing. Cr Bond: We have a bylaw! The secretary said the bylaw simply gave the council power to fix bathing places and prescribe hours. Cr Ford said as many as 50 young fellows sometimes bathed at the bottom of his paddock and their language or behaviour was not of the best. Cr Adams agreed that bathing at all hours was a nuisance that should be suppressed. After some further discussion the matter dropped.

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Heidelberg Historical Society (Inc. No. A0042118P)