If you’ve been a casual reader (or, even better, an obsessive, voracious reader) of this blog, you’d know that I have a big thing for heritage architecture. So I was pretty pleased to find this house when I was at Armidale, which is one of the most substantial Victorian (well, it was built in 1888, so it’s looking quite like a Federation) manors I’ve seen.
The link above provides some all-important historical details, which I’ll share a brief run-down of here. It’s also worth noting that the mansion has its own Wikipedia page, which, as I’m sure you’re aware, few houses do. The home was commissioned for a wealthy grazier in the late nineteenth century and designed by prominent architect John Horbury Hunt. It was eventually given by the family to the University of Sydney, and now forms part of the University of New England’s campus. It’s (rightfully) heritage listed.
The property and its sprawling grounds have been immaculately cared for. It’s currently used by the university as a cafe, which inspires significant jealousy in me as I don’t recall ever being able to eat lunch in a heritage mansion overlooking a breathtaking rural view while studying in Ultimo.
The two elements that stand out most prominently are its inimitable condition and its immense size. The house shows none of the usual signs of wear and tear that accompany such a long history; its intricate brick and tilework are still show-stoppers. The size of the home belies the fact it was ever a residential structure; the sheer scale and grandness of the place is something to marvel at.