Heritage Victoria authorises the dismantling of Melbourne’s oldest house, to make way for townhouses

Heritage Victoria has approved the dismantling and removal of a ramshackle Williamstown home which was added to the Victorian register two years ago for being Melbourne’s oldest standing house.

The Aitken Street site where the house has sat since approximately 1842 is expected to make way for a townhouse project.

It is not known where the house will be moved to, or if it will ever be on public display again.

Heritage Victoria said the home was so derelict it could not be accurately reconstructed or restored.

Below is a Heritage Victoria statement about the home.

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Heritage Victoria Acting Executive Director Jim Gard’ner  has issued a permit for the dismantling of a building at 43 Aitken Street in Williamstown.

The permit has been issued after receiving a heritage permit application from the owner earlier this year.

The former residence will be dismantled, rather than demolished in accordance with specific conditions outlined in the permit. All fabric as well as any significant archaeological items will be carefully removed and catalogued. The dismantling will be recorded and it will form part of an archival record which will be lodged with the State Library, the National Trust and the Williamstown Historical Society. The permit includes a condition requiring a heritage consultant to be on site during the entire dismantling process.

Under conditions of the permit, any future development on site will include an interpretation and history of the former residence in the form of interpretive signage.

Under the Heritage Act 1995, the Executive Director must asses an application’s impact on the heritage significance and consider issues such as reasonable use and economic factors.

Mr Gard’ner said the decision to issue a permit for dismantling was made as retaining the building on site would have caused undue economic hardship to the owner.

Relocation has been investigated as part of the assessment of the permit however no suitable site has been offered as a potential new location for the building.

“In its decision, Heritage Victoria also took into account the fact that due to its derelict state and the lack of evidence or records, accurate reconstruction or restoration of the building was not possible.”

The building was added to the Victorian Heritage Register in 2007.

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Marc Pallisco

A freelance property analyst and journalist, Marc is a co-founder of realestatesource.com.au.

Marc Pallisco

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