|Source: Report to Minister
Statement of Significance
The first three owners of Heronswood were remarkable and eminent men. William
(1826-1888) was one of the first professors at the University of Melbourne.
He was also a political economist, jurist, conservative politician and
university teacher with a reputation already well established in British
academic circles. He taught and strongly influenced the next two owners.
Alexander Sutherland (1852-1902) was a poet and philosopher who was perhaps
best known as a journalist and schoolmaster. In 1904 it passed to his close
friend H.B. Higgins. Henry Bournes Higgins (1851-1929) was a lawyer, a
radical politician and one of the most controversial jurists in Australian
history. He remains best known for his famous 'Harvester Judgement' which
conceived the concept of the basic wage and as a founder of the arbitration
system. Edward Latrobe Bateman (1815?-1897), who was a distant relative of
C.J. Latrobe, emigrated in 1852 as a gold digger. In Victoria he worked as an
illustrator, draughtsman, architectural decorator and landscape designer. He
worked with Reed and Barnes who were Melbourne's leading architects.
The authorship of Heronswood's design is not clear. Joseph reed may have been
involved as with the similar house, 'Barramundi' at Cape Schanck which Bateman
designed for his friends, the Howitt family in 1866. There are also
similarities with 'Kolor' at Penshurst in the western district which Reed and
Barnes designed for Joseph Twomey in 1968. The design of Kolor is more
coherent which suggests the master's hand. Bateman designed the garden at
nearby Chatsworth house in 1867 for John Moffat. All these houses form an
important expression of the picturesque movement in Victoria. They parallel
the work of the Geelong Architects A. Davidson and G. Henderson and follow the
theories of the famous French architect and conservator Viollet-Liduc. The
garden of Heronswood laid out by Bateman is also significant, although it is
now reduced by subdivision. the original orchard remains on adjacent land.