Mv041 : Selsdon | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Heritage

Mv041 : Selsdon

Item details

Name of item: Mv041 : Selsdon
Other name/s: Mount Victoria General Store
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Cottage
Primary address: 82 Great Western Highway, Mount Victoria, NSW 2786
Local govt. area: Blue Mountains
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
82 Great Western HighwayMount VictoriaBlue Mountains   Primary Address
Selsdon StreetMount VictoriaBlue Mountains   Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

The house is a significant representative example of an early village store in the Mountains, built for leasing to a storekeeper who could live on the premises. Strategically placed near the top of Victoria Pass (or later Berghofer’s Pass), the store was a significant necessity in early Mount Vistoria, both to locals and to travellers. The significance of the owner is high. Berghofer was a prominent entrepreneur and politician, well known in Kanimbla, Mount Victoria and Little Hartley, who left his mark through, in particular, the construction of Berghofer’s Pass to allow early cars a better route down the mountains to the west than Victoria Pass then offered.
Date significance updated: 23 Dec 99
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Construction years: 1887-1890
Physical description: Selsdon is a parapetted single storey skillion roof building built on the alignment of the Great Western Highway and Selsdon Street boundaries. Built as a combined shop and residence it has a shop entry on the chamfered corner with shop windows facing each street. At the sides of the shop small verandahs provide entry to the residence. The shop portion of the building has parapeted rendered walls coursed in ashlar with recessed panels below the window openings. A curved awning to the shop front has a timber valance at the ends.

The house fronts to both Great Western Highway and Selsdon Street are set back from shop front by the width of the verandahs. The verandahs have stop chamfered timber verandah posts. A single door and window opens to each verandah.

The building has face brick walls to side and rear.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Fair
Date condition updated:23 Dec 99
Modifications and dates: Windows and doors replaced. False shutters to windows
Concrete verandah floors
Most verandah framing replaced
Awning framing replaced
Parapet coping removed
Corrugated steel shed in rear yard
Metal garage in northwest corner of yard
Current use: Residence
Former use: General Store

History

Historical notes: John William Berghofer (1840 - 1927) was born in the German state of Hesse and came to Australia in 1855 with his mother and younger siblings to join his father in the Sydney area. John William worked as a farm labourer and road overseer around Sydney. In 1867 he married a young German woman, Katherine Spring (1850 - 1945) and became a dedicated Anglican. He first encountered the Blue Mountains around 1870 when he left his family in Kogarah and went gold-seeking at Hill End and Gulgong. He returned to Kogarah but in 1875-6 he moved to Kanimbla Valley as manager of the old Norton sheep station recently acquired by Ebenezer Vickery, the industrialist and grazier. The Berghofer family lived there in the new homestead built by Berghofer himself in 1876. After thirteen years in Kanimbla, the Berghofers moved back to Kogarah in 1889, when Vickery leased the sheep-station, but in 1892 they returned to the Blue Mountains, buying the old Victoria Inn at the foot of Mitchell’s Pass , renaming it Rosenthal, later, because of anti-German sentiment, Rosedale (Bergman 2-7).

Berghofer and his friend H.G. Rienitz, a school-teacher, shared an enthusiasm for education and for the mountain climate. They both bought investment property in Mount Victoria around the same time in the 1880s and wished to capitalise on the growing tourist trade and its attendant services (Bergman 7). Berghofer, like Rienets, built cottages for leasing in Montgomery Street: the semi-detached cottages (MV 019), known erroneously as Larsen’s Cottages, were Berghofer’s.

At the same time Berghofer built a characteristic general store with living accommodation on the corner of Selsdon Street and the highway (MV 041) and this facility was leased to store-keepers, most notably John Wilson from at least 1912 to 1923 (MV Progress Association Directory 1912, 16; Country Trades Register 1923, 160).

The house known as Berghofer’s House (MV 022) is likely to have been leased to tenants for much of the sixty years that Berghofer and later his widow owned it. Berghofer’s primary residence after 1892 was Rosedale, except for the period 1898 to 1903 when he returned to Kanimbla homestead as Vickery’s manager. When Blaxland Shire (which included Rosedale but not Mount Victoria) was formed in 1906, Berghofer bacame its first President and became famous because of the building of Berghofer’s Pass in 1907-12. For the next two decades Berghofer’s Pass superseded Victoria Pass, until Victoria Pass was improved for motor transport in 1934 (Wilson 14).

Although Berghofer was a naturalised Australian citizen, he was obliged by war-time legislation to resign from his public office in Blaxland Shire Council in 1916 because he had been born in Germany, just as Rienitz was obliged to close his Mount Victoria school (MV 020) at the same time (Bergman 15). Berghofer continued to live at Rosedale but retained close links with Mount Victoria. When he was presented to the future George VI and the present Queen Mother at Mount York in 1927, a journalist described him as ‘Father of Mount Victoria’ (Bergman 16): this is excessive, but it is a useful reminder that the complex of store and three houses which Berghofer built there were a significant stage in the village’s development.

Berghofer was buried in Mount Victoria cemetery in 1927. In the 1930s and up to 1941 Miss Hood and then Miss Pratley ran Rosedale as a boarding-house (Moore 1930, 193; Silvey 117), so it is likely that the widowed Katherine Berghofer came to live in the Mount Victoria house (MV 022) until her death in 1945.

Information found in the Land Titles Office establishes the following chain of ownership:
In September 1884 the site of the as yet unbuilt "Selsdon" was owned by Janmes Holmes, described as a gentleman of Mt Victoria. It remained in his possession after he had sold off other land in the area. On 26 January 1887 Holmes transferred the title to the land to John William Berghofer, described as a grazier of Mt Victoria.
Berghofer mortgaged the land to Holmes, and the building that stands on the site was probably built around this period of time. After he died the property was inherited by John Charles Berghofer, farmer of Castle Hill and Joseph Edward Berghofer, labourer of Portland. In July or August 1947 it was sold to Ruby peterson of Katoomba, who sold off part of the land to Miriam Bentley in October 1948 and "Selsdon" to James Reginald Bede Callaghan the following month (LTO 712-35).
"Selsdon" passed to James Callaghan's widow Eunice in 1962 after he had died. She kept the property for several years, then sold it to Gregory Dowler, a toolmaker of Mt Victoria, in 1977. In 1988 he sold it to Michael and Jennifer Salon (LTO 6006-57). (Howard 2001).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. (none)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The house is a significant representative example of an early village store in the Mountains, built for leasing to a storekeeper who could live on the premises. Strategically placed near the top of Victoria Pass (or later Berghofer’s Pass), the store was a significant necessity in early Mount Vistoria, both to locals and to travellers. The significance of the owner is high. Berghofer was a prominent entrepreneur and politician, well known in Kanimbla, Mount Victoria and Little Hartley, who left his mark through, in particular, the construction of Berghofer’s Pass to allow early cars a better route down the mountains to the west than Victoria Pass then offered.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
While presently used as a residence, Selsdon clearly has the form of a combined Victorian shop and residence with evidence of its original Regency detailing in the spandrel panels below the windows and the bullnosed verandahs. While much of the joinery and original detailing has been lost, it is nonetheless a rare surviving example of this form of building in the Blue Mountains.
Integrity/Intactness: Low
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanLEP2005MV04107 Oct 05 122 
Local Environmental Plan - LapsedLEP1991MV04127 Dec 91 183 
Heritage study MV041   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Blue Mountains Heritage Study1983MV041Croft & Associates Pty Ltd & Meredith Walker  Yes
Heritage Study Review, Blue Mountains1992MV041Tropman and Tropman  Yes
Blue Mountains Heritage Register Review1999MV041Jack, R. I. for University of SydneyRIJ & PH Yes
Blue Mountains Heritage Inventory2001MV041Rod Howard Heritage Conservation  Yes
Technical Audit BM Heritage Register2008MV041Blue Mountains City CouncilCity Planning Branch No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 1949Certificate of Title, Register Book Volume 6006 Folio 57
Written 1939Moore's Australian Almanac and New South Wales Country Directory, 1930-
Written 1923Country Trades Register
Written 1912Mount Victoria Directory
Written 1884Certificate of Title, Register Book Volume 712 Folio 35
WrittenBergman, G. F. J.1954John William Berghofer
WrittenSilvey, Gwen1996Happy Days: Blue Mountains Guesthouses Remembered
WrittenWilson, A.1949The Great Western Highway, in Main Roads, 15, pt. 1, September

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

rez
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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1170211


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