Historical information

Taken in Beechworth, this photograph depicts the business of Camp Street looking towards the Ovens and Murray Benevolent Asylum. In the foreground of right hand side; there are row of buildings, on the left hand side; there are a two standing figures.

The Ovens Benevolent Asylum (or the Ovens and Murray Hospital for the Aged) was constructed in 1862 on an elevated site overlooking the township of Beechworth. This Asylum was built in response to boom in population due to the discovery of Gold in Beechworth in 1852. This period also saw the development of additional administration buildings such as; the Court house, the Town Hall, and offices.

The original Benevolent Asylum building was designed in an unusual Flemish Gothic Revival style. The single storey building is of red brick on a dressed granite base, and the main facade is dominated by four curved, Flemish gable ends, those at the extremities being added to the original central section in 1867. This facade incorporates paired windows of pointed Gothic form and dark brick diaperwork patterning. The adjacent J. A. Wallace Wing of 1899 was designed by Donald Fiddes as a separate building. Also constructed of red brick, Fiddes adopted a conservative approach, designing a simple domestic scale building with central projecting gable porch and flanking bull nosed verandahs.

The Benevolent Asylum was renamed the Ovens Benevolent Home in 1935 and The Ovens and Murray Home in 1954. Many buildings have been added to this site, particularly since the 1960s, including a poorly sited addition to the front of the original building. Extensive internal renovations have also been made to the original buildings. [https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/118]


The Ovens and Murray Hospital for the Aged is of architectural significance as an unusual example of Flemish influenced design from the 1860s. Although the facade has been partly obscured, it remains intact, and, together with the more simply designed Wallace wing, are important examples of early buildings designed for the specific purpose of aged care. The Flemish gables remain as a dominant form of Beechworth's urban landscape.

The Ovens and Murray Hospital for the Aged is of historical significance due to its association with the early development of Beechworth and its dominant siting within the town. It is illustrative of the civic development that took place in the town after the peak of the gold rush, when Beechworth was develpoing as the administrative centre of the north east of Victoria. [https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/118]

Physical description

Black and white rectangular photograph. Image is printed on matte photographic paper.

Inscriptions & markings


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