Historical information

Situated at the eastern end of York Street, Eltham, 'Shinrone', the former home of Professor William (Mac) MacMahon Ball was one of the first in the Shire of Eltham to incorporate mud-brick.

Professor MacMahon Ball, a political scientist, writer, broadcaster and diplomat and family moved to York Street, Eltham in 1945 into a timber cottage built around the 1890s and in poor repair. Mac asked Alistair Knox to renovate the home and he expanded the living area and added verandahs. In 1948 Montsalvat artist and sculptor Sonia Skipper supervised the building of most of the mud-brick studio. Neighbour Gordon Ford made the mud-bricks. Mac also asked John Harcourt, who had worked with him as a journalist in shortwave broadcasting, to build a pise (rammed earth) and stone addition to the largely timber house. Harcourt built two bedrooms - including an attic bedroom - a balcony with a shower and toilet, a nd a fireplace and chimney of local stone.

Published: Nillumbik Now and Then /​ Marguerite Marshall 2008; photographs Alan King with Marguerite Marshall.; p141


This collection of almost 130 photos about places and people within the Shire of Nillumbik, an urban and rural municipality in Melbourne's north, contributes to an understanding of the history of the Shire. Published in 2008 immediately prior to the Black Saturday bushfires of February 7, 2009, it documents sites that were impacted, and in some cases destroyed by the fires. It includes photographs taken especially for the publication, creating a unique time capsule representing the Shire in the early 21st century. It remains the most recent comprehenesive publication devoted to the Shire's history connecting local residents to the past.

Physical description

Born digital image file