Historic Victoria Lodge, located on the north-eastern boundary of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, is being restored and adapted for use by the broader community.
Built in 1865 for £476, Victoria Lodge provided a residence and a landscape feature to protect the Botanic Garden and Farm Cove. It has been used as a family home for the Garden's Rangers, as well as office and working space, storage and a security post for major events, but, sadly, it has been sitting vacant for some time.
In the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Victoria Lodge, Domain Lodge, Lion Gate Lodge and Rathborne Lodge are all under-utilised. Our vision is to restore, conserve and reinstate these beautiful heritage buildings so they remain part of Sydney's fabric, while bringing them into the 21st century.
We recently invested more than $700K to restore Victoria Lodge's building fabric, including new stone carvings, paint and refurbishment, a new slate roof, paving of the upper terraced area and balustrading. This prepares the building for detailed restoration when we have funding.
Our aim is to secure investment for reinstatement of these buildings to their former glory and status, and work toward an ‘adaptive reuse’ strategy. The value of heritage assets often lies not only in their preservation, but also adaptation and ongoing use by local communities and visitors.
This reuse can achieve economic, environmental and social objectives, including conservation, environmental sustainability, reduced expenditure, place revitalisation and community engagement. They lead to the creation of a 'sense of place', which defines the pulse and health of a nation, its ideals, aspirations and achievements.
We have transformed three rooms in Victoria Lodge into interpretative spaces that now tell the story of its rich past and our vision for its future. We now want to hear from you. Tell us what you would like there – tea rooms, cafe, wedding venue, exhibition space or other flexible uses such as education or scientific and horticultural displays. The possibilities are endless!
Victoria Lodge: A piece of history
Victoria Lodge has exceptional cultural significance as it is the only surviving lodge constructed to define the extremities and boundaries on each side of Farm Cove.
The Italianate-style design of the building is attributed to colonial architect James Barnet. Its tower was constructed in 1865 with pale-coloured sandstone, and the walls are sparrow-pick finished with a rock-faced finish at the base A new wing made of Sydney yellow block sandstone with a dressed and rubbed finish was added in 1897, providing a sitting room.
The front facade has a projecting bay, with six multi-paned windows and stone mullions. Palisade fencing was constructed in 1900 along Mrs Macquaries Road, and included a gateway. A lean-to bathroom was added between 1913 and 1921, and many internal finishes are from the 1960s. The Lower Garden Precinct in which Victoria Lodge sits demonstrates qualities introduced by Governor Macquarie and developed by Charles Moore, Director of the Garden for 48 years from 1848.
Consultation on Victoria Lodge runs from 4 December 2017 to 31 January 2018. Find out more at http://rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/victorialodge