13-15 James Street. Port Fairy, Victoria

Port Fairy, known as Belfast (after the Irish city) during the early Victorian era was one of the colony’s early thriving coastal settlements and was much the same size as it is today.  So it is not really suprising to find quite a number of  semi-detached and terraced “cottages” about the town.  Unlike other Victorian cities, however due to the 1850s origins, the majority of Port Fairy’s cottages are mostly a very subdued Georgian style of double fronted home  (influenced by Irish architecture) similar to those found in southern Tasmania.  That makes this pair all the more interesting as it is probably more akin to the South Australian colonial terrace with its simple wooden verandah decorations.

Semi-detached cottages: 13-15 James Street. Port Fairy, Victoria

I suspect that the timber verandah (outbuildings and possibly chimney style) are later addition (possibly 1870s) to a pair of humble early Victorian cottages.   Regardless of the period, the integration with the homes is skillful. It may well be newer still given other fixtures and modifications, as a sympathetic addition, indeed it is possible that the whole front foundation is concrete rather than the rendered stone of the rest of the building.   The main roof is hipped corrugated iron, with Italianate style chimneys on either side.  The verandah roof projects over the balcony, adding interest and shade and is propped up by projecting brackets.  The criss cross wooden balcony rail marks the entrance with a shorter variation of the pattern.  Typical of other cottages in Port Fairy, the doorway is plain and flanked by plain double hung windows.

While most of Port Fairy is protected by local heritage overlays and registered by the National Trust or Heritage Victoria this pair of cottages barely rates a mention in the heritage archives.  It does however have a heritage overlay HO13 through Moyne Shire’s planning scheme.

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