Oberon: 215 Lydiard Street, Soldiers Hill. Ballarat, Victoria

Oberon is a freestanding single storey Italianate villa in the terrace house style. It is adaptively reused as offices. The house features what can best be described as a highly refined florid facade. In this design, the three most important elements – parapet, verandah and openings are given maximum emphasis in detail.

Oberon: 215 Lydiard Street, Soldiers Hill. Ballarat, Victoria

Above a heavy and richly decorated cornice is a high parapet detailed in unique pattern mouldings which effectively hides the gabled corrugated iron roof behind. Two pilasters frame a cartouche with the name “Oberon” inscribed in stylistic font flanked by patterns above and to the sides and the pilasters are flanked by scrolls with projecting floral motif. The crown also features a smaller cartouche design with a crown composed of what appears to be a vase of flowers with swirls. The cornice is bracketed and between the brackets are alternating mouldings of rectangular and floral forms. On either side of the parapet are finials, the party walls below which also feature an unusual combination of plain acanthus leaf, square floral emblem and stunted triglyph. A large open frieze features three rectangular frames dotted with paterae.

Oberon’s verandah is a beautiful combination of projecting bullnose corrugated iron and detailed patterned cast iron lacework draped like a doyley tablecloth. The lacework is divided into three bays by cast iron columns featuring classical capitals. An iron frieze has large round arc brackets the fringe of which is dotted with arrowhead like finials. There are pendants at the midpoint of each bay. The party wall is dressed to further emphasize the verandah and add to its detail featuring a cmall cornice, acanthus leapf and shell motif.

The doors and windows are no less detailed, in fact probably moreso. There is vermiculation quoining around the doorway. The door itself has panels of heavy timber moulding. The door surrounds feature etched glass. In particular the transom has a striking and large patterned inscription in the glass. Between the door and windows, little space is left untreated. The windows have moulded ledges and Victorian era Palladian configuration with narrow double hung windows flanking a larger opening. The window sets have large moulded ledged with patterned brackets.

The terrace is slightly elevated on its bluestone base, adding to its grand appearance.

Oberon takes its name from legendary king of the fairies.

The former house is within City of Ballarat heritage overlay HO170 which provides some local heritage protection.1

  1. City of Ballarat Planning Scheme

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