Riversleigh: 3-5 Nicholson Street. Bairnsdale, Victoria

Riversleigh is Bairnsdale’s most majestic pair of terrace houses. Built in 1883-4 and attributed to R T Vincent1 tThe semi-detached pair was built to maximise views across the magnificent Mitchell River on the northern edge of the central business district. It is part of a heritage precinct which includes neighbouring Wahroonga mansion and the Bairnsdale courthouse.

Riversleigh: 3-5 Nicholson Street. Bairnsdale, Victoria

Currently the terraces are operated by Choice Hotels as the Comfort Inn Riversleigh and was renovated to the theme of its original character for adaptive reuse in 1987.2

Architecturally they are interesting for their symmetry of double storey iron lacework verandahs and their tall Italianate style parapets completely hiding the roofline.  In the centre of the parapets is a distinctive motif depicting a merino’s head.  This is flanked by pillasters, scrolls and topped by urn like finials with tall chimneys balanced on either side.  Each balcony is divided into two bays by cast iron columns and dressed with fringe and bracket, balustrade.  The central party wall features female heads and acanthus scrolls.  The doors and windows are equally grand, each featuring sidelights and the entrance being a four paneled Victorian door with transom.

The terraces are not recognised with state significance, although they are on the National Trust’s register as having local significance.  They are also protected by an East Gippsland Shire heritage overlay HO112.34


  1. National Trust file B5462
  2. Comfort Inn Riversleigh
  3. East Gippsland Planning Scheme
  4. Land Victoria

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Recent Discussion
  • Lesley Poker: Built in 1874. Originally built by a John Watson ( very wealthy) who built the one next door for his...
  • Anne: Thanks for your comment. We own one of these terraces and would be interested in any info you have.
  • Kate Van Dyck: Love this photo. One off my GG Grandfather’s lived in No 21 and died at that address. So...