117-year-old 'Durrol' hill station on Mount Macedon razed to the ground by fire

‘Durrol’ was one of Mount Macedon’s last, and most stately, hill station homes.

The Australian Heritage Database lists 1901 as the year the Edwardian weatherboard residence was built, making it about as old as the nation itself.

The property’s history dates back before then, though, having been sold to a Charles Barns Boatman in 1854. It was previously crown land, according to the database.

Then Melbourne Stock Exchange chairman William Foster Woods and his wife Clara developed and named  ‘Durrol’, which was sold to Stanley Anketell Allen in August 1919.

The property is believed to have been owned by two families for about 90 subsequent years.

One of the most historically significant features of ‘Durrol’ was its garden, which was designed by renowned landscape designer Edna Walling in 1925.

Mount Macedon Volunteer Fire Brigade captain Tim Slattery said the garden was largely intact despite Wednesday’s fire, but the house was destroyed.

Fire marks end of an era

THE majestic ‘Durrol’ property, on the slopes of Mount Macedon, survived Ash Wednesday.

Flames lapped at the gardens out the front of the house in the bushfires of 1983, according to the Australian Heritage Database.

But the damage seemed only to beautify the views towards the property’s southern boundary.

Something as seemingly innocuous as a fireplace is believed to have sparked the blaze that consumed the 117-year-old house this week, ending an era.

Macedon CFA captain Ross Luke was of the understanding the 96-year-old owner of the house, a much-loved member of the community, was in the shower when the fire started.

He said the woman’s carer, who was at the property at the time, assisted her to leave the house for the safety of a neighbour’s home before the fire took hold.

Emergency services received multiple reports of a fire at Mount Macedon Road, at Mount Macedon, about 9.30am on Wednesday.

Firefighters from Macedon CFA, Mount Macedon Volunteer Fire Brigade, Woodend CFA, Gisborne CFA, and Riddells Creek Fire Brigade responded, with support from Bendigo Fire Brigade and Golden Square Fire Brigade.

Units remained at the scene overnight to ensure it was safe.

Mr Luke said the house at Durrol was about 80 per cent involved in fire when his units arrived.

“We could see the smoke from the bottom of the mount,” he said.

“One end, the kitchen end, was basically fully involved.”

Fire quickly spread throughout the remainder of the timber house, gutting the historical structure despite firefighters’ tireless efforts.

Mount Macedon Volunteer Fire Brigade captain Tim Slattery said little remained of the hill station.

The blaze was believed to have started after a log rolled out of a fireplace in the kitchen area.

While the house’s 96-year-old owner was known to be safe, fears remained for her 15-year-old dog Sienna.

The woman’s faithful companion, a chocolate brown standard poodle, had been missing since the fire.

Mr Slattery said it was not yet known whether Sienna had been inside the house or had also escaped.

Investigations at the scene did not reveal the remains of a dog.

“People have been out looking for it,” Mr Slattery said.

But Sienna had yet to be found when the Bendigo Advertiser went to press.

Firefighters were hopeful the dog was somewhere in the area and urged anyone with information about Sienna to call the Mount Macedon Volunteer Fire Brigade on 5426 1209.