Historic Buildings, Sally D's Mobile Photography Challenge

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge (B & W): Helenslee

The first time I laid eyes on this building in our main street, I thought Bates house. I had no actual memory of what the Psycho House aka Bates Motel really looked like, but something from the single viewing of that movie stirs whenever I see this building.

The timber sections of this building are to be demolished. I worried that I wouldn’t get around to taking photographs before that happened. I eventually pulled up on the way home from work and got out the trusty Nokia Lumia 530 windows phone.


You can see the old wood lath construction in the walls where some outer cladding had been removed.


This stone section  is the only part of the building under protection. One of the first buildings built in Heathcote, it will be repurposed as a Cellar Door for a local winery. A new accommodation wing will be joined via a glazed section. Sounds interesting, and it’s wonderful that this old building gets restored to its former Georgian grandeur. (The Heathcote Region produces some of the best Shiraz in Australia.)


The Victorian Heritage Database says …

The former survey office at Heathcote was built in 1854 for Phillip Chauncy (1816-80), who was sent to the McIvor goldfield district in 1853 as surveyor-in-chief. … Gold had been discovered at McIvor Creek in 1852, there was a short-lived rush to the area in 1853…  After 1860 the survey building became redundant and it was bought in 1872 by Frederick Spinks, the owner of the local store, who made substantial timber additions to the stone building for use as a residence, which he named Helenslee. It was described then as having nine rooms, a cellar and outbuildings, a notable garden and a tennis court. In 1896 it was bought by a local doctor, Alfred Esler, who made further additions, and from then until 1968 it was owned by a series of medical practitioners who used it as a residence and surgery, following which it again became a private residence. …



I converted these images to black-and-white for Sally D’s Mobile Photography challenge. and optimized them for the web. I was reluctant to do any cropping, so I didn’t.

I hope you are having a good day.   🙂


15 thoughts on “Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge (B & W): Helenslee

  1. The black and white effect works well for these photos. Isn’t the house oh so creepy and definitely Hitchcock set material. However, once it has been restored, I suspect you won’t notice that at all. Looking forward to an update post when it is all done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s pretty much grey and white anyhow so converted well. All that front ‘spooky’ part is coming down, and will probably be replaced with a stone building sympathetic to the original stone part at the back. Thanks for dropping by Amanda.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Abandoned structures are seductive and push us to find their back story. I especially like the way the rays of light subtly cast a spell upon the house. It’s a magical grouping with its layers, and the monochrome gives extra drama to an already dramatic captures. Happy Photo Challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Black and White (and the Fog of Winter) | Lens and Pens by Sally

  4. The bones of this building hint at its former splendor. It will be so interesting to see it after its transformation and how much of the original can be salvaged.
    I really like the first photo. I like the structure of that small addition with the upper veranda and little *things* on the roof. I’ve always wanted a house with little decorative *things* on the roof 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a shame the top structure is being demolished, unless there has been a change of plans. The wooden extensions were added about the 1870s but that bit on top might have been later. So many locals will be apalled at it’s demise, it’s part of the streetscape. The stone building is pretty basic inside, being built 1854. I love the exterior, it should do up well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • From being built as a Government surveyors office/home in 1854, followed by a storekeeper and a succession of doctors and extensions over time, it’s seen some history all right. I supose the renovating will be a long process.


    • I wonder if the local kids think of it as haunted, it’s had an abandoned, spooky look for a long time. I was stoked when I saw the construction site fencing go up around the perimeter – replaced with the taller than normal picket fence. Will keep my eye on things there.


Comments are closed.