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Benga, Heritage Hill Dandenong

Architect: Frederick W Ballantyne of J F W Ballantyne and Roy Wilson

City of Greater Dandenong | GD03

Designed by renowned architect Frederick Ballantyne of JFW Ballantyne and Roy Wilson, Benga expresses the aspirations and developments in domestic housing during the interwar period. Built for the local doctor, Ian Hart and his wife, Dorothy Hart, at the time it was to be the largest and most expensive house constructed in the Shire of Dandenong. At the stage of design, Dorothy Hart was dissatisfied with the original plans which reflected Ballantyne’s more restrained Modernist style. She had them changed to reflect the Tudor Revival style which refers to numerous English architectural traditions. Benga was redesigned and built at an estimated cost of £1,850. The house was extended in 1952 and Ballantyne was engaged to design the extension to ensure its 1930s character was maintained. A major feature of the property is the exceptional Edna Walling-inspired garden design, which features compartmentalised areas, a formal rose garden, perennial garden beds, designed paths, a pergola and a sundial. The substantial brick home and garden – which featured provision of quarters for live-in domestic staff – reflects the social status of the doctor and his wife in the local Dandenong community.

Need to Know

  • Open: Sat & Sun 10am-4pm

  • What's Open: All parts of the building

  • Tour Details: Tours at 10.30am, 12noon, 1.30pm, 3.00pm, running for 40 minutes, in groups of 15

  • Special Programming: View an Artist in Residence Showcase exhibition of painting and video artworks by Kieren Seymour, Naomi Bishop and Lisa DiPilla. Programmed heritage exhibitions will showcase the history of the region alongside items sourced from the City of Greater Dandenong Civic Collection, Springvale and District Historical Society, Dandenong Historical Society and private collections. The exhibition ‘Make Do to Renew’ on display at Benga draws on the experience of our grandparents to recycle and reuse. ‘Boundless Plains to Share’ on display at Laurel Lodge explores the settlement patterns of the area from early migration to more recent arrivals.

  • Building Type: Cultural

  • Facilities: Toilets

  • Access: Pram accessible, Fully accessible

  • Year Built: 1936

  • Transport: Bus stop: McCrae St/Foster St on route 828, 844, 892, 893.

  • Tour Type: Guided & self-guided

Location

66 McCrae Street, Dandenong 3175, VIC

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