Ballarat office comes with unique gold rush history

Lynn’s Chambers in the centre of Ballarat is up for sale.
Lynn’s Chambers in the centre of Ballarat is up for sale.

A property that was once the chambers of a lawyer who played a key role in the events leading up to the Eureka Stockade rebellion on Victoria’s goldfields is on the market.

The heritage-listed building known as ‘Lynn’s Chambers’, at 26 Lydiard St South, Ballarat Central, was the workplace of Adam Loftus Lynn, who is widely regarded as the first person to practise law in Ballarat during the 1850s gold rush.

Lynn holds an important place in gold rush history, having represented the family of James Scobie at the inquest into Scobie’s murder – a major event in the lead-up to the Eureka Stockade.

The Irishman, who emigrated to Australia with his family after the discovery of gold near Ballarat in the early 1850s, built the property as a one-storey office in 1870. More than 20 years after Lynn’s death in 1878 it was expanded to its current two-storey design.

The building, built in the Victorian Renaissance Revival style, features 12 separate offices on the ground floor, many with original open fireplaces, as well as a large reception area and a kitchen.

The entry to Lynn's Chambers features ornate tessellated tiling.

The entry to Lynn’s Chambers features ornate tessellated tiling.

Upstairs are three rooms, a bathroom and a kitchen, while much of the building’s interior and facade features original 19th century detailing.

‘Lynn’s Chambers’ is being marketed by PRD Nationwide’s Samantha McIntosh and Brenden Barclay, and will be auctioned on Saturday, June 18.

McIntosh says the building forms part of one of Ballarat’s most historically significant strips.

“You’re looking at the workplace of the first solicitor’s practice in Ballarat, in amongst the goldfields,” she says.

“It’s a stunning building in that streetscape that’s internationally known.”

A stunning staircase leads to the upstairs rooms and kitchen.

A stunning staircase leads to the upstairs rooms and kitchen.

“Lydiard St in Ballarat is one that is admired by people from all around the world because of its signicant architecture and it’s intactness.”

“Buying into this heritage real estate here in Ballarat and something like Lynn’s Chambers gives you so much more than just the building that it is today.”

While the building has remained vacant for a number of years, it was once PRD Nationwide’s headquarters.

“We owned it as our official offices about 10 years ago and since then it’s had a few different owners but hasn’t been operated, to my knowledge,” McIntosh says.

“I think there are still notes on the walls from the PRD days.”

Many of the offices feature original fireplaces.

Many of the offices feature original fireplaces.

Reminders that the offices were once a hotbed of activity when Ballarat became Australia’s gold rush boom town are in rich supply.

“Probably the most significant feature when you first walk in the door, the first thing that hits you is the spectacular tessellated tiles. The whole entry hall as you come in that arched front door, takes you into this passageway of an amazing display of tessellated tiles,” McIntosh says.

“When you walk inside you can see the lovely staircase, there’s certainly some significant messages of that bygone era. As well as the staircase, in a number of the rooms there’s the original fireplaces as well.

Lynn's Chambers forms part of one of Ballarat's most famous streetscapes.

Lynn’s Chambers forms part of one of Ballarat’s most famous streetscapes.

“Theres a lot that needs to be done but there’s certainly a lot that’s left.”

The property’s current owners once had plans approved to develop the airspace above the building, and while those plans have expired, Hutchinson says they could easily be revived.

“It gives whoever the purchaser of the property some huge scope … to do something that’s quite new and innovative,” she says.

“There’s the whole space on the roofline of the rear of the building that has the potential to be developed.”