Printed keepsake for the opening of the new Viewfield, a home rebuilt in Mt Macedon after the Ash Wednesday bushfires. Viewfield, owned by John and Zelma Gartner, was rebuilt to the plan of the original house and its completion was celebrated with a formal blessing and a party. It was printed by Jim Lowden on rag paper using hand-set type, a reflection of John Gartner's long-time involvement in private presses and hand-set print.

Inside the document, the house was described like this:

'The two-storey cottage, which originally stood on the 'Viewfield' land, was built by auctioneer Charles Ryan around 1898 and was known as "The Cottage". Ryan died in September 1898, shortly after taking up residence. His wife and two daughters continued to live on at the house. Another daughter, Marian Ellis Rowan, became a noted botanical artist. A son, Major-General Sir Charles Ryan, was an eminent surgeon. In 1939, following the acquisition of the property by Miss Ella Guthrie, architect Hugh Hamilton was commissioned to design a new house. Miss Guthrie named this "Hunderly" after the family home at Jedburgh in Scotland. The Lang family were the next to live here and the name change to "Viewfield" was credited to them.

'John and Zelma Gartner moved into the house in 1980 and set about renovations. Architect Kevin Pethebridge was asked to draw plans for library accomodation [sic]. The library was duly completed and then came the devastating bushfire of February 1983. Fortunately Kevin Pethebridge had retained his earlier drawings and was able to incorporate many of the former home's features and external aspect in the new "Viewfield".'

Physical Description

4-fold page of rag paper with text and decoration in hand-set type. The cover consists of lettering in red and black ink surrounded by a stylised floral border in blue. Inside the text is black with red ornamental initials and a line illustration of a large house. The back cover contains black text with red initial surrounded by a blue stylised floral border.


The Ash Wednesday bushfires of February 1983 were one of Australia's greatest natural disasters. Fires swept through Victoria and South Australia. In the space of a single day in Victoria, 47 people were killed and nearly 3000 homes and other buildings destroyed. This object, along with others from the same house, is a reference to the severity and extent of the fire in Mt Macedon, but also the determination of people to rebuild both their homes and their lives.

More Information