A landmark home in Ballan is no more as the 'dome house', a place of curiosity for many travellers and visible from the Ballarat railway line, has fallen to the wrecker's hammer.
Built in 2008 by computer coder, immigration agent, justice of the peace and treasurer of the Victorian Priory of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem Knights Hospitaller Tony Clarke, the building utilised hemp, concrete, foam, and steel in its construction. Clarke built it with his older brother Adrian over a number of years, and at one stage their father Kel Clarke, a WWII veteran with an equally wide array of interests, lived in the circular house as well.
READ THE CLARKE FAMILY STORY, AND THE HISTORY OF THE DOME:
Clarke is sad to see the house come down. In an email he says he was under the impression the dome house would be retained in the new development, a retirement village.
"(The developer) was ringing to see if there was anything I wanted from the building. I said that I wanted the yellow circular staircase going from the middle floor to the top. It was built as a modular staircase from sections. So they will try and save that for me...
"I mentioned to the demolisher that knocking it down will be harder than he thinks as it has withstood a couple of storms that seemed like tornadoes and is four inches of concrete and four inches of foam, as well as having steel bracing on the internal walls, instead of wood.
"Also the base concrete of the building used more concrete than the actual dome itself. It is a very solid building. And the windows are double glazed with toughened glass on the outer glazing.
"All we can do is remember the good times of living in the building, as well as the freezing cold as the weather in Ballan comes straight from Antarctica up its own set of valleys through the Otways and hits Ballan with full force. It is, as I used to say: Winter All Year, except when it Pretends to Be Summer. I am much happier in the warmer weather of Warracknabeal... if they want to knock it down, so be it."
The Courier understands the land will be developed for a retirement village; no planning application was currently available on the Moorabool Shire website for the land. It was not, despite rumours, destroyed by the Galactic Empire.