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Photographer's Note

I've dedicated this photo to George Rumpler - Budapestman - one of the fine photographers of architecture on TE. The house may look not at all Hungarian, and indeed was never meant to. But it was bought by a Hungarian migrant to Australia in the 1860s, and lived in by his large family, and later by his longest surviving daughter until 1981.

This handsome house was built in the gold-mining town of Castlemaine in the heart of the famous Victorian goldfields, in 1861, by a retired Englishman called Smith, who called it Delhi Villa. In 1863 it was bought by Ernest Leviny, a Hungarian silver and gold-smith (born 1818, in Szepes-Szombat) who travelled - like so many others from all over the world - to this 'Eldorado' in the 1850s with one purpose. He brought with him heavy mining equipment which was pulled to the goldfields by oxen. After failing in this pursuit, he returned to his craft and opened a watchmaking and jewellery business in the town. He was successful enough to be able to buy Delhi Villa and immediately renamed it Buda. Two pieces of his work can be seen here.

Leviny's first wife and child both died, but he remarried in 1864, in Tasmania, brought his new, young wife to live in Buda and soon afterwards they began to produce their 10 children. Ernest was well into his sixties by the time the last child was born! Of his six daughters, only one ever married. The other five spent most of their lives at Buda. The last surving daughter, Hilda, made a gift of the house to the Castlemaine Art Gallery and Museum in the 1970s. When she died in 1981, only two generations of the Leviny family had occupied the house for 118 years. Today it is perserved and managed by the National Trust of Australia.

I hope George and other Hungarian members appreciate this association with Hungary in a small rural town in a faraway land.

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Additional Photos by Andrew McRae (macondo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2978 W: 101 N: 5253] (20449)
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