Ulimaroa is a heritage listed, 19th Century Italianate house, now incorporated into our college headquarters on St Kilda Road in Melbourne. It was purchased in September 1993, when the college was established.
The house was built in 1889-90, a time when St Kilda Road was a tree-lined boulevard dotted with large private residences. It remained a family home until 1960 and today is one of only five former stately homes remaining along St Kilda Road.
From the street, the building appears as an intact example of a Melbourne boom-time residence. However, substantial alterations to the interior have been made during its more than 50 years as a commercial property. Despite these changes, it remains an exquisite example of workmanship from a by-gone era and retains its listing on the Victorian Heritage Register and classification with the National Trust of Australia.
Ulimaroa was once thought to have been a Mãori name for Australia. In discussions between English botanist, Joseph Banks, and Mãori from Doubtless Bay in 1769, a land one month’s canoe ride away was described.
Banks either incorrectly attributed the name to Australia or it was misinterpreted by John Hawkesworth in his official account of the journey in 1773. Subsequent evidence suggests the term was more likely to have referred to New Caledonia.
Linguists have also had difficulty with the name. There is no distinct “l” sound in Mãori language. Translation difficulties, a common problem for Europeans transcribing words with unfamiliar sounds, have been held responsible for the apparent alteration of “Rimaroa” to “Ulimaroa”.
The mysterious map
In 1795 German cartographer, Friedrich Canzler, drew a map of the region naming Australia “Ulimaroa” and showing Tasmania connected to the mainland.
In 1995, ANZCA was gifted a “corrected” edition of Canzler’s map, drawn up in 1806, showing the separation between the two landmasses.
Ulimaroa currently houses the ANZCA Library, Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History and the Fellows room. The building is linked to the more modern ANZCA House via a seamless extension connecting the two buildings. The completion of ANZCA House in 2001 underscored the rapid development and expansion of the speciality of anaesthesia since first becoming a faculty of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1952 to a college in its own right in 1992.
You can do a virtual walk through of Ulimaroa and parts of ANZCA House.