Mudbrick Tour History

Nillumbik Shire has a unique heritage in mudbrick architecture accumulated over more than half a century of experimentation, design and construction. Local architects today, estimate there are over 1300 mudbrick houses within the Shire.

This cultural treasure trove has been long recognised and was first celebrated with the inaugural Eltham Mudbrick Tour which took place in 1964 as a fund raiser for OxFam under the direction of Alistair Knox and Brian Howe who later became deputy PM in the Keating Government.

The Eltham Mudbrick Tour has become part of the fabric of Nillumbik Shire and is keenly anticipated by its patrons each year, that frequently included regional and interstate visitors.

Panton Hill Mudbrick Tour

In 1976 a second tour began to exhibit the mudbrick architecture in the northern part of the district. The Panton Hill Mudbrick Tour ran for 33 years in an unbroken series, as an annual fundraiser for the Panton Hill Preschool until 2009. Following the tragedy of the 2009 Black Saturday fires the local community was engaged in the bushfire recovery effort and for the first time there was no tour.

Eltham High School Mudbrick Tour

In 2010 the Nillumbik Mudbrick Association approached Eltham High School to restart the Mudbrick House Tour. With the support of major sponsor Nillumbik Shire Council, Montsalvat, and many local business supporters, Eltham High School was the community organisation behind this cultural event up to 2019. The tour was a major fundraiser for new instruments for Eltham High School’s widely regarded music program. During this period the tour evolved to a successful format with a new selection of five exemplary mudbrick homes each year open for a day in October.

The tour began at community locations including Eltham Library, Montsalvat and St. Andrews Market Hall, where Eltham High School music program students would perform. Tour patrons enjoyed a continuous minibus shuttle service between houses, home-made refreshments, and mudbrick making/building demonstrations.

Nillumbik Mudbrick Association Mudbrick Tour

Sadly, the Covid19 pandemic made it impossible to plan or run an in-person event and in 2022 Eltham High School passed the stewardship to long-time Mudbrick Tour major supporter, The Nillumbik Mudbrick Association.

In 2023 we are excited to offer our virtual online tour and look forward to returning to an in-person event in future.

Alistair Knox c.1985, photo by Lynne Cooke

Alistair Knox c.1985, photo by Lynne Cooke

Alistair Knox

A self taught architect, Alistair Knox has designed over 1000 houses. His philosophy of doing it yourself using available resources works well with mudbrick construction.

He was an Eltham Shire Councillor from 1972 to 1975. He died in 1985.

Further information:

Photos taken at the end of the Mud Brick Tour.

Eltham Mudbrick Tour 2019

Eltham Mudbrick Tour 2018

Eltham Mudbrick Tour 2017

Eltham Mudbrick Tour 2016

Eltham Mudbrick Tour 2015

Eltham Mudbrick Tour 2014

Eltham Mudbrick Tour 2013

Eltham Mudbrick Tour 2012

Eltham Mudbrick Tour 2010