A house that burned in the 1950s was built in the mid-century style.
It was the largest single-family home in Australia and featured an enormous central courtyard.
In the early 1970s, the home was destroyed by a fire.
The original owner was never caught.
In 2016, a fire that broke out in the house’s attic, destroyed more than half of the property, and left thousands homeless was ruled a case of arson.
In a bid to save the property from further damage, an independent commission of inquiry was set up in the early 2000s, led by former Melbourne City Council chief executive, John Brown.
But the inquiry report, released in 2013, concluded the blaze had been caused by a lack of ventilation, smoke alarms and an inadequate roof.
“The findings of the investigation found there was a lack and a lack that required remedial work to be undertaken and the owner was found to have acted in a negligent manner,” the report said.
The commission said it was also determined there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the owner.
A fire in the 1920s on the former home of Victorian builder Sir John Brown and wife Sarah Brown.
Source: Supplied, Al Jazeera/Supplied The report also recommended that the property should have been demolished and the structure repaired to be more environmentally friendly.
It recommended a thorough investigation into whether the owners had a history of neglecting the property.
The inquiry found the house was “unfit for habitation”, and there was “no evidence that the fire alarm was properly maintained” and the roof “was poorly maintained”.
A Victorian fire brigade was sent to the scene of the blaze to extinguish the flames, but the fire spread and the house “burned rapidly” before the brigade arrived.
“This was a catastrophic fire that had the potential to destroy the entire building,” the commission said.
It said there was no evidence to suggest the owners knew of the fire and the fire brigade were unable to provide any assistance.
The report concluded there was also “no reason to believe the owner could have been held accountable” for the blaze.
In July 2017, the owner of the building, Sir John Smith, was convicted of arson for the fire.
A former owner of Sir John and Sarah Brown’s old house in Melbourne.
Source of images: Al Jazeera News/Supplier The Melbourne City Fire Service (MFS) said the house had been built in 1887 and “was the largest home in Melbourne and one of the first in the world”.
“The owner had no responsibility for any damage caused by the fire or for the damage to the structure itself,” the MFS said in a statement.
Sir John, who died in 2010, was “one of the most respected figures in Victorian architecture”.
The former owner was convicted for the arson of the Victorian mansion, which was destroyed in a fire in 2013.
The MFS did not provide a timeline of the restoration work the building had to undergo.
“There is a large amount of work being done on the site to rebuild the structure, but no immediate progress has been made,” the statement said.
“No one has been held to account for the incident.”
Sir John’s estate was bought in the 1970s and has been sold off by the state.
The Melbourne Fire Service says there is no timetable for the building to be re-used.
The owners of the house where the fire was first reported have also died and the state has given the property to the state heritage and heritage heritage committee.