History of the Property
John Ingram had been a head gardener for 15 years on a Scottish estate called Bellfield in Ayrshire where he met and married Mary Cumming on 2nd July 1844. They had three children, William born April 1845, Jane born February 1847 and John born November 1850.
In 1852 John decided to undertake the long voyage to Australia with his young family. Accompanying John and his family on this voyage was his daughter from his first marriage, Helen Ingram aged 14 years, his mother-in-law, Mary Cumming, and his brother, Walter Ingram. The group travelled down to Liverpool to catch the ship “The Edmund” which left Liverpool on the 10th of November 1852.
In 1854 John Ingram purchased the land from a developer and commenced clearing it. The first permanent structure on the property appears to have been a small two roomed brick building that eventually became the kitchen and laundry. The remnants of this building can be found in the outside Kitchen and storerooms. It is not known when the rest of the house was built but public records document its existence in 1858. The house was the first brick dwelling in the then City of Waverley. The Ingram property, which John named Bellfield, stretched from Springvale Road to High Street Road to Gallaghers Road to Waverley Road. It was mainly orchards. There was an outside kitchen and laundry, servant’s quarters and stables along with the house.
John Ingram died aged 80 years on 31st May 1897 after having handed the property over to his eldest son, William. William was Shire President in 1900 and suggested the name Glen Waverley for the new suburb. William died in 1911 aged 66 years. He left his estate to his wife, Jane Ferguson, who sold the property soon afterward thus ending over 60 years of the Ingram connection with Glen Waverley. Ingram Street, opposite the Council building, remains a tribute to the contribution of the Ingram family to the City of Waverley.
In 1918 Michael Lawless purchased the property and in about 1927 he added a new brick frontage which included the distinctive veranda. This had the effect of turning the aspect of the house 180 degrees to face Springvale Road whereas it had previously faced the Dandenong Ranges.
Over the years the land belonging to the Bellfield property was sold off until all that remained was the five large house blocks on which the house sits today. This property was purchased by the City of Waverley in 1979 to develop as a neighbourhood house that took the name Mount Street Neighbourhood House and opened its doors in April 1980.
In 2000 the House underwent extensive renovation and redevelopment to accommodate the Waverley Arts Society and the Waverley Patchworkers. Now, as equal co-tenants of the property, the name was changed from Mount Street Neighbourhood House to Bellfield House thereby recognizing the significant connection to the Ingram family.