The land that makes up 800 Station St was originally part of Box Hill pioneer Arundel Wrighte’s ‘Beaudesert’ estate. After the deaths of Arundel and Fanny Wrighte in 1887 the estate was bought by C.F. Taylor who with F. L. Flint created the Box Hill Township Estate Company and subdivided the land in 1888.
THE TATE FAMILY
In 1888 Frank Tate purchased Lot 1 in section 5 of the Box Hill Township Estate Company, the site would eventually become 800 Station St. The Victorian timber villa was built on Lot 1 in 1888 by Frank Tate, around 1902/03 he bought lots 2 and 3.
Frank Tate was born on 18 June 1864 at Mopoke Gully, near Castlemaine, Victoria. He was the son of Henry and Mary Bessy Tate (née Lomas) both were born in England. Henry Tate established and managed mining companies and helped to found the Castlemaine Mining and Stock Exchange; he also ran a shop at Fryerstown. In 1873 the family moved to Melbourne where they continued to live while Henry Tate returned occasionally to work in the mining districts.
In October 1888 Frank Tate married Ada Victoria Hodgkiss a former pupil at Christ Church, South Yarra. Ada Hodgkiss was born in 1864 in Fitzroy; she was the daughter of William and Agnes Hodgkiss (nee Airey). Frank and Ada Tate had six children William, Allan, Winifred, Dorothy, Marjorie and Agnes was born in 1889 but died in 1891.
Frank Tate –a reformer of education
Frank spent most of his school-days at the Old Model School, Spring Street Melbourne, where he was influenced by its headmaster Patrick Whyte. Having completed his elementary schooling, Frank enrolled in 1877 as a pupil-teacher at the school; he failed the annual examination in the art of teaching twice but regardless he became a brilliant teacher. After completing the four year course he enrolled for another two years at the Old Model School. The Old Model School was the central school and headquarters of Victoria's National Board of Education; it was created in 1851 and was located in East Melbourne.
Having completed his training in 1884 Frank began his teaching career at the Panton Hill State School; Panton Hill is five and half kilometers east of Hurstbridge, Victoria. He advanced rapidly through the teaching ranks at schools at Koonung Koonung and Box Hill. With former trainees he helped to found the State Schools Teachers' Union of Victoria. In 1885 he began part-time study at the University of Melbourne (B.A., 1888; M.A., 1894), becoming one of the first pupil-teachers to complete a tertiary qualification.
Frank was an early Head Teacher at Box Hill State School No. 2838 (on the site of the former Box Hill Institute next to the Box Hill Town Hall) it was the first State School in Box Hill when it opened in 1887. The school consisted of eight classrooms, a principal’s office, and a small staff room. In October 1888 he was appointed to the Central Training Institution, by this time it was known as the Training College.
In 1892 he established the State School Teachers' Literary Society, during the depression in 1893 the Teachers college was closed and he was placed in charge of pupil-teacher classes. In 1895, he was appointed School Inspector based in Charlton, Victoria. From there he administered a district which contained 136 schools and spread over 5400 sq. miles (13,986 km²) mainly in the Mallee of north-western Victoria. This position often involved long periods away from Charlton touring his district as well as being separated for much longer periods from his family who had remained in Melbourne.
A Royal Commission into the state of the education system in Victoria from 1899 to 1901 exposed the neglect of previous governments and provided a programme for reform. The Fink Commission was impressed with the evidence that Frank gave and was seen as an exciting reformer. As a result of pressure from the commission, the Melbourne Training College was re-opened in February 1900 and Frank Tate was appointed Principal. The Fink Commission had recommended that its Director should have a professional knowledge of education, Frank was appointed as Director in 1902.
In the following years Frank pursued vigorous reforms based on the recommendations of the Fink Commission. He abolished payment by results and modified the pupil-teacher system. In 1902 he introduced a new course of study, much of which he wrote himself.
Frank was a member of the council of the University of Melbourne and worked with the university in developing and implementing the Diploma of Education in 1903. In 1903 Frank was appointed to the Companions of the Imperial Service Order by King Edward VII. In 1905 he persuaded the State government to introduce a Teachers and Schools Registration Act which gave the state government its first vestige of control over private schools.
In 1907 Frank went overseas and following year produced his Preliminary Report of the Director of Education Upon Observations Made During an Official Visit to Europe and America. Frank used the report to state his case of the educational benefits of state secondary schooling and on Australia's need for a skilled and educated workforce if it were to become a modern industrial democracy. In 1909 Frank persuaded the state government to introduce a bill which allowed the establishment of state high schools; it eventually passed as the 1910 Education Act.
In 1911 in accordance with a Fink Commission recommendation, the Council of Public Education was established, Frank had appointed himself chairman. In 1913, after protracted negotiations with the university, Frank helped to establish a Schools Board which secured increased influence for state government schools.
By late 1914 Frank presided over forty-three state schools, offering either a complete or a partial secondary education. His plans for expansion were put on hold due to world war one. After the war Frank worked to expand the State's secondary schools, making some improvements in teacher education. In the last years of his directorship he kept in touch with contemporary ideas and supported the efforts of younger colleagues.
His political toughness, administrative shrewdness, personal charm and wit, and his longevity—during his directorship he served sixteen ministries and nineteen ministers—won him respect in Australian educational circles. He also earned a reputation overseas for his eloquence, experience and intense commitment to education. In 1921 he received the La Medaille du Ministre des Affaires Etrangeres medal from the French government.
He was a leading figure at Imperial Education conferences in London in 1923 and 1927, and he was invited to conduct commissions of inquiry in New Zealand in 1925, Fiji in 1926 and Southern Rhodesia in 1929. For his dedication and service he was appointed C.M.G. (Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George) in 1919 and a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur in 1927 (Legion of Honour).
In 1923 Frank Tate as the Director of Education in Victoria with his wife Ada and daughter Winifred accompanied the Hon. Agent General (Governor) for Victoria Sir John McWhae and his wife Elizabeth to Amiens, France. The delegation represented the state of Victoria in the commemorations of Australian soldiers who died in France and in particular Villiers Bretonneau. Villiers Bretonneau was adopted by the City of Melbourne. Franks daughter Winifred laid a wreath at the monument to French soldiers.
A part of the commemorations was the opening of a new school, the school was rebuilt using donations from the school children of Victoria (many of whom had relatives that died in the town's liberation) and above every blackboard is the inscription, "N'oublions jamais l'Australie" – ‘Let us never forget Australia’.
During his time as Director of Education Frank worked with the Box Hill School committee, Councillors and State Ministers for a number of years in gaining approval for the new Box Hill State School (No 2383) to be built. The school moved to a newly constructed building in Station St, Box Hill in 1920 (corner of Thames and Station St, demolished 1993) due to increasing enrollments. Before the new school was built a house on Station St was leased to accommodate the growing number of students.
It was upon Frank’s recommendation that a Technical School be opened in Box Hill. On September 4, 1924 the Box Hill Girls Technical School was opened, it was built on land in front of the Box Hill State School on Whitehorse Rd. The school was the first technical school established specifically for girls in Victoria.
Frank Tate was always on the lookout for ways to improve the education system in Victoria and took a keen interest in the ‘new education’ especially its American form; in 1925 he established connections to the Teachers College in Columbia. By 1930 he persuaded colleagues to ignore interstate rivalries and acquired important Carnegie Foundation funding to set up the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER - still in existence and is located on the corner of Railway Pde and Prospect Hill Rd in Camberwell). Again, with the assistance of Carnegie Foundation, he created the opportunity for Ralph Munn, director of the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, and Ernest Pitt to produce their influential report, Australian Libraries (1935).
Frank Tate retired as Director in 1928 but continued to work for educational causes as well as contributing an extraordinary amount of voluntary work for social, artistic and cultural causes. He died at Caulfield on 28 June 1939 and was buried in Box Hill cemetery, his wife Ada had died in 1932. A portrait of Frank Tate by Australian artist W. B. McInnes is held by the National Gallery of Victoria and the Frank Tate Building at the University of Melbourne is named in his honour.
THE KIRWOOD FAMILY
William Kirwood and his family lived at 800 Station St, Box Hill from approximately 1901 to 1910. William Kirwood was born in England in 1853 and migrated to Melbourne in 1854 with his parents Charles and Eliza Kirwood (nee Bently) and three siblings.
William Kirwood married Jessie Jelfs in 1883. Jessie Jelfs was born in Melbourne to Captain Thomas and Ann Jelfs (nee Beech) in 1858. William and Jessie had three children Stanley, Violet and Doris. Records show that William and Jessie Kirwood were living at 800 Station St in 1901; his occupation is listed as Warehousemen. William named the house ‘St Elmo’ and it appears for the first time under this name in the 1903 Sands and McDougall directory.
Stanley Kirwood had served as cadet at Box Hill Grammar School (now Kingswood College) before enlisting in the army in 1914 and joining the 5th Battalion A.I.F as a Private. He was later promoted to Lance Corporal and served at Gallipoli in 1915. In 1916 he was sent to France and in October he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field as a noncommissioned officer, in 1917 he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant. In 1918 he received a Military Cross for his skill and gallantry in action at Lihons, France.
When Stanley applied for a Commemorative Medallion in 1967, he stated that he ‘was of the original 5th Battalion A.I.F and served from the (ANZAC) landing onto September 1915 and then in France until after the Armistice, and also in the Second War World as a Captain’.
Violet Kirwood was born in Melbourne in 1884. Her occupation was listed as Home Duties; she married Sydney Lloyd in 1914. Sydney Lloyd was born in Surry Hills, Sydney in 1886 to Thomas and Bertha Lloyd (nee Buckley). Sydney’s occupation is listed as Traveller.
An interesting aside is that William Kirwood’s sister Eliza Kirwood married Frederick Ritchie from Kew in 1868. Frederick Ritchie was born in Middlesex England in 1841. He became Secretary to the Board of Trade and Chief Clerk of the Victorian Railways, and Secretary to the Minister of Railways.
Frederick and Eliza’s son Edgar Ritchie began his career in water supply and engineering as a trainee draughtsman in the Victorian Department of Public Works in 1888. He worked in the Water Supply Department of the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) after its formation in 1891. In 1908 he was appointed as Head Engineer of the Water Supply Department, a position he held until his retirement in July 1936.
During his time at the MMBW he oversaw the construction of the O’Shannassy, Maroondah and Silvan Reservoirs and their associated infrastructure. He was instrumental in the expansion of the water catchment areas for Melbourne, having had the O’Shannassy and Upper Yarra River catchments vested in the MMBW during his time as the head of the Water Supply Department.
Edgar was responsible for the proposal to utilise water from the Thomson River. Although he was unsuccessful in having the Thomson Catchment vested, it would later feature as the centerpiece of Melbourne’s water supply. Edgar's work ensured that Melbourne had access to a steady supply of high quality water into the future.
During his time at the MMBW Edgar began extensive investigations into areas for future sources of water supply, and established policies for maintaining unpolluted, forested water-catchments for the Melbourne and metropolitan area. He wrote approximately twenty papers, mainly on water supply, which was published by the board and in various engineering journals.
Edgar was very much liked by his staff for his kindness, dignity and devotion to his work which earned him their loyalty as well as that of the Commissioners of the Board who named Mt Richie on the boundary of the O'Shannassy Reservoir after him.
Edgar was member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (London) and foundation member of the Institution of Engineers, Australia; he was a Councillor of the latter in 1929-31 and vice-chairman (1927-28) and chairman (1929) of the Melbourne division. He was an honorary member of the American Water Works Association. The University of Melbourne in 1935 awarded Ritchie the Kernot Memorial Medal 'for distinguished engineering achievement in Australia', and in the same year he received a Silver Jubilee medal from King George V. In 1943 the Institution of Engineers, Australia, awarded him the Peter Nicol Russell memorial medal 'for a notable contribution to the science and practice of engineering in Australia'.
THE LYNE FAMILY
Arthur and Helen Lyne and their family lived at 800 Station St from 1922 to 2012. Arthur Lyne was born in England in 1880 and came to Melbourne in 1901; records show his occupation as Warehouseman. Helen Lyne (nee Adamson) was born in Merino Victoria in 1881; records show her occupation as Clerk. Arthur and Helen had two children John and Nancy.
Arthur Lyne later became a partner in the well known home furnishing retailer Mair and Lyne Pty Ltd that was located in Little Collins St, Melbourne.
Their son John was born in 1909 in Kew, Melbourne and was educated at Scotch College where he became a Prefect and Dux. After leaving Scotch College in 1928, he went to Ormond College and graduated with an Arts degree and Education diploma from Melbourne University. From 1933 to 1941 he was resident Boarding House Master at Brighton Grammar School, in 1942 he returned to Scotch College where he was Head of Geography and Drama Master for the next 33 years.
Geography in the 1940’s was only taught in the junior classes and his senior master was a retired Geologist. It was not until 1947 that John taught his first Geography lesson to a group of five 6th form students. At the time of his retirement from Scotch, Year 12 Geography students numbered seventy-five.
In an interesting aside John Alexander Lyne’s paternal Grandfather John Alexander Adamson was one of the first of six students to be enrolled at Melbourne Academy (later renamed Scotch College) in 1851, and won the Geography prize in 1853. John’s mother Helen Lyne (nee Adamson) also won a prize for Geography at Essendon State School in 1889 - a trait that seems to have run in the family.
John Lyne’s Great Great Grandparents Mary and Joseph Linton travelled with their three young daughters from Greenock, Scotland to Hobart in October 1838 on the barque ‘Potentate’. After a brief stay in Hobart, they arrived in Geelong on a coastal steamer in February 1839. They then travelled to the district known as Wardy Yallock 34 kms south west of Ballarat and established a 15,000 acre pastoral run called ‘Emu Hill’.
Gold was discovered on the northern portion of the Emu Hill pastoral run in 1855 and within months, there were hundreds of men and women digging holes, felling trees, erecting tents, and creating a settlement where before there had just been a forest of eucalypts. This became known as 'Linton's Diggings', which subsequently became 'Old Linton's' when a new township was built on Surface Hill in 1860. This was the beginning of the town we know today as Linton - the town was named after the Linton family.
After 25 years of distinguished geography teaching John Lyne was nominated convenor of that subject for the Incorporated Association of Registered Teachers of Victoria. This was a result of the government regulation that all teachers should be registered. Although John had no formal training as a Geography teacher, he attended London University from 1950 to 1952 and completed a Diploma in Geography. In 1959 the Geography Teachers Association of Victoria (GTAV) was founded with John Lyne as its first President and Jock Herbert as Secretary, John was also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
In c1968 John Lyne married Frances Dawson. Frances was born in 1906 in Hawthorn; she was the daughter of Robert and Helen Dawson (nee Spinks). John and Frances did not have any children.
Frances Dawson’s father Robert Dawson and three friends who were all members of the Mercantile Rowing Club, obtained land at Scrubby Creek to establish a winery. Robert Dawson worked as an Articled Clerk, Tom Willis, William Patterson and Thomas Gilchrist worked in the newspaper industry. Tom Willis and William Patterson soon found establishing a winery hard work and the isolation of Scrubby Creek too difficult - they sold their shares to Thomas Gilchrist and Robert Dawson.
Thomas Gilchrist eventually became Clerk of the Legislative Council and found it difficult to live such a long way from Melbourne and left the establishment of the vineyard to Robert Dawson.
Robert Dawson was advised by a Department of Agriculture’s viticulturist Romeo Bragato to plant Semillon, Hermitage and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. His ventures were successful and the reputation of Glenlinton grew. The vineyard gradually expanded until after 30 years it covered fifty acres and produced 6,000 gallons of wine annually. During World War I, Glenlinton wines were exported to England. Robert Dawson's reds are reputed to have been excellent, but his Hock, Sauterne and Chablis unremarkable. Preparation of the vintage at Glenlinton employed many of the residents of Scrubby Creek.
According to the 1917 Title records the land was granted to Robert Dawson by the Crown. The house ‘Glenlinton’ was built on the site was either constructed in the late part of the 19th or early years of the 20th century. Robert Dawson's eldest son Robert Dawson Jnr died in 1929 and none of his other children wanted to continue the vineyard. In 1935 it was offered for sale and did not sell as the Depression had reduced the viability of wine making, it was eventually sold in 1937.
Today much of the land that comprised the Glenlinton Winery is occupied by the Whittlesea Country Club and their golf course. Other sections of the site have been subdivided and the Glenlinton homestead is still standing today on a 5 acre block.
John Lyne retired in 1974 and was commissioned by Cambridge University Press to write a number of books. These included Greater Melbourne - which was used as a School text, Canberra: a Planned City (1978) and Australia’s Resources – Their Use and Conservation (1981).
He also contributed to other books including The Global System, Conserving Australia and Coghill’s Readings in Geography. He also wrote a number of chapters for geography textbooks, and wrote a privately published history of one side of his mother's family entitled ‘What they don’t know about the Tiger – the life and times of J A Lyne – Schoolmaster, 2007. John also conducted research - a study of fruit growing in Box Hill, Ringwood, Doncaster and Burwood.
‘The geographer and teacher is by no means the whole man. His long life of service has also been to his church, his family, his friends, and his local community.
He has never needed to engage in the cut and thrust of personal ambition and career building. Courteous and patient, he is the quiet achiever.
We need a few more such people to convey to us the wisdom of the elders’.
Above: dedication to John Lyne. Source: GTAV – the first 50 years, 2009.
The State library of Victoria have letters that were written by John including one written in 1926 relating to the Gippsland bush fires, by Lyne's uncle Reg who was manager of the Moe Butter Factory. Many of the letters relate to the Second World War with letters written to John by his friend J.D.C. (Robbie) Robertson.
There is also a series of 5 letters detailing a camping holiday taken by John and his father from Orbost in Victoria to Canberra during December 1932 to January 1933. They also have 6 letters relating to a hiking holiday to Walhalla taken by John and his father between December 1943 and January 1944. These letters are accompanied by 6 postcards showing scenes of Walhalla.
In 2010 John was presented with the prestigious ‘Distinguished Fellowship’, awarded for almost a hundred years of distinguished service to Australian Geography by the Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG). The IAG is the principal body representing geographers and promoting the study and application of Geography in Australia. It was founded in 1958 and since then has promoted and supported Australian Geography.
John was an Elder at the Central Box Hill Uniting Church since 1956, and also on the board of management for some years. He worked in the Church’s youth center on a regular basis, the center provided help and advice to many street kids who have dropped out of School.
Another important function of the center was to teach young people from non English-speaking backgrounds to learn conversational English. Many of them were from South-East Asian countries and were studying at TAFE. John said in an interview that ‘It's rewarding to be able to help them converse in English’.
John was an avid collector of Australian pottery made by Merric Boyd, the son of the famous Australian painter Arthur Boyd. John gifted his collection to the National Gallery of Victoria in 2012 - a loss for the residents of Whitehorse of these historically important pieces by an Australian artist.
John was also a keen gardener and enjoyed spending time in his very large garden which was planted with many Australian and exotic trees and shrubs.
‘I still love gardening - and there's a great opportunity for that in my large and rambling garden’!
Above: from an interview with John Lyne. Source: Great Scot - June 2003, published by Scotch College.
John was highly respected and admired by many students and teachers of Scotch College during his time there and in his retirement. He was a member of the Old Scotch Collegians' Association (OSCA) for many years and attended events at the college until the age of 100. His name is on the honour board headed ‘Dux of School’ and the Drama staff room is named ‘The Alec Lyne Room’ in his honour.
John Lyne continued to live in the house after his father’s death in 1964 and his mother’s death in 1973.The 1974 Title records show Helen Lynne transferred ownership of 800 Station St to John Lyne. Frances Lyne lived in the house until her death in 1992 and John Lyne until his death aged 102 in 2012 - the Lyne family lived in and owned the house for 90 years.
Heritage evaluation by HLCD
In 2010 Helen Lardner Conservation & Design(HLCD) conducted a heritage evaluation of 800 Station St, Box Hill. In their evaluation they stated ‘that generally, there are limited comparable examples of late Victorian weatherboard dwellings currently in the Heritage Overlay in Box Hill. The residence at 800 Station Street is one of the few surviving substantial weatherboard Victorian era residences constructed in Box Hill in the late 1880's, during a boom period for Box Hill. This is an important era in the development of Box Hill which is not currently well recognised in the Heritage Overlay, partly because many residences from this period have been demolished. 800 Station Street is a good representative example of this period. It is also distinguished by retention of its original large grounds rare in present day Box Hill and its associations with prominent Box Hill resident Frank Tate’.
Heritage classification of 800 Station St, Box Hill North
At the time the Whitehorse Council agreed to classify this property, they identified the following Criterion which it satisfied in order to warrant and obtain its Council Heritage status. The following is from the Whitehorse Planning Scheme Amendment c140 Panel Report: November 2011.
Significance of the house
The Property at 800 Station Street, Box Hill constructed in 1888 is of historical significance to the City of Whitehorse for demonstrating a boom development period in the Box Hill area. Station Street was a primary street of development during this boom and the surviving intact late Victorian villas along Station Street collectively demonstrate this significant period in Box Hill’s history. The property was part of the 1888 Box Hill Township Estate and with residence commenced in 1888, would have been one of the earliest allotments developed as part of the Estate (Criterion A).
The residence on the property is a rare intact example of a substantial weatherboard villa from the late Victorian period in the Box Hill area (Criterion B).
The property at 800 Station Street, Box Hill is of aesthetic significance as a decorative late Victorian weatherboard villa with its symmetrical design, rendered decorative chimneys, front bay windows and verandah that follows the line of the bay windows. The site also retains its early setting and garden with mature exotic plantings (Criterion E).
The property has local significance for its association with the prominent resident Frank Tate. Frank Tate, a lecturer, and his wife Ada lived at 800 Station Street from 1889 until 1910. Tate was head teacher the Box Hill State school and later became Director of Education in 1921. It was upon Tate’s recommendation that Box Hill Girls Technical School was established.The school was the first technical School established specifically for girls in Victoria (Criterion H).
Submission (David Fraser)#
It was submitted on behalf of the owner that the property was in poor condition requiring major
repairs and attention to the garden.
Condition of properties is not a relevant consideration in a decision whether to apply the HO*. The current Panel process is about reviewing the heritage significance of property. Such factors as the structural integrity of the building and cost implications of needed repairs are considered when a planning permit application is made. The intent of the HO* is not to prohibit development but rather to trigger planning permit requirements, foremost buildings and works, to ensure that any new development does not detract from the heritage significance of the place.
The Panel viewed the property from both Station Street and Tyne Streets and noted that the original form and scale of the house is substantially intact. It agrees with the citation that 800 Station Street, Box Hill North, is of local historical and aesthetic significance.
The Panel recommends 800 Station Street, Box Hill North be included in the HO* and that the citation be adopted.
# the 2012 Title records shows that John Lyne transferred ownership of 800 Station St to David Fraser and James Clarke.
As a result of the Panel’s findings and recommendations the house was given a Council Heritage Overlay – HO 227.
It is interesting how demolishing half of a Council Heritage protected house and allowing a massive building to be constructed up to and around it ‘does not detract from the heritage significance of the place’?
Since being purchased in 2014 a number of changes have been made to the Council Heritage protected house. These include the demolition of a number of rooms at the rear and south side of the building, removal of some or all of the original weatherboards, replacement of the original slate roof with corrugated steel and a new concrete driveway and car park in front of and alongside of the house. Most of the original historical building material has possibly been lost. Why have Heritage protections if a developer can demolish part of and irrevocably change the exterior of a heritage protected house? Any historical context that the house and garden had has now been lost.
Prior to being sold in 2013 the house was advertised on realestate.com and is described as ‘An original 9 room grand period home offering arched hallway entrance, high & decorative ceilings, timber dado panelling, period fireplace(s) & mantelpiece(s), intricate lacework within return veranda and leadlight bay windows, all under a gabled slate roof’. At the time of sale the interior of the house was in exceptionally good original condition.
The interior decor of the house particularly in the lounge room was influenced by the late Victorian Arts and Crafts movement. The movement embraced a philosophy of handmade products and established a preference for simple forms and unadorned designs. These influences can be seen in the simple lines of the timber fretwork at the eastern end of the lounge room, the window frames and the timber wall panels.
In Australia manufacturers of Arts and Craft interior fittings used European timbers, such as English Oak and Pine, as well as Australian hardwoods such as Blackwood, Queensland Maple, Mountain Ash, Silky Oak and Queensland Walnut. Sometimes the Australian timbers were stained to imitate European timbers, but often they were used in their natural state. Used naturally, Australian timbers display unique characteristics in grain patterns and colour variations and they provided a distinctive touch to the Arts and Crafts pieces manufactured in Australia.
An interesting feature at the eastern end of the lounge room is an inglenook; an inglenook
or chimney corner is a recess that adjoins a fireplace. The inglenook originated as a partially enclosed hearth area, appended to a larger room. The hearth was used for cooking, and its enclosing alcove became a natural place for people seeking warmth to gather. With changes in building design, kitchens became separate rooms, while inglenooks were retained in the living space as intimate warming places, subsidiary spaces within larger rooms.
On the left hand side of inglenook there is a coloured stained glass window with what appears to be a flower motif, this may have been repeated on the opposite side of the fireplace. External photos of the houses northern side show that the stained glass window has been removed.
The house has three fireplaces one was at the eastern end of the main lounge, one on the northern and one on the southern side of the house. The fireplace in the main lounge was ornate with a carved wooden overmantel and columns on each side with a cast-iron insert in the middle fitted with glazed green tiles in a floral Art Nouveau design.
The demolition of half the house raises questions in regards to how the interior of the house been treated - What changes have been made to the interior of the house? Were there heritage controls in place to protect the interior of the house?
A description of the house from the Heritage Citation that was compiled in 2010 by the heritage consultancy firm Helen Lardner Conservation & Design (HLCD) states that ‘The building is a substantial single storey Victorian weatherboard residence with decorative elements. An aerial image shows intersecting hipped roofs clad in slate. A c.1920 MMBW plan indicates that the Station Street elevation is symmetrical with a central front door and triple canted bay windows on either side, while the return verandah extends along the north elevation (Tyne Street elevation). The verandah follows the line of the bay windows to the front and has an iron lacework frieze and bracketed eaves. Sidelight windows with decorative moulded timber panels below, are located either side of the central front door. Windows are timber framed and double hung’.
Since being purchased in 2014 a number of changes have been made to the Council Heritage protected house. These include the demolition of a number of rooms at the rear and south side of the building as to allow the new much larger and dominant new building to be constructed up to and around the Council Heritage protected house, removal of some or all of the original weatherboards, replacement of the original slate roof with corrugated steel and a new concrete driveway and car park in front of and alongside of the house. Most of the original historical building fabric has possibly been lost. In my opinion the way 800 Station St has been developed shows that the Council has not enforced its own heritage ‘guidelines’.
‘The residence on the property is a rare intact example of a substantial weatherboard villa from the
Late Victorian period in the Box Hill area (Criterion B).The property at 800 Station Street, Box Hill is of aesthetic significance as a decorative late Victorian weatherboard villa with its symmetrical design,
rendered decorative chimneys, front bay windows and verandah that follows the line of the bay
windows. The site also retains its early setting and garden with mature exotic plantings’.
Source: Heritage Assessments Part 2 Box Hill Places, 2010.
The heritage slate roof has been replaced with highly reflective corrugated steel. According to the Whitehorse Councils ‘Guidelines for Alterations and Additions to individually listed dwellings in the Heritage Overlay’ states that ‘Zincalume should not be used for replacement roofs or in additions, as it is too reflective’.
One of the most commonly used materials for roofing in Australia is corrugated steel; the two well known brands are Zincalume and Colorbond. Zincalume is a corrugated steel sheet that has been coated with magnesium, zinc and aluminium to protect the steel core against corrosion; this also makes the sheets highly reflective. According to Vertec Roofing ‘Unpainted Zincalume is considered a reflective material with a colour similar to off white Colorbond materials. Zincalume’s highly reflective surface is a natural reflector of harsh sunlight’.
Colorbond is a pre-painted corrugated steel sheet that has been sealed with a pre-painted finish and has a Zincalume core. It is available in a wide range of colours and does not a have a highly reflective surface. The main difference between the two is that Colorbond has a variety of colour options whereas Zincalume only comes in the one shiny grey option; Colorbond is also more expensive than Zincalume.
Has the slate roof of the 1888 built house been replaced with Zincalume?
THE GARDENS OF ST ELMO - A LOST BOTANICAL OASIS
The legacy of the botanical interest displayed by the Lyne family over 90 years can be seen at 800 Station St. It was a veritable botanical garden in miniature with trees and shrubs from Australia and around the world and had been a part of the local environment for over 130 years.
‘I still love gardening - and there's a great opportunity for that in my large and rambling garden’
Above: statement by John Lyne. Source: Great Scot, published by Scotch College - June 2003.
Before being sold in 2013 the gardens had become overgrown but with a little attention the overall structure was still present and could have been fully restored. The garden was planted with numerous varieties of trees, shrubs and bushes; it was ‘moonscaped’ in 2014. The Bunya Pine tree on the site is protected by a Council Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO3) and is also on the National Trust’s and Heritage Victoria’s database. Was a heritage landscape assessment undertaken to identify if there were any other tree/plants of significant heritage or horticultural value?
‘......the site also retains its early setting and garden with mature exotic plantings’.
Source: Heritage Assessments Part 2 Box Hill Places, 2010
If you look at aerial photos of 800 Station St, Box Hill North on Whitehorse Maps you can see how the site looked prior to being ‘moonscaped’. The destruction of the 100 year old garden and its many remarkable trees and plants is not only a loss for Box Hill and Whitehorse but Australia.
The beautiful lush trees in the garden were habitat and a food source for local birds, lizards, bees, possums and bats for over a hundred years.
THE REDEVELOPMENT OF 800 STATION ST
in 2013 a developer bought the half acre (2577 m2) site. In 2014 the developer lodged a planning application (WH/2014/1235) with the Council for ‘development and use of a child care center, buildings and works in a heritage overlay and a reduction in car parking requirements’.
The application was refused by Council in 2015 on several grounds including the lack of sufficient details on the plans to determine the impact of the development on the heritage building, as shown by the heritage Advisors comments below:
The developer appealed Council’s refusal to grant a permit through VCAT and in 2016 VCAT overruled the Council’s decision and granted the developer a permit. You can read more about the VCAT decision here:
Whitehorse Council is to be commended for not approving this planning application but it is fighting a losing battle to save our heritage and in the process we are losing our heritage. The way 800 Station St has been developed clearly shows that the guidelines and Council Heritage Overlays are not enough to protect and preserve our built heritage. What is needed are clearly defined laws which protect our built heritage with penalties that deter breaches not guidelines that gives council real power.
THE FUTURE FOR THE CITY OF WHITEHORSE
Australians travel to Europe, Asia and other places to look at and enjoy history that is protected by their governments. France, amongst many other countries has implemented heritage protections gradually since the 19th century as an expression of their national identity and recognises the powerful contribution heritage makes to social stability and sustainable economic development. These heritage protections cover fully intact buildings and ruins and are regulated and enforced. Singapore protects its culturally significant buildings and areas as a balance to its high rise developments, to maintain their history and culture as well as using it as a tourist attraction. We have history that is intact right in our back yard and it is either being destroyed or changed irrevocably?
‘These days the demolition balls are swinging in the leafy inner suburbs and grittier postcodes undergoing gentrification because of their proximity to services and the city centres. Balwyn and Box Hill, which are respectively between 12 and 20 kilometres south-east of Melbourne, are the worst hit in Victoria, says Phillip Almeida’, director of Acquisitions Performance Advisory, which monitors national property markets.
Source: Australian Financial Review, 2016
A very dangerous precedent has been set by the way 800 Station St, Box Hill North has been developed. It seems that Whitehorse Council and the State government are more concerned with providing certainty for developers and none for the residents and heritage of Whitehorse. If this destructive treatment of our heritage continues Whitehorse will become a cultural, horticultural and heritage desert.
800 Station St was a rare surviving original ‘intact’ example of our early cultural and horticultural heritage which should have been protected and preserved for the benefit of current and future generations in the City of Whitehorse, Victoria and Australia. The house should have been considered for inclusion on the Heritage Victoria Register or registration with the National Trust.
It is too late for 800 Station St; this is an opportunity for Whitehorse Council, the State government and heritage agencies to review current heritage legislation as it seems to be ineffective in protecting our heritage.
The demolition or irrevocable changes made to our built heritage raises a number of important questions about how we and our governments value, define and protect it. In Victoria the state government is responsible for developing and implementing heritage legislation/protections.
When will the Victorian government implement heritage legislation that better protects our built heritage?
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In September 2023 a developer lodged an application (WH/2023/768) to demolish and build three dwellings at 25 Thames St, Box Hill North.
This house was lived in and may have been built by William H Elsum, a well-known Melbourne poet, historian, editor, newspaper founder and printer.
Please email the Councillors of the Whitehorse Heritage Steerage Committee requesting that an assessment be undertaken of this house by a heritage consultant to ascertain its local &/or state heritage significance.