The house and garden at 2 Gawler Crt was a significant historic feature within the Mont Albert /Whitehorse area for 115 years. This house was one of the first houses built in this part of Mont Albert in 1907 in the Edwardian style and is representative of the early development within this area. It should have been valued for these reasons but also because it was a rare example of the life -style, culture and historical environment which the people who developed our area lived. There are very few other buildings dating from around 1907 of this architectural style, size, heritage and cultural significance left in this part of Mont Albert.
This part of Mont Albert mainly consisted of farms and dairies with the earliest land subdivisions taking place in the early 1800’s. The first house to be built in this part of Mont Albert was ‘Dulverton’ in 1885 at 1 Lightfoot St where the house still stands. The next land subdivisions took place south of Victoria Cres and Lightfoot St between 1907 and 1909, but little housing development took place over the next 21 years. Only about 48 houses were built south of Victoria Cres by 1928 and the housing development did not intensify until after World War II.
Homes built to the south of Victoria Cres around 1907 included:
Three of these early houses have now been demolished - ‘Torroy’ c1950’s, ‘Rossbine’ c1960’s and ‘Verona’ in 2022.
The families who lived at ‘Verona’ left a legacy and contributed to the built and architectural heritage as well as the wider community development of Mont Albert, Whitehorse and Australia generally. The ‘Tribe’ family, who built the house, had a son Horace Tribe who became a well known and successful Melbourne architect. Since 1883 Annie Littleton’s family have contributed in the areas of children’s education and welfare and this continues today. Robert Birdstrup contributed to law reform within the Australian Military.
The house was not covered by a Council Heritage Overlay and was not on the Register of the National Estate or on the Victorian Heritage Register; inclusion on these registers should have been considered to further protect it. The gardens were not covered by a Vegetation Protection Overlay.
The Dunn family
In 1908 the land where 2 Gawler Crt would be built was subdivided and offered for sale as part of the 'Victoria Hill Mont Albert Estate'. The estate was bounded by Victoria Cres to the north and west, Whitehorse Rd to the south and Kingsley Cres to the east. Title records for 1908 show that Edith Dunn, a member of a locally prominent Mont Albert family owned the land which made up the 'Victoria Hill Mont Albert Estate' subdivision.
Edith Dunn (nee Byrchall) was born in Beechworth in 1862; she was the daughter of Samuel and Marian Byrchall (nee Butler). Edith was married to well known Mont Albert businessman James Dunn.
James Dunn was born in Goulburn in 1853; he was the son of Edward and Betsy Dunn (nee Robinson). In 1849 Edward, Betsy and Edward Jnr migrated from England to Australia and lived near Goulburn in New South Wales, in 1856 the family moved to Beechworth in Victoria.
In 1885 James Dunn was the estate agent for the first Moira Estate subdivision land sale in Mont Albert (north of Lightfoot St) and he bought Lot 1 where he would build ‘Dulverton’ in 1889. The address of ‘Dulverton’ would eventually become 1 Lightfoot St, Mont Albert.
In 1886 Edith Byrchall and James Dunn were married at St Barnabas’s Church in Balwyn. They had two children Dorothy and James Oswald who was named after his father but died in infancy.
Dorothy was educated at Miss James' Surrey Hills School and Ormiston Girl's School. After leaving school she became a trainee nurse at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. A trailblazer, she was the first woman to enrol at the Melbourne Working Men's College (RMIT) where she gained a Diploma in Photography in 1907.
Between 1908 and 1919 she worked as a commercial photographer spending some of that time at the Alexander Photographic Studio in Bendigo, as well as working in studios in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Launceston, Yarrawonga, Horsham, Ararat and Victor Harbour. Dorothy is regarded as one of the first female commercial photographers in Australia. As a child Dorothy visited the Sydney studios of well known photographer Alfred Lomer on a number of occasions. She was a member of the Victorian Ladies' Photographic Association and in 1914 she became a member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
James Dunn was the brother of famous Australian Geologist Edward Dunn Jnr. Edward was born in 1844 at Bedminster, England. In 1849 Edward and his parents migrated to Australia and lived near Goulburn in New South Wales, in 1856 they moved to Beechworth in Victoria.
In 1860 Edward Jnr joined the staff of the local Lands Survey Office, and four years later transferred to the Geological Survey of the Mines Department where he trained under prominent Geologist’s Alfred Selwyn and George Ulrich. He discovered curious specimens of chalcedony (a form of silica, composed of very fine intergrowths of quartz and moganite) containing fluid near Beechworth; these specimens formed the subject of his first published scientific article.
In 1869 Edward Jnr. qualified as a mining surveyor.
In 1871 Edward Dunn Jnr. travelled to South Africa where he was appointed Government Geologist. His pioneer geological work there included a part in the discovery of diamonds and the opening of the Kimberley diamond mines, and investigations of the goldfields of Transvaal and the coal deposits of Cape Colony.
In 1884 he was elected a fellow of the Geological Society of London.
In 1886 Edward Jnr. moved to Melbourne where he worked as a consulting geologist throughout Australasia and in New Caledonia. Also in the same year he discovered and mapped the first rocks of the Cambrian age (500 million years old) to be found near Heathcote in Victoria.
In 1888 he published the first of several scientific articles on 250 million year old Permian rocks of glacial origin that he had discovered.
Between 1889 and 1894 he conducted geological work demonstrating the essential structures of the Bendigo goldfield.
In 1904 Edward Dunn Jnr. was appointed director of the Geological Survey in the Victorian Department of Mines and Water Supply. He was closely connected with the discovery of black coal deposits in Gippsland, which led to the development of the State Coal Mine at Wonthaggi in 1909. He studied the geology and physiography of Mount Buffalo and helped to make it popular as a tourist resort; Mount Dunn is named after him.
In 1905 he was awarded the Murchison Medal by the Geological Society of London for his geological work in Australia and South Africa.
Most of Edward Dunn Jnr’s large collections of minerals, rocks and ethnological artefacts that he had collected during his lifetime are now in the National Museum of Victoria. He died at his home ‘Roseneath’ in Kew in 1937 – the house is still there.
In 1888 the second Moira Estate land subdivision sale took place. The subdivision was owned by four partners one of them being Edward Lightfoot a prominent Melbourne grain dealer. The Moira Estate was named after his home in Malvern and Lightfoot St in Mont Albert was named after him. Edward Lightfoot was married to Eliza Swallow the daughter of Thomas Swallow the partner in the famous Melbourne biscuit manufacturer Swallow and Ariell.
The sale of the land was handled by two estate agents J G Cook and Harry S Derham and Co. Harry S Derham was also Councillor and Mayor of Kew and an Auctioneer; he was the brother of Frederick and Charles Derham. Frederick Derham was at one time the Post Master General (similar position to the CEO of Telstra) and a partner in the famous Melbourne biscuit manufacturer Swallow and Ariell.
Charles Durham was a prominent Melbourne grain broker who had borrowed heavily to buy shares in his brother Frederick's Balmoral Land Company. Charles also borrowed most of the money from the Land Mortgage Bank and the Melbourne Permanent Building Society, of which his father Thomas Derham had been legal adviser. By 1892 Charles and Harry Derham were on the verge of bankruptcy when Edward Lightfoot gave them considerable financial assistance almost going bankrupt in the process.
Edith Dunn died in 1928 and James Dunn in 1941 both at ‘Dulverton’.
The Tribe family
Sydney and Christina Tribe (nee Sullivan) and their children Harold, Horace and Sylvia moved into the house after its completion in 1909. Sydney Tribe’s occupation was listed as Iron Salesman.
On a 1907 land sale flyer for the Victoria Hill Estate (13 acre subdivision) Sydney Tribes name has been written across Lot 14 and half of Lot 15 (2 Gawler Crt) with the word’s ‘Sydney’ and ‘building’ in brackets underneath. This indicates that the building of the house was started by Sydney Tribe in 1907.
It appears that three lots were sold and divided equally between the Tribe and Vernon families. It would appear that at the very least they knew each other but the relationship could be closer and deeper than this especially since both families have connections with the metal foundry and engineering industry. Their two lots were the only ones in the area with buildings being constructed at that time. The house that the Vernon family built (1907) next door to ‘Verona’ was called ‘Rossbine’. This requires further investigation.
The 1909 Title records show that Sydney bought Lot 14 and half of Lot 15 (1.3 acres = 5563.33m2,) from Edith Dunn. The house was built facing Victoria Cres with a driveway that went from Victoria Cres past the front door to a garage in the south west corner of the house; the property ran south from Victoria Cres to the current pedestrian footpath which runs from Hotham St in the west to George St in the east.
At the time the Tribe family lived in the house it was known as ‘Verona’ and was named after their daughter Sylvia’s middle name. According to directory records by 1920 the house was given the street address of 68 Victoria Crescent, Surrey Hills. Sydney died in 1918 at home aged 36. After Sydney’s death Christina and her children moved to their new home ‘Haeramai’ at 28 Eskdale Rd in Caulfield North.
In 1924 Horace Tribe commenced his architectural career as an articled pupil of H W & F B Tompkins, who was then, involved in major Melbourne projects as the Herald newspaper building and the expansion of the Myer department store.
In 1930 Horace completed a Diploma of Architectural Design at the University of Melbourne Architectural Atelier and also studied at the Swinburne Technical College. He then worked with the prominent Melbourne architectural firm of Stephenson & Meldrum, where he worked in both the Melbourne and Sydney offices.
In 1933, Horace Tribe won a design competition for a house to cost £850; the following year, when he was admitted to the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA), he narrowly missed out on winning the inaugural Robert & Ada Haddon Travelling Scholarship.
In 1935 Horace married Lorna Oakley; she was the only daughter of Percy and Florence Oakley (nee Lobb). Percy Oakley was the head of the architectural firm of Oakley & Parkes where Horace worked as a relieving draftsman. Percy Oakley was a renowned Australian architect who designed many buildings around Australian including the Prime Minister’s Lodge, Godfrey Cottages at Rushall Park, Yule House in Melbourne, the Brighton Council building and the Equity Trustees building.
In 1938, Horace entered into partnership with the prominent Melbourne society architect Marcus Martin. The firm was renamed Marcus Martin & Tribe, and initially specialised in high end homes in Toorak and South Yarra. Four examples later appeared in George Biers' Houses of Australia (1948). Martin & Tribe were also interested in buildings for social welfare, and specifically in the Free Kindergarten movement. Their first commission was to design the prototypical Lady Gowrie Childcare Centre in Carlton (1939) and led to several other suburban kindergarten projects.
In 1938 Horace Tribe served as Honorary Director of a committee that became known as the 'Small Homes Service' and was run by the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects (RVIA). It was initially directed by Robin Boyd and ran from 1947 to the late 1970’s. It offered returned servicemen, new migrants and the broader public the opportunity to own affordable and innovative modernist homes in Melbourne’s suburbs.
To read an article from The Age regarding the "Small Home Service' and its current relevance please clock on the following link:
To read The Age article from July 2,1947 that is pictured in the November 5,2022 article please click on the following link: 02 Jul 1947 - Small Homes Section - Trove (nla.gov.au)
The Second World War interrupted the partnership of Marcus Martin & Tribe. Horace Tribe enlisted with the RAAF in May 1942 and served at Station HQ, Laverton, until he was discharged in 1945, with the rank Flight Lieutenant. He then worked as a technical adviser to the Commonwealth Directorate of Housing before re-joining Marcus Martin.
In 1949 the firm of Martin and Tribe was dissolved when Horace resigned to open his own office. Commissions that they had received while in partnership were subsequently divided between the two partners who completed them under their own names. Horace carried on with the Robert Cochrane Kindergarten in Auburn and some additions to a holiday camp in Ringwood East. On completion, the former project was promoted in the press as a prototype for truly modern kindergarten design in Australia; it was included in D C Ward's Guide to Victorian Architecture, and was published in the US-based Architectural Forum. In 2013 the Robert Cochrane Kindergarten was added to the Victorian Heritage Register.
In his newly-launched sole practice, Horace went on to become the state's leading specialist in the design of modern pre-school centres, with examples as far afield as Swan Hill and Korumburra.
In 1953, Horace Tribe was awarded the Queen's Coronation Medal for his services to the community.
In a 1955 article in Architecture & Arts journal it was stated that Horace maintained "an extensive practice in pre-school and preventive health services, good quality domestic work and industrial buildings". During this period, he also served as architect to the South Melbourne City Council, in which he undertook various projects including the design of a children's play centre and the remodeling of the public library and the Trugo Club premises.
Projects that Horace Tribe undertook in Whitehorse include the Manager's Residences for ES&A Bank in Blackburn and Mitcham, the Ringwood Free Kindergarten in Greenwood Ave, Alys Key Emergency Nursery in Forest Hill and the Pre-School Centre for Victorian Deaf & Dumb Institution in Elgar Rd - Burwood.
In retirement, he compiled a memoir of his role in the development of the Small Homes Service, entitled The Small Homes Service of the RVIA: Some Recollections of its Genesis and Establishment.
Horace retired around 1970, but maintained his registration as an Architect until his death in 1992.
The Littleton family
Thomas and Annie Littleton (nee Forster) and their children Ruth and Thomas Jnr. moved into the house in 1919.
Thomas Littleton was born in 1871 in Hawthorn he was the son of Thomas and Frances Littleton (nee Cooper) .Thomas’s occupation is listed as Law Clerk.
Annie Forster was born in 1878 at the family home ‘Rothbury‘in Toorak she was the daughter of William and Mary Forster (nee Mclean). William Forster was the well known Melbourne philanthropist and founder of the ‘Try Society’, a support group for destitute children.
Thomas Littleton and Annie Forster were married in 1906 at the ‘Try Society’ hall in Cromwell Rd in Hawksburn.
William Forster was born in 1846 in Rothbury, Scotland; he was the third child of Luke and Anne Forster (née Blackett). Luke Forster was a merchant and saddler.
In July 1852 Luke and Anne Forster and their children William, Margaret and Elizabeth sailed from Liverpool onboard the sailing ship Ellen and arrived in Melbourne in October. William attended St Luke's School in South Melbourne and later worked with a soft goods merchant and commission agent.
In 1864 William set up as a general merchant at his father's saddlery business in Little Bourke Street.
In 1869 William Forster married Mary Jane McLean; she was born in Balmain, New South Wales in 1849; they had five sons and eight daughters. Mary died in 1908 at their home ‘Rothbury’ in Toorak.
William became a successful and well-connected clothing merchant and philanthropist. He was concerned for the plight of under-privileged children left behind by a rapidly expanding Melbourne society in the late 19th century. In 1883, William invited three ‘street boys’ into his home for an evening of relaxation and games with his own children. Inspired by what he saw, William invited the boys to return with their friends on a regular basis. He suggested to the group ‘we should consider ourselves a Try Society’, and so began a movement that quickly gained support from politicians and wealthy donors across Melbourne.
William’s simple idea, that with opportunity and guidance all young people could accomplish, all they had to do was try, was bold for its time and would pioneer youth welfare work in Australia. Unique for the times, William did not preach to the boys instead through friendship and educational activities he worked to assure them that they each had the potential to accomplish.
In 1887 Ms Margaret Hobson donated land to the Try Society at the corner of Cromwell and Surrey Rd’s in South Yarra. Here William Forster established an employment bureau, sickness insurance program and penny saving bank for members.
Margaret Hobson (nee Adamson) was the wife of Dr. Edmund C Hobson. Dr Hobson was the nephew of Captain Hobson, the first Governor of New South Wales. Dr. Hobson was one of the founders of the movement to establish the Melbourne Hospital. He was appointed its first chief-of-staff, but died in 1848 before he could take up the position at his home, ‘Bona-Vista’ in South Yarra.
In 1885 the ‘Try Society’ merged with the 'Excelsior Class' and became the 'The Try Excelsior Class'. 'Try Excelsior' groups were soon formed in St Kilda, Hawthorn, Richmond, South Melbourne and the City of Melbourne. The success of the ‘Try Society’ led to branches also being opened in Lilydale, Wedderburn, Diamond Creek and Berwick.
In 1901 William resigned the leadership of the City Newsboys Try Society due to health problems but he remained on its committee.
In 1910, William Forster married his second Mary Gowdie (née Crook). Mary was born in Collingwood in 1873; she was the daughter of James and Selena Crook (nee Hayes). Their only child Laurence was born in 1912 in South Yarra.
William continued as leader and manager of the Try Society until his death in 1921. The society has helped thousands of children over its 139 year history and it is still operating today under the name of Sparkways.
In 1929 the Governor General of Australia Lord Stonehaven became the Patron of the ‘Try Society’.
Mary Forster died in 1930 at her home in Hampton.
In regards to local family connections Annie Littleton’s sister Constance Forster married Archibald Beatty in 1905 at Constance’s parents home ‘Rothbury’ in Toorak. Archibald’s occupation is listed as Managing Director of the Stratton Flour Millers in Abbotsford.
In 1930 Archibald, Constance and their two children Harold and Peggy moved to 12 Trafalgar St (now 15 Trafalgar St), Mont Albert. Archibald named the house ‘Enniscrone’ after his place of birth in Ireland - the house is still there.
The Bidstrup family
In 1961 Robert Bidstrup owned the house but he did not live there.
Robert was born in 1910 in Surrey Hills he was the son of Claudius and Gladys Bidstrup (nee Austin). Claudius and Gladys Bidstrup and their family lived at 40 Victoria Cres from approximately 1924 to 1970.
In 1924 Robert won the G E Blanch Scholarship while attending Melbourne Grammar School from approximately 1924 to 1928.
In 1928 he enrolled in Arts at Trinity College at Melbourne University; he graduated in 1932 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He may have worked as an articled clerk for two years before sitting for the Bar exam, by 1937 he was working as a Solicitor in Melbourne.
In 1939 Robert married his first wife Audrey Hunt, they divorced in 1949.
In 1940 Robert enlisted in the army where he served in the Middle East. He was promoted from gunner to the Captain of his unit and went on to become troop commander and regimental adjunct. In the position of Judge Advocate he was involved in a number of court martial's.
Towards the end of WW2, there were numerous complaints from returned soldiers and their families about the way Australian military law had treated them. This was particularly so in relation to detention as approved under Australian military law.
In 1945 Robert was nominated by the Federal President of the RSL Sir Gilbert Dyett to sit on a committee of inquiry into reforming Australian military law. The other two committee members were Chief Justice Geoffrey Reed and Reverend Thomas Rentoul. Reverend Rentoul died in December 1945 but the inquiry continued. As a result of their findings they recommended wide and sweeping changes; however, through a series of delays and reviews the much needed reforms were never implemented and Australian soldiers continued without adequate laws. It would take more than 20 years for any major improvements to occur.
Interestingly in 1949 Prime Minister Chifley appointed Chief Justice Geoffrey Reed the Commonwealth Director-General of Security for a twelve-month term. Two weeks after his appointment the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (A.S.I.O.) was formed mainly due to internal and external threats to Australia from Russia.
In 1950 Robert married his second wife Moyra Robertson. They had four daughters and one son Jule who died in infancy.
In 1955 he was promoted to the position of Crown Prosecutor, fourteen years later he was promoted to the position of Chief Crown Prosecutor
In 1961 he bought 2 Gawler Crt (Lot 2) but he did not live there.
Robert died in 1980 and was buried at the Box Hill cemetery and Moyra died in 2006 in Queensland.
How Gawler Court got its name
I was curious to find out where Gawler Crt got its name and my investigations led me on a very interesting journey.
Gawler Crt was created in 1962 and named after well known Melbourne Architect, local resident, Councillor and Mayor of Box Hill John S Gawler.
John Stevens Gawler was born in 1885 in West Ham in England. He was the son of John and Kate Gawler, (née Stevens). In 1886 the family sailed from London to Melbourne on board the British Commodore.
In Melbourne John attended Brighton State and University High schools. His first job was as an office-boy with an estate agent before working for an architect and becoming a junior draftsman. In 1903 John Jnr was awarded a bronze medal by the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects for a drawing of part of the Melbourne Law courts.
In 1907 John Gawler left Melbourne with a two-year contract to oversee a building project in Canton (Guangzhou), China; he continued on a working tour of the world, returning to Melbourne in 1912. Later in the same year he was appointed Walter Burley Griffin's representative. One of his early works was St Agnes's at Black Rock in 1913 which led to a substantial body of work for the Church of England.
In 1912 John Jnr. had been involved in organising the new Diploma of Architecture program at the University of Melbourne, due to the First World War classes did not start until 1919 at which time John Jnr was put in charge of the course.
In 1914 at St Agnes's Black Rock John Gawler Jnr. married Ruth Miller Woodworth, whom he had met on his travels. Ruth was born in Tokyo; Japan in 1893 she was the daughter of Alonzo and Ida Woodworth (nee Penrod). Her father served as a Christian Church missionary in Japan for a number of years.
During the interwar period the architectural firm of Drummond and Gawler were prolific, designing stores and factories for Fitzroy department store Ackmans Ltd, a large number of buildings for the Church of England, an early example of brick veneer construction in Camberwell in 1916, now demolished, the distinctive Romanesque Revival Chapel for the Deaf and Dumb Society in Jolimont (1929), and a range of buildings at the University of Melbourne including the radically planned Grainger Museum (1935-36).
The current Box Hill Town Hall was designed by John Gawler Jnr. and the Box Hill Councils architect John Aisbett in the Neo Classical style, building started in 1934 and was completed in 1935. John also designed St Augustine’s Anglican Church on Bundoran Pde in Mont Albert North and the Holy Trinity Church on Union Rd in Surrey Hills.
In 1940 John Jnr. was appointed controller of building permits with the Department of War Organisation of Industry, he was responsible for the approval of civil-construction work in Victoria.
In 1943 Prime Minister Chifley appointed John Gawler Jnr. deputy-chairman of the Commonwealth Housing Commission.
John Gawler Jnr. served first served as a council-member of the City of Box Hill from 1924 to 1928 and would go onto serving until 1952. He was also elected Mayor of Box Hill in 1941 and 1948. He was a major supporter of establishing a hospital in Box Hill which began construction in 1950.
In 1958 John Jnr. built the family home at 116 Springvale Rd in Nunawading, the house was demolished between 1996 and 2005.
John Gawler Jnr. and his family have lived in the Box Hill/ Whitehorse area since they moved to Barloa St, Mont Albert in 1915 until his death in Mitcham in 1978.
The Gawler Chain Reserve and Gawler Crt in Mont Albert was named after John Gawler in the early 1960’s. There are no heritage interpretation panels along the Gawler Chain Reserve or Gawler Crt informing local residents and visitors of the contributions he made to our cultural and architectural heritage.
VERONA - THE HOUSE
This house was built in 1907 in the Edwardian style by Sydney Tribe who lived there with his family. The house did not have a Council Heritage Overlay and was not on the Heritage Victoria Register or registered with the National Trust.
The following excerpt is from the Council meeting held in October 2021 in regards to 2 Gawler Crt- ‘The property was identified for potential heritage status in 2001, however has not met the status for further assessment due to its earlier subdivision and close proximity of neighbouring dwelling’.
How does ‘its earlier subdivision and close proximity of neighbouring dwelling’ affect the heritage status of this house? Has a heritage assessment of the house been conducted since 2001?
The house was obviously seen as being significant for Whitehorse as it is referred to in the Heritage Citation for ‘Dulverton’ at 1 Lightfoot St, Mont Albert - ‘The Mont Albert area includes a number of weatherboard Victorian era villas, e.g. 26 Dunloe Avenue and 2 Gawler Court. As a group, these villas are representative of this era of development for the Mont Albert area when relatively few houses were constructed, and the houses were of considerable scale compared with other parts of the municipality’.
Exterior of the house
Photos taken of the exterior of the house for a sales campaign in 2021 shows the house in an exceptionally well cared for original condition.
On the north facing side of the house there is a return L-shaped verandah, roofed with terracotta tiles and embellished with a timber balustrade, columns and fretwork painted dark green. The Windows are grouped and the frames are painted dark green. The house is clad in weatherboards which have been painted in a cream colour.
The roof is made up of terracotta tiles and is steeply sloped and hipped with wide eaves; the east facing gable has been rendered and painted in a cream colour. The roof also features terracotta crest tiles that finish with a terracotta finial at the end of the roof and four tall red brick chimneys which are finished with terracotta chimney pots.
Interior of the house
Photos taken of the interior of the house for a sales campaign in 2021 shows the house in an exceptionally well cared for original condition.
The north facing front door is surrounded by and contains leadlight Art Nouveau style windows which can also be found in the bay windows in the main bedroom and study.
The house also contains Art Nouveau style wooden fretwork which can be found in the entrance foyer, kitchen, main bedroom and dining room.
There are decorative plaster ceiling moldings in the entrance foyer, main bedroom and study. The floors are polished Baltic pine and are in good condition.
In the study the fireplace is surrounded by an ornately carved wooden overmantel, red and white Art Nouveau style tiles and a cast iron fire grate. In the bathroom/closet the fireplace is surrounded by a black timber mantel with blue and green Art Nouveau style tiles and a cast iron fire grate. The dining room/lounge has a Georgian style light brown wooden fireplace.
THE GARDENS OF VERONA
The gardens have been part of the Mont Albert area for 115 years and are in a well maintained condition. The gardens are well established with a number of canopy and large trees including:
Is a fast growing evergreen semi-deciduous tree with dark glossy leaves and the bark is pale greyish and papery. It can grow up to ten meters high by four meters wide and is ideal as a screen tree. This tree has been a low retention rating.
Camphor Laurels are very large and handsome ever-green trees. They can grow up to 30 metres (100 feet) high, with a very shapely, broadly domed canopy covering roughly the same span. The tree has shiny, pointed, light green fragrant leaves.
Canary island palm
The Canary Island Date Palm is a majestic palm tree that has a sturdy, ridged trunk and spectacular, dense dome of stiffly spined, feathery, arching foliage. It bears small, yellow flowers in drooping clusters which are followed by orange fruits that are tough and inedible.
These are wonderful, towering feature trees and are perfect for adding substance and elegance to any garden setting.
An attractive, hardy and large spreading tree with a moderate to fast growth rate and can grow up to 15 meters high and can grow up to 12 meters wide. In late winter/early spring when the tree is leafless it is covered in cloud like mass of light pink flowers.
Named Liquidambar due to its yellow reddish-brown sap this is a conical shaped tree which becomes rounded with age. It has beautiful finely toothed leaves which colour to shades of red, orange and purple during autumn putting on a spectacular show. Flowers form in spring followed by spiky, woody, ball-like fruits which hang from the branches.
The Japanese maple is a lovely small tree that grows to a height of 4 meters and width of 4 meters. They have a five lobed leaf and light green spring foliage that turns a stunning deep orange and crimson colour in autumn. This tree has been given a ‘Medium’ retention rating.
Olea Europaea or the Fruiting Olive is a long lived, evergreen tree with beautiful, silvery grey/green foliage and a naturally slight weeping habit.
Its leaves are elongated oval and leathery, being lighter underneath (discolour) and it produces creamy-white flowers in spring that mature to green fruits in summer. These can be picked in autumn for pickling or left until winter when they are better for oil extraction.
The bark of Lillypilly is brown and scaled and flakes off easily and can grow about 3–5 m tall in the garden.
Its dark green shiny leaves are arranged oppositely on the stems, and are oval in shape and measure 2–10 by 1–3 cm (1–4 by 0.5–1 in). The cream-white flowers appear from October to March, occurring in panicles at the end of small branches. Berries follow on, appearing from May to August, and are oval or globular with a shallow depression at the top. They measure 0.8 to 2 cm in diameter, and range from white to maroon in colour. This elegant and dense tree is planted on the edge of lawn so its beautiful new bronze foliage and bee attracting flowers can be fully appreciated
The Black Locust is beloved for its rope like clusters of pink and white flowers in mid-spring. The flowers are frequent stopping points for bees and the honey is prized for its rich flavour. The flower clusters are followed by flat, papery fruit pods.
At maturity the tree can reach between 10 to 13 meters and about 6 meters wide, making it a lush and leafy living screen.
The Glossy Privet is an evergreen tree growing to approximately 10 m tall and broad. The leaves are opposite, glossy dark green and broad. The flowers are similar to other privets, white or near white, borne in panicles, and have a strong fragrance.
The 12 well established trees will be replaced with 6 new trees. How does the replacement of 12 trees with only 6 fit into Whitehorse Councils Tree Canopy policy?
The new trees are listed below:
In 2021 a developer submitted a planning application (WH/2021/93) with the Whitehorse Council for the ‘Construction of two (2) double storey dwellings including basement, associated buildings and works within four meters of protected trees and removal of protected trees'.
OBJECTIONS TO THE PROPOSAL
At a Council meeting on October 18, 2021, a number of concerns were raised by 14 local residents who lodged objections with Whitehorse Council in regards to the proposed demolition of this significant house. The concerns of the local residents included loss of heritage, amenity, tree impacts, tree removal, car parking and neighbourhood character.
Whitehorse Council’s decision
Below is an excerpt from the minutes of Whitehorse City Council Meeting 18 October 2021.
Demolition of existing dwelling and heritage significance
Concerns were raised with regard to the heritage significance of the existing dwelling. It is noted that the site has been considered as a potential heritage site. The property was identified for potential heritage status in 2001, however has not met the status for further assessment due to its earlier subdivision and close proximity of neighbouring dwelling. The assessment criteria to recognise heritage significance are well established and set by the State Government via a practice note. A thorough assessment of these criteria by Council’s Heritage Advisor has established that the property does not satisfy the relevant thresholds for recommendation to be included in Heritage Overlay. The primary reasons for this are the subdivision of the land and additionally that there are a number of similar Federation style houses already listed in the City of Whitehorse. Therefore, the subject site has not been placed within a Heritage Overlay and a Planning Permit for the demolition of the existing dwelling is not required.
In their report the Council further states ‘The property was identified for potential heritage status in 2001, however has not met the status for further assessment due to its earlier subdivision and close proximity of neighbouring dwelling’.
The proposal for the construction of two (2) double storey dwellings including basement and associated buildings and works within 4 metres of protected trees and removal of protected trees is an acceptable response that satisfies the relevant provisions contained within the Whitehorse Planning Scheme, including the State and Local Planning Policies, the General Residential Zone 3, Significant Landscape Overlay Schedule 9 and Clause 55, ResCode. A total of 14 objections were received as a result of public notice and all of the issues raised have been discussed as required. It is considered that the application should be approved.
To read the council minutes please click on the following link:
To view the plans for the development please click on the following link:
How does ‘its earlier subdivision and close proximity of neighbouring dwelling’ affect the heritage value of the house? Was a more recent heritage assessment of the house conducted?
The future for the City of Whitehorse
Australians travel to Europe, Asia and other places to look at and enjoy history and gardens that are protected by their people and governments. France (amongst many other countries) for example has implemented heritage protections gradually since the 19th century as an expression of national identity and recognises the powerful contribution heritage makes to social stability and sustainable economic development. These heritage protections cover fully intact buildings, gardens 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 them as a tourist attraction.
We have built and horticultural history that is intact right in our backyard and sadly it is either being destroyed or changed irrevocably?
The house has been part of the local landscape for 115 years and now the history of the people who lived there and the house will be lost forever to Mont Albert, Whitehorse and Australia.
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.