Wednesday, May 27, 2015

An East Melbourne Meander

East Melbourne is rather different to East Sydney. East Sydney is cramped and yet such closeness of buildings makes for a great feel to the area. East Melbourne is calm, peaceful, expansive and expensive. R and myself took a wander.

Previously the Hilton Hotel in Wellington Parade and is now known as The Pullman. It was built on the site of Cliveden Mansions, once the largest house in Melbourne.


Circa 1910 Cliveden was bought by the Baillieu family and turned the house  into opulent apartments. Post WWII such living became unfashionable and the Mansions went into decline and in 1968 Whelan the Wrecker arrived and did what he was famous (notorious?) for doing.


Jolimont across the road from East Melbourne is an odd little area. On the far side of the road is Jolimont Station at a level below the road and one of the fly swat lighting towers of the Melbourne Cricket Ground can be seen.


 We turned the corner into Powlett Street and were immediately confronted by these Victorian beauties.


The symmetry in Art Deco is good for the soul.
 

Solid, sturdy and dependable, and hopefully with central heating.


The last of the bright red autumn leaves falling.


I suppose you can't go wrong with white, but why not use colours to highlight the architecture.


The Cairns Memorial Church (Presbyterian?) at the corner of Hotham Street was burnt out in 1988 with only the fa├žade remaining. What a terrific effort at turning the old church into apartments.


All in a row.

It only takes an hour with a scissors each week to maintain plus another hour to dust each leaf.


Four houses I think.


Such houses can be dark inside, so why brick up south facing windows?


I detect some non original balcony funny business has gone on here. Victorians did not sit on their verandah roofs.


Some more non original. I've not seen any of Melbourne's bluestone lanes laid as neatly as this one unless they have been relaid.


Soon the leaves will drop allowing the low northern winter sunlight to fill the front rooms.


Somebody has to live in the cheap housing. I use the word cheap advisedly. I should think well over a $1.5 million would be required to buy.


It looks lonely, like it once had a friend at its side who has gone.


Peering over the porch wall at the mess, we found the local rented apartments.


I am sure as nice and neat inside as it is outside.


This one, Queen Bess Row, certainly had me searching. R and I examined it carefully and decided it was three individual houses.The land was bought by the brother of Sir William Clarke, the builder of the aforementioned Cliveden. Although perhaps meant to one day be individual houses, openings were left between rooms with the intention of it becoming a coffee palace (that is not serving liquor) but this did not eventuate, instead becoming a training institution for nurses and then a private hospital. While it did have the name East Melbourne Coffee Palace, the name was changed to Rubra as a private hospital, a hospital with some rather quackery sounding practices to me. By the late 19th century the owner had been successfully sued for negligence and she sold up the contents of the hospital. The same year the building's owner Joseph Clarke died.

The internal archways were bricked up and it was turned into flats. Post WWII it became a boarding house for low income tenants until 1989 when it was turned into the original three houses it was eventually meant to be. Each house was sold separately. I can't find why or when it was called Queen Bess Row.

An amusing anecdote I came across was a story from a neighbour who was in the process of moving into the property next door when the Row was still a boarding house in the 1980s. A chap wandered into her kitchen and asked if she had a beer for him. Thinking it was one of the removalists, she obliged but it turned out to be one of destitute type boarders from Queen Bess Row.


The hospital that ate Richmond, also known as Melbourne's largest private hospital Epworth, owns this building and has called it something like the Epworth Cliveden. Epworth's tentacles spread far and wide over Melbourne's inner suburbs. In my world, we should all have access to great public hospitals for free, and we almost do.

I am fond of blaming modern architects for the hideous buildings they are designing. We have almost stopped pulling down buildings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but we are pulling down 1960s buildings without a tear or a protest. Nevertheless, I consider the architect of this building went out on a limb when he designed it, and then the bough broke. Along the road a little is a siding for trams to line up to clear the crowds from the MCG after an event.


This sneaky little building at 100 Wellington Parade houses the The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

We were back at the tram stop. Now which way? Back to town or to Richmond. Richmond won and we had a very nice lunch at Blue Note Cafe in Bridge Road.

28 comments:

  1. Andrew, I love your riow houses,. In my opinion architecture is very interesting and impressive. What a challenge to change church to the apartments..Autumn is visible at your place

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    1. Gosia, and a rather cold autumn it is for us this year.

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  2. Thanks for the tour!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Jo.

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  3. What a wonderful wander. I do love the church/apartment building. Quirky and beautiful. And have a decided weakness for many of the older buildings. Thank you.

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    1. EC, I think you and I are among the 99% of the population who do like old buildings. So why aren't more retained? Rhetorical, of course. Thanks.

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  4. Down the road from my place a church has been converted into apartments a bit like in your example except that the outside structure is unchanged. There is nothing to suggest the building is anything other than a church except for the discreet fence that surrounds it.

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    1. Victor, I can think of one like that, and another which has some quite discreet indications that it is residential. Churches for good purposes when they weren't always.

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  5. What an interesting tour. You must have done quite a lot of research for this post or maybe I am doing you an injustice and you have an excellent local history knowledge of the architecture. Great post.

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    1. Fun60, about half research and half knowledge, but the knowledge can be dodgy and has to be checked. I know full well the time and effort that must go into many of your posts. Thanks.

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  6. Great photos... you win my heart with Victorian and Deco architecture any day of the week. But those are the ones that survived.

    Brutal developers pulled down stunning buildings, as you noted with Cliveden Mansions. Demolished in 1968, there was a compromise - a Cliveden Room, with its oak and stained glass, was put into the hotel to remind people of what we lost! Some compromise :(

    I worked in Wellington Parade for a very long time, right next to that ugly hotel.

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    1. Hels, there are plenty of places in East Melbourne that make it clear something rather nice may have been demolished. Yes, I remember the Cliveden Room, but I I never went there. I was somewhere there in the late 70s but I can't remember where. I had oysters for the first time.

      Yes, I can guess where you worked.

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  7. Why brick up the windows? Probably that's where the bodies are hidden....

    Love, love the old buildings.

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  8. The Victorian beauties (4th picture down) are particularly beautiful and look to be of a manageable scale. Not that I would have the budget for such property!

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    1. Craig, they are so attractive externally, but inside perhaps dark and gloomy, unless skylights have been added. They have probably all had rear extensions added with lots of light and a connection outside world.

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  9. What a lovely wee wander! Like Craig, the lovely homes in the 4th photo down are very appealing to me; they, and many of the other photos today, remind me a great deal of sections of New Orleans.

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    1. Jac, really? They are like NO buildings? I know a little of NO, but clearly not enough.

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  10. I love these kinds of tours! Thanks. Glad to see, despite the indiscriminate wrecking balls of the mid-20th century, so many beauties have survived.

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    1. Mitchell, while so much has been lost, thankfully not all.

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  11. I like the bright red leaves.

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    1. Dina, I really don't know what the small trees are.

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  12. I enjoyed your tour plus the history. What wonderful buildings & the church made into a house looks awesome...

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    1. WA, churches are generally too nice to pull down, so it is great to see them used in another way.

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  13. Oh my what a delicious post Andrew, j'adore looking at different styles of architecture and you have a smorgasbord for us here! Love the Art Deco but for moi today it's Queen Bess Row, so special. Merci beaucoup for showing.

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    1. Thank you Grace. Queen Bess Row was amazing, but my camera skills did not do it justice.

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  14. Loved the meander around East Melbourne. And I have loved perusing your blog. Blogging for 11 years is a huge achievement. Well done! I'm going to enjoy following.

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  15. Thank you Country Mum. I guess I will be here for quite some time yet.

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