I should think Ann O'Dyne and Hels can tell us a bit about Edgewater Towers. R had been inside a couple of years ago and he wondered why it could possibly of interest, but how interesting it was.
It dominates St Kilda's skyline and we can see a small section of it from The Highrise. Construction of Australia's first privately developed apartment block was completed in 1961. The initial developer, Bruce Small, who went on to become Mayor of the Gold Coast and oversaw the introduction of parking meters and bikini clad meter maids to feed them coins, made his fortune after buying a small bicycle shop in Malvern. The Malvern Star, as the bikes were called, became very popular, aided by selling them on credit, and at its post WWII peak, there were 115 stores with 1,000 dealers.
It was also Australia's tallest privately developed residential block until the construction of Robin Boyd's Domain Park Flats, which can be seen on the left of my blog header photo.
Edgewater Towers was designed by architect Mordechai Benshemesh and over the years has been used in a number of television shows and the 'own your own luxury housing' has seen a number of famous people reside in various apartments.
The front of the building faces Marine Parade and the rear, where most of the carparking spaces are, leads to Spenser Street. There was a long running battle with authorities over fire safety, there being few rules when it was built. An upgrade in early 1990s was followed by addition of a sprinkler system in the mid 2000s and full fire safety measures by 2014. We began with a terrific lecture in the foyer to a crowd of about 20 visitors. R and myself missed the first part, so later caught the beginning of the lecture for the next group.
The tour was conducted by volunteer residents of the building and they were very enthusiastic and passionate about their home. I think we began in a one bedroom third floor flat facing Port Phillip Bay with nice but not remarkable views. The building has also undergone an amount of remedial work on its concrete exterior. Someone suggested towards the end of the construction, the concrete became thinner and thinner to reduce costs.
From there, we travelled up in the very slow independent lift to perhaps the 11th floor. There are two lifts but independent of each other and at different ends of the long central corridor, so it was just a matter of waiting. Here we are looking over Luna Park. If we can see Edgewater Towers from home, then we should be able to see home from here but I couldn't pick it out until later in the full sized photo.
Looking towards Acland Street and beyond the Peanut Farm sports oval is the community garden, or allotments if you like.
For some reason this survived the fire regulations and it was suggested it probably should not have.
Truly though, the building is of rather a plain appearance. The public interior and interiors of flats have been much altered but good service has been addressed to its original appearance.
After the I think 11th floor apartment, we went up on to the roof, a health and safety work, and public liability nightmare. Original roof fencing had been replaced with a closer in and sturdy fence, but we stepped over pipes, tubes and roof infrastructure. Many of those with us were not young or fit. The views were really good though. This is the St Kilda Marina.
Really interesting terrazzo, in such large pieces.
There was a fire in a flat after the sprinkler system was installed. It was quickly put out by the sprinklers.
The mail boxes are not original.
Let us do a roll call of famous people who have lived there. Because of my age, I know most of them.
Sir Hubert Opperman, famous cyclist and later a conservative politician. Mother and the sister of artist Sir Sydney Nolan, the sister and her husband once running the upmarket restaurant within the building. Max Merrit of the band Max Merrit and the Meteors. Brian Dixon, footballer and later a minister in the state conservative party government. Stanley Leighton, founder of Leighton Holdings. Josef Ganz, perhaps the original concept designer of the VW beetle. Wrestler Mario Milano. Hairdresser Ian Morrey, once world hairdresser of the year. Featured in a television show about him, Edgewater Towers was also the home of Dr Bertram Wainer, a campaigner for women's right to abortion and against the police corruption involved when back room abortion was rife.
This corner was once an upmarket restaurant run by the aforementioned sister of Sydney Nolan ... for a time. It closed long ago and was converted to an apartment. To conclude, what a great effort by the resident's of Edgewater Towers to have the building and some apartments open. Thanks to all who conducted the day of opening of, not a gorgeous building but an iconic Melbourne building. Residents of Domain Park Flats take note and open your building for the masses next year.