Friday, September 06, 2019

Houses of Dandenong Road

Dandenong Road is the principal arterial road leading to Melbourne's south east and is part of Highway 1, a series of highways and main roads running around much of Australia's coast. It has been referred to as the Great Three Chain Road, being in parts 60 metres (200 feet) wide.

Parts were once lined with very fine houses and later some rather nice apartment buildings. The area where I photographed was only about a kilometre long and has five lanes of traffic in each direction with a central grassed area with tram lines in each direction and lined with London Plane trees. Plane Trees also line the sides of the road, along with a few other odd species thrown in.

But like all over Melbourne, especially in our leafy expensive suburbs, such houses are coming down at an alarming rate, leading to drastically changed streetscapes, a huge loss of private open space and worst of all a loss of trees, grass and vegetation. Our governments argue that we need denser populations to absorb our absurdly exploding population, and so apartment buildings where once a single house stood is good policy. Our state government and local councils have very much neglected the heritage aspects that make our leafy suburbs what they are, never mind the congested roads and overcrowded public transport, schools struggling with numbers, stretched medical services.......you know what it is like. It seems to be a world problem and has eroded our standards of living.

There was quite rightly outrage when this house on the heritage register was recently legally demolished, with the local council and the state government passing the buck back and forth. While the house was not in Dandenong Road but the suburb of Hawthorn, I think I should share some photos of some of the housing along Dandenong Road between Wattletree Road and Alexandra Street before they are all demolished.

Mature trees and possibly a nice garden, lawns and the house in Hawthorn gone. Photo from The Age.


A very large Dandenong Road house. It will stay as it is part of St King David's School (omg, what a clanger that would have been if it passed the keeper).

Here is a paste from a real estate site in perhaps 2002. "Frank Tate House" One of the last opportunities to purchase a grand un-renovated mansion in Armadale Rich in history the property was originally named "Noorilim" and was the residence of William Winter Irving MLC. Following this it became the Rio Grande Hotel/Guesthouse before passing to the Education Department in 1950 and being renamed Frank Tate House after the first Director General of Education in Victoria in 1902. Ideally located between Hampden and Denbigh Roads on a magnificent allotment of 4,100 square metres approximately (44,000 square feet) this grand late 1800's Victorian mansion is currently student accommodation but the possibilities are endless (subject to council approval), including: * Restoring the home as a residence * Development potential * Aged care facility * Educational facility. 


This is the type of apartment building replacing the old homes, occupied by older people (wealthy widows) who no longer want a large house and wealthy Asian immigrants. Strange mix really.


It is very hard to do much with a block of flats if they are individually owned as a very high percentage of owners have to agree to sell. If these are individually owned, then I expect the block will be safe. Quite spacious inside I should think.


Bit hard to see, but I expect it will go in time.


This is not so old but my absolute favourite. It was probably built in the 1940s. Nicely proportioned and now well maintained. It was a little neglected at one time but repairs were made and it reappeared from a very overgrown garden. 


This is one I feel no sentiment about. I think it is apartments. Let it go. Developers do your worst.


What a weird little house, well medical place I think.


Not bad apartments. It appears the third storey was added later.


Fine Art Deco.


Unlike England's Tudor houses, ours are very neat and straight. I'd like this one to stay.


I can picture the interiors of these apartments. Very nice indeed. Late 40s or early 50s.


I'll just throw in from left field this Italianate? house with the gorgeous magnolia that can be seen from our apartment. Rarely driving the car now, I am out of touch with bloomings and so I was surprised to see this normally late bloomer in full display. Magnolias and many other spectacular flowering trees are being lost in the race to demolish 150 year old Melbourne housing and build a brand new city of buildings that will be demolished in 30 years.

32 comments:

  1. I love Austrialiasn house diffferent from Polish ones.

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    1. Gosia, not truly representative of Australian houses.

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  2. I hate to see that house torn down. It looks so stately and full of history.
    I am surprised you have Magnolia trees. Though, I guess I shouldn't be after you commented about the similarity of my garden and Aussie gardens.

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    1. Sandra, we have four seasons here. So many like that have been torn down.

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  3. I would mourn the loss of some of those houses (and their gardens).
    Sadly similar pushes to demolish and rebuild are happening here. The buildings which go up are rarely characterised by any charm.

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    1. EC, you wouldn't mind so much if they were replaced by something nicer.

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  4. Replies
    1. Succinct Tasker, and that is how I view it.

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  5. The wanton destruction of Australia's beautiful historic built environment is a crime. All in the name of the almighty dollar.

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    1. Cheryl, indeed the dollar is what it is all about. Developers love these large house blocks.

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  6. It's not only sad, but it makes one angry to see history being wantonly demolished. Beautiful creations never to be replaced in kind and design.

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    1. Lee, they can't. But to be practical, what might become of these huge old homes if they can't be sold, demolished and an apartment block built. In the Hawthorn case I mentioned, that was a viable house for a family.

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  7. Love your photos. Especially since we live in this very area!

    What is Heritage Registration for, if it cannot prevent destruction of an important piece of architecture?

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    1. Hels, it seems Heritage Registration is fairly meaningless. There is a higher category that does prevent demolition.

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  8. To pull down the ugly and replace with beautiful is OK. To pull down the beautiful to replace with ugly is not.

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    1. Cro, but that is what happens.

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  9. Similar things happening here. One beautiful old place torn down, six or eight "boxes" with oversized windows, and garages taking up most of the ground level, just a tiny door to one side which probably opens directly onto a staircase.

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    1. River, I would like to reply properly, but I just feel so old and it all seems so wrong.

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  10. That one house that you really like (I do too) looks a little familiar. Was it once used in the TV series All Together Now?

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    1. Can't answer as I did not see the tv show. I wonder if that was when it had its makeover.

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  11. Some of those houses are really beautiful, and I also feel sad that they might be demolished to give place to a an apartment building. Why does everybody need to live closer to the city, when in the case of Australian cities there's plenty of space to build apartments just outside the city where they wouldn't need to demolish heritage houses.

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    1. Good point Sami, and I don't really know.

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  12. It it possible to incorporate existing buildings into redevelopment. The "Dandenong Road house" is on nearly an acre of land, there is potential for adding modern usage, and preserve the existing building. It takes work, and creativity, but the result is a balance of preservation with sensible growth. (I was in the development and building business for 15 years - before going to graduate school.)

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    1. Travel, if you mean the large white house that is King David School, it is part of a school with modern buildings on its land with parking underground. It is a good reuse of the building.

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  13. It breaks my heart to see some of these old beauties demolished for modern blah! If there's ever even any hint of the Art Deco home coming down let me know and I'll be right over to chain myself to the front door, it is gorgeous. The house with beautiful magnolia tree is pretty special too 💜

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    1. Grace, Art Deco is even harder to protect, I think, mainly because they don't have great age. We have lost a few.

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  14. It's terrible here that way, fast apartment complexes being built even in winter, with exposed osb, to rain. They claim its mold resistant, but used to be building didn't happen in most of Oregon in the winter. Nobody cares now, its' money and getting up fast. If it molds later... Anyhow, there seems no end to the blight of human overpopulation, ruining any quality of life there once was.

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    1. Strayer, some of our new towers are cracking, creaking and breaking up, never mind the flammable cladding on their exteriors.

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  15. Ooh, that is a nice house in that first picture. Painful to think what's going to happen to it.

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    1. Kirk, there is a later photo of when it was half demolished.

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  16. Knocking down solid quality for cheap, flimsy crap. It breaks my heart. Surely we've hit peak apartment saturation by now?

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    1. Fen, you would think so but still they are being built although two projects have been cancelled near us but one huge very upmarket one is going ahead. Most of the apartments in your area are I think of reasonable quality.

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Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.