Le Fanu – Perth’s most expensive renovation.

In late February, Le Fanu, a Queen Anne style home originally built in 1893 as a ‘holiday cottage’ – with 5 rooms – for the then Manager of the Western Australian Bank, Mr Henry Diggins Holmes, his wife Maria and their children. Cottesloe was a holiday destination for Perth denizens in those days. The family called the home ‘Banksia’.

The home underwent significant alterations between 1898 and 1900. In 1945 the property was purchased by the Anglican Church. The church renamed the property ‘Le Fanu’ in honour of the Bishop of Perth, Henry Frewen Le Fanu (1929-1946). It was used as a meeting place for various church religious groups.


It was again sold in 1973 to an Esperance farmer. However her plans for a restoration to its former status as a beachside holiday home never eventuated and the property fell into disrepair and ruin.


The current owners purchased the property in 2009. A massive restoration and refurbishment was planned and executed over 3 years by Zorzi Builders under the supervision of Heritage Architect the late Ian Hocking of Hocking Heritage Studio.


The property was restored under the guidance of the State Heritage Council and the Town of Cottesloe. Over 300 tradesmen and artisans worked on the building, spending ‘hundreds of thousands of hours’ to restore and refurbish Le Fanu, not just to its former glory, but to be perhaps the most beautiful of seaside residences today in modern Perth.


David Reynolds, Zorzi Builders’ business development director, said many eager tradies would work after dark and on weekends to finish their jobs. “They’d try to sneak back in and get on with it. It was quite unique.”


Where possible, original features of Le Fanu were saved. Restoring, retaining and individually numbering salt-affected limestone bricks, which were more than 100 years old, for reuse was an arduous task.


Shattered floor tiles had to be salvaged to be reinstated and were reused as a feature in the home’s entry.


The restoration has paid homage to Le Fanu’s historic past with marble flooring, a grand use of timber, high ceilings, soaring columns, custom-made cornices, architraves, mouldings, skirtings and restored original fireplaces.


Other features include wrought-iron arched doors, an immense outdoor area and courtyard, a sweeping balcony that capitalises on the ocean views, a full home automation system, a state-of-the-art security system with cameras, as well as a wine cellar and tasting room, a marble-floored 10-car garage and a lift to connect the home’s three levels.


Source: domain.com.au

Le Fanu was classified by the National Trust in 1975. It was attributed the highest grading. Land value alone in 2009 was estimated to be $15 million. The only possible outcome for any purchaser was to renovate. As such the property was offered for sale at a mere $6.5 million! It ended up selling for $4.25 million.

For the new owners, this was their first renovation project – simply extraordinary. As mentioned the owners engaged the late Ian Hocking of Hocking Heritage Studio to supervise the project (he passed away in Nov 2014). Approvals were stringent – even the furniture had to meet with Heritage Council approval.

Perhaps the best way to enjoy this splendid renovation is through the gallery of pictures provided.

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With over $11 million spent on renovation and refurbishments its rather pleasing to see such an investment being made in heritage values. it was no doubt a difficult project but what a simply breathtaking result.


Superb, gorgeous, exquisite. Take a seat, a gin and tonic and stare out into the Indian Ocean. Heritage restoration can be simply spectacular.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.


Chadwick House Eaglemont – A True Treasure

Every so often a rather remarkable property will make its way onto the market. Chadwick House is such a property. Originally built in 1904 to a design by influential architect Harold Desbrowe Annear, the property was purchased over 30 years ago by well known and respected Architect Peter Crone. Peter and his wife Jane set about lovingly restoring it to its original glory.

Here’s the full story. In 2008, the first stage of the property’s restoration was rewarded with the John George Knight Award for Heritage Architecture.

Architectural treasure Chadwick House for sale after 30-year restoration


Chadwick House at 32-34 The Eyrie, Eaglemont is for sale for the first time in three decades.

Eaglemont’s pioneering Chadwick House, which was instrumental in introducing open-plan living to Australian houses, has hit the market following a decades-long restoration by its owners.

Eaglemont’s pioneering Chadwick House has hit the market, following a three-decade labour-of-love restoration by its owners.

Influential architect Harold Desbrowe-Annear designed the ahead-of-its-time residence at 32-34 The Eyrie in 1904 for his father-in-law James Chadwick.

The Heritage Council of Victoria describes Desbrowe-Annear as “instrumental in introducing the open-plan form into Australian domestic architecture”, with the house and two neighbouring abodes named Annear and Officer early reflections of his modernist innovation.


Peter Crone at the Chadwick House in 2008, when his painstaking restoration won a prestigious architecture award.


A plaque stating the home’s heritage credentials.

A heritage plaque on Chadwick House’s lush 1458sq m landholding states it “incorporates medieval-inspired Arts and Crafts elements with modernist ideas such as open planning”.

Architect Peter Crone and his wife Jane bought the Heritage Victoria- and National Trust of Australia-listed pad about 30 years ago and have been restoring and enhancing it ever since.

They’ve now listed the property with a $3.15-$3.35 million price guide — to move next door and renovate another house in the Desbrowe-Annear trio.


The innovative sitting room, which took about a year to restore.


The stately dining room.

Mr Crone said it had been a thrill to own one of Australia’s most significant 20th century homes, which he first learned of while studying architecture as “one of the first, if not the first so-called modern houses in the country”.

His painstaking renovation — stage one of which won the prestigious John George Knight Award for Heritage Architecture in 2008 — involved stripping back any unsympathetic additions to the house and restoring or replacing original features.

“I reinstated about 19 original windows that had all been changed,” he said.

“And the main sitting room, the largest room in the house, had all its Californian redwood panelling (and) an original fireplace taken out. It took about a year to redo the whole room.”


The house features four bedrooms.


The modern stainless steel kitchen.

Mr Crone had limited information about the original state of the residence and had to “crawl in the roof and under the house” to determine its design roots.

He’d loved the home’s “magic site” atop a sloping hillside, offering views over the treetops towards the Dandenongs.

He will continue to enjoy the surrounds from Desbrowe-Annear’s own house next door, where his mother-in-law had lived until her recent death, and which he and Jane have now turned their attentions to.

Miles Real Estate director Stewart Oldmeadow dubbed the house in a tightly held pocket of Melbourne a “living antique” that was “so far ahead of its time, with the open-planned nature of the home”.


Striking wooden panelling characterises the home’s interior


The house also features an alfresco deck.

The Crones had not only returned the house to its original glory, but added modern comforts including two renovated bathrooms and ducted airconditioning to make it a “turnkey proposition”, he said.

The home’s two storeys also feature four bedrooms, a stately dining room plus a “breakfast room”, a gourmet stainless-steel kitchen, cellar, two verandas, open fireplaces, Jarrah flooring and a double garage topped by an alfresco deck.

The property’s expressions of interest campaign closes at 5pm on April 16, with inspections by appointment only.


The lush surrounds.

Source: news.com.au

This is a beautiful restoration. For those who can afford the asking price, it is a wonderful opportunity. And to everyone else, it is a perfect example of how our precious heritage can be maintained, carefully, skillfully and lovingly. Congratulations to Peter Crone and his wife Jane on a job well done!

Heritage lives!

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

Federation Square – It’s not apples at all!

The Federation Square debacle rages on with new rulings from the Melbourne City Council rejecting Apple’s current plan outright, and one of the original award-winning architects on the precinct’s original design speaking out against the proposed demolition of the Yarra Building. Architect Peter Davidson’s opposition contrasts with his former partner at LAB Architecture, Donald Bates.

It is now up to Heritage Victoria to decide whether to agree to the demolition.

Here is the report on the Melbourne City Council deliberations…

Melbourne City Council opposes demolishing key Fed Square building

Melbourne City Council has voted to oppose the demolition of a key building in Federation Square in order to build an Apple megastore after receiving more than 1100 submissions from concerned Victorians.

The State Government shocked Melbourne by announcing days before Christmas in 2017 that part of the city’s civic square would be knocked down so Apple could build one of only five “global flagship stores” in the world.

Federation Square management has applied for a waiver of heritage rules to demolish the Yarra building in order to construct the new building.

A spokesman for Citizens for Melbourne, which has been coordinating the Our City, Our Square campaign, said on Tuesday night that more than 100,000 people had signed petitions opposing the Apple store and more than 1100 had provided submissions to the council.


An artist’s impression of the proposed Apple store at Federation Square.

“The proposed Apple store … does not respond to the existing architecture of the square nor to the design thinking that informed its original design,” architect Michael Smith said.

“The proposed building will act as a spatial billboard for the Apple brand in a place with minimal signage and no overt advertising and branding.”

Citizens for Melbourne asked the council to go one step forward and petition the State Government to take over custodianship of Federation Square and “protect it as our town square”.

Cr Rohan Leppert said local heritage policy was very clear that “we should resist the demolition” of the Yarra building.

He noted the 1100 community submissions, saying: “It is not just a numbers game … but none of us are blind to the opinion and sentiment that has been expressed over the last few days and shouted in our direction.”


The Yarra building at Federation Square, proposed for demolition to make way for Apple.

Cr Leppert said the council was not having a proxy debate about the preferred management model of Federation Square, but it was “worth noting how many people have spoken about the issue”.

Cr Nicholas Reece said while he supported an Apple store at Federation Square the Yarra building site needed to maintain its “campus style character”.

“The reason why management are crying out for an Apple store is because the business model is really struggling and they need the revenue,” Cr Reece said. “If it was done right the Apple store … wouldn’t lead to the corporatisation of Federation Square.

He said most importantly for him, however, was that “we should keep the geometric stonework pattern because it has become so iconic and a sort of motif for Melbourne”.

“To see that completely removed from the building is something I could not come at,” he said.

The only councillor not to oppose the demolition of the Yarra building was Cr Philip Le Liu.

He said the proposed Apple store, which would be smaller than the existing Yarra building, meant there would be 500 metres of extra open space for the city.

Cr Le Liu said architect Donald Bates had always said the Yarra building would be for a commercial purpose.

“I remember people saying whatever is going to be there is going to be an ugly building. I remember the same thing in 2002 when Federation Square came on, people said it was ugly and strange and no one would like it. And yet here we are,” Cr Le Liu said.

In responding to concerns about the commercialisation of Federation Square, Cr Le Liu said: “What about cafes, restaurants, shops does that mean we also get rid of them? This is a very difficult decision.”

It is now up to Heritage Victoria to decide whether to agree to the demolition.

Source: theage.com.au

And it’s worth reading this report on the thoughts and objections of original LAB Architecture’s winning design Architect Peter Davidson. This report was published prior to the Council meeting.

‘Terrible’: Apple plan slammed by a Fed Square designer

One of the architects who designed Federation Square has spoken out for the first time against plans to demolish one of the square’s key buildings to build an Apple mega-store.

Architect Peter Davidson was one of two designers behind Federation Square when it was commissioned by then premier Jeff Kennett in the 1997.

Completed in 2002 amid much criticism, many have come to love the square’s landmark buildings and public spaces.

Now, on the cusp of a decision on whether to allow one of the square’s buildings to be demolished for Apple, Mr Davidson has voiced his opposition.


A protest last month against the planned demolition at Federation Square to make way for an Apple store

Mr Davidson had a stroke in 2010. While he has largely recovered, he lost his ability to communicate easily.

Approached by The Age for his views on the Apple project, Mr Davidson provided a transcribed statement outlining his opposition to demolition of Federation Square’s Yarra building.

In the Yarra building’s place, under a plan designed by British architecture firm Foster and Partners, a new Apple “global flagship store” would be built.

The new building, exclusively for Apple, would help deliver more public space and better integration between the Yarra River and the square.


Simon Thewlis @thuzzles It was great to see architect Peter Davidson at the rally today

Mr Davidson said he would support the plan if Apple, instead of demolishing the building, chose to move into it.

He said the public had not been adequately consulted before the state government decided to hand the space to the technology giant.

And Mr Davidson said he had not been consulted by Apple or Federation Square management before the announcement was made. He said he should have been asked.


Architects Donald Bates, left, and Peter Davidson in 1998 front of a model of Federation Square

Asked his view of the Foster and Partners building to replace his and partner Donald Bates’ original design, Mr Davidson said: “It’s terrible. It’s a different type of architecture altogether.”

Mr Davidson’s step-daughter, Daine Singer, said that though he had lost much of his ability to communicate since his stroke, his architectural knowledge, cognitive faculties and strong opinions were intact.

She said he felt strongly that the Yarra building should not be demolished. “Before his stroke, he would’ve been down there giving press conferences, yelling and screaming,” she said.

Mr Davidson’s opposition is in contrast to his former LAB architecture partner, Mr Bates, whose support for the Apple plan has regularly been used by the Victorian government to rebuff critics.

Mr Davidson said that he was not opposed to altering the square to suit the city’s changing needs. And he agreed the interface between the square and the river could be improved.

His views on the demolition appear in tune with a flood of submissions from the public to heritage authorities, as they weigh up whether to let it proceed.

The state planning department said Heritage Victoria, the body that recommends historic building protection, received more than 3300 public submissions opposing demolition. “This is likely to be the most received,” a spokesman said.

On Tuesday, Melbourne City Council will vote on whether to oppose demolition of the Yarra building. Federation Square management have applied for a waiver of heritage rules to knock it down.

A council officers’ report said demolition should not be allowed because the Apple store “does not successfully form part of an assembly of campus buildings, rather due to its architecture and siting, it presents as a stand-alone building”.

“The proposed replacement building does not adequately contribute to the cultural and heritage significance, character and appearance of Federation Square and does not satisfy the requirements of local heritage policy.”

Source: theage.com.au

It would appear that there is much public consternation over both the planning and projected outcomes for the Apple project. Frankly, it’s hard to accept that adding an entirely new design to the precinct is in the best interests of the integrity of Federation Square and its precinct.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

Touring Melbourne’s Heritage homes – Corkman pair receive massive fine.

The Corkman Pub developers have been fined a further $1.3 million for recklessly demolishing the heritage hotel in Carlton even after being ordered to stop. This set of fines is on top of $600K imposed last year by the EPA.


Contrary to what various commentators have said here over the last few months, the company cannot sell the site. It has an enforceable order requiring the full restoration of the hotel using the original materials placed on it by the City of Melbourne and backed by the State Government Planning Department. To date the developers have caved in at each milestone, both pleading guilty to the knocking down and demolition of the Hotel. It is expected that their appeal against the ruling will fail.

Heritage Homes are delightful, but it is imperative you engage a skilled heritage architect if you are fortunate enough to purchase such a home. Quite simply, merging building and engineering techniques of the late 19th Century with today’s requirements requires experience, vision and expertise. Andrew Fedorowicz, Principal Architect with Balance Architecture is a fellow of the Architects Institute of Australia. Andrew is more than happy to meet with you to discuss your needs and future projects.

Enjoy our tour courtesy of raeen99 [through the suburbs of Melbourne.

“Hepburn Terrace” – East Melbourne

Hepburn Terrace - East Melbourne copy.jpg

Located in East Melbourne’s George Street, “Hepburn Terrace” is a well-preserved, symmetrical group of six rendered brick two storey terraces designed by the architects Austin and Ellis for Robert Hepburn and built in stages between 1855 and 1872. 201 (seen to the left of the photo was the first built in 1855). 203 (seen to the right of the photo) was built in 1867.

Constructed on bluestone foundations, all the houses that make up “Hepburn Terrace” share similar architectural details and matching cast iron two-storey balustrading. The dwellings are wide with three full height windows to the upper floor and entry with two double hung windows to the ground floor. “Hepburn Terrace” presents an intact frontage, with all lacework, cast iron fencing, bluestone plinths and, in some cases, front door handles, in place and quite sound. Numbers 199 -203 present quite a different design to Numbers 205 – 209, reflecting the seventeen year gap in their construction. The former are slightly smaller, and tend to the more austere, unembellished approach of the earlier Victorian era. The fine bluestone piers and cast iron fences are intact the length of the Terrace.

Heronswood Historical House and Gardens – Dromana


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Heronswood historic homestead was seriously damaged by fire in January 2014. The then existing Café was destroyed and the house slightly damaged. Full restoration has occurred since.

The first law professor at Melbourne University, William Hearn, employed Edward Latrobe Bateman to design Heronswood house in 1866. The property’s name was probably derived from Hearn’s family motto, the heron seeks the height, or his family crest, on a mount vert, a heron. Or it could be a contraction of ‘Hearn’s wood’.

heronswood historical house copy.jpg

The architectural style of the house, which was completed in 1871, is Gothic Revival. It is made from coursed, squared granite blocks quarried at Arthur’s Seat. The windows, doors and corners are dressed with limestone from the southern end of the peninsula. It features many medieval-inspired elements such as the bell-cast roofs covered in Welsh slate, pointed lancet windows, and buttressing on the front porch.

Billilla Historical Mansion – Brighton, Melbourne

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Billilla Historic Mansion, which was the former the home of the Weatherly family, is a beautiful heritage property incorporating a stately formal garden and the magnificent historic house.

Billilla, at 26 Halifax Street, Brighton, is one of Melbourne’s few remaining significant homesteads. The mansion was built by merchant Robert Wright in 1878 on land which had originally been owned by Nicholas Were. The house has a mixture of architectural styles, featuring a Victorian design with Art Nouveau features. With exquisite formal gardens, which retain much of their original 19th Century layout, the property was owned by the Weatherley family (whom named it Billilla) from 1888 to 1972.

Billilla retains many original Victorian elements and a number of outbuildings still stand to the rear of the property including the butler’s quarters, dairy, meat house, stable garden store and coach house.

Billilla was used as a backdrop in the Australian 1980 Channel 10 miniseries adaptation of Sumner Locke Elliott’s “Water Under the Bridge”. It was used at the Sydney harbourside home of Luigi, Honor and Carrie Mazzini.

“Westbourne” a Late Victorian House – Rucker’s Hill, Westgarth

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“Westbourne” is a large late Victorian solid double red brick and stone house built on Rucker’s Hill in the Melbourne suburb of Westgarth in 1889.

Named after Westbourne Grove, the street in which the house was built, “Westbourne” (number 95.) was owned by Mrs. Catherine Oliver, a well known local abbattoir owner. Catherine Oliver purchased the corner site at 95 Westbourne Grove (then in the suburb of Northcote Hill), in 1889 and built the two storey solid brick residence, using red face brickwork and stucco dressings. She lived there until the late 1920s.

Today the house has been sympathetically subdivided into a number of smart luxury townhouses.

Westbourne Grove was created with the subdivision of William Rucker’s estate on Rucker’s Hill. The Union Bank created a number of roads across the former estate including Westbourne Grove, Hawthorn Road, Bastings Street and Mitchell Streets.

The land in Westbourne Grove was further subdivided in 1884 with the creation of the Bellevue Park Estate. Westbourne Grove became a popular address with prosperous local business people including timber merchant Alex Munro who lived at No. 92. – a neighbour to Mrs. Oliver.

Chastelton – Toorak

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“Chastelton” is an immaculately restored two storey Victorian Italianate mansion nestled away in a quiet beech tree lined street in the exclusive Melbourne suburb of Toorak.

Symmetrical in design with large bay windows either side of a colonnade entranceway with a patterned entablature, “Chastelton” has a wonderful tower which provides impressive views of the surrounding suburbs, the Yarra River and the Melbourne city skyline. “Chastelton” sits amid lush grounds of manicured lawns surrounded by European species of plants and many well established trees. The entrance is approached by way of a semi-circular gravel driveway.

“Chastelton” is a boom period mansion and was completed in the late 1880s.

“Park Lodge” a Victorian Mansion – Moonee Ponds

park lodge1 copy.jpg

Built in the 1880s, “Park Lodge” is a very grand asymmetrical Victorian mansion situated in the finest section of the inner northern Melbourne suburb of Moonee Ponds.

Built of polychromatic bricks, “Park Lodge” has a wonderful verandah and balcony adorned with elegant cast iron lacework. The roof is made of slate tiles with metal capping. The brown and yellow bricks are constructed in a profusion of geometric designs, which even make the wall treatment a great feature. Even the chimney is built of polychromatic bricks. Perhaps its most outstanding features are the distinctive French inspired Second Empire mansard roofed central tower which bears “Park Lodge’s” name in a cartouche over the upper floor windows. This feature makes the property stand out for miles around.

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Sadly, the original grounds of “Park Lodge” have been lost in the years since it was built, no doubt a victim to the Melbourne property bust of the 1890s. The widening of the road onto which it faces has also encroached upon its boundaries as has the widened railway line. Nevertheless, the current owners have made the most of the space they do have, planting a formal Victorian style garden in keeping with the house’s age. It features a range of topiaries and small hedges. The whole garden is enclosed by an ornate wrought iron fence.

Call now on 0418 341 443 for a free, no-obligation site consultation. Or leave your details here

It’s time to enjoy the best of the past with exceptional modern comfort. Balance Architecture – protect your valuable investment.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

Heritage Homes in Melbourne

Take a tour of Melbourne with us this week as we view some of its beautiful heritage properties – properties you could well own if the opportunity arises and they are placed on the market. We’ve made a fairly broad selection, including Italianate, Victorian Terraces and Villas, Queen Anne Style and Federation Style constructions and designs.

Principal Architect at Balance, Andrew Fedorowicz, is passionate about all heritage architecture. He has a wealth of experience in their restoration and revival with a very practical understanding of what is required to bring these beautiful edifices back to life yet meet today’s stringent building standards.

Let the tour begin with compliments to Flickr photographer ‘raeen99’.

“Holyrood” a Large Victorian Italianate Villa – The Grove, Coburg

Holyrood copy

“Holyrood” is a large Victorian Italianate villa constructed circa 1891, probably to the design of architects Little and Beardsley, as part of the former Moreland Park Estate in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg.

Built at the entrance to the Moreland Park Estate on Coburg’s most prestigious elm lined street, The Grove, “Holyrood” is a mirror to that of its neighbour on the opposite side of the street. These sentinals of Victorian upper middle-class respectability, wealth and aspirations to climb socially would have been very impressive when all that surrounded them was open famland. “Holyrood” and its neighbour represent the brief initial period of development prior to the bust of the 1890s and subsequent housing boom of the early 20th Century, in which much of Coburg’s residential development occurred.

This single storey, Italianate style residence has a return verandah with elegant cast iron lacework. The roof is made of slate tiles with a geometric pattern laid out as part of the design, whilst the verandah is of corrugated iron. Its four chimneys are tall and corniced and its has its original mock ashlar walls. Perhaps its most outstanding feature is a distinctive pyramidal roofed low tower over the entryway.

A Polychromatic Brick Victorian Villa – Moonee Ponds

A Polychromatic Brick Victorian Villa - Moonee Ponds copy.jpg

Standing proudly behind its picket fence with capped newel posts, this large Victorian villa constructed in the 1890s is situated in the inner northern Melbourne suburb of Moonee Ponds.

This single storey sprawling villa has a splendid front verandah with elegant cast iron lacework. The roof is made of slate tiles with a geometric pattern laid out as part of the design, whilst the verandah is of corrugated iron. This villa also features its original capping and ornate finials along the tips of each section of roofline. Built of polychromatic bricks, they are used to great effect, making the walls real features of the villa.

Moonee Ponds, like its neighbouring boroughs of Ascot Vale and Essendon, was etablished in the late 1880s and early 1890s. However, unlike its neighbours, it was an area of affluence and therefore only had middle-class, upper middle-class and some very wealthy citizens. Houses like these would have suited a large Victorian family, and would have required a small retinue of servants to maintain. Built on a corner block, this villa has a large street frontage, and mantains its original stables, which may be accessed through a back laneway.

Sister Victorian Terrace Houses – Flemington

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These two magnificent late Victorian boom period terrace houses in the inner northern Melbourne suburb of Flemington are in fact sisters and mirror one another in layout.

Built between the 1880s and the 1890s, these two grand residences both feature bay windows upstairs and down, stuccoed brick facades (with exposed red brick walls at the side elevations), large sash windows and two chimneys each. However their crowning glories must be without doubt their wonderful verandahs and balconies with their intricately frilly lace like wrought iron fretwork.

Flemington was a suburb in its own right by 1882 when it broke away from the City of Essendon, and at the time these houses were built, Flemington was had a mixture of lower middle, middle and upper middle-class citizens. Situated on Wellington Street, in front of the Catholic church of Saint Brendan’s, these residences would have been for the latter of these groups. Houses like these would have suited a large Victorian family, and would have required a small retinue of servants to maintain.

A Queen Anne Style Mansion – Moonee Ponds


A Queen Anne Style Mansion - Moonee Ponds copy

This beautiful and extremely ornate Queen Anne style mansion of grand proportions is situated in the finest section of the inner northern Melbourne suburb of Moonee Ponds.

Queen Anne style was mostly a residential style inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement in England, but also encompassed some of the more stylised elements of Art Nouveau, which gave it an more decorative look. The red brick from which the mansion is built is in keeping with the Arts and Crafts movement, as is the slate tiled roof and the rough cast stuccoed brick panels that can be found under the eaves and on the half timbered gables. Yet the ornate terracotta capping along the different sections of roof, the tall chimneys with ornamental chimney pots, undulating fretwork on the half timbered gables and the fretwork on the return verandah are all very Art Nouveau in design. Ornamental towers were very popular features of Australian Queen Anne residences, and this mansion features a very tall one.

Built in the years immediately following Australian Federation (1901), the half timbered barge boards feature native Australian flora as during this period, Australiana (to show pride in all things Australian) was encompassed into much local manufacturing, design and architecture.

The whole mansion, which has a large street frontage, is surrounded by a well established garden with mature Australian native trees and well kept lawns.

Queen Anne style was most popular around the time of Federation. With complex roofline structures and undulating facades, many Queen Anne houses fell out of fashion at the beginning of the modern era, and were demolished.

“Nocklofty” Federation Style Villa – Royal Parade, Parkville

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Situated near the intersection of Royal Parade and Brunswick Road, “Nocklofty”, a Federation style Edwardian villa of grand proportions, overlooks Parkville’s Royal Parade.

The name “Nocklofty” is placed above the bay window and is impressed in Art Nouveau script into a beaten brass plaque.

Built between 1906 and 1908, in the years after Australian Federation took place, this Art Nouveau style house, with a fanciful copper tower to the rear right of the property, features small amounts of Australiana as part of its design, to support the general feeling of Australian patriotism that found its way into popular culture, art and architecture. The wooden fretwork above the bay window and around the porch features gum leaves and gum nuts in its design.

“Nocklofty” was designed and built by the owner Kenneth Munro. Munro, a retired mining and construction engineer and highly accomplished amateur wood carver, executed all the original exterior and interior decoration and pattern for casting the varandah columns and friezes in terracotta.

“Nocklofty” used to have a beautiful garden featuring evergreen alders and silver birches as well as a cottage garden. Sadly, nearly ten years of drought have seen it suffer somewhat and many of the trees that used to shade the house are gone. This however, has revealed the beauty of this fanciful house for all who pass by it to see.

If you or an acquaintance need guidance, assistance and planning in rejuvenating such a property, please do not hesitate to call Balance Architecture on 0418 341 443 for a free consultation. Andrew Fedorowicz will be happy to schedule a time and date that is mutually acceptable. Or leave your details here for a prompt response.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

Save No 1 Victoria Ave Albert Park.

Every now and again a building is brought to our attention that is under threat of demolition. Usually it’s just the building itself that is in imminent danger, but recently there have been several cases where the building represents a significant component of a major heritage area and overlay. No 1 Victoria Ave is such a building.


In a similar situation to the buildings under threat on Victoria St and Brunswick St by St Vincent’s Hospital, Number 1 Victoria Avenue Albert Park represents a pivotal gateway to Victoria Avenue itself. There is no denying the building is somewhat tired and requires a future planning to either restore it to previous grandeur, or to reconfigure it in a sensitive, sympathetic response to its location and its surroundings.

Located on the corner of Merton St, it is adjacent to rows of Victorian Terraces and period shops continuing down Victoria Avenue. Opposite is the red brick Albert Park Primary School. Directly opposite and up the continuation of Merton St going North is the famed St Vincent’s Place Gardens and estate.


This is a particularly sensitive location. The area was part of a very early Melbourne development modelled on a typical London street plan and estate.


In April 2017, 1 Victoria Avenue was sold for $5.575 million, about $500K above its reserve. At the time the Agents acknowledged that despite the Heritage overlay, the purchaser was likely to redevelop the site into a 3-4 level mixed use building and occupy part of it.


Similar plans were indicated by developers who demolished the Greyhound Hotel on St Kilda Rd in St Kilda and the London Hotel on the Esplanade in Port Melbourne. Both remain vacant blocks.


The Saade group have released plans and artists impressions of what the planned new building will look like. It bears no connection at all with its surrounds, is entirely disconnected from the area’s overlay, and frankly shows little understanding of either heritage values or streetscapes.


The National Trust has expressed its objections to the project to the Port Phillip Council in August 2017.

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Re: Planning Permit Application
Number 348/2018

1 Victoria Avenue, Albert Park

Dear Ms Johnson,

The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) objects to the above permit application, which includes complete demolition of the existing building and construction of a contemporary four-storey (plus basement level) mixed use building.

The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) is state’s largest community-based heritage advocacy organisation actively working towards conserving and protecting our heritage for future generations to enjoy, representing 28,000 members across Victoria. The National Trust’s vision is that “our diverse heritage is protected and respected, contributing to strong, vibrant and prosperous communities”, and our mission to “inspire the community to appreciate, conserve and celebrate its diverse natural, cultural, social and Indigenous heritage”.

The subject site is included within the Bridport Street/Victoria Avenue Commercial Precinct, identified as HO443 in the Schedule to the Heritage Overlay of the Port Phillip Planning Scheme. The subject site is identifiedas a significant place in the City of Port Philip Heritage Policy Map, and is subject to external paint controls.

We submit that the proposal to demolish 1 Victoria Avenue Albert Park is contrary to the provisions as set out in the Port Phillip Heritage Policy 22.04, specifically the following policy objectives (22.04-3):

  • To encourage the conservation of all significant and contributory heritage places in the Heritage Overlay.
  • To discourage the demolition of significant and contributory heritage places in the Heritage Overlay.

When a permit is required for demolition of a significant or contributory building, as set out under 22.04-4 Demolition, it is policy to:

  • Refuse the demolition of a significant building unless and only to the extent that:
  • the building is structurally unsound;
  • the replacement building and/or works displays design excellence which clearly and positively supports the ongoing heritage significance of the area

The complete demolition of an individually significant place in an identified precinct is rare and should only be permitted if it can be clearly demonstrated that there is no alternative course of action. We submit that the supporting documentation provided with the permit application does not demonstrate that demolition is unavoidable.

In particular, the Assessment of Heritage Impacts views demolition as a fait accompli and fails to assess the impacts of the proposal on either the building or the wider precinct. We note that the Structural Report prepared by David Farrer, while outlining the specific structural issues currently affecting the building, does not undertake any form of cultural heritage assessment of the impact of full demolition.

Accepted best practice for the preparation of Heritage Impact Statements can be found in Heritage Victoria’s “Guidelines for Preparing Heritage Impact Statements” and requires the consideration of the following:

  • What physical and/or visual impacts will result from the proposed works? i.e. what will be the affect on the cultural heritage significance of the place
  • If there are detrimental impacts on the cultural heritage significance of the place or object, provide reasons why the proposal should be permitted
  • If there are detrimental impacts on the cultural heritage significance of the place or object, detail alternative proposals that were considered and reasons why these were dismissed
  • What measures are being proposed to avoid, limit or manage the detrimental impacts?

While these guidelines have been prepared to inform applications under the Heritage Act 2017, we would expect the same principles to be observed in the preparation of an impact statement for any recognised heritage place, including those protected under the Planning and Environment Act. As it stands, the current proposal would clearly have a deleterious impact on the heritage place, and a significant negative impact on the surrounding precinct, yet these impacts have not been assessed, nor have steps to mitigate these impacts been considered.

Further, the Structural Report does not rule out, or even contemplate, the reconstruction of the building according to Burra Charter principles, or its incorporation in any new development. We would expect that for a place identified as being significant within a heritage precinct, that all possible options for restoration or reconstruction should be explored and documented in any application for a development on the site. The application provides no evidence that options for the retention of the building have been meaningfully investigated, or that restoration and reconstruction are not viable options.

We would expect that where full demolition is contemplated on the basis of advice provided in a structural report, that this advice would be subject to peer review. In making a determination on this application, we therefore urge Council to engage a consultant to provide an independent assessment of the structural integrity of the building, and options for remediation or reconstruction.

The National Trust also strongly objects to the assessment provided by Bryce Raworth that the proposed replacement building displays design excellence which “clearly and positively supports the ongoing heritage significance of the area.” We note the Statement of Significance for the Bridport Street/Victoria Avenue Commercial Precinct, as included in the Port Phillip Heritage Review (2018), which states that

“the built fabric is largely characterised by rows of double-storey Victorian residential shops, a smaller number of single-storey Victorian shops, terraced dwellings, and Edwardian and inter-war shops.”

We submit that the proposed development does not respond to these identified values, and does not respect the scale and character of the surrounding precinct.

In conclusion, we do not believe the current application demonstrates that the demolition of the existing building at 1 Victoria Avenue cannot be avoided, and respectfully submit that the permit application should be refused on these grounds. We further submit that the proposed replacement building is not an appropriate response to the heritage precinct. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this application. For any enquiries regarding this submission, please don’t hesitate to contact me on 9656 9802 or at felicity.watson@nattrust.com.au.

Yours faithfully,

Felicity Watson
Advocacy Manager

Source: http://www.trustadvocate.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/2018-08-17-national-trust-submission_1-victoria-av-albert-park_final.pdf

The Port Phillip Council have denied both the demolition and building permits. The Saade group have now appealed to VCAT with the hearing set down for March 18th 2019.


To date the integrity of the area has remained largely intact. But a project such as this undermines the entire heritage overlay for for the Albert Park area, and if permitted would provide a very unwelcome precedent for what is one of Melbourne’s last remaining Victorian era Heritage precincts.

Principal Balance Architect, Andrew Fedorowicz is currently looking to provide both an opinion and possible alternatives to the proposed building for the community organisation objecting to the proposed demolition and development – #dontdestroyalbertpark Their website is: dontdestroyalbertpark.com.au


This is a prime example of where a building is not properly maintained to facilitate the outcome whereby demolition is considered. However we hope to show this is entirely unnecessary with the use of both a clear understanding of Heritage values, local rental returns and good design.

You can support the Don’t Destroy Albert Park Village case in VCAT by contacting the group through its website and requesting bank details for the legal case appeal.

This area, Albert Park, is a joy for all who love, enjoy and respect Heritage values. Now is the time to respond and protect this wonderful area for future generations. Please give this cause your full support.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

The City of Melbourne Acts to Protect Heritage

The City of Melbourne Planning Department has seen two recent results that provide some measure of support for Heritage Values in the CBD and near city environs.

In Carlton, the Corkman Pub demolishers have pleaded guilty to illegally demolishing the 159 year old pub and will likely face fines of $388,000 each as well as their company also being fined some amount.

In another move, the City of Melbourne has successfully applied to deny Singapore Developer Michael Kum’s plans to turn the historic Equity Chambers located at 472-478 Bourke St into another CBD hotel.

First the Corkman Saga.

From the Age 29.01.2019

Corkman cowboys plead guilty to illegally knocking down Carlton pub

The developers who knocked over Carlton’s Corkman Irish Pub in 2016 without planning or building permission have pleaded guilty to its illegal destruction.

Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

They and their company 160 Leicester each face fines of $388,000 for their demolition of the pub that was built in 1857.


The Corkman pub in 2015

The pair admitted on Tuesday to having knocked down without permission the 159-year-old building, which was not heritage listed but that sat within a protected historic area.

Instead of applying to Melbourne City Council to raze the pub, the pair – led by Shaqiri, a licensed demolisher – instead simply bowled it over one Saturday in October 2016.

The court heard the pair were ordered to stop by Melbourne City Council’s building inspector late that Saturday afternoon, after about 80 per cent of the demolition was complete.


The demolished remains of the Corkman pub

Despite this, they returned the next day to finish off the illegal works.

Soon after the pub was knocked down, Planning Minister Richard Wynne brought in new laws making jail time possible for people found guilty of illegal building works in Victoria.

Corkman Irish Pub opposite Melbourne University’s law building has been demolished after being sold to a local developer for $1.56 million above its reserve in 2014. (Video courtesy: Francisco Ossa)

Those laws do not affect the Corkman pair, who are only liable for financial penalties.

The penalties, to be handed down next month, follow almost $600,000 in fines they were ordered to pay last year after the Environment Protection Authority prosecuted them for the illegal dumping of asbestos and for failing to secure the site next to the University of Melbourne’s law school.

The pair later indicated they would appeal those fines.


Raman Shaqiri leaves the Magistrates Court in 2018

Raman Shaqiri leaves the Magistrates Court in 2018.Credit:Joe Armao
While the Carlton site has lain dormant since the late 2016 demolition, another site developed by a company the pair own, at the corner of Brunswick Road and Lygon Street in East Brunswick, has seen a nine-level apartment building completed.

Barrister Nicholas Papas, QC, appearing for Mr Kutlesovski on Tuesday, agreed that his client had failed to get “appropriate permits” before knocking down the pub.

The two developers bought the pub for $4.8 million in 2015.

After the 2016 demolition, Melbourne City Council joined with the planning minister to seek an order compelling the pair to rebuild a version of the pub using whatever materials could be salvaged from its wreckage.


Developer Stefce Kutlesovski leaves the magistrates court in 2018

Legal wrangling has seen a hearing over that order delayed, but it will now be heard by the state planning tribunal in June.

A fire was deliberately lit in the Carlton pub, once called the Carlton Inn, a week before it was illegally demolished.

After a public outcry over the demolition, both Kutlesovski and Shaqiri initially promised to rebuild the pub immediately.


Soon after they reversed this position, and ever since have made no commitments to do anything on the site, and have used the courts to delay actions against them.

Sentencing of the men has been adjourned until February 20.

Source: theage.com.au

To date the developers are facing fines in the vicinity of $1.6M. As well they have been ordered to rebuild the hotel using the original materials, incorporating all the original features and details where possible.

In the second issue, the developer seemingly had ‘slipped under the radar’ with his company’s purchase of the Equity Chambers located at 472-478 Bourke St in June 2017. Upon applying to re-model it and incorporate it into plans for a multi-storey hotel, the council decided not to permit the planned development.

Again from the Age, 30.01.2019.

Bourke Street hotel hits planning hurdle

Singapore tycoon Michael Kum’s plans to expand his hotel holdings in Melbourne hit a planning hurdle earlier this year after authorities rejected his bid to amend a permit to build a hotel in the historic Equity Chambers in Bourke Street.

Mr Kum’s M&L Hospitality paid $30 million for the inter-war Equity Chambers office at 472-478 Bourke Street in June 2017, a purchase which at the time slipped under the radar.

The heritage-listed, Romanesque style, six-storey building has an elaborate portico, foyer, coffered ceilings and rooftop terrace.


An amendment to the original planning permit changed its use into a hotel and office plus 151 apartments.

It was built in 1931 on the site of Melbourne’s first synagogue.

M&L Hospitality purchased the property with an existing planning permit allowing for the partial demolition and development of a residential extension, taking the building to 17 levels with 215 apartments.

An amendment to the original planning permit approved in May 2018 changed its use into a hotel and office plus 151 apartments, but also included – significantly – some stringent setbacks.


The new setback controls require Mr Kum’s company to alter its plans and remove three hotel rooms from level 5 and an outdoor terrace on level 6.

The Singapore-based real estate billionaire, whose wealth was originally acquired in shipping, objected to the change and made a bid in Victoria’s planning tribunal to delete the new conditions requiring the setbacks.

Melbourne Council maintains the setbacks were needed for the hotel plans to comply with mandatory requirements in its planning scheme.


Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal member Philip Martin ruled in favour of the council but said the case involved a “very complicated and challenging area of the CBD planning controls”.

“Hence it is clear to me that there is no ‘black and white’ answer to this dispute,” Mr Martin said.

M&L Hospitality said it would abide by the ruling and not appeal the decision. Further planning was underway and the company would push on with building the hotel, it said.

Industry data from STR shows Melbourne’s hotel room supply rose 2.5 per cent over the year to last August with a corresponding 1.8 per cent rise in demand.

Revenue per available room – the industry metric for judging performance – rose 1.3 per cent to $151.18 over the same period. Since then the city has hosted the Australian Open tennis tournament, which usually fills hotel rooms to bursting.

M&L’s website lists a portfolio of 18 upmarket hotels in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Europe largely managed by Hilton, as well as Australia’s biggest hotel, the recently enlarged Hyatt Regency at Darling Harbour in Sydney.

Its Melbourne property at 270 Flinders Street operates under the DoubleTree by Hilton brand.

Source: theage.com.au

Balance Architecture is also now privately reviewing the building located at 1 Victoria Ave Albert Park. Current plans for the building and site see its imminent demolition and the construction of a four storey glass structure. The ‘Don’t Destroy Albert Park’ group believe the proposed building is significantly out of character in this existing heritage precinct, as does Port Phillip council. The Developer has appealed the matter to VCAT and a hearing is scheduled for March 18th in an attempt to overturn Council’s decision.


1 Victoria Ave Albert Park

You can find more detail here https://www.dontdestroyalbertpark.com.au/ and if possible you could add your support to their campaign.

Victoria Avenue is an iconic heritage shopping strip with many old and beautiful buildings as is nearby Bridport St with the famous Biltmore hotel.

Developers have gradually crept up the Clarendon St Hill and have now began to purchase on and within the Emerald Hill and Albert Park estates.

St Vincent’s Place remains sacrosanct but on its edges there are some very unsightly developments. Major multi-storey developments have now extended to Dorcas St with spot developments such as the 1 Victoria Ave proposal providing an entree of what is likely to come.

Next week we will provide a detailed report on the project and similar such activity in this heritage overlay area.