Bulla’s hidden Secret – The Home of Alister Clark. The Rose Garden of Early Melbourne

To the north west of Melbourne lies our international airport – Tullamarine. A fairly innocuous place, it’s all bustle and movement – a far cry from its original settlement very early in the nineteenth century. We re-publish this lengthy article  originally posted on our News Site in December 2017. Glenara is off the beaten track but remains a total delight.

Glenara Estate – The Clark family’s home for over 100 years

To find Glenara Estate is no mean feat. It is now a private residence siting on a prominent escarpment overlooking Deep Creek just outside the small township of Bulla – about 10km past the Tullamarine Airport.

Glenara was the home of Walter Clarke, pastoralist, who built up his estate to be over 4079 acres by the time of his death in 1873.

Walter was passionate about gardening. Upon his death the property appears to have been sub-divided. Alister Clark the famous Rosarian (Rose breeder) and Thoroughbred Race Horse aficionado managed to purchase the original homestead block at Glenara in 1887 and moved there in 1892, remaining there for his entire life. When his father died Alister was but 9 years old so it was no mean feat for him to return and purchase the original property.

Here then is the Statement of Significance from the Victorian Heritage Register:

GLENARAVictorian Heritage Database Report

GLENARA

Statement of Significance

What is significant?

Glenara, Bulla was settled by pastoralist Walter Clark in 1857. Originally purchasing 485 acres to the north-west of Melbourne, Clark built his estate up to 4079 acres before his death in 1873. In 1887 the homestead block of about 830 acres was purchased by his son, Alister Clark, one of Australia’s best known horticulturalists and rosarians, and the garden became the site for the breeding of many plant species for more than sixty years. At his death in 1949 the estate covered 1035 acres.

Walter Clark arrived in Sydney from Scotland in 1837, and lived in the Riverina region of N.S.W. before purchasing a dramatic site on Deep Creek, near Melbourne, in 1857. He immediately planted vineyards on this new property, Glenara, and tenders were called by architects Purchas and Swyer for the construction of a house. Walter Clark’s interest in gardening saw the architects also supervising the design of the landscape surrounding the house. Early garden features included a terrace to the west of the homestead with stone steps and urns and a sundial. Extensive paths were constructed to the south of the house and pathways were formed amongst, and steps cut into, rocky outcrops.

The dramatic siting, on a high promontory above large, rocky outcrops along Deep Creek, and early plantings and landscape features, were recorded in a photograph by Nettleton in c 1864 and in a painting by Eugene von Guerard in 1867. By 1868 Glenara’s picturesque beauty was described as unsurpassed in Australia in the Guide for Excursionists from Melbourne.

In 1872 architect Evander McIver called tenders for the erection of a bluestone tower at Glenara, which was constructed on a hill to the south of the homestead. A rustic bridge leading to this tower was also constructed.Walter Clark died in 1873 and his son Alister, born in 1864, finally purchased the homestead block at Glenara in 1887. He settled there permanently in 1892. A series of managers and lessees had been responsible for the property, however the house and the form of the garden had been retained. A billiard room was added to the eastern end of the homestead in 1895 and Alister began to assemble an extensive range of plants in the garden. His greatest interest was the breeding of roses and daffodils and he introduced many species to the garden at Glenara before his death in 1949.

The Glenara homestead is a large single storey Italianate house of rendered stone and brick, with hipped slate roofs and eaves supported on paired brackets. An encircling verandah has open work timber posts and lintels. The west end features an Italianate terrace with classical balustrade and urns, flanked by staircases at either side leading to an elaborate path system. Double doors, which lead to this terrace from the polygonal bay of the drawing room, are framed by heavy cornices supported on large consoles. The 1895 billiard room, which is designed to match the earlier building, contains a large glass skylight with transfer design, timber dado and coved ceiling, stained glass windows and polygonal bay with French doors and stained glass toplights.The property contains a number of early buildings, including an octagonal, timber building, evident in von Guerard’s painting, and a gatekeeper’s lodge and winery of rendered brick and coursed rubble bluestone, possibly c1870s.

How is it significant?

Glenara, Bulla is of historical, architectural and aesthetic significance to the State of Victoria.

Glenara, Bulla is of historical significance for its long associations with the Clark family and the pastoral industry. It is of particular historical significance for its associations with Alister Clark, one of Australia’s best known horticulturalists and rosarians.

Glenara, Bulla is of architectural significance as a representative example of a substantially intact 1850s Italianate homestead. The surviving outbuildings on the property, including the pre-1867 octagonal building, the gatekeeper’s house and the winery are also of architectural significance.

Glenara, Bulla is of aesthetic significance for its rare picturesque qualities which result from the relationship between the homestead, garden and dramatic landscape setting. The retention of indigenous trees and exposed rocks contribute to this quality. The early recording of the property, by Eugene von Guerard in 1857-8, is also of note.

Glenara, Bulla is of aesthetic significance as one of the earliest surviving domestic gardens in Victoria. It conforms to its original pattern and retains an elaborate path system, Italianate terrace, sundial, gates, bridge and bluestone tower from the nineteenth century. The latter is of particular significance as a rare, true garden folly in Victoria. The garden retains trees and plantings from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century.

Glenara, Bulla is of aesthetic significance as one of the earliest surviving domestic gardens in Victoria. It conforms to its original pattern and retains an elaborate path system, Italianate terrace, sundial, gates, bridge and bluestone tower from the nineteenth century. The latter is of particular significance as a rare, true garden folly in Victoria. The garden retains trees and plantings from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century.

Glenara, Bulla is of scientific (horticultural) as the site of Alister Clark’s extensive plant breeding programmes in the early twentieth century. The garden retains a large number of his plants, including daffodils and mature specimens of many roses.

Source: heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au

Alister Clark was a prolific and successful breeder of roses and also Daffodils. What a delightful legacy to leave the world – a wealth of beautiful flowers and rich scents.


Balance Architecture – Specialists in Heritage Architecture.

Heritage – It Matters. Preserve It. 

A Heritage Home Deserves A Heritage Restoration. Call Balance Architecture Now For A Free No-Obligation Consultation At Your Convenience.Metro and Regional

With Real Estate sales booming in both Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria many homes and properties that are either Heritage Listed or covered by Heritage Overlays are rapidly changing hands. To ensure you, as the property owner, is fully informed and well advised in terms of both restoration and adding additions or extensions to your new property it would be both prudent and wise to engage a qualified Heritage Architect. Andrew Fedorowicz of Balance Architecture is such a professional with many years’ experience and has a multitude of such residential Heritage Projects completed to the absolute satisfaction of the Home Owners involved. 

The Dilemma 

Inner Melbourne used to be considered a 10 kilometre radius from the CBD but more recently this has now expanded to include properties within a 25 kilometre radius. Sadly, the situation sees a competition between ‘Developers’ and those who genuinely appreciate the beauty of Heritage Architecture. 

Many of these older homes in median suburbs such as Camberwell, Kew, Malvern, Elsternwick, Brighton, Essendon, Moonee Ponds – the list goes on –  are well and truly under threat.  Larger blocks, older homes built from the turn of the 20th century until the 1930’s are now under threat. Developers see open space (front yards, back yards and gardens) as a premium construction opportunity. The very idea of preservation is counter productive to their interests. 

As a consequence, it’s not unusual to see delightful Edwardian residences, often with slate roofing and terracotta gargoyles left to the elements. A famous example is the property on the corner of Denmark Street and Barkers Road, Kew. A lovely old Edwardian, the slate roof is now holed and the place surrounded by security fencing. 

Restoration the Smarter Alternative

Think of what the alternative might be.  Restore the building to its original external structure.  The six sided box – walls, floors and ceilings.  Assess the foundations, the chimneys, verandas, windows and doors. Commission a proper Heritage Architectural Report. 

Considering land value is it not just as sensible to restore such a property to a comfortable living condition?  Add extensions and reconfigure the internal spaces, perhaps a pool and walled garden to the rear.

In ten year’s time the property value would be three to four times your initial investment – if you utilised a qualified Heritage Architect and plan an effective restoration and makeover.

Where a property is not Heritage Listed or part of a Heritage Overlay, neglect is the Developer’s friend “Oh it’s too far gone”.  This is where Councils, local governments, must lift their game. It’s time to allocate decent resources to ensuring Heritage Overlays are kept up to date and provide genuine protection for older, more gracious homes. 

The issue is that very liveable homes in good condition of up to 120 years in age are being demolished. Quite simply Real Estate Agents are pitching to Developers, not residential buyers “suitable for development”.  Why?  Money! It’s an easy sale and in many areas, land for development is currently at a premium – no matter what building may be standing on the property now. 

For a full Heritage Report followed by a complete Heritage Restoration and Design package, call now on 0418 341 443 to speak with Heritage Architect, Andrew Fedorowicz ( Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects). Andrew offers experience, expertise and a passion for Heritage restoration.  Alternatively, leave your details here for a prompt reply. Consultations are obligation free with no initial fees being charged. 

It’s a gracious alternative, one that is slower to realise a profit, but one that offers dignity and an acknowledgement of beauty and craftsmanship of the past and a splendid place for you and your family to live and thrive. 

Balance Architecture – Specialists in Heritage Architecture.

Heritage – It Matters. Preserve It.  

Modernist Architecture Bayside

In Melbourne Beaumaris is recognised as the epicentre of Modernist Architecture with many homes built by the Modernist ‘School’ of Architects, both for themselves and their admiring clients. The modernist homes created and constructed were all about space, light and comfort – a major departure from the box like structures of pre-war Melbourne. Large, open span ceilings, courtyards and featured living areas make these properties as desirable today as they were back in the 1950s and 60s. 

This week we feature, courtesy of the Herald Sun Property Section, a wonderfully restored example of the genre with tasteful additions complementing the original construction:

Robin Boyd: Modernist dream home one of Beaumaris’ best

This restored Robin Boyd mid-century masterpiece has kept all its 1950s features, including what could be the famed architect’s first “window wall”.

Christina Karras

November 4, 2021 – 12:30PM Herald Sun

Awaiting its Third Owner

A fun orange door welcomes you to the home.

Modernist fans have the chance to become just the third custodian of one of the “most significant” mid-century masterpieces in Beaumaris.

Renowned architect Robin Boyd designed the 1950s Browne House. It has retained distinctive features, including what could be the first of Boyd’s famous “window walls”.

Hodges Beaumaris director Michael Cooney said he matched the vendors with the property when the original owners were looking for a buyer in 2007, ensuring it would not be demolished.

A sprawling open-plan living space.
The famous window wall.
The main bedroom occupies the old studio in the original part of the house.

There is a real movement to protect these sorts of homes in the area,” Mr Cooney said.

“I knew of the home so I helped (the vendors) into it, and they’ve completely restored it and renovated it.

“When they bought it, it was in fairly original condition, so they had to do a lot of repairs to update it. Painting, carpets, the kitchen and the boards have all been re-done but the actual structure has hardly changed.”

Modern bathroom.

Now, the four-bedroom pad at 86 Dalgetty Rd is on the market again with $2.3m-$2.5m price hopes.

Mr Cooney said the sellers had added a “very sympathetic extension” with two bedrooms and a bathroom hidden at the rear of the home. The family also installed an in-ground trampoline for their kids in the backyard.

Never be without natural light.
Primed for post-lockdown dinner parties.

A striking orange door awaits at the entrance, with the updated open-plan living, kitchen and meals area a few steps away, enhanced by the standout window wall.

Mr Cooney said the impressive facade made of windows was designed to bring in the sunshine all year ‘round.

“But in summer, you can open the windows and doors to the let sea breeze come through,” he said.

“There’s something for each season and also for your mood – there’s inside or outside, and formal or informal.” 

“Everyone who comes through the home says how relaxed you feel inside.”

Multiple living areas ensure everyone has their own space.

An in-ground trampoline adds to the family package.

The house features in the Beaumaris Modern: Modernist Homes in Beaumaris book, named as one of Boyd’s most iconic and significant designs.

“We opened it for the first time on Saturday and we had buyers coming and we had other admirers who have Boyd homes too,” Mr Cooney added.

A “peacefully positioned” main bedroom filled with natural light and a coveted location within the Beaumaris Secondary College zone are additional drawcards.

Warm up by the fire.

An in-ground trampoline adds to the family package.

The house features in the Beaumaris Modern: Modernist Homes in Beaumaris book, named as one of Boyd’s most iconic and significant designs.

“We opened it for the first time on Saturday and we had buyers coming and we had other admirers who have Boyd homes too,” Mr Cooney added.

A “peacefully positioned” main bedroom filled with natural light and a coveted location within the Beaumaris Secondary College zone are additional drawcards.

An in-ground trampoline adds to the family package.

It is a joy to just walk through such a property and admire the delightful use of space – light, airy and designed for living. In the Bayside area there are many of these gems and unfortunately, with large, expansive blocks, often with seaside vistas, they are coveted and targeted by developers.

Bayside Council has been very slow in offering any form of Heritage protection to these magnificent properties, with very few being submitted to the Council for Heritage Listing or consideration. 

For assistance with Heritage Status, restoration and achieving comfortable liveability with Modernist properties in the Bayside area, please contact Andrew Fedorowicz, Heritage Architect and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects for a free, no-obligation consultation on 0418 341 443, or alternatively, leave your details here for a prompt reply and scheduled meeting.

Balance Architecture, Heritage Architecture At Its Very Best. In Every Detail. 

Heritage – From Programmed Neglect to the Best House in the Street

There are some strange concepts floating around when it comes to property covered by a Heritage Listing or Overlay. Real Estate Agents are often touchy about such properties, only speaking of the limitations – a rather negative approach. Given the right planning, design and heritage restoration such properties can provide exceptional returns not to mention being a joy to live in.

The first step? Engage a qualified and experienced Architect. Principal Architect at Balance Architecture, Andrew Fedorowicz, is such an Architect, with a passion for heritage architecture and restoration. Andrew is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and has developed, managed and/or supervised a wide range of architectural projects over many years.

The key to restoration is to have a solid understanding of the original construction, the materials utilised and the design of the construction and its ultimate intent. For example, Victorian terraces often depend upon internal structural walls for the overall integrity of the building. In inner Melbourne many of the older terraces depend upon the adjoining building for structural strength. South of the Yarra River many of the older homes were constructed using blue stone lintels for foundations. Placed on sandy soils these often shift over time resulting in cracking and fissures. This is the base point of any renovation.

Then there are the cosmetic additions that provided character and beauty from ornate iron work, intricate patterned tiling, stainless glass feature windows, to tall masonry columns and pillars and wide verandas with curved iron roofing. Internally there were high ceilings with elaborate plaster mouldings, ornate light fittings and carved timber architraves and features. Gardens often had fountains with extensive beds of perennials in formal patterns with hedges and topiary. 

So what happened? Areas like South Melbourne, Albert Park, Carlton and Clifton Hill give up the story readily. Post-war migration saw Europeans from the Mediterranean settling in these areas, buying up what the ‘Australians’ of the time saw as slums. Of course, those buying often wanted to ‘modernise’ and often removed the features and artisanship of previous generations from terracotta tiling and verandahs to gargoyles and slate roofing to ornate iron work and Victorian tiling – down it came, ripped up and replaced with concrete and terrazzo. 

Over the last 40 years many of these gorgeous old homes have been restored. Look to St. Vincent’s Place in Albert Park or Drummond Street in Carlton. The result? Some of the highest priced real estate in Victoria. Now it is the homes further out that are at risk – not from under-capitalised migrants but from fully capitalised developers. Homes in Armidale, Hawthorn, Kew, Brighton and Essendon that would otherwise provide a pallet to create grand restorations are disappearing at a rate of knots under the developers’ wrecking ball. 

But what if you can invest capital in a full restoration with tasteful and acceptable extensions that complement heritage? Look to those suburbs such as Albert Park mentioned earlier. In an auction earlier this year a fully restored home in Albert Park sold for $9.9M on zoom! The developer’s story simply doesn’t always ring true. Living in a heritage home can be magnificent. High ceilings, light and airy – it really depends on just how you go about restoring. 

Start the process now – call Andrew Fedorowicz on 0418 341 443 and schedule a no-obligation, free consultation at your convenience. Or, if you prefer, simply leave your details here for a prompt reply. 

Make the very best of your superb home, your heritage property. It’s time that you transformed it into the ‘jewel in the crown’ of your street, your neighborhood. Return it to its former glory, yet enjoy the advantages of space and modern living. Best of all be sure of a genuine return on your investment. 

Balance Architecture, Heritage Architecture At Its Very Best. In Every Detail.