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.

balance logo 20150209a

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


heronswood historical house and garden - dromana copy.jpg

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

billilla historical mansion brighton melbourne copy.jpg

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

westbourne late victorian house ruckers hill westgarth copy.jpg

“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

chastelton toorak copy.jpg

“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.

park lodge 2 copy.jpg

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.

balance logo 20150209a

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

Sister Victorian Terrace Houses - Flemington copy.jpg

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

"Nocklofty" Federation Style Villa - Royal Parade, Parkville copy.jpg

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.

balance logo 20150209a

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.

Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 3.38.23 pm.jpg

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.

balance logo 20150209a

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.

Australia Day – Where it all began.

This weekend we celebrate Australia Day. We acknowledge the many great deeds and enterprises that have formed and created our great nation. It is a day not without controversy. On January 26th 1788 Governor Arthur Phillip, an Admiral of the British Navy first stepped foot on Australian soil.

Contrary to what some people think, Governor Phillip ordered that in the early days of the fledgling colony, the Eora Aboriginal people were to be treated well and anyone killing Aboriginal people would be hanged. Even when speared on Manly Beach, Phillips ordered his men not to retaliate. As was to be the case for nearly 150 years, it was not the authorities who attacked the Indigenous population and drove them off their lands, but rather it was the settlers and elements of the troops he commanded who were attempting to gain control of large land parcels.

slnsw v307

Government House, Sydney 1850

Governor Phillip set about building the first Government House in 1788.


Built in 1788, First Government House was the first major building to be constructed on the Australian mainland. The remains of the building’s original foundations in Sydney CBD, provide rare evidence of the earliest years of British settlement in Australia andcontain the only tangible relics of 1788 still in place.

The First Government House Site symbolises the most tangible link to the foundation of European settlement in Australia. It provides a publicly-accessible cultural focus and landmark for many Australians of British descent, for First Fleet descendants and for Aboriginal people.


Detail of map of the settlement at Sydney Cove Port Jackson April 1788

Australia’s foundation building

Governor Arthur Phillip laid the foundation stone for the first Government House building on Gadigal clan country in the vicinity of Sydney Cove only four months after the First Fleet’s arrival in January 1788. Building commenced in May 1788 and took just over a year to complete. It was the first major European building to be erected in mainland Australia. (First Government House at Norfolk Island was built between April-May 1788). The building served as both the residence and office of the governor.

Using convict labour the construction of the new residence and office of Australia’s first Governor was built with 5000 bricks imported from England and bricks made locally from clay, imported lime and shellfish from Darling Harbour.

slnsw dg 60 detail

First Government House, in a detail from painting ‘A direct north general view of Sydney Cove’ 1794

The symmetrical two storey building was Georgian in style with a hipped roof. The house had six rooms, two cellars and a rear staircase. In contemporary  illustrations show that many exotic plant species were grown and the first orchard planted in the front of the house. At the back of the house the were a  outbuildings the kitchen, bakehouse, stables, offices and workrooms.

This symbol of colonial power was the first two-storey structure in mainland Australia. It sat on the most prominent site on Sydney Cove and towered over the landscape. The First Government House became the exemplar of building fashion: stone footings, whitewashed brick walls and clay tiles or shingled roofs became the accepted residential fashion.


View of the governor’s house at Sydney in Port Jackson New South Wales Jan’y 1791

Centre of power

The First Government House was a centre of power and decision making for the new colony, through its crucial early decades. It was here that all the major policy decisions were developed, such as land settlement regulation. The convict system was administered from here. The period also saw the implementation of policies toward Aboriginal people.

Major events occurred here during the house’s lifetime, including the arrest of Governor William Bligh during the Rum Rebellion in 1808 and the first Legislative Council meeting in 1824. The first Government Orders (1795) and Australia’s first newspaper – the Sydney Gazette (1803) –  were printed at the site.

The First Government House Site is associated with many historical figures, both European and Aboriginal. The first nine Governors (Phillip, Hunter, King, Bligh, Macquarie, Brisbane, Darling, Bourke and Gipps) all lived in the building. Significant Aboriginal people lived at or visited the place, including Arabanoo (who was in fact buried in the garden), Bennelong and Colbee.

It remained one of the centres of power through the terms of the nine governors until its state of disrepair, and the growing pressures of expanding waterfront activities, forced its demolition in 1845.


Uncovering the remains of First Government House

After Government House was demolished in 1845, the site was used as a carter’s yard, a fruit shop, a confectioner and a tobacco shop, government offices, accommodation for nurses during the Second World War and a car park. At one stage, it was to become the site of the city’s town hall and later was chosen as the location for a multi-storey office block.

In 1983, before commencing construction on the multi-storey building, remains of the First Government House were discovered in an archaeological excavation. Following the discovery of the remains, further high-profile archaeological exploration – the largest urban excavation undertaken at the time in Australia – uncovered the vestiges of drains, privies, foundations, walls and cuttings. In addition, excavations also revealed artefacts including Australia’s first locally made bricks, window glass, roof tiling, china, bottles, broken tobacco pipes, printing remnants and dog bones. These discoveries sparked debate on the future of the site and, following public protest to save the area, planning approval for the development was rejected. Soon after, an international architectural design competition was announced to create a development that would conserve and present the archaeological remains of the site while still enabling the construction of office buildings.

Preservation for the future

Over 220 years after its foundations were first laid, the remains of some of its structures have been preserved and illustrated on site at the Museum of Sydney in Sydney’s central business district. Although mostly covered today by large granite tiles carve with the outline of the foundations and some glass observation panels, the archaeological remains of the building (including footings, walls, floors, drains, cuttings, paving, trenches, privies, garden soil, impressions of removed materials and artefacts) still have the potential to reveal much about the earliest efforts to build a nation.

Source: environment.gov.au

Here we reprint a more detailed description.

The first Government House: building on Phillip’s ‘good foundation’


Sydney, Government House 1802

The first Government House was not a simple singular structure but a complex with a yard, outbuildings, guardhouse, garden and greater domain. It was a home, an office and a venue for public and private entertaining, but also a symbol of British authority, with all that that meant to different people, both then and now.

A place of intimacy and officialdom, birth and death, celebration, confrontation and reconciliation, the first Government House was the scene of significant moments in the young colony’s history including the ‘Rum Rebellion’ and, more decorously, the first meeting of the Legislative Council.

What do we mean by the ‘first’ Government House?

slnsw_a3461012 detail-1

Detail of ‘Sydney Cove, Port Jackson 1788’ showing the first Government House under construction on the extreme left

The ‘Governor’s Mansion’ features in a somewhat naive map of the infant settlement drawn in April 1788. Instead of being a little-known image of the house that stood on the site on the corner of Bridge and Phillip Streets, Sydney – the first permanent viceregal residence – it is a rather ironic depiction of Governor Phillip’s first home on land, the ‘Govrs Temporary House’ (shown at P on the map, with the ‘Governor’s Kitchen’ at Q).
Phillip’s ‘tent’

When Phillip moved on shore in February 1788, he took up residence in a portable canvas house erected on the eastern side of what was to become known as the Tank Stream. A prefabricated dwelling of timber-framed panels covered with oilcloth, it cost £130 – a third of the amount paid for all the marquees and camp equipment for the marine officers. Forty-five feet long, 17 feet 6 inches wide and 8 feet high (13.7 x 5.3 x 2.4 metres high) it had a wooden floor, five windows each side, 3 foot 9 by 3 foot (.9 x 2.7 x .9 metres) and was divided internally. Often referred to as a tent, although it proved ‘neither wind nor water proof’, it was actually rather impressive.

This dwelling is important, not simply as Phillip’s first residence in the colony, where he remained for over a year, but because of what happened there: Arabanoo was brought here; despatches were written; decisions, great and small, on the management and future of the settlement and its inhabitants were made here; the County of Cumberland was defined and named here; and royal birthdays were celebrated with many a ‘huzza’.

Phillip soon outlined the shape of the fledgling settlement. By March it had been determined that

The government-house was to be constructed on the summit of a hill commanding a capital view of Long Cove [now Darling Harbour], and other parts of the harbour; but this was to be a work of after-consideration; for the present, as the ground was not cleared, it was sufficient to point out the situation and define the limits of the future buildings.

The ‘temporary’ house

nla obj-134426578 detail

First government house 1797

On 15 May 1788 the foundation stone was laid for what was intended as an interim structure until a more substantial residence could be built to the west. Less than two months later, Phillip forwarded his intended plan for the town to Lord Sydney. ‘A small House building for the Governour [sic]’, was shown overlooking the encampment on the east side of the Tank Stream. To the south-west across the valley, an area high on the ridge was set aside as ‘Ground intended for the Governour’s [sic] House, Main Guard, & Criminal Court’.

What was to be the principal street, 200 feet wide, ran from this large block down to the waterfront

In the meantime, the ‘temporary’ house was built into the sandstone bedrock on an elevated sloping site to the east side of Sydney Cove. Although Phillip referred to it as ‘a small cottage’, where he would ‘remain for the present with part of the convicts and an officer’s guard’, it was still deliberately situated in a commanding position overlooking the nascent settlement, visible to all.

On such a solid base, what was originally intended to be a single storey structure in fact became the first two-storey house in the colony. As Phillip wrote in February 1790:

The house intended for myself was to consist of only three rooms; but, having a good foundation, has been enlarged, contains six rooms, and is so well built that I presume it will stand for a great number of years.

The house was constructed of rendered, locally made bricks, imported crown glass and pipeclay mortar, with a shingled roof. Lime was made from oyster shells collected in the neighbouring coves. The availability – or lack thereof – of suitable building materials placed limitations on works. Until an adequate supply of lime could be located,

…the public buildings must go on very slowly…In the mean time the materials can only be laid in clay, which makes it necessary to give great thickness to the walls, and even then they are not so firm as might be wished.

However, at least ‘Good clay for bricks is found near Sydney Cove, and very good bricks have been made’.

Beyond an overarched door with sidelights and semicircular fanlight, the central entrance hall – approximately 9 feet (2.7 metres) wide – was flanked by a room on either side, each approximately 20 by 16 and a half feet (6.1 by 5 metres) with a fireplace on the rear wall. The ceiling height on the ground floor was 9 feet (2.7 metres). Just one room deep, the house was supplemented by skillion-roofed additions at the rear bisected by a projecting gabled stairhall.

The garden and outbuildings were enclosed with a timber palisade fence. A dwarf stone wall ran parallel with the front of the house with peaked-roof sentry boxes constructed at each end. The sentry boxes were soon relocated to either side of the house and the forecourt was formed into a military style redoubt with the addition of side walls and two carriage-mounted guns inside the front wall. A raised and paved entry podium led up to the front door.

Two small cellars were constructed beneath the entrance hall and western room of the house where the ground fell away slightly, allowing the insertion of narrow cellar lights in the northern plinth. The compound contained a collection of outbuildings to the south and west of the main house. When the footings of the service wing were excavated in the 1980s, they indicated that it had been a far more substantial structure than previously thought and built to last. Containing the kitchen, scullery and servants’ quarters, it was linked to the main house by a covered way.

A lightning conductor was placed on the centre of the roof. The violence of the thunder and lightning was much commented upon by First Fleet officers, who noted the damage done to trees, the destruction of livestock, serious injury to a sentry, and in 1793, the death of two convicts.

Phillip seems to have had his portable house relocated to the new site. It is visible in early images, a gabled panelised structure to the west of the kitchen block. Other features of the complex included the privy, located far from the kitchen and living areas and a well, which was said to have never run dry even in times of drought. The privy may have had a tiled roof. Lightly burnt clay tiles, known as pantiles, were made at the Brickfields to the south of the settlement but proved to be unsatisfactory, decaying rapidly and absorbing water. Archaeologists found many tile fragments during the excavations.

Inside the house

Little is known of the interior of the house during Phillip’s term apart from stray references to items such as a chest or side-table. Presumably, locally made items supplemented campaign furniture. It seems likely that the bell hung over the door and the pictures – including the ‘very large handsome print of her royal highness the Dutchess of Cumberland’ – which had adorned the portable house were transferred to the new abode.

There is far more information about the furnishings of later governors – from inventories and orders, auction lists and descriptions of events in newspaper reports and by visitors and residents. Furniture and furnishings were imported or acquired locally but governors also brought out their own possessions, often selling them on departure. Only one view of the interior is known to exist – a cartoon mocking Governor Bligh’s supposed attempt to conceal himself from arrest in 1808. It shows the bare floorboards of ‘a dirty little room’ inhabited by a servant upstairs in the rear skillion, furnished with a simple low bed.

Although effectively an English vernacular cottage or provincial farmhouse, attempts were made to distinguish it architecturally, giving it the characteristics of a more polite house better suited to its status as Government House. Applied pilasters defining the central bay created an implied breakfront with a blind roundel set in the rudimentary pediment.

The designer of the house is unknown. It has been attributed to Phillip himself, and/or Provost Marshal Henry Brewer. What is certain is that it could not have been constructed without the practical knowledge and superintendence of convict James Bloodworth, a master bricklayer who also taught other convicts how to make the bricks required in the new colony.

Phillip’s abode

slnsw a928088First Government House model installation view

The house was completed in a little over a year and occupied by June 1789 in time for the traditional celebration of the King’s birthday. With other priorities, and a serviceable structure as his new abode, Phillip remained in this house for the rest of his time in New South Wales and administered the colony, wrestling with the daily problems thrown up by the developing settlement and planning for its future.

Home to the governor and a handful of servants, officers and visiting mariners were entertained here, the expanded facilities providing greater avenues for hospitality. In October 1791, on the anniversary of the King’s accession to the throne, ‘the public dinner given at the government-house was served to upwards of fifty officers, a greater number than the colony had ever before seen assembled together’.


It was on this site that Bennelong and Colbee were incarcerated in November 1789. Although Colbee fled just two and a half weeks later, Bennelong did not escape for some five months. However, in time, the first Government House complex played host to Aboriginal visitors, including Bennelong, who lived there periodically. The wider governor’s domain also became the burial place for several Aboriginal people.

The garden in front of the house sloped down to the water’s edge. Initially it was laid out in a grid, a practical design for food cultivation, with plants from England, Rio de Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope. These were later supplemented with the first Norfolk Island pine, planted by Phillip himself, remnant native vegetation and a range of exotic species.

Orange and fig trees, grape vines and vegetables all flourished. The size and flavour of the garden’s produce was much remarked upon by those privileged to receive it or dine at the house on fare prepared by Phillip’s French cook, whom Bennelong took such delight in mimicking. In fact, the garden became an enviable success; in May 1790 an armed watchman was stationed there each night. As David Collins wrote:

The governor’s garden had been the object of frequent depredation; scarcely a night passed that it was not robbed, notwithstanding that many received vegetables from it by his excellency’s order.

In one of his final acts as governor, while defining the town boundaries and Crown lands, Phillip delineated the land that preserved this garden and its wider grounds as the governor’s domain.

When Phillip sailed for England in December 1792 his ‘small cottage’ was the most substantial and grandest house in the settlement. Arabanoo, taken to visit while it under construction, ‘cast up his eyes, and seeing some people leaning out of a window on the first story [sic]…exclaimed aloud, and testified the most extravagant surprise’. The fact that it was still the only two-storey structure in the settlement remained a novelty.

Source: dictionaryofsydney.org

So as can be seen, the Governor was in fact the representative of the British Crown – but unlike many Governors of Penal Colonies, Arthur Phillip had a vision for the future. But we can certainly he never in his wildest dreams had a vision of this future.


Enjoy your break over this long Australia Day Weekend, perhaps spare a thought for the man who first planted the British Flag on Australian soil on the 26th of January 1788 – who managed to establish a colony that has grown into our great nation – from 11 fully loaded convict ships.

balance logo 20150209a

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

Heritage Listing – What does it really achieve?

For many people a Heritage Listing is only applied to historic buildings. In itself this is an interesting concept. What deems a building historic? Times are rapidly changing. Is it now time to protect some of our historical developments in Architecture and Construction?

Right now there is serious discussion occurring at the highest levels of Government in Victoria on the provisional listing of Federation Square by the Heritage Council of Victoria after application was made late last year by the National Trust to preserve the precinct’s integrity.

It goes to the deeper question – what is worth preserving? Melbourne is an ever evolving city with a Metropolitan spread that is now well over 100km in diameter. It features inner city living, semi-rural living, sea-side living and plain old suburbia. Over the last 70-80 years, post World War 2, there have been some truly significant advances in both purposeful design that acknowledges climate and location, as well as some stylistics that are truly Australian in genesis and application.

The ‘Modern’ Architecture of post war Australia was very much a part of the new developments of the 1950s in Bayside Melbourne. Architects such as Robin Boyd, Neil Clerehan and Roy Grounds actively pushed the envelope on new ‘Modern Design’.

Related articles:


Boyd Baker House – Architectural Folly or Vision for the Future?


Modernism – Time to Protect Midcentury Modernism with Heritage Listing.

It comes down to preserving what is in fact our heritage over time; where such ‘modern’ design (for the 1950s and 1960s) represents a significant shift in Australian Architectural and Design values.

The following article from the ABC gives a solid insight into the issue.

Architecture advocates argue for change to interpretation of heritage buildings

Melbourne’s beautiful Victorian-era buildings are widely appreciated as some of the city’s most valuable assets — but that was not always the case.

Decades ago, debate raged about whether Victorian architecture was worth saving at all.

These days it is Melbourne’s post-war buildings that are in the crosshairs, with homes from the 1950s and ’60s at the centre of a debate around which architectural styles are worthy of protection.

So, is it time for the community’s understanding of what is considered a ‘heritage’ building to evolve?

National Trust Victoria advocacy manager Felicity Watson thinks so.

‘Exciting time of experimentation’

Ms Watson said mid-century modern architecture evolved during a time of significant change in Melbourne, culminating in the hosting of the 1956 Olympic Games which showcased the city to the world.

“In terms of architecture, the post-war period was a really exciting time of experimentation,” she said.

“There were lots of really skilled and significant architects that were practicing.”

She thinks it is time to reshape the way we think about buildings from this era, which are often dismissed as daggy.


Felicity Watson thinks we should be protecting mid-century architecture for future generations

[Photo: Felicity Watson thinks we should be protecting mid-century architecture for future generations]

“We really see this as a turning point in the heritage movement,” she said.

“In the 1970s it was about protecting places of Victorian heritage — which at that time were not always seen as the way that we appreciate them now but were sometimes seen as ugly and undesirable.

“That’s sort of the argument we’re seeing in relation to post-war heritage.”

Ms Watson called on local and state governments to recognise the significance of these homes, but said property owners also had a responsibility to protect them.

“There are certainly views in the community that heritage is an encumbrance on a property,” she said.

“But what we really need to take into account is the benefit to the community and not think about just individuals.”

Beaumaris a haven of mid-century modern

One of the largest concentrations of significant post-war homes can be found in the bright, open-plan, mid-century modern residences of Melbourne’s bayside suburbs.

Screen Shot 2019-01-17 at 3.11.48 pm.png

Local community group Beaumaris Modern has sprung up to spruik the architectural innovation they believe makes these homes worthy of preservation.

The group’s president Fiona Austin said many homes in the area were designed by significant Australian architects.

Ms Austin, an interior designer, said the group’s members were distressed at seeing so many mid-century modern homes demolished; homes that evolved during a time of important architectural innovation.

“People were sick of dark houses that look like something from England,” she said.

“Young architects, after the war, started designing houses that face north, face the garden, had big windows, skillion roofs, flat roofs and you know, enjoyed outside spaces.

“It’s perfect for our climate and still is now.”

Only last week the group fought — but failed — to save a home on Mariemont Avenue in Beaumaris which was designed by architects Chancellor and Patrick in 1962.

Screen Shot 2019-01-17 at 3.12.38 pm.png

The home was originally identified by Bayside City Council as worthy of protection in a 2007 heritage study.

But in 2018, the council abandoned planning scheme amendments to introduce a heritage overlay on this and other mid-century properties, after what they described as strong opposition and community division.

Bayside City Council now plans to introduce a voluntary process for owners to nominate their mid-century homes for possible inclusion in a heritage overlay.

National Trust Victoria has urged them to reconsider, saying conducting their own study could have protected this “significant home”.

In a statement, the council said the permit to demolish the property was issued by a private building surveyor and did not require council approval because it was not covered by heritage controls.

‘Jury still out’ on financial impact of heritage listings

Boroondara Council, in Melbourne’s east, has a large concentration of heritage properties, albeit from a different era.

Councillor Coral Ross said the jury was still out on whether heritage listings drove property prices up or down.

“Our role and our responsibility is to conserve and enhance the area which we live in,” she said.


Fiona Austin founded the community group Beaumaris Modern to foster appreciation of mid-century architecture.

“We have done large surveys which say that our community values the character of the area in which they live and the heritage is something that they really value.

“The reason that people move into an area is because they like the architectural style [and] we certainly have a lot of people that want to live in our area.”

Beaumaris Modern is trying to take matters into their own hands by matching sympathetic house hunters with mid-century modern properties.

Ms Austin said at least one local real estate agent had embraced the niche market.

“He has a database of over 100 people who want to buy a mid-century house in Beaumaris, so he goes to them before they go on the market and often just matches people with their houses,” she said.
Modern additions to Melbourne’s heritage listings

The City of Melbourne has just released an audit of heritage listings across the CBD.

Greens councillor Rohan Leppert described the 2,000-page Hoddle Grid Heritage Review as “the mother of all audits”, unprecedented in scale in Victoria.

The review considered increasing heritage protection for 64 properties and six precincts within the grid — including some from the post-war period.

The City is now seeking permission from the Planning Minister to formally exhibit the Planning Scheme amendment C328, which proposes permanent heritage protection for properties identified in the review.

Cr Leppert said he was surprised many of the buildings had not been granted heritage protection already but said heritage was a “tricky issue”.

“We need to really carefully measure the social heritage of a place, the architectural heritage [and] the scarcity of particular types of buildings,” he said

Cr Leppert said the review had looked at post-war and post-modern buildings including the Hoyts Mid City complex in the Bourke St Mall and the Lyceum Club in Ridgway Place.

“The Hoyts Mid City complex is maybe not what Melburnians typically think of as something worthy of heritage protection but it is quite a remarkable building,” he said.

“The Lyceum Club is not a building that people might necessarily think is a standout piece of architecture.

“But it is something that we think has remarkable social and architectural heritage and is quite unique in the way it came about, so we’re seeking protection for that building as well.”

Cr Leppert said there would always be competing interests between development and heritage protection — especially on the most expensive land in the state.

He hopes the public will embrace mid-century architecture as an important part of the city’s history.

“I think public heritage values do change over time and we’re having a fascinating debate publicly about that at the moment.”

Source: abc.net.au

It is probably a very opportune time to have this discussion. Buildings of real significance have disappeared very quickly here in Victoria, leaving only a façade that has no real purpose. Or in the case of the Beaumaris homes – gone forever. It’s time to expand the understanding of Heritage, not just the ‘definition’, and to take some pride in what is and has been a magnificent journey – in under 200 years.

balance logo 20150209a

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