Federation Square recommended to be added to the Victorian Heritage Register.

The current plan to remove part of the Federation Square, demolish it to provide space for a new Apple Mega Store has met with, to put it mildly, a mixed reaction. Already many people have expressed their dismay and disappointment in what may well be described as vandalism of the public space we have come to know as ‘Federation Square’.


It is not about the architectural merit of the proposed Apple building, nor is it about the fact that there are already commercial activities in the precinct.


It is purely about the functional and visual integrity of Federation Square which is now widely accepted as an iconic, world class public space. And it would appear that Heritage Victoria is in broad agreement with this proposition. It has now recommended that the square be protected by adding it to the Victorian Heritage Register.


For those who do not appreciate the precinct or its features, please recognise that a great number of people actually do appreciate and value it and what’s more enjoy it in its entirety. This discussion is not about whether it ‘should have been built’ rather it is in recognition of its unique and highly regarded design and unique features, and whether its integrity should be protected from random partial demolition.


Here is a report from The Age 17/10/2018

Heritage tick for Fed Square jeopardises Apple store plans


The Apple store proposed for Federation Square

Apple’s plan to raze part of Federation Square to build a mega-store has been thrown into disarray by a heritage recommendation for the landmark.

Heritage Victoria executive director Steven Avery will on Thursday recommend the square be protected by adding it to the Victorian Heritage Register.

Federation Square, completed in 2002, should get heritage protection because of its “historical, architectural, aesthetic, cultural and technical significance to the state”, Mr Avery found.

Premier Daniel Andrews in December gave the nod to plans to demolish Federation Square’s Yarra building so the tech giant could construct a “global flagship store” – one of only five in the world.


The Yarra building was to be demolished to make way for a new Apple Store at Federation Square

Current tenant the Koorie Heritage Trust would be moved elsewhere within Federation Square so that Apple could take the prime Yarra River frontage.

While Thursday’s recommendation will deal a body blow to the Andrews government’s plans for Federation Square, it does not automatically stop the project.

The heritage recommendation by Mr Avery will now be advertised for 60 days, during which time objections and offers of support can be made.

Federation Square’s board, which has thrown its full support behind the Apple plan, may formally oppose Heritage Victoria’s decision.

After the 60 days, a final decision about the square’s inclusion will be made by the Heritage Council of Victoria – an independent statutory body.

The Age understands the Heritage Council is highly likely to support Federation Square’s inclusion on the heritage register.

The application to protect the square was made by the National Trust in July.

After making the nomination, National Trust chief executive Simon Ambrose said the square was one of Australia’s “finest examples of 21st-century architecture” that had “become a place where the people of Victoria and visitors can celebrate our history, diversity, identity and culture”.


Thursday’s recommendation by Mr Avery will not prevent Federation Square’s future redevelopment – but if approved will add a layer of political difficulty that may ultimately scuttle the Apple plan.

The Age revealed in January that a battle had erupted within Mr Andrews’ cabinet over Apple’s demand to be handed the prime location within Melbourne’s chief civic square.

Three senior ministers, including Planning Minister Richard Wynne and Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley, argued against approving the store.

Both are in marginal seats where, while Apple products are extremely popular, support for the multinational might not be seen as a political positive.

The Apple deal was spruiked within government by Tourism Minister John Eren and Digital Economy Minister Philip Dalidakis.


In a statement issued to The Age about the decision to be announced on Thursday, the planning department noted that Federation Square would not be unusual in getting heritage protection despite its completion only 16 years ago.

“There are a number are examples of places recognised as having state level heritage significance soon after their completion, including the National Gallery of Victoria and the Victorian Arts Centre,” the statement said.

While there has been a theoretical freeze put on works at Federation Square since the National Trust’s heritage protection application, a permit was issued last month to demolish the Melbourne Information Centre.

It will go to make way for a new underground railway station being built as part of the Metro Tunnel project.

Source: theage.com.au


It is an extraordinary set of buildings with a truly unique and interesting design that is in fact world renowned. Destroying a section of it for the benefit of a multi-national corporation simply doesn’t make sense. It is after all a public space owned and operated by and for all Victorians. Let’s hope sanity prevails and it remains structurally intact for future generations to enjoy.

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


Iconic Burnham Beeches beech trees saved. Project to proceed.

Burnham Beeches is a well known 22.5 hectare property located in Sherbrooke, adjacent to Sherbrooke Forest. It falls under the jurisdiction of the Yarra Ranges Council. A magnificent Art Deco mansion, it was built between 1931-33 for the Nicholas family. It was designed by Harry Norris.


The Art Deco mansion at Burnham Beeches was built between 1931-33 for the Nicholas family. The design by Harry Norris sits uniquely at the midpoint between the decorative zigzag Moderne of the 1920s. The vast three storey house, built in reinforced concrete, is a rare, elaborate example of its type in Australia and comparable with works in Britain and the United States. Built for a wealthy industrialist Alfred Nicholas, Burnham Beeches is a period exemplar of the up-to-the-minute high style living and entertaining of the 1930s in Australia. The site is surrounded by significant gardens containing a mix of indigenous and exotic plantings, intact rockeries and extensive terraces as envisaged by the owner Alfred Nicholas, his designer Hugh Linaker, and gardener Percy Trevaskis. A large extent of the garden is now known as the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens and is managed by Parks Victoria. The site also contains a number of outbuildings, reflecting the self-sufficiency of the Nicholas family when in residence.


The property is classified by the National Trust and is Heritage listed. As noted, the well known Hugh Linaker was the garden’s designer. Linaker was a renowned Landscape Designer laying out the grounds at Sunbury and Kew Asylums, the Domain Parklands and other notable projects. Architect Harry Norris was a prominent Melbourne Architect responsible for many iconic buildings. These included the Kellow Faulkner Showrooms on St Kilda Rd, Melford Motors on Elizabeth St, the David Jones store (formerly Coles) on Bourke St and other well known Melbourne edifaces.


The property was featured in Australian Home Beautiful in March of 1934 and 1935.

Alfred Nicholas had only lived for a few years at the property when he died in 1937 and the family offered up the home for use as a 50 bed children’s hospital between the years of 1941 and 1944, seeing some alterations undertaken to the building. The house was vacant between 1944 and 1948 before Alfred Nicholas’s widow returned to residence in 1949 following renovations and refurbishment. In 1955 the house was leased to the Nicholas Institute (part of Alfred Nicholas’s business run by his son, Maurice) who operated their medical and veterinary research at the site until 1981. Alterations were made to the house to accommodate the required laboratories. By 1965 the large extent of the landscaped gardens proved difficult to maintain, and the lake with 32 acres of garden was donated to the Shire of Sherbrooke (now the Yarra Ranges Shire Council). Renamed the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens and opened to the public, the condition of the garden deteriorated during this time, including the controversial removal of almost 100 mature Mountain Ash trees from the entry to the gardens. Three acres of the garden were leased during 1971-73 to the Robson and Koslowski families who ran a miniature village known as ‘Kindyville’ on the lawn beside the front driveway. In August 1973 this part of the property was transferred to the Forests Commission of Victoria (now Parks Victoria) who maintain the garden to the high standards evident there today.

In November 1981 the property was put up for auction. Restaurateur John Guy bought the property, subsequently holding a clearance auction of furniture and equipment in 1982. His $3 million development of the site into a luxury hotel has been the blueprint for a number of proposals for the site since then. Works undertaken at the property at this time are the most substantial alterations to the Norris building to date, largely through construction of a luxury wing of guest rooms, known as the Forest and Garden Wing (or Annexes). The extension saw the demolition of the original pool and the tennis court. Constructed in a “sympathetic” Art Deco style imitating the mansion, to the untrained eye this wing may appear to be part of the original extent of the property.


The Norris Building on the day of the public auction, 27 November 1981


The Norris Building shortly after completion, pictured here in the 1934 feature on Burnham Beeches in The Australian Home Beautiful

While this imitation of the Art Deco style may not be seen as best practice in heritage extensions today, there appeared to be little objection to these works being undertaken at the time and the subsequent offerings of the hotel were praised in the contemporary press. Between 1983 and 1990 it is understood that the property changed hands two more times, once to Aman Resorts operated by Adrian Zencha (a Hong Kong company) and subsequently to Raymond Hall and Michael Wilson in 1989, whose management of the property continued to be praised by the local press. The National Trust classified the property in 1987. In October 1990, the Historic Buildings Council (now Heritage Victoria) examined the property, resolving to hold a hearing into the architectural and historic significance of the place in December 1990, placing an Interim Preservation Order on the property in November of that year. The property was formerly added to the Victoria Heritage Register on 27 March 1991.

Source: trustadvocate.org.au

Over the next twenty years, the building was subject to plans varying from a retirement village to a resort hotel.


Fortunately none of these projects came to fruition with the property being purchased by its current owners Adam Garrison (a developer with considerable Heritage experience – the GPO in the city and ‘Redcourt’ mansion in Armadale) and well known restaurateur Shannon Bennett. Their company is known as Burnham Beeches Pty ltd.

A long drawn out process has since focussed on the Masterplan proposed by the owners for the future of Burnham Beeches, one that claimed with multiple ‘owners’ of the sub-divided site there would be a capacity to maintaining an overall heritage perspective for the various subdivisions of the original titled property.


Eventually the National Trust in its Statement of Significance commented as follows…

The National Trust statement of significance for Burnham Beeches highlights integrity of the place: “a property renowned for its completeness and attention to detail: Burnham Beeches comprised extensive residential accommodation, large garden, sufficient rural land to enable self-sufficiency and a complete range of complementary outbuildings.” The proposed adaptive re-use of these heritage outbuildings features a provedore retail space, and the focus on produce throughout the proposed uses for the outbuildings provides an interesting link to the self-sufficiency model Alfred Nicholas had in mind when he established the estate in the 1930s. The current owners have experience working with heritage properties with sensitive outcomes, and on balance, their proposal, as currently exhibited, presents an opportunity to celebrate the cultural heritage of the property in a form that will allow ongoing public access into the future. Based on the advertised plans for the joint C142 Amendment and planning permit we are generally comfortable with the heritage outcomes proposed for the place with any issues expected to be resolved in the detailed design process required as part of any Heritage Victoria permit.

Source: trustadvocate.org.au

Not surprisingly the plans for ’80 Villa Units’ had been dropped by 2016. The planned number of patrons on site at any time dropped back from 1700 to 574.



And yesterday, as part of the planning approval permit from the Victorian State Government, the Historic Burnham Beech Trees, from which the property takes its name, have been saved. From the local newspaper, here is the report…

Shannon Bennett’s plans for Burnham Beeches approved

HISTORIC Burnham Beeches trees have been saved as part of a planning permit approval by the State Government.

The sign-off has been four years in the making after celebrity chef Shannon Bennett and developer Adam Garrison first applied to redevelop the estate.

But mystery still surrounds the exact conditions of the planning permit, which have not been publicly released.

Lilydale & Yarra Valley Leader previously reported almost 100 protesters staged a peaceful rally outside the estate to demonstrate against plans to cut down about 13 beech trees — synonymous with the estate —— to allow traffic to flow to the property.

State Planning Minister Richard Wynne approved the plans, but has made sure historic beech trees at the entrance to the property are preserved.

Plans for the site included removing a cap on patron numbers, turning the Norris building — built in the 1930s and now in state of disrepair — into a six-star hotel, and adding a microbrewery, shop and new restaurant inside the existing Piggery Cafe.

Monbulk MP James Merlino said the estate had State heritage significance and was protected. “We’re preserving these beautiful trees and the property’s heritage while bringing jobs and a great new development to the area,” Mr Merlino said.

Burnham Beeches Development Community Watch member Peta Freeman said while it appeared the community’s voice had been heard, the devil was in the detail.
“It sounds positive and if that’s the case then it’s fantastic,” Ms Freeman said.

“But until it’s released publicly, it’s difficult to know.”

In a statement by Mr Bennett and Mr Garrison, the pair said they were excited to be able to bring the historic estate back to life with an environmentally sensitive development.

“Now we look forward to delivering exciting new opportunities in tourism and hospitality to the Dandenong Ranges,” they said.

Source: heraldsun.com.au

Burnham Beeches perfectly illustrates the difficulties in both maintaining heritage values yet ensuring financial viability. With a battle that ensued over 30 years, it now appears that a viable pathway forward has been resolved.

The property is unique, the location spectacular in its peace and solitude. Sometimes to protect and nurture the things of beauty and sensitivity, the whole project needs one thing. And the old adage is? Time is money.

Thus we arrive at it – the age old dilemma. How to protect those things that denote our character, our history, our very being? It’s the very essence of what we must put a value on and not deviate.

in any case, finally the vision of Alfred Nicholas will come to fruition. Exciting times. Let’s await the completion of what promises to be a most interesting destination in the old Dandenong Ranges.


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


Melbourne – Colonised by Tasmanians. Real Heritage in Tasmania

Australian History is a bit of a mystery to many people. So it may come as a bit of a surprise to hear that Melbourne was founded by Tasmanians. John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner hailed from the districts around Launceston. By 1835, when Melbourne was first established, both Hobart and Launceston were thriving colonies with established buildings constructed of stone or brick. In the early days the preferred style of building was known as Georgian, a rendition of a ‘Greek Revival’ style (or so they thought). This week we visit several of these early mansions – one 50km from Launceston, Lake House (A Georgian Mansion), the others in Hobart itself, including Lenna, an Italianate Mansion of grand proportions.

Georgian Architecture is characterised by Symmetrical form and Fenestration (window placement) with multi-paned windows (6-20 panes in each sash), a side gabled or hipped roof, stone or brick walls, a transomed window over a panelled front door, a pediment or crown and pilasters at the front entry, cornices with dentils, a water table or belt course and corner quoins. The style was popular from 1700 to 1800, so as such in Australia it really was only prominent in Tasmania and early Sydney.

Lake House

lake house 18

The first property is called Lake House, located at Cressy south of Launceston between two rivers on over 490 hectares. As mentioned, Georgian was the style of these earliest colonial buildings in Tasmania, and Lake House is an excellent example of the genre.


lake house 20 copy.jpg

Elegant, symmetrical, with few embellishments, Lake House could easily be mistaken for a grand mansion of the English countryside. With its new French style Conservatory, its Myles Baldwin designed terraced garden and recent plantings of Oaks, elms, horse chestnuts and conifers, it conjures up visions straight from the pages of a Jane Austen novel.

lake house 3

The property is valued at $15 million Aust.

Featuring seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms, plus numerous outbuildings and cottages, Lake House comes with 490 hectares and quite a story, says heritage specialist and Unique Estates agent Dominic Romeo.

It also comes in a perfect state of restoration, courtesy of owner Rob Sherrard who took it on 14 years ago and lavished such care on bringing it back to life. Romeo says when he first walked through it, “I was in awe. It’s one of the best renovations I’ve ever seen”.

Coming from a former Victorian National Trust officer and a man who himself has refurbished a dozen near-derelict heritage homes, including one of Australia’s biggest, Rupertswood at Sunbury, that is real praise. “It still has its red cedar fireplaces and doors.” Indeed, Romeo reckons that because the house was once used as a barn, and occasionally occupied by sheep, “it just sat there rather than being destroyed”.

Since it was built in 1830 by Robert Corney, who came to Van Diemen’s Land rather well-funded, Lake House’s provenance has been entirely colourful. As soon as he had finished the house, Corney promptly drowned in one of the rivers skirting his property. His widow remained in residence until the 1860s when a neighbouring farmer bought the land and used the house for staff accommodation. When that became unnecessary, he put his stock and fodder inside it.

lake house 10

Featuring seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms, plus numerous outbuildings and cottages, Lake House comes with 490 hectares and quite a story

After World War II, Lake House, plus more than 300 hectares, was designated for soldier settlement and went to Bruce Wall on condition that he pulled the building down. Fortunately, says Romeo, Wall ignored the government order.

Fortunately too, Wall became a prominent member of Tasmania’s National Trust council, and like the most recent owner, Sherrard, had a passion for heritage. One of the original co-founders – with Richard Branson – of Virgin Blue, Sherrard has more recently been a major-scale tourism operator in Australia with multiple interests in Tasmania, Victoria and soon, in the Northern Territory.

He says he bought Lake House with a view to making it into a hospitality and perhaps wedding venue. But “after removing everything back to the shell, and restoring and rebuilding – everything – while trying to keep the property as authentic as possible”, he decided to live in it and raise two daughters there.

lake house 11

Lake House was built in 1830 by Robert Corney

Apart from hosting one wedding, “I never let anyone stay here,” he says.

The girls have relocated to the mainland and Sherrard probably will too. Behind him he leaves this spectacularly well-restored mansion set in a park-like garden that is surrounded by a mixed-use working farm and that because of river rights is virtually drought-proof. “It’s totally irrigated,” Sherrard says. “We’ve got everything; potatoes, wheat, broccoli, cattle and sheep.”

Source: www.domain.com.au

Victorian Italianate home, Swan St North Hobart

swan st

Other privately owned properties changing hands on the Apple Isle include this beautiful 1890s Italianate home located in Swan St North Hobart.

swan st 2

With 6 bedrooms and three bathrooms, this is a truly luxurious abode. The front façade is subject to a heritage order, preserving its bay windows and iron lacework. The interior still includes many historic features including ornate parapets, mouldings, intricate ironwork and detailed mantle pieces, fully restored within the many formal rooms.

This property has been owned (and refurbished) by its current owners for over 21 years.

Stoke House

stoke house 7f35457804a15fec33821fbfbb3fdc60

Stoke House is a spectacular Gothic Revival Sandstone Mansion located in Newtown. It is constructed from Sandstone imported from England and Scotland. A truly stately manor, this building has over 1000 square metres of internal space spread over 20 rooms. It has undergone a very high level restoration. The property enjoys fully landscaped extensive grounds and was originally built by the then Lieutenant Governor of Tasmania Sir John Dodd.

stoke house 001100101tream

It features hand crafted timber fireplaces, Waterford Crystal Chandelier and a ‘cathedral like entrance’. Italian mosaic tiling is featured throughout the building and its verandahs. There are nine bedrooms, six bathrooms and a large opulent ballroom.

The property remains in private ownership, its most recent change of ownership occurring this year when it was sold for $3.55 million. There is little doubt such a property on mainland Australia would sell for 5 times this amount.





One of Hobart’s more prominent landmarks is the historic building ‘Lenna’, originally the home of Captain James Bayley, a ‘whaling merchant’. Whaling and Sealing were big business in those early days – whale oil was used to light English homes at the time. Whale bones were used in women’s corsetry


Hobart was a functioning Whaling town. Battery Point is its oldest area and is still relatively intact today. Large Artillery batteries were established on the hill in 1818. The village sprung up around these in the next twenty years. The wealthiest denizens of the time were the Whaling captains and merchants. Battery Point and the Lenna overlooked the functioning Hobart Wharves and Harbour, perfect for the owners and builders of ships and commercial fleets.

lenna hotelview

Lenna’s first iteration was built in these early days, a modest if somewhat well placed home. By 1860 it had been purchased by Bayley’s business partner Alexander McGregor, who had married Bayley’s sister Harriet. McGregor was a very successful shipbuilder and merchant. McGregor incorporated the old original house into his new grand stately home. McGregor would eventually become the principal of the largest privately and individually owned sailing fleet in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Sandstone for the home was cut from a quarry in what is now nearby Princes Park. The foundations were commenced n 1860 and the building completed in 1870. With a conservatory and extensive gardens, the grounds were open to the public for Sunday strolls.

The workmanship and intricacy of the building with its broad verandahs, Italianate colonnades and tiling is exceptional. With detailed ceiling roses, stained glass and an attic lookout to view down the Derwent – it is an extraordinary building. Now a Hotel (5 star) it still retains most of its features. The new Hotel accomodation block built in the 1970s completely blocks the original harbour views, but in Hobart things fortunately move at a slower pace – the original building remains – fairly untouched.

And so as well many of Hobart’s grand historic buildings still remain, as do the original worker’s cottages and streetscapes of the time at Battery Point. Once whaling finished to a large extent so did the super prosperity. Without major capital to ‘renew’ and ‘replace’ it, the picturesque old Hobart Town has remained mainly intact. Wonderful old buildings, beautiful architecture, true heritage. It’s well worth a visit and wander around Battery Point, North Hobart and other locations. It is after all where it really started in Southern Australia and fortunately you can still see it, feel it and reminisce. Enjoy.

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

Heritage – What does it really mean – a visual reminder

Heritage listing is much more than acknowledging a structure’s antiquity. Modern buildings from the ‘50s right through until the early years of the new millennium have been accorded Heritage status. And it appears that there are those among us who flaunt these classifications and destroy such buildings purely for profit.

We are all probably aware of the devastating vandalism wrought on Carlton’s Corkman Hotel by two such unscrupulous ‘developers’. Already subject to significant fines, both developers now face further major punitive actions.


Here is a less well known case from the Apple Isle – Tasmania. In Hobart, Mount Stuart has long been a well known and popular suburb. Hobart was first established in 1804 at the mouth of the Derwent River, a year after the establishment of nearby Risdon Cove (on the other side of the Derwent in 1803).

Mount Stuart was originally established in 1836 when the unpopular Governor George Arthur was returned to England aboard the ship Mountstuart Elphingstone. Two roads were named in celebration of the colony ridding itself of the Governor and the reversal of his many unpopular laws at the time. The roads were Elphingstone Rd and Mount Stuart Rd. Mount Stuart Town eventually covered much of West Hobart. It was absorbed into Hobart Town around 1908.

In the 1890s, a rather interesting home was constructed at number 55 Mount Stuart Rd. With breathtaking views across the Derwent it was always a sought after property. By the year 2016, it was somewhat run down but quite able to be tastefully restored. Two trees planted on the 1406 square metre block and the actual building in total carried heritage listing. When the property came up for sale in 2016, the Heritage listing, the restrictions the listing imposed and the detailed report on asbestos contamination were all carefully documented for prospective buyers.

The successful purchaser, a Mr Darko Krajinovic decided to ignore these conditions and restrictions. The result? On a property he purchased for $445,000 he has been fined $225,000. He has also been billed $60,000 for the asbestos clean-up program required after his rather amateurish demolition job. Now, having lost his appeal against the fine imposed he will be subject to further costs as the demolition is completed.

A rather fool-hardy enterprise, one that should have would be cowboy developers in Tasmania rethinking their get rich quick schemes.

You can read about it here…

Mount Stuart house owner fined $225k for demolishing heritage home, creating ‘clouds of asbestos’

A Tasmanian man who deliberately demolished his heritage-listed house has been fined $225,000 and ordered to pay legal costs to the Hobart City Council.


Darko Krajinovic, 32, demolished the Mount Stuart house and outbuildings, which contained asbestos, without a permit.

He also cut down two trees listed as significant to develop four townhouses on the land.

In the Hobart Magistrates Court, he was convicted of nine separate offences and ordered to pay the fine, which is significantly less than the maximum penalty of $353,000.

Magistrate Simon Cooper said Krajinovic displayed “spectacular disregard” for planning laws and the safety of his neighbours when he demolished the house and outbuildings.

“I’m told that clouds of asbestos floated across to neighbouring properties,” he said.


The court heard Krajinovic was visited several times on the day of the demolition by council officers.

The officers and police had been alerted by neighbours that he was cutting down the trees and using an excavator to demolish the outbuildings.

Krajinovic told a neighbour: “I’m sick of everyone around here telling me what to do. It’s my place and I can do what I want.”

Mr Cooper took into account Krajinovic’s early guilty plea but said that the penalty needed to reflect that he had committed a “very serious offence indeed”.
Penalty sends strong warning, council says

The council’s general manager, Nick Heath, said the council was satisfied with the penalty and the case should serve as a “strong warning” and deterrent.

“Mr Krajinovic’s actions in destroying his property and removing heritage-listed trees are unacceptable and were an act of blatant destruction with no regard for the safety of others,” he said.


Darko Krajinovic was convicted of nine separate offences.

“We are aware that this matter caused severe distress to many in the community which is understandable, and one of the reasons why the council vigorously pursued this matter.”

In 2015 the State Government removed the option to ban reckless developers from continuing with any work for 10 years.

Mr Heath said the Council would lobby to have that power reinstated.

“There’s a report that’s been asked for by the council to look at what penalties besides just monetary penalties ought to be imposed on developers,” he said.

“Unfortunately at the moment the way the law is it’s only monetary penalties that are available, but going forward I think we’ll have some strong discussions with the Government to make it even harder on developers who blatantly breach the law around development and demolition in the city.”

In the meantime there is an application before the council to continue the demolition of the house.

Mr Heath said the planning authority would work with Krajinovic to ensure some of the site’s original significance was restored.

Krajinovic’s neighbour Geoff Wylie said he wanted the land cleaned up as soon as possible.

“If there’s not something done shortly, it’s going to become an eyesore. It’s going to become a fire hazard,” he said.


Source: abc.net.au

Melbourne has already lost many extraordinary buildings to unscrupulous development. Consider this, in Melbourne CBD there are only 3 buildings that predate 1850. Melbourne was established in 1835.

The 1850s Gold Rush saw a flood of money pour into old Melbourne town, replacing the earlier buildings with some of the grandest buildings in the world at the time. But where are they now? Take a look here at some of what we’ve lost and some of what has replaced those grand and beautiful buildings that have been demolished.

It may just provide some readers with the perspective required to understand heritage listing… Then again, it may not.

Melbourne’s Wonderful Demolished Buildings


276 Flinders Street



When built in 1880, this office block was Melbourne’s tallest at ten stories. In 1897 it, and most of the block of Finders Street that it stood on, was destroyed in a fire, one of the worst the city has seen. Only the facade was left, although the building was considered such an icon that it was rebuilt. In 1967 it was finally demolished outright. Present day, this stands in its spot:



Flinders St, between King and Spencer Streets


Of all of Melbourne’s vanished buildings, this one is probably the most spectacular. Built in 1890, for more than 50 years this was used as a commercial market for fish and other fresh produce. In the lead up to the Olympic games in 1956 it was decided to demolish a number of Melbourne’s older buildings in order to ‘modernise’ the look of the city. Sadly, incredibly, this was one of the buildings to go, although the demolition was not completed until 1959. It was replaced – sadly! incredibly! – with a carpark… the block now also shared by a nondescript office building:



555 Collins Street


Built in 1888 to coincide with the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition (marking 100 years of Australian settlement), this was once one of the largest and most opulent hotels in the world. The first two floors housed impressive dining, reading, smoking and billiard rooms, with the remaining 5 stories given over to luxurious guest rooms. The interior was so impressive that the building became a tourist attraction in its own right:


As an added historical footnote, the hotel was also conceived as a ‘Coffee Palace’ as part of the 19th century temperance movement. No alcoholic beverages were served at the hotel when it was built, which was something of a fad at the time, as public drunkenness was perceived as a serious problem. This wonderful piece of architecture and history was demolished in 1973, the site sold for redevelopment. Pleas to have it saved as a heritage building were ignored by the Government of the time (there was no heritage protection legislation as we know it today). It was such a popular local landmark that thousands of people turned out to watch it go. This dreary brown box was built in its place:



140 William Street


Built in 1867 to accommodate the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh, the Menzies was another of Melbourne’s most impressive luxury hotels. Among the famous guests who stayed there; Sarah Bernhardt, Alexander Graham Bell, Mark Twain (who helped stoke the hotel boilers as part of his fitness regime), Herbert Hoover and General Douglas Macarthur. In 1969 it was demolished to make way for, the admittedly pretty stylish, BHP Plaza:



111 Williams Street


Built in 1891 for the John Sanderson company, this block length building showed exactly how important the agricultural industry was in fledgling Australia. Demolished in 1969 to make way for the AMP Building, which is itself currently under redevelopment:



444 Collins Street


Built in 1860, and substantially remodeled between 1910 and 1914, Scott’s hotel enjoyed a reputation for supplying some of Melbourne’s finest food and wine. Dame Nellie Melba and English cricket legend W.G.Grace were two among many notable people who stayed at the Scott, which was also a favourite haunt for local racing identities. Sold to the Royal Insurance Co in 1961, when it was Melbourne’s oldest continuously operating hotel, the building was demolished to make way for another in a series of drab office blocks (to the right of this picture):



Corner Queen Street and Flinders Lane


Built in 1856 when the twenty year old city was still finding its feet (note the muddy track that is Queen St in the above photo), this Greek temple themed design was the product of a competition held by the bank among Melbourne’s architects. Unfortunately, the bank itself would go out of business in 1884, and this building was demolished shortly afterwards. The same spot today:



Corner of Collins Street and Queen Street


A great example of Melbourne’s art deco heritage, the tower was added to this already existent building in 1929, making it the city’s tallest for 30 years. Taken over by the firm ‘Legal and General’ in the 1950s, it was demolished in 1969 when they wanted a more up to date, and considerably less stylish, headquarters:



316 Collins Street


The ‘Equitable Company’ set themselves the ambition of constructing ‘the grandest building in the southern hemisphere’ for their Melbourne headquarters. Which, with a five year construction and £500 000 price tag, this wonderful building may well have been. Taken over by Colonial Mutual in 1923, it would serve as their grand offices for thirty years. But high maintenance costs and outdated fixtures made the company want rid of it by the 50’s. A bland office block stands in its place today, with the logo ‘CML’ emblazoned across its street level pillars, to remind people of what once was:



43-45 Elizabeth Street


The world’s third tallest building, at 12 storeys, when it was constructed in 1889, this building dominated Melbourne’s skyline for decades. At one time visible from anywhere in the city, the Australia Building was also the first tall building to employ mechanical lifts (powered hydraulically by high pressure water pumped from the Yarra). In 1980 its distinctive red facade and ornate roof was demolished to make way for this:



Exhibition Street between Bourke and Little Collins Streets


Established in 1847, the Eastern Market was embryonic Melbourne’s principal fresh produce market for thirty years, before being superseded by the Queen Victoria Markets in the 1870’s. The Eastern market survived for nearly another 100 years, however, operating as a flower market and tourist attraction. The markets were demolished in 1962 to make way for the uniquely stylised ‘Southern Cross Hotel’:


The ‘Southern Cross’ was undoubtedly one of Melbourne’s most striking buildings, although it attracted as much vitriol as admiration. Famous guests of the hotel included; The Beatles, Marlene Dietrich and Judy Garland. Frank Sinatra stayed there during his infamous 1974 tour of Australia, when he created a storm by referring to local female journalists as ‘hookers.’ And both the Brownlow Medal and the Logies were hosted in its function rooms. In 1999 it was sold off and slowly demolished, with the site sitting vacant for several years. The location is now occupied by this, considerably less flamboyant, mixed use building:



235 Bourke Street


Very few pictures or drawings remain of the Tivoli Theatre. When it opened in 1901 (from a design by William Pitt) it was originally named ‘Harry Rickards’ New Opera House’, after it’s first owner. The theatre presented a variety of live entertainments, including music, comedy and vaudeville. Harry Houdini,W.C. Fields and Chico Marx are among the famous names who performed there.


Sold by Rickards in 1912, it was renamed the Tivoli shortly after and continued to present live entertainment right through until the 1960s. Converted in that decade to a cinema, the fate of many of Melbourne’s old theatres, the building was destroyed by fire in 1967. The ‘Tivoli Arcade’ stands on the site today:



Swanston Street, Between Bourke and Collins Streets


Built in 1888, the Queen Victoria Buildings ran the length of the block on Swanston Street, opposite the town hall. A rare local example of French Second Empire architecture, the elaborate facade and roof of the building was further ornamented by a number of statues, including a sizable one of the monarch it was named after. The building was used for high end retail shops and featured a glass topped arcade, The Queens Walk, that ran between Bourke and Collins:


In the 1960’s, the Melbourne City Council began to consider the construction of a large public park in the city centre. Across a decade or more, it gradually acquired parts of the Queen Victoria – and other adjacent – buildings for this purpose. Demolition commenced in the late 1960’s and took several years (The Regent Hotel was also acquired and scheduled to be knocked down as part of the same project, but was saved by a union ban). The new open space was dubbed ‘City Square’:


Windswept and largely ignored, part of it was sold for development in the 1990s and the Westin Hotel was built on this section. The remainder of the park was redesigned and remains for public use:



172 – 254 Lonsdale Street


Built in 1911 of bluestone, with stylish towers and iron railings, the Melbourne was almost too elegant to be a hospital. It’s graceful facade was further complemented by a lush garden (visible above) that ran around two sides of the grounds. Initially home to the principal hospital for the city, in 1946 it was reconstituted as a specialised institution for women and children (and was solely staffed by women for a time), and renamed the Queen Victoria. The hospital closed in 1987 and the site was then used for a variety of unlikely purposes, including a mini golf course and a craft market. In 1992 the site was purchased by a development group and three of the four hospital buildings demolished. The bulk of the property was then turned into a mixed commerical premises, the QV Building:


The one remaining hospital building was refurbished and returned to its previous use, once again offering care to women and children, in 1994.




264 – 270 Collins Street


One of Australia’s most famous architects, Walter Burley Griffin, designed the sumptuous Cafe Australia, a remodeling of an existing cafe on Collins Street. Opening in 1916, the cafe bore all of Griffin’s trademarks; an elaborate facade and entryway, delicate concrete ornamentation and highly stylised interiors.



Cafe Australia was only shortlived, however. It closed and demolished in 1938 and was replaced by the similarly named Hotel Australia, which borrowed much from Griffin’s design, but lacked the overall panache of the previous establishment.


This building was then reworked into the current occupant of the site, ‘Australia on Collins’, an up market retail space.


Source: marvmelb.blogspot.com

Heritage listing can be achieved on a number of quite different grounds. Check here “Heritage Listing – What is it?” for a previous blog we presented that has links and an explanation of what achieving a Heritage Listing can entail.

Our heritage is what gives our cities and towns, our nation it’s character. It should be respected and protected so that future generations can appreciate just how we have come to live in this wide brown land.

From Victorian pomp and grandeur to the rather abstract and visually challenging lines of Federation Square – it’s simply our heritage, our imprimatur – it’s certainly worth preserving.

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

Apple Development, Federation Square #ourcityoursquare Rally Wednesday 19th Sept, 6pm, and the Windsor Tower now rejected by VCAT

For those who follow our weekly posts and blogs, we are providing information first of all regarding a protest being held at Federation Square on Wednesday the 19th of September at 6pm sharp. Organised by Melbourne Heritage Action, speakers include Simon Ambrose (CEO, Victorian National Trust), Melbourne City Council Councillor Rohan Lepert, Chair of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Portfolio of Melbourne, and Colleen Peterson (CEO of Ratio Planning Consultants).

As many readers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the proposed Apple development on the site, this is an opportunity to publicly demonstrate that opposition and perhaps hear from people with informed views on the subject.

From Melbourne Heritage Action…

Federation Square – Apple Store Rally

Even if you think Federation Square is an ugly mess, maybe an Apple store just doesn’t belong there.


If that’s the case, then you might even want to come to a protest rally !

Details from the #ourcityoursquare campaign :


An Apple megastore does not belong in Fed Square and we need to take to Our City, Our Square to make our voices heard.

Join a free rally at Fed Square on Wednesday 19 September 2018 from 5:30pm.

At 6.00pm SHARP we will have our photo taken with the Yarra Building, hopefully not for the last time. This is the building that will be demolished to make way for the Apple megastore.

Bring family, friends, and work mates. We look forward to seeing you there.

Spread the word and show how much you care for public space – before it’s too late for Fed Square.

Confirmed speakers include: Simon Ambrose (CEO, Victorian National Trust), Colleen Peterson (CEO, Ratio Planning Consultants) and Councillor Rohan Leppert (Arts, Culture and Heritage Portfolio Chair, City of Melbourne).

Rally details here: https://www.ourcityoursquare.org/rally-for-fed-square-not-apple-square

Source: melbourneheritage.org.au

Sometimes Developers simply don’t succeed with proposed developments. The Windsor Station 20 Storey Tower development planned to span the Sandringham Line is one such project, stopped in its tracks (so to speak) by VCAT.

Windsor is well known for its heritage streetscape. There are very few contemporary or modern buildings in the area.


Chapel St is somewhat iconic and has been identified as having similar architectural characteristics to Smith St and Brunswick St Fitzroy. A very modern 20 storey tower was, to say the least, unsympathetic to this architecture.


This type of development will become more commonplace as factory and warehouse sites in these inner city areas are exhausted. The St Vincent’s Private Hospital extension on the corner of Brunswick St and Victoria Pde is another blatant example of development overriding Heritage values. The old ‘Eight Hour Day Pub’ and the property around the corner built on the birthplace of St Mary McKillop are still at risk with a VCAT hearing to come. But results such as this are pleasing. This building would truly have been an eyesore. In this case the Developers (SMA Projects) had been refused a building permit by Stonnington City Council last year. The Developer’s last recourse is the Supreme Court, a risky proposition.

Here is the full report on the case from Domain.

VCAT knocks back 20-storey tower in Windsor because it wouldn’t fit the area


The future of a controversial development set to be a Victorian first — a 20-storey tower built across train tracks in Chapel Street, Windsor — is in doubt after it was refused by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

After an eight-day hearing over the proposed development at 24 Chapel Street by SMA Projects, the tribunal ruled the area, which is “mildly grungy but also pleasantly edgy”, similar to Fitzroy’s Brunswick Street, would be uncomfortable with a modern tower next to a heritage streetscape.

SMA Projects development manager Robert Murphy said another application for a residential tower was unlikely to go ahead after the refusal. An existing permit for a retail outlet is approved for the site.


He said a tower less than 20 storeys was not financially viable for development in that area and SMA Projects would not be “re-lodging the same application”.

“Even though it’s being refused … I think it will leave a legacy for planners to refer to in terms of what the future might bring for developments,” Mr Murphy said. “It lays a foundation and leaves a bit of a legacy for trying to overcome the monumental challenge.”

Mr Murphy said the developers had always tackled challenging sites and the decision by VCAT would not deter them from challenging developments like this in future.


The developers are considering their next steps, unsure whether to appeal to the Supreme Court.

SMA Projects appealed to VCAT following Stonnington Council’s decision late last year to refuse a permit, asking a decision be made on the development only. Its lawyers told the tribunal it was an “all or nothing” decision.

“Due to the various structural complexities and major project costs involved here, the proposal could not viably go ahead if the approved tower was any less than 20 levels high as proposed,” members Philip Martin and Stephen Axford said in their finding, handed down late on Friday.

The developers proposed a mixed use development with 45 apartments – 10 three-bedroom, 30 two-bedroom and five one-bedroom. It also included floors for office space, shops and parking.

The outside of the building was designed with green walls and clear solar power panels and it had an overall 5-star environmental rating.

The proposal also included $4.5 million to be paid to VicTrack for use of the air rights at the train line, to go towards the broader network.

That money, set to be paid after the build, is also unlikely to go ahead.

Noting the positives of the development, the VCAT members ultimately made the decision to refuse because its height and scale would not fit with the Chapel Street landscape.

“We see no reason to refuse the proposal, in terms of its ‘traffic and parking’ aspects,” the members stated. “However our overall finding is that the proposal is excessive and would constitute an unacceptable planning outcome, in terms of the other two fundamental criteria of ‘height and scale’ and ‘presentation to the Chapel Street streetscape’.”

Stonnington council planning and amenity general manager Stuart Draffin said any future development of the Windsor area needed to be “sensitive to the heritage context”.

He said the council’s zoning sought to encourage housing growth and diversity, including higher density development consistent with the site.

“A mandatory maximum height restriction of 14.6 metres (4 storeys) was approved (in 2017) … for the majority of Chapel Street in Windsor,” he said.

“This area was identified as [having] exceptional, specific and confined main street places that warranted mandatory maximum building heights due to their unique heritage and character attributes.”

Source: domain.com.au

For Heritage buildings to survive, there needs to be an acknowledgement by those opposing such developments – Going up is incredibly lucrative. Quite simply, the developers can sell up to 40 apartments in such a 20 storey development, with premium pricing towards the top. Add to this the Commercial precinct below and it can represent up to 50 to 60 times the original land value. This in itself is a very tempting proposition for some Councils in terms of increased rates income.

Kudos to Stonnington City Council for placing a higher value on our heritage. Its time to ensure that the rather curious and beautiful buildings and infrastructures of the past remain somewhat intact.

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone,
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot,
Why not?”

Good Question Joni Mitchell, the answer has always been obvious.

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

The Apple Development for Federation Square has been Re-designed.

After a rethink from Apple, Federation Square, the State Government and the City of Melbourne, a new design for the new Melbourne Apple Headquarters has been unveiled. Initially with the first design being described as a cross between a ‘Pizza Hut’ and a ‘Pagoda’ the new design is considered somewhat more neutral. A rectangular building with open verandahs overlooking the Yarra River and the Federation Square courtyard, it’s still somewhat controversial.


For comparison on opinions we offer three different press releases. First off is the press release from Federation Square itself.

Refined Apple Designs Signal a Re-imagined Fed Square


Refined designs of the Apple Global Flagship Store at Fed Square have been released today after a series of design workshops involving Fed Square Management, the Victorian Government, Melbourne City Council and Apple.

Part of a broader reimagining of Fed Square, which includes the new Digital Facade on the Transport Building and the new Melbourne Metro Train Station entrance, the Apple Global Flagship Store will create more than 500 square metres of new public space, provide outdoor shading, better connect the square to the Yarra River, deliver more cultural events and boost visitor numbers.

The refined designs complement Fed Square’s existing buildings and include a new roof design to allow for solar power as well as new solar shading design feature that enhances the energy efficiency of the building.

The addition of Apple to Fed Square’s existing tenants is expected to attract an additional two million additional people to Federation Square every year.

CEO of Federation Square Jonathan Tribe said the Apple Global Flagship Store is “consistent with Federations Square’s Civic and Cultural Charter, which recognises Melbourne’s pre-eminence as a centre for creativity and innovation.”

A daily program of free events – Today at Apple – will use local creative talent to run workshops and experiences showcasing local tech, design, art and education communities. The free program provided by Apple will help to inspire and educate Victorians of any age, cementing Melbourne as the nation’s cultural and tech capital.

The Apple Global Flagship Store in Fed Square reinforces Melbourne’s reputation as the undisputed tech capital of Australia.

Source: fedsquare.com

For a more robust independent view, please consider this report from the ABC.

Apple reveals new design for Melbourne concept store at Federation Square after public backlash


Controversial plans to build a flagship Apple store at Melbourne’s Federation Square have been redesigned following criticism that the original draft was ugly and created without public consultation.

In December the Victorian Government revealed the three-story Yarra Building at Federation Square would be demolished to make way for the tech giant’s two-storey concept store.

There was a strong public backlash to the original plans, which featured a copper-coloured pagoda-style facade that some dubbed a ‘Pizza Hut pagoda’.

A new design has now been unveiled, transforming the building into a rectangle with a glass facade on the ground floor and a coloured mesh facade on the second floor.

It would include a publicly accessible balcony that overlooks the Yarra River, and an amphitheatre for public performances.

The chief executive of Federation Square, Jonathan Tribe, said the new design was “more sympathetic” to the style of the existing space.

“The original design was very much a concept plan and was always subject to refinement,” Mr Tribe said.


But the new design is already copping criticism.

The National Trust said while it was encouraging that Apple was open to redesigning the building “it did not respond to the fundamental concerns that were proposed about the demolition of a significant building”.

“The updated design has also been prepared without community consultation with its most important stakeholders — the people of Victoria,” chief executive of the National Trust Simon Ambrose said.

Community groups echoed that sentiment.

“We think Apple doesn’t fit in Federation Square,” Tania Davidge from Citizens for Melbourne said.

“Federation Square should be primarily based around people, not Apple products.”

But Mr Tribe said including the store at Federation Square would help bring “innovation and creativity” to the public space.

“[Apple] will run over 73 sessions a week around music, photography and art,” Mr Forbes said.

The latest plans will be submitted to the City of Melbourne for public consultation.

“I still think there is some tweaking to be done,” Mr Tribe said.

When the Government spruiked in the original plans, it said the development would attract an extra two million visitors a year to the area.

Work was to begin on the concept store next year and finish in 2020.

Source: abc.net.au

And finally here is an industry perspective from Architecture Au in an article by Linda Chen dated 20th July this year.

Federation Square Apple store redesigned


Federation Square has released refreshed designs of the proposed Apple flagship store, which have been significantly altered following workshops with Fed Square Management, the Victorian Government, the City of Melbourne and Apple.

The Victorian government’s initial decision to demolish the Yarra Building at Federation Square to make way for the Apple flagship store, designed by Foster and Partners, drew wide-spread backlash.

A number of concurrent petitions against Apple Fed Square plans on Change.org have collectively amassed nearly 100,000 signatures.

The City of Melbourne also received 800 submissions to a motion to call of the Victorian government to “commit to a significant redesign of the Apple Global Flagship Store at Federation Square.”

Karres and Brands, the original landscape architect for the square was also critical of the initial design. In a statement it said, “In our opinion the proposal for the Apple store does not fit in the characteristic design approach. Federation Square could have been the place for the most unique Apple Flagship store. A store that reflects Australian culture above brand image and is respectful of the city.”

However, the Apple flagship store had the support of Federation Square’s original architect Donald Bates of Lab Architecture Studio and the Victorian government architect Jill Garner.

The government formed a steering committee in February 2018 to supervise the design development of the new building “in response to the issues raised by the City of Melbourne.” The steering committee included representatives from the City of Melbourne, the Office of the Victorian Government Architect, Federation Square and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

The committee developed a set of guidelines for the refinement of the design, including that it should acknowledge and respond to the design cues of the existing Federation Square context, including references to its non-orthogonal planning, geometry, layered and varied facade and bespoke materiality.


In a statement following the release of the refreshed design, Federation Square said, “The refined designs complement Fed Square’s existing buildings and include a new roof design to allow for solar power as well as new solar shading design feature that enhances the energy efficiency of the building.”

However, the National Trust of Australia (Victoria)’s CEO Simon Ambrose was critical of the redesign. “While it is encouraging to see Apple is open to redesigning its Federation Square store, it does not respond to the fundamental concerns that were proposed earlier about the demolition of a significant building in our city’s town square,” he said.

The Citizens for Melbourne group, which formed in reaction action the Apple store proposal for Federation Square, described the refreshed proposal as “a big iPad.“The redesign of the Apple store at Fed Square doesn’t address the key problem with the proposal: the complete disregard for the Victorian people in shaping our public square,” said president Tania Davidge. “Victorians would not support a giant iPad in the Botanic Gardens or at the National Gallery of Victoria. Why does the Government think that Victorians would be happy to sell out what makes Melbourne great?”

Source: architectureau.com

From our perspective, it would appear Apple still has some work to do in creating a design application that is sympathetic to the actual architecture and design of the existing award winning Federation Square precinct design. But we leave it for the public to decide. Does the design work? Or is something more required? Considering the National Trust is prepared to act upon a building and outdoor complex barely 16 years old, it’s reasonable to assume that the current vista is world class and an extraordinary feature of our great city.


Let’s hope there is an elegant and ultimately tasteful compromise.

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

Banyule – No-one’s getting married there any time soon – an update, and Federation Square gets a very big shed!

A couple of weeks ago, we reported that the Banyule Council had challenged the current owners of the Banyule Homestead over their plans for its proposed use as a Wedding Venue. We can now report that this application has been defeated in VCAT and the building will remain as it is now – a private residence on a private estate.


Situated on the banks of the Yarra River, the building is in fact one of Melbourne’s oldest, and possibly most interesting original grand mansions. It was constructed in 1846 – an Elizabethan style building unique to the times in Victoria.

You can refer to our previous blog here

Here is a report from News Ltd on the VCAT result.

Banyule Homestead plans slapped down by VCAT


The elegant mansion looks out across the Yarra River

PLANS to turn one of the state’s oldest surviving houses, the heritage-protected Banyule Homestead, next to the Yarra River in Heidelberg, into a wedding venue have been rejected by VCAT.

Banyule Homestead will not be turned into a wedding venue after plans were rejected by VCAT.Source:Supplied

PLANS to turn one of the state’s oldest surviving houses, Banyule Homestead, next to the Yarra River in Heidelberg, into a wedding venue have been rejected by VCAT.

The elegant 1846 property’s Toorak owners applied for a permit to host up to 160 people, obtain a liquor license, build 48 car parks, convert an existing garage into a kitchen and provide acoustic fencing after purchasing the property at 60 Buckingham Drive for $5.2 million in 2015.


 It sold in 2015 for $5.2 million

The eight-bedroom mansion on about 9100sq m was built for Sydney overlander Joseph Hawdon and designed by colonial architect John Gill, and has been used as the backdrop for Shaun Micallef series The Ex-PM.

It’s considered of historical significance to Victoria for its link to Hawdon.

Heritage Council of Victoria documents state it’s architecturally significant as “one of the earliest surviving houses in Victoria” and “a rare example of a pre-gold rush house in Melbourne to have retained a substantial part of its original appearance and setting.”


Inside the stately property


Shaun Micallef’s ‘The Ex-PM’ has been filmed there

It’s also “a rare example of the use of the Elizabethan style in Victoria, and the only known example of the adoption of this style by Gill.”

VCAT members concluded the plan was not suitable for the neighbourhood.

Source: news.com.au

Also of interest is the current stoush over Federation Square. Some of our readers were concerned regarding the interim Heritage listing imposed by Heritage Victoria, fearing the ruling was ‘standing in the way of progress’.


But fear not! The Melbourne Tunnel Authority has announced plans to remove the Visitors Centre on the corner of Flinders St and Swanston St (opposite St Paul’s Cathedral) and replace the Visitor’s Centre with the biggest shed Melbourne has ever seen. Now there’s progress for you.

Read about it here.

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan recently announced that work to build an entrance at Fed Square for the new underground Town Hall Station as part of the Melbourne Metro Tunnel project will begin shortly.

The works mean there will be some traffic changes in place, including Flinders Street being reduced by one traffic lane westbound between Russell and Swanston streets.  Drivers will still have one left-turning lane from Flinders Street into St Kilda Road, and one lane travelling ahead.


Rail Projects Victoria is encouraging motorists to plan ahead and allow up to an extra 15 minutes if travelling through this stretch of Flinders Street.

From 2019, following the completion of piling works on the site, an acoustic shed will be built over the Melbourne Metro Tunnel site to reduce noise, dust and light from 24/7 excavation and tunnelling.

This acoustic shed will also allow the Metro Tunnel works to move as quickly and quietly as possible, and will minimise disruption for visitors, staff and tenants.

When complete, the Town Hall Station will make it easier for people to reach some of Melbourne’s key tourist destination – Fed Square.  The station will also have a direct underground connection to Flinders Street Station, so passengers can connect seamlessly with City Loop services.

Even through these times of disruption, there’s always plenty to do at Fed Square!

New signage on site will ensure visitors can navigate through the precinct in a safe and supported manner, and great events and activations will ensure Fed Square remains Melbourne’s place to be!

Source: fedsquare.com


Several changes had been planned for the iconic Federation Square in Melbourne as part of the redevelopment project including the demolition of the Yarra building to make way for Apple’s flagship store and the construction of a Metro tunnel entrance.

Observing that “there may be a prima facie case for the inclusion of this place in the Victorian Heritage Register”, the executive director of Heritage Victoria Steven Avery said that the planned redevelopment works may “detrimentally affect its cultural heritage significance”.


However, this decision has not gone down very well with the Victorian Government, given that the Federation Square was built just 16 years ago and cannot really be considered a heritage asset. Classifying modern sites as heritage structures could impact future projects, according to tourism minister John Erin.

But a building’s age is not a factor for inclusion in the heritage list as per the Heritage Act 1995; several Melbourne buildings have been added to the Victorian Heritage Register at a much younger age including the National Gallery of Victoria, which opened on 20 August 1968, and was added to the register in 1982.

The Royal Historical Society of Victoria has supported Federation Square’s nomination for inclusion in the heritage register with the chair of its heritage committee, Charles Sowerwine, saying: “In architectural terms, it embodies a remarkably coherent example of late 20th-Century architecture. In civic terms, it has become a truly public civic square.”

Source: architectureanddesign.com.au

In both cases watch that space. The battle for Federation Square isn’t over just yet. It would appear the Apple ‘Pagoda’ will be unlikely to appear, but as can be seen the State Government are concerned here with precedent – should 16 year old buildings be heritage listed. It’s a very interesting question.

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