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Notable Arts and Crafts Houses in Victoria

Arts and Crafts in Victoria


Arts and Crafts houses in Victoria are relatively rare.

“We’ve lost a few,” says Tracey Avery, conservation co-ordinator with the National Trust.

“Comparatively few were built in Australia. In Victoria, they were built in the country, in the Western District, and in the wealthier suburbs of Toorak, Parkville, East Melbourne, Caulfield and eastern suburbs.”


There are five in Heidelberg. The best local Arts and Crafts properties were by Desbrowe-Annear, Robert Haddon and Walter Butler. [1]

Professor Harriet Edquist comments:

"And when you go through the Chadwick House or any of these houses, really, which are designed in a sort of in a 360-degree manner, so that as you walk through the rooms, you can look at the landscape and you get a different landscape picture, if you like, from every window."

"So they were relating to the landscape in that way, and there was easy access to the outside. But the interior, I think, was seen as a contrast, as a refuge from the landscape, if you like."

"And it was a very rich, luscious interior. We've stripped our interiors of colour. Now they're monochrome. And we paint, we produce paintings to suit those interiors." [2]

Glyn, B224 Kooyong Rd, Toorak, Victoria

Arts of living: Arts and craft houses


"As soon as Jane Stuchberry stepped inside the grand old 1908 mansion Glyn in Melbourne’s Toorak, she fell in love." 

“I really liked its space,” she says. “It has such high ceilings and large rooms, and yet it’s quite minimalist. The way it was designed was a response to the heavy ornate design of the Victorian era, so it’s all very pared back and simple.”

Above and Below: Glyn, B224 Kooyong Rd, Toorak, Victoria: One of the most magnificent examples in Australia of the arts and crafts movement. Photo:

Arts of living: Arts and Crafts Houses
Arts and Crafts in Victoria
Glyn, 224 Kooyong Road, Toorak, 1908​
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Glyn, B224 Kooyong Rd, Toorak, Victoria
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Glyn, 224 Kooyong Road, Toorak, 1908​

The Arts and Crafts house Glyn was designed by acclaimed architect Rodney Alsop at the leading edge of the arts and crafts movement which, from the late 1800s, produced a Gothic style of home with gabled roofs, prominent eaves, lots of windows, wide open spaces and artisan features. 

Back then, it was a statement of wealth and prestige for its first owner, financier and politician Sir Edward Miller, BHP's founding shareholder.

Today, after a painstaking 12-year renovation and restoration that Stuchberry began as soon as she bought the six-bedroom, five-bathroom home, it’s one of the finest examples of the style that still stands in Australia.

“Glyn is a beautiful house and I think the owners must have spared no expense in its restoration,” says Harriet Edquist, professor of architectural history in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT University, and an expert in the arts and crafts movement. [3]

Sir Edward Miller

Early Arts and Crafts Houses in Victoria

Arts & Crafts isn't really a single style; it's an intellectual approach to many styles.

Practically the only common factors to be found in all Arts & Crafts houses are those that encourage an informal but cultured lifestyle:

  • an open floor plan;

  • natural materials such as stone, brick, and wood;

  • airy, light-filled rooms that encourage interaction with the outdoors;

    • and the tasteful arrangement of a few well-designed, decorative, and useful objects. [4]

Left: This list of buildings is drawn from Harriet Edquist's 'Pioneers of Modernism'​

Guyen Purchas

Architect Guyen Purchas was one of the most prominent architects in Melbourne around the turn of the century, one of the first to be influenced by the English Arts and Crafts movement, and helped to establish the journal Arts and Crafts in 1895.

Read more: Guyon Purchas - Wikipedia

Boisdale Homestead

Boisdale is situated on the Avon River 10 km north of Maffra and about 212 km east of Melbourne.

The Boisdale run, taken up for Lachlan Macalister in 1842, stretched from the Avon River west to the Macalister River.

It is thought to be named after a village in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland.


In 1850, the lease was secured by John Foster, one of many runs he held in Gippsland.

In 1861 he still controlled about 6000 acres at Boisdale.

In 1892 a son, Askin Foster, took over the management of the property. Previously thousands of cattle and sheep had been grazed on the undulating plains.

From 1896 Askin Foster subdivided part of the property into smallholdings of 120 to 260 acres for dairy farming. 


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Boisdale Homestead, Maffra/Briagolong Road, Boisdale,1892


Boisdale Homestead was erected in 1892 for Askin Morrison Foster, son of pioneer pastoralist John Foster, who leased the run in 1841.

R G W Purchas, the Melbourne architect, designed the present single storey brick and timber residence with a steep broken pitch roof clad with Marseilles tiles and capped with a monitor skylight.

Boisdale House, with its outbuildings and water tower, was built of handmade bricks. The roof was constructed from oregon pine and covered with tiles from Marseilles.

The V plan form and exterior form reflect American influences in the design.

Boisdale Homestead is a distinctive East Gippsland residence and a notable work of R G W (Guyon) Purchas, an innovative architect working in the late 19th century.


The style of Boisdale is clearly derived form contemorary American developments and contrasts with Purchas's revivalist work, of which his own house, Tay Creggan, in Hawthorn, is the most important.

Boisdale is an early settled pastoral run and the present residence is dramatically situated on a granite outcrop overlooking the Avon River.

In 1892 Askin Foster had a new house built on a ridge overlooking the plain. It was constructed of Hawthorn bricks and Marseilles tiles, with red pine used internally. The interior was finely crafted.

Its modern design included electricity, running hot water and drainage.

The stables were equally modern, and of the same brick and tiles.


Seven acres of garden and orchard surrounded the homestead. The estate, now reduced in size, including Boisdale homestead and outbuildings, are maintained intact and in excellent condition.

Read more:

Tay Creggan

Tay Creggan, 30 Yarra St, Hawthorn, VIC, 1892-1893


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Tay Creggan was built by the prominent Melbourne architect Robert Guyon Whittlesey Purchas (known as Guyon) as his own home.

He bought the land, a 1.5 hectare sloping site between the railway line and the Yarra River, in 1889 and built the house in 1891-2, but ran into financial difficulties at the beginning of the 1890s depression and sold the house in 1892.


The house was bought by Michael Spencer, whose family crest appears above the fireplace in the hall.

Purchas designed a number of changes to the house for Spencer, including the conversion of the ballroom to a grand billiard room.

Following Spencer's death in 1900 his widow married A H McKean, and the house was further altered, with the enlargement of the entrance hall and new stairs constructed.

In 1937 the house was purchased by the Catholic Church for the Sisters of the Holy Grail, who added the Tudor Hall and dormitories, now used as classrooms.

It was sold to the Baptist Union of Victoria in 1969 for use by Strathcona Girls School, and is now their Year 9 campus.

Since then extensions and renovation works have been carried out, including the replacement of the roof tiles and the addition of a large new kitchen in place of the original.

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Tay Creggan is a picturesque asymmetrical red brick two storey Victorian Queen Anne Revival style house set amidst spacious grounds overlooking the Yarra River.

The roof is elaborated with turrets, and with dormers and gablets with finely-worked barge boards and finials, and is covered with Marseilles pattern tiles and terracotta ridging.

The red brick walls have rough-cast with brown woodwork on the front facade, and the windows are casements with small diamond-paned leadlights.


The house is notable for its fine detailing, including

  • the slender decorative chimneys characteristic of the Elizabethan period,

  • the weather vane on the candle-snuffer roof of one of the turrets, and

  • the small entrance porch with scalloped tiles.


Internally a number of the rooms are interesting for their timbered ceilings, fireplaces, ingle-nooks and bays.

The staircase is of finely worked kauri timber and the landing has a notable stained glass window by William Montgomery depicting a hunting scene, with contrasting art nouveau decoration above.


The most outstanding room is the billiard room, which is remarkable for the three stained glass domes above, the enormous Scottish Oak fireplace with Art Nouveau style copper repousse work, and the carved decoration of the roof timbers, which have carved dragons on the beam ends.

There are several former servants' rooms in the attic. The house retains its original entrance gates and driveway, a row of Bhutan Cypresses along Yarra Street, and some original terracing in the garden area to the east of the house.

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Pastoria Homestead

Pastoria Homestead, 589 Baynton Road Pastoria, Macedon Ranges, 1890s


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Nestled in the foothills of Australia's Great Dividing Range, Pastoria Homestead at Currabubula Station offers a unique experience of the Australian countryside.

Pastoria Homestead is predominantly an Arts and Crafts styled building developed in two main stages.

  • The first stage consists of a simple single storey homestead building which is now subsumed into the present building.

  • The second stage of development occurred c.1890 and constitutes the present form.

Pastoria has an attic-gable, an open ground level verandah and enclosed rear verandah.

The interior contains a wide upstairs gallery overlooking the living area and the drawing and dining-rooms have been decorated with Arts and Crafts wall-papers.

Whilst Australian architecture was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement early in the 20th century, Pastoria demonstrates very early influences of the stylistic movement, having been constructed late in the late 19th century.

Pastoria is architecturally advanced and largely intact; the interiors have been skilfully executed and finely finished.

Pastoria retains many of its original 1890s wallpapers and also its superb full length French windows which open out into the garden once tended by Chinese gardeners.

The collapse of the economy in the 1890s resulted in a substantial decrease in building activities and thus Pastoria is of significance for its use of stylistic elements which were uncommon at the time due to economic depression.


Pastoria was the residence of early pastoralist George Govett who bought the run in 1853 from William Piper.

Between 1853 and 1854 Govett secured a pre-emptive right to the 640 acre homestead block and constructed a single-storey weatherboard homestead.

In the late 1850s and the 1860s, Kyneton flourished as a result of gold mining activities.

The area had been mainly a rural district, however as people made their way to the gold fields the size and wealth of the township grew.

Govett died in 1888 and J.B. Watson junior, the son of mining magnate and financial investor John Boyd Watson, purchased Pastoria with his inheritance money.

Although Victoria was in a state of depression, building works soon followed with the erection of a first floor attic and the remodelling of many of the ground floor rooms; these works led to the present form of Pastoria.

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Purrumbete Homestead


Purrumbete was established by the brothers John and Peter Manifold in 1839, when they became squatters on the land around Lake Purrumbete.

During the nineteenth century the Manifold family became one of the largest landholders in Victoria, and Purrumbete developed into a substantial and prosperous farming complex, accommodating the growing demands of cattle, sheep and later bullock and dairy farming.

A small house was first constructed on the site of the present homestead in 1842, and in 1857-1860 a large bluestone wing was added, part of which remains.

Major additions which doubled the size of the homestead were made in 1882 to designs by the Camperdown architect, Alexander Hamilton.

The resulting single storey bluestone Italianate style house included a verandah with elaborate ironwork and an extensive cellar.

In 1884 an elaborate conservatory was constructed at the western end of the house.

By the early 1890s at least twenty outbuildings had been constructed at Purrumbete, all built in timber except for the bluestone men's quarters. The Manifolds made good use of the lake as a water resource, and installed an advanced water reticulation system.

In 1901 architect Guyon Purchas was commissioned by W.T. Manifold to again enlarge and modify the house, resulting in a highly unusual Federation Arts and Crafts style building.

The most significant changes were made to the rooms along the front wing with addition of a first floor, the inclusion of a substantial hall with minstrel's gallery, and the modification of the drawing room.

Externally the resulting homestead is Arts and Crafts in character, with remnants of the earlier phases evident.

The textured bluestone and red brick building is highly asymmetrical in composition with dominant multi-gabled roofs containing dormer windows, and encircling verandas.

Detailing includes terracotta shingles in gable ends and bulbous terracotta veranda columns, exaggerated timber brackets and dressed with bluestone quoining and architraves.

Decorative Art Nouveau lamps remain at the porch steps.

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Internally the mains spaces are Arts ad Crafts in character with Art Nouveau detailing.

Extensive timber work, such as panelled walls and ceilings, frieze brands, sliding doors, screens, newell posts, fire surrounds, overmantles and inglenook seats, and metal work incorporate sinuous details.

The timber fittings were crafted by Melbourne joiners, Murray and Crow, between 1902 and 1904 and, together with the metal work, were probably designed by Guyon Purchas.

Manifold commissioned the leading Heidelberg School artist, Walter Wither, to executive six paintings depicting the early settlement and development of the family at Purrumbete, to line the main hall of the homestead.

Read more: 

Later Arts and Crafts Houses

Later Federation Era 
Arts and Crafts Houses in Victoria

Harold Desbrowe-Annear
W B McInnes - H. Desbrowe Annear portrait

Harold Desbrowe-Annear was an influential Australian architect who was at the forefront of the development of the Arts and Crafts movement in this country. During the 1890s he was an Instructor in architecture at the Working Men's College where he founded the T-Square Club in 1900.

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East View House

East View, 16 Martin Street, Heidelberg, 1903



East View, 16 Martin Street, Heidelberg is a medium sized residence built on two levels that utilise the fall of the land.

East View is a particularly fine example of the early work of Harold Desbrowe Annear.

Built in 1903, for local shire engineer Herbert Tisdale, who was a champion of the architect's work.

East View was built using a timber balloon frame and incorporates a number of elements for which Annear is recognized. These include

  • characteristic window designs,

  • built in furniture,

  • a square corner bay window,

  • a verandah space cum outdoor living area that Annear called a piazza,

  • the simple use of materials,

  • the expression of structure and a planning layout that moves away from the more traditional form of compartmentalised rooms off a linking hall way toward a more open plan.


This is the most intact example of the architect's work.

Harold Desbrowe Annear was one of Australia's leading and most innovative Arts and Crafts architects in the first decade of the twentieth century. East View is highly representative of Annear's work during this period, possibly his most inventive.

Read more:

Desbrowe-Annear House

Desbrowe-Annear House,  36–38 The Eyrie, Eaglemont, 1903


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38 The Eyrie is a medium sized residence built on two levels utilising the fall of the land.

Built in 1903, The Annear house was built using a timber balloon frame and incorporates a number of elements for which Annear is recognized. These include characteristic window designs, built in furniture, a square corner bay window, a verandah space cum outdoor living area that Annear called a piazza, the simple use of materials, the expression of structure and a planning layout that is a clear departure from the traditional layout of compartmentalised rooms off a linking hall way toward an open plan.

38 The Eyrie contains a higher degree of attention to detail than is usually found in his houses of this period. This is demonstrated by overlaid elements of the red pine fretwork as lintel ornamentation in the internal openings and in the work of the various brass door, overmantlesand sideboard fittings.

The house exhibits an irregular though carefully realised external articulation which is the result of a design approach where the building's exterior was derived from its plan form.

Read more:

Art and Craft of Living
Chadwick House

Chadwick House,  32–34 The Eyrie, Eaglemont, 1903

The art and craft of living



These lyrically woody houses are rare and valuable, writes Jenny Brown.

Architect Peter Crone’s passionate renovation of a rare and remarkable circa 1903 Arts and Crafts house on a remarkable site at the top of Heidelberg’s Mount Eagle (Eaglemont), has been an undertaking lasting 19 years.

He has rebuilt 15 windows – some of which recess up into the walls – stripped some timber panelling and restored other sections.

He has painstakingly sourced a way to copy hand-crafted brass door and window fittings and scraped back paint to reveal original colours to reinstate on interiors and exteriors. Yet . . . he’s not quite finished.

There is one side of the house still to be excavated by removing a Federation (i.e. 1919) tack-on extension.

When that comes off, the vision of one of Melbo