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Federation Architects of Victoria

This page is under construction June 2018

Houses designed by architect Walter Butler

Campion College (former Dalwraith) of 1906

Above: Campion College (formerly Dalwraith)

Below: Woodlands in Essendon

Woodlands of 1888 (Woodlands Street, Essendon)

The Source of this text: 

Hedges' residence, 1897 in Canterbury
Clarke's residence in Toorak of 1897

The house "Doneraile" is one of the key examples in Boroondara which demonstrate the shift toward Federation architecture.

  • The house "Doneraile" is a prototype for the emerging Federation villa.

  • Its asymmetrical planning, strapwork chimneys, plain brick walling, pyramidal slate roof and Japanese turned timber detailing are all Federation characteristics, but were seen in combination in only a few houses prior to 1890.

  • It is one of a limited number of prototypes that appeared in Melbourne during the period 1889-1892.

  • "Doneraile is a virtual compendium of very early Federation forms and detail;
    these components are combined with elegance and directness, and with a particular scale that was to recur throughout the Federation period.

  • "Doneraile" is part of Boroondara’s contribution to the development of Federation architecture in Australia.."

Architects of Federation Housing in Victoria​

Melbourne Architects

Architects Beverley Ussher and Henry Kemp were at the forefront of the development of the domestic Queen Anne in Melbourne and Australia.

Early buildings such as

  • Campion College (formerly Dalswraith) of 1906, (Studley Park Road, Kew) and

  • Woodlands of 1888 (Woodlands Street, Essendon)

were instrumental in the development of the style to suit the typical suburban form which reached its peak in the first decade of the twentieth century.

Ussher's work falls into two categories,

  • the gabled design, usually a two storey form and

  • the hipped design where gables, on two co-ordinate points, project from an overall hip, usually a single storey form.

Queen Anne style
Federation Architecture
Doneraile, Camberwell
Melbourne Architects

The Gables Mansion - a two story multi-gable design

Above: 608 Riversdale Road CAMBERWELL - a hipped roof design with crossed gables and a corner gablet

In general, Ussher's largest houses eg Dalwraith (Campion College) in Kew of 1906, adopt the gabled designs. These houses fall into the mansion category.


Queen Anne style

It is the single storey designs, which usually apply to large houses rather than mansions which have developed into the distinctive Australian style, Queen Anne Domestic and which were the most popular in the first decade of the twentieth century


  • Above Left: Hedges' residence, 1897 in Canterbury and

  • Below Left: Clarke's residence in Toorak of 1897.

Ussher joined with Kemp and developed the style with the characteristic features of

  • tiled hipped roofs,

  • timber verandah decorations and

  • a strongly three dimensional form with a corner emphasis (Each roofing feature adorns a room to fit beneath)


Several key practitioners worked within the Queen Anne style:

  1. Ussher and Kemp

  2. Walter Butler,

  3. Christopher Cowper amongst others.

Above: Built Circa 1909 , Carramah, 31 Canterbury Road, Camberwell, Vic 3124

Federation Architecture

The shift toward Federation architecture was also seen in houses by

  1. Alfred Dunn and others in Oxley Road, Hawthorn,

  2. by Ussher and Kemp in Camberwell, Canterbury and Balwyn, and

  3. Christopher Cowper in Hawthorn.

  • Melbourne suburb Hawthorn built subdivisions like the Grace Park Estate, which designs spoke of a well-to-do suburb.

"Younger (Melbourne) architects shared (an) interest in changing, often asymmetrical forms and empathy. But they focused on the emerging British and American arts and crafts 'Free Style' architectures, variously dubbed 'Queen Anne' or 'American Romanesque'. These...

  • expressed materials and interior circumstance more directly,

  • had freer internal plans and

  • accentuated structure and links to local climate, nature and even perceived social patterns.

"This shift was informed by national sentiment, and led to a new fusion, Federation architecture, evident  in

  • more centralised plans where possible,

  • plain brick or timber exteriors,

  • complex roofs drawing wings and porches together under a hipped, tiled homestead form.

Doneraile, Camberwell
Architects Ussher and Kemp

Above: North Park Mansion - 'Woodlands' in Essendon designed by Henry Kemp  Picture: Dean-Melbourne

Above: Warwillah - a Transitional Modern Gothic/Queen Anne design with an asymmetrical facade.

Image ©2011 Walking Melbourne From

Warwillah has a prominent gable with pointed arches and colonettes and a great stained glass window.​


From around 1887 Melbourne domestic architectural leaders were

  1. Alfred Dunn in Hawthorn and Toorak,

  2. Christopher Cowper in Hawthorn and Camberwell (Grace Park, Broadway),

    Malvern Heritage Study Appendix One: Architects

  3. Arthur Fisher in St Kilda,

  4. A.B. Rieusset in Caulfield,

  5. Henry Kemp and Beverley Ussher in Essendon, Kew and Canterbury.

    Malvern Heritage Study Appendix One: Architects

Architects Ussher and Kemp

The Buildings of Henry Kemp (before the partnership)

Buildings of Beverley Ussher

Above: Blackwood, near Penshurst, by Butler and Ussher 1901-2

Kemp was associated with a number of substantial projects:

  1. Queen's College, University of Melbourne;

  2. the Queen's Coffee Palace, Carlton (1889, demolished);

  3. the twelve-storey Australian Property and Investment Co. Building, corner of Elizabeth Street and Flinders Lane (1887, demolished);

  4. the Workingmen's College (1888); and Woodlands (also named North Park) for Alexander McCracken, North Essendon (1888). 

The Buildings of Beverley Ussher (before the partnership)


Ussher's first partner was Walter Richmond Butler (1864-1949), an architect who moved to London and to work with J. D. Sedding.

  • He was accepted into the Arts and Crafts and Domestic Revival circles centred on William Morris and R. N. Shaw, among whom his closest friend was Ernest Gimson (1864-1919). 

In June 1888 Butler and Ussher left Sedding's office and sailed for Australia. Three of Butler's brothers and one of his sisters also settled in Australia. 

  • From 1889 until 1893 Butler was in partnership with Ussher.

  • In 1896 Butler was joined by George C. Inskip but they parted in 1905 after a dispute with the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects over the conduct of a competition.

  • Butler and Ussher worked together on a series of designs between 1890 and 1893, many of which are still considered to be outstanding examples of the Picturesque Aesthetic (now known as Federation style).

  • George Tibbits, in an article titled 'The So-Called Melbourne Domestic Queen Anne' describes Blackwood Homestead as being 'one of the finest 19th century examples' of this type'

Gallery Ussher and Kemp

Gallery: The Great Works of Ussher and Kemp












1. Carramah, 31 Canterbury Road, Camberwell, Vic 3124 (1909)
  • "A magnificent landmark residence"

  • Built Circa 1909 for Herbert Parsons, a spice trader, and set on a magnificent allotment (2,089 sqm) with superbly landscaped and maintained gardens, this landmark residence showcases the elegance and graciousness of classic Ussher & Kemp architecture, whilst providing unparalleled family living and entertaining areas both inside and outside.

2. Malvern's Gascoigne Estate (1899)
  • In 1899 a group of six substantial houses was erected in Finch Street, Malvern to designs prepared by Ussher & Kemp for developer William Knox. 

  • Architects Ussher & Kemp designed in the Queen Anne style

    • Thelema (33),

    • Moanga (31),

    • Ingleburn (27),

    • Dunoon (25),

    • Eblana (23) and

    • Merridale (21) in 1899 for William Knox.

Knox was elected to the first Australian Parliament in 1901, founding secretary of Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP) and Malvern Shire Councillor (1892-1895 & 1902-1910) & Shire President (1893-1895)


3. Cupples house, now Travancore, at 104, now 608 Riversdale Road CAMBERWELL (1899)
  • "Ussher & Kemp Grandeur" - "This perfect example of a gracious residence standing on a cul-de-sac corner showcasing lavish architectural allure behind a sun-filled garden is undoubtedly one of the BEST.

  • This magnificent Federation Queen Anne residence is Ussher & Kemp at their glorious best masterfully merging with stunning contemporary enhancement.

  • A brilliant alfresco oasis with solar heated pool complements the romantic exterior complexity characteristic of Australia's pre-eminent architects for enviable family living"

4. Dalswraith 99 Studley Park Road, Kew, (1906)
  • (A-graded Heritage) designed by Architects Ussher and Kemp.

  • Classified by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) and listed by the RAIA: RAIA 20th CENTURY BUILDINGS REGISTER 

  • Later named Campion Hall, then Campion College. It was built in 1906 as a home for S.W. Gibson of the firm Foy and Gibson, Drapers, of Melbourne and was originally called Dalswraith. 

  • "Dalswraith is a magnificent Federation era mansion, not only for its beauty, but for its sheer size. It was completed in the popular Queen Anne style and features an arcaded freestone entrance and veranda flanked by bay windows, distinctive chimneys and the classic Queen Anne high pitched gable roofs.

  • The building is now used as a residence for Xavier College and was renamed Campion College."

5. Dalvui Homestead Terang (1908)

Dalvui at 4310 Mackinnons Bridge Road. Noorat 3265 is a widely admired property, with its famed gardens and grand home.

  • Mr Niel Walter Black commissioned the house, which was designed by Melbourne architects Usher and Kemp, who are responsible for many fine houses in Melbourne’s reputable eastern suburbs.

  • The residence is certainly magnificent, but it is the garden that draws a crowd (as part of Australia’s Open Garden Scheme).

    • The garden’s layout is from an 1898 design by William Guilfoyle, who famously designed the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and the Camperdown Botanic Gardens.

    • The garden is typically English, with few native species. It contains signature plants favoured by Guilfoyle, like palms and flowering gums. The garden features exotic examples from Africa and South America.

  • Read more: Dalvui, Terang, Vic​


6. Davies House 5 Wilismere Road Kew 1903

7. The Gables, 15 Finch Street, East Malvern (1902-3)
  • ''The Gables is nestled in a beautiful tree lined avenue in the Melbourne suburb of East Malvern.

  • The magnificent Queen Anne styled mansion, built in 1902, incorporates landscaped and manicured grounds, an amazingly complex hipped roof line, wide verandahs, leadlight windows as well as beautifully crafted timber detailing.''

Architect Walter Butler

Below: Butler (left) and  family and friends at 'Avalon', 14 Power Avenue TOORAK, Stonnington City

Architect Walter Butler

Walter Butler (1864-1949) was a Victorian architect of great talent, who built some fine Federation Queen Anne houses and also favoured the Arts and Crafts style.

  • Butler was of immaculate appearance and had impeccable manners.

  • He was a superb draughtsman and is reputed to have controlled all the designing and detailing in his office.

  • In World War I he suffered a deep personal setback with the death of his only son, and from the 1920s he started to relinquish all but the elite clients to his younger partners

Before coming to Australia he was associated with two famous London architects from 1885. 

At age 15 Butler became the apprentice of developing Arts and Crafts architect Alexander Lauder (1836–1921), who allegedly described Butler as "a truly gifted person".

  • Butler frequently travelled throughought England and Europe and it was not until 1888 that Butler decided to follow in the footsteps of five of his siblings and emigrate to Australia in search of prosperity and exciting new possibilities.

  • In June 1888 Butler left Sedding's office and sailed for Australia, perhaps at the prompting of the young Melbourne architect Beverley Ussher then visiting London.

  • Early in his Melbourne practice he designed many ecclesiastical buildings.

  • He was architect for the city's first flats - Melbourne Mansions, Collins Street.

Gallery of Walter Butler

Gallery of Walter Butler's finest house designs 

"Butler was rightly considered an architect of great talent, and many of his clients were wealthy pastoralists and businessmen."


His country-house designs include ...

  • Blackwood (1891), near Penshurst, for R. B. Ritchie,

  • Wangarella (1894), near Deniliquin, New South Wales, for Thomas Millear, and

  • Newminster Park (1901), near Camperdown, for A. S. Chirnside.

Equally distinguished large houses were designed for the Melbourne suburbs:

  • Warrawee (1906), Toorak, for A. Rutter Clark;

  • Thanes (1907), Kooyong, for F. Wallach;

  • Kamillaroi (1907) for (Baron) Clive Baillieu, and

  • extensions to Edzell (1917) for George Russell, both in St Georges Road, Toorak.


"These are all fine examples of picturesque gabled houses in the domestic revival genre. " Aust Dictionary of Biography

Architect Christopher Cowper

Above: 14 Studley Avenue Kew

Below: 40 Chrystobel Crescent, Hawthorn

Architect Christopher Cowper


Christopher Cowper (1868-1954) was an architect and developer. Cowper was a significant architect in early 20th century Boroondara, best known for his extensive Queen Anne residential development in Grace Park, Hawthorn, as well as many other mid to large‐sized houses for the well‐to‐do residents of Kew and Camberwell, and other suburbs of Melbourne.

The Grace Park Estate

Hawthorn's famed Grace Park estate is characterised by distinctive parallel crescents and period villas in garden settings.

  • The Grace Park Estate was formed from several lots purchased by Michael or Julia Lynch between 1846 and 1847, forming grounds to Grace Park House, constructed before 1858.

Architect Christopher Cowper bought and developed thirty-three allotments between 1908 and 1912.

  • An architectural competition for new buildings for this elegantly designed suburb, set a high quality homes in up to date designs, on large allotments.

    • The designs in the competition, some of which were built and those which came later, emphasised the open garden nature of the Estate by constructing houses which addressed at least two sides.

    • Extensive lanes to the rear kept horse/carriage and, later, car access away from the frontages and allowed the high amenity of the footpath promenade under tree avenues to dominate.

    • The centrepiece of the Estate was the creation of a Park, Grace Park on the lower lying land. Associated facilities for lawn tennis and cricket added status to an already desirable location, well served by train routes.

Other Melbourne Architects

"From around 1887 other Melbourne architect leaders were

Keep Reading:


Other Melbourne Architects
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