top of page

Federation Mansions in Victoria

from Queen Anne to Federation Queen Anne 

Bundoora Park

Victoria's Riches

The discovery of gold in Victoria in 1851 led to the Victorian gold rush, and Melbourne grew rapidly.

By 1865, Melbourne had overtaken Sydney as Australia's most populous city. This economic boom peaked during the 1880's and Melbourne had become the richest city in the world.

The city entered the "Marvellous Melbourne" boom period, transforming into one of the most important cities in the British Empire and one of the largest and wealthiest in the world. English architects flocked to Melbourne, looking for an opportunity to show their skills (and make their fortune).

After the federation of Australia in 1901, Melbourne served as the interim seat of government of the new nation until Canberra became the permanent capital in 1927.

In this Federation era, large houses were built in Melbourne's wealthy suburbs and throughout Victoria's productive landholdings. All of these mansions have an interesting history, a story of opulence, ego and power.



Bundoora Park Homestead


The Bundoora Park Homestead (the Former Bundoora Repatriation Hospital Day Centre) is a 14 room mansion built for John MV Smith, a prominent identity in the racing industry, in 1899/1900, -he owned stables and bred the race horse, Wallace.

The Bundoora Park Homestead is an extraordinary, rare and essentially intact building of a Queen Anne building type, being a two storey, asymmetrical red brick building designed by Sydney H. Wilson, in conjunction with Percy Oakden, and built by JB Sewell & Co.

The interior of the building contains outstanding examples of stained glass, architectural pyrography work, and other fine craftsmanship.

The property was acquired by the Repatriation Commission in 1920 and became the Repatriation Mental Hospital, Bundoora in 1924.

The homestead was converted into a day hospital in 1968 and utilised as such until the Bundoora Repatriation Hospital was decommissioned in 1993.


The Bundoora Park Homestead is important as the building contains several significant pieces of stained glass which can be attributed to Auguste Fischer who was a leader in Arts and Crafts circles and an important glass artist of the period. 

The interior decoration of the Bundoora Park Homestead demonstrates outstanding and rare craftsmanship.

The building contains an extensive scheme of stained glass which is a significant example of the work of a leading artist, Auguste Fischer, and which has considerable intrinsic artistic merit.

The large stairwell oval light is particularly outstanding.

The staircase and upper landing are decorated with a complete and consistent set of pyrography panels that are outstanding in terms of their number and intact condition, and their rarity as an example of pyrography work used architecturally.

Other internal decorative features also exhibit outstanding craftsmanship.

Read more:


Burnewang House, 631 Burnewang Road, Elmore, Greater Bendigo City

Built (in 1903) for the Holmes Family, then owners of the Eastern portion of Burnewang Estate, this magnificent mansion is situated on the banks of the Campaspe river a few kilometres east of Elmore.

Designed by Reed, Smart, Tappin, “Burnewang” is regarded as one of Australia’s grandest country homesteads.

Other Names Burnewang Homestead, RSL War Veterans Home


"The executors of the late Mr. Robert Hunter have sold the Burnewang Park Estate, Elmore, comprising 8,000 acres, to the Closer Settlement Board.

Burnewang Park is one of the best station properties in Northern Victoria. The land is rich and fertile, and there is a fine modern homestead, with other farm buildings. The price paid was about £70,000."

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.Monday 18 September 1922



​Above photographs by Collins, John T., 1907-2001

After WW2 the farm was subdivided for Soldier Settlement, and the 34 room Jacobean and Elizabethan style house fell into decline.

  • It is constructed of red bricks and has thirty two rooms and extensive outbuildings. Inside, massive oregon beams support the tiled roof and a feature is polished ceilings in some rooms. It also has stained glass windows on the ground floor.

  • Extensive lawns, flower gardens, large vegetable garden, citrus grove and barbecue area surround this stately home which has had a chequered career.

It was built as a family home but after the Second World War, when Burnewang was partly subdivided for Soldier Settlement the house was sold to the RSL for use as a home for War Veterans.

  • In 1984 the Salvation Army purchased it for use in the Bridge Program for the rehabilitation of people with alcohol problems.

  • Melbourne based couple Dominic & Maria Romeo extensively renovated the property in the 1990′s it was then sold to the Burns family who have continued on with many improvements and is used as their family country house.

Marie and Dominic Romeo brought it back to life in the during the 1990’s, restoring the interior, with its massive oregon beams, polished ceilings and stained glass windows, as well as the extensive lawns, flower beds, large vegetable garden, citrus grove and outbuildings.

Keep Reading:


Cestria, 521 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn

Originally one of Hawthorn's most illustrious residences this grand Victorian represents a never to be repeated opportunity in position of premium appeal at the summit of Scotch Hill.

An allotment of 2851sqm approx features a 45.7m frontage to Glenferrie Road and surrounds evocative spaces.

Currently configured as a rooming house, at present offering 33 rooms, 5 bathrooms and a kitchen wing. Original 4m ceilings and rich period authenticity remain intact and inspire a project of un-paralleled scope 

Cestria  914.jpg

Cestria was built for the wealthy biscuit manufacturer Thomas B Guest in 1891.

Architect EG Kilburn of the partnership Ellerker and Kilburn signed the drawings.

Kilburn had recently visited America, and the buildings he saw during his stay undoubtedly influenced the final design.

Cestria followed close on the heels of Kilburn's American Romanesque design for an extension at the Priory Ladies School, St Kilda, which was finished in July 1890.

The American Romanesque style readily lent itself to picturesque effects and additionally was supposed by contemporary Australian journals such as Building and Engineering Journal to be suited to the requirements of the Australian climate.

The House

The house is of three storeys with a four storey tower over the main entrance. It is constructed of tuck-pointed face red brick relieved with cement dressings. The roof is covered with slates with terracotta ridging.

The external woodwork was originally wood grained in imitation of superior timbers.

A broad verandah on cast iron columns shades the ground floor on the north and west faces.

The main entrance is through a characteristically American Romanesque semi-circular archway.

Semi-circular headed openings are employed on windows, in arcades on second stage of the tower, and to group together flat arch windows on each side of fourth stage of tower.

The perforated waffle balustrade on the main facade is repeated as a motif in openings to the north elevation.


Internally, the impressive hall and staircase are constructed from mahogany and walnut, adding to the distinctively American feel.

The stairwell is lit by three large windows with centrally placed stained glass panels depicting rural scenes, surrounded by leaded, coloured geometric glass.

In the kitchen area, an original example of the ubiquitous electric bell panel is evidence of the large retinue of servants once employed to run a house of this size.

How is it significant?

Cestria is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.

Why is Cestria significant?

Cestria is architecturally significant as the greatest domestic example of the American Romanesque style of architecture in Victoria.

Cestria is particularly significant as a reaction against the prevailing popularity of the Italianate style, which was characterised by cement rendered walls, parapets teetering with urns and other decorative features, and by cast iron.

Cestria is significant for the part it played in the debate about an appropriate national style of architecture.

It was hailed in contemporary building journals as being eminently suited to the Australian climate.

The emergence of the American Romanesque and other red brick styles was central to the question of adapting an existing style to Australian requirements rather than creating a new one.

Read more:

$11 million Edzell, Toorak 1.jpg
Edzell, Toorak


Edzell, 76 St Georges Road Toorak


Edzell House, one of Toorak's grandest mansions, is superbly located on a very well elevated site on the southern bank of the Yarra River.

Although the mansion has been split into seven huge apartments, Edzell House retains many of its original features including rich timber panelling and delicate leadlighting.

The tower has 360-degree views of the Central Business District, Port Phillip Bay, Macedon Ranges and the Dandenongs,

It was originally designed by the architects Reed, Smart and Tappin in 1892 for the owner James Cooper Stewart (1836-1919).

He was a prominent Melbourne lawyer, alderman of the Melbourne City Council and a mayor during the 1880s.

In 1916 George Russell bought the house. Within a year the noted Arts and Crafts architect Walter Richmond Butler designed extensive but sympathetic external additions and a garden for Russell who was listed as owner in 1915-1934.

In 1917 the noted architect Walter Richmond Butler designed extensive but sympathetic external additions and a garden for the building's new owner, George Russell.

A large ballroom was added, and this continued the Tudor manner with its panelled ceiling and dado.

The main verandah was replaced with a half-timbered patterned brick balustrade and on the south the original gables were extended in the same pattern over a new brick verandah.

Similarly, the entrance porch was built on brick piers.

"The biggest Toorak subdlvisional sale since the breaklng-up of the Trawalla Estate (of the early 1930s) will be held On October 6 1934. when 25 allotments, at "Edzell," St. George's and Orrong Roads, will be auctioned.


Comprising nine acres, the estate has been the home of. Mr George Russell for 20 years. The residence, which has four reception rooms, six main bedrooms, a ballroom, billiard room, three bathrooms, balconies, sleep-outs, wlne cellars, and all domestic appointments, will be offered for sale separately.

The estate overlooks the river, and commands views over Burnley Park. A new street, to be known as Edzell Avenue, will be made, and the shrubs and trees now growing on the property will be left untouched wherever possible." - Herald Wed 12 Sep 1934

The next owner of the mansion was Mrs Rose Krantz, mother in law of the famous pianist Jacob Jascha Spivakovsky 1896-1970.

Jascha and his even more famous brother, violinist Nathan Tossy Spivakovsky 1906-98, were learning music and playing in Berlin, while the Krantzes settled in Australia.

In 1930 the two brothers and cellist Edmund Kurtz formed the Spivakovsky-Kurtz Trio and happened to be on a musical tour of Australia in 1933 when war broke out in Germany. Australian culture is deeply indebted to this migrant family.

​By the time Jascha inherited Edzell from his parents in 1948, other famous musicians gave concerts there. The historicised English architecture made the house perfect for concerts, both acoustically and thematically. - Source


Edzell, one of Toorak's grandest mansions, is strikingly located on an elevated site on the southern bank of the Yarra River.

Edzell is a red brick house with extensive half-timbered gabling, Marseilles-pattern tiles and terra cotta ridging, along with two asymmetrically placed turretted corner towers facing the river.

Internally, the dining room features panelled timber ceiling and dado, which were executed in New Zealand rimu, embossed floral pattern wall paper, overdoors and a panelled timber mantel and overmantel with carved enrichments.

In 1935, under the ownership of Rose Krantz, the architect Edward Billson designed the subdivision of the interior into two maisonettes.

By 1947 it had been divided into six flats. This involved superficial internal alterations and a new stair.

In 2013 Liberal party powerbroker and FlexiRent founder Andrew Abercrombie added to his street portfolio, buying the historic 6023 square metre holding, Edzell House, from Michael Spivakovsky, who inherited it from his father, acclaimed pianist Jascha, who reportedly entertained Dame Nellie Melba there.

Read more:



Ercildoune, 424 Auburn Road Hawthorn

Ercildoune (pronounced Er-sil-doon) was formerly known as Segovia and was built (c. 1892) on a Crown Grant of almost 58 acres made by Governor Fitzroy to Charles Robinson on 29 th April 1847. By 1879, that area had been reduced to just over 2 acres and in the 1930s and 1950s more portions were subdivided and sold.


This magnificent two-storey residence with its 'Hawthorn Blues' brickwork and immense brick chimneys is thought to have been built during the depression years of the 1890s for the tobacco manufacturer, Thomas Mitchell Hale.

The house was purchased by John Greenwood Smith in 1911 and he changed the name to 'Ercildoune'. Later it was owned by the Stanway family and then spent some time as an apartment house.

The present owners bought the house at a time when its condition could only be described as dilapidated and undertook major renovation and restoration works to restore the house to its original grandeur.

They obviously conducted an enormous amount of research to assist in the process of replicating original fixtures and fittings. Strict heritage guidelines had to be adhered to and it is evident that they have done a superb job.


Ercildoune was awarded an 'A' Grading in the Hawthorn Historical Study of 1992 and the property is described as a 'mansion house and garden'.


  • Its architectural significance is due to the fact that it is a landmark in Auburn Road , as an illustration of the 'many mansion houses on large allotments constructed between Gardiners Creek and Burke Road in the 1880s.'
    (Meredith Gould, Conservation Architects, 1992)

  • and its historical significance comes from its association with Thomas Hale.



The front door is absolutely stunning due to the wonderful leadlight windows. There is an array of leadlight throughout the house. Amazingly the present owners found many of the original panels under dirt in the cellar! The flooring is original and made of 6' Baltic pine. Where it was necessary to lay new boards, for example in the kitchen area, the owners have replicated the originals.

Walking through the hallway, you come to an enormous kitchen/family area with a door leading to a children's playroom. This is a true cook's kitchen with four ovens, a steam oven and two dishwashers. Stone Italiana surfaces are used throughout.

The living area was previously a billiard room and it is apparent, if you examine the floorboards, where the original footings of the table were.

At the end of the room is a stunning original Belgian marble open fireplace.

The present owners painstakingly restored this area (there was a false ceiling) and the ceiling you see (16' high) was created using laser cut foam to replicate the original shape.

More glorious leadlight is evident in the formal living and dining rooms.

In this area, you can see a magnificent 5 branch counter weighed gasolier. Also of note are the ceiling roses. It is thought that these have not been repainted since the house was built.



Illawarra, 1 Illawarra Court Toorak


Illawarra is a large and elaborate two storey red brick mansion with a dominating tower located off St Georges Road, Toorak.

It was erected in 1889-91 by the builder CB Leith to the designs of the architect James Birthwhistle for the prominent land-boomer Charles Henry James.

In 1905 it operated as a private hotel.

The house was bought for £6500 and converted to ten flats in 1925-26 and then to boarding accommodation for St Catherine’s School in the late 1990s.

Why is it significant?

Illawarra is of architectural significance as a flamboyant example of a boom era mansion which foreshadows developing trends in late-Victorian period architecture.

The ornate grandiosity of the house epitomises the spectacular excesses of the final years of the land boom.

The unique French Renaissance design and quality of the workmanship and fittings provide an excellent expression of the lifestyle of Melbourne’s late-19th century elite.

Its eclectic combination of mannerist detail, vernacular roof lines and picturesque composition foreshadowed subsequent trends in late-Victorian architecture, particularly the English Queen Anne Revival style, and hints at the Edwardian and Federation trends of the early decades of the 20th century.

Illawarra is of historical significance for its association with the prominent landboom figure Charles Henry James (1848-1898) and as a remnant manifestation of the landboom itself.

James was one of the most flamboyant of the landboomers of the 1880s. Originally a North Melbourne grocer, he accumulated considerable wealth through land speculation, going on to become a leading banker, entrepreneur, grazier and MLC, before losing it all when the boom turned to bust.

Illawarra reflects James’ speedy rise to wealth and, like many of his landboom contemporaries, his determination to display it.

Read more:

Konsley 000.jpg


Konsley, 7 Fordholm Road Hawthorn

Architecturally significant as a representative example of the mansion house suburb development at Hawthorn at the end of the prosperous Edwardian period. An early example using the Californian Bungalow style.

Glorious late-Edwardian brick residence (Circa 1916) providing 5/6 Bedroom accommodation, presented in comfortable order with the opportunity to further improve and superbly sited on in excess of 15,600 sq. ft. of prime “Scotch College Hill” land. 
Comprises: Wide Reception hall, formal Sitting room (original fire place), separate Dining room, Kitchen with north-facing Family/meals area, main Bedroom with ensuite and Study and a host of period features.

Read more:

Langley Hall


Above: Langley Hall in White Hills near Bendigo. Photo: Castran

Langley Hall 484 Napier Street, White Hills, Bendigo, Victoria, 3550

15 bedrooms: asking $2.75 million

Langley Hall is a beautiful 1903 property that has opened as a unique bed and breakfast experience. Set in 2.5 acres of gardens, Langley Hall is a lovely grand building to visit.

Langley Hall is an Edwardian Mansion built for the first Anglican Bishop of Bendigo.

This large imposing residence with its ample verandahs and vast gardens provides the opportunity for guests to enjoy areas of quiet relaxation.


Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Langley Hall, Napier St, White Hills
Chapel Suite

The See House or Bishops Palace for the newly formed diocese of Bendigo was designed by William Vahland and John Beebe in 1904.

William Vahland is recognized as being the principal 19th century architect in Bendigo.

The new Bishopscourt was completed and occupied by the Bishop and his family in March 1905.

  • After World War 1, it became the Bendigo Diggers Red Cross Rest Home from 1919-1926, having assisted 872 patients.

  • The first two Bishops of Bendigo lived here, but when Bishop Baker came to the Diocese in 1920 he moved to the present Bishopscourt in Forest Street, which had been given by the Lansell family.

  • Langley Hall, as old Bishopscourt was later called, was subsequently used as a Red Cross Hostel, and then as a Theologolical Training College.

  • In 1931, Mrs Wolstenholme, the wife of the Rector of St Peter’s, Eaglehawk, had the idea to use the building as a home for single girls and their babies. The official opening of St Luke’s Toddlers Home took place on Saturday 4th June, 1932 in the presence of a thousand people, including civic, government and church leaders.

  • In 1979 the toddlers home closed as care of children was moved to family based foster care.

  • In the years since, Langley Hall has been a restaurant and reception centre, an antique dealers, and since 2000 has been Bed and Breakfast Accommodation.

Read more:

3980 Glenelg Highway 16
3980 Glenelg Highway 13
3980 Glenelg Highway 01
3980 Glenelg Highway 02
3980 Glenelg Highway 03
3980 Glenelg Highway 15
3980 Glenelg Highway 14
3980 Glenelg Highway 09
3980 Glenelg Highway 04
3980 Glenelg Highway 07
3980 Glenelg Highway 08
3980 Glenelg Highway 11
3980 Glenelg Highway 10
3980 Glenelg Highway 05
3980 Glenelg Highway 06
3980 Glenelg Highway 12
Langi Willi

Charles Abraham D'Ebro (1850–1920) was a London-born architect who designed many important buildings in MelbourneVictoria, Australia during the late Victorian and early Edwardian periods.

Many of these buildings are now preserved under heritage laws.

The Charles D'Ebro family lived at Prado, St Georges Rd, Toorak.

From 1881 to 1885, he enjoyed a very productive partnership with John Grainger, the designer of the Princes Bridge, with whom he had emigrated to Adelaide in 1877.

Mr D'Ebro, who was born in England in 1850, was trained as an architect and engineer, and qualified before leaving England for Australia.

He went first to Adelaide under engagement to the South Australian Railways department, as an engineer, and after remaining there about a year came it Melbourne, and went into partnership with the late Mr J H Grainger.

Later he was a senior partner in the firm of D'Ebro, Mackenzie, and Meldrum.

He became well known as an architect and engineer and many large buildings and residences in Victoria were designed by him.

Amongst them were

  • the Masonic Hall, in Collins street,

  • the M.C .C. pavilion,

  • the offices of Dalgety and Co, in Bourke street and some of the same firm's wool stores,

  • the Premier Permanent Buildings, in Collins street,

  • Georges' Pty Ltd,

  • State Government House (built for Sir John Wagner and formerly known as ' Stonnington'),

  • "Moora Kyne," at Toorak (built for Sir John Grice, and now the home Mr Bowes Kelly), and

  • "Carngham" near Skipton (built for Mr George Russell), now known as 'Langi Willi'. 


Above: Langi Willi Estate in Skipton near Ballarat. Photo: Kay & Burton

Langi Willi Estate, 3980 Glenelg Highway, Skipton, Vic 3361

11 bedrooms

Following the gold rush and ongoing wool boom at the turn of the century, Melbourne was the richest city in the World.

Celebrity architect Charles D'Ebro was commissioned by owner George Russell to design "Carngham", a mansion of grand proportions.

After numerous years building using many materials imported from Europe, the 35 room mansion was completed and large manicured English gardens with two tennis courts were established - the pool and pool house were more recent additions.


Over the past century, many dignitaries have been hosted at (re-named) "Langi Willi" including members of the royal family, governors, prime minsters, test cricketers and Davis Cup tennis players.

The homestead and gardens are accessed by a bitumen driveway commencing at the gatehouse, passing through an avenue of cedars of Lebanon, the stables and original settlers cottage.

Celebrity architect Charles D'Ebro was commissioned to design this mansion (then named "Carngham") of grand proportions. Built in the early 1900s, the Queen Anne style home comprises 35 rooms and includes two other homesteads on the property.

After numerous years building using many materials imported from Europe, the 35 room mansion was completed and large manicured English gardens with two tennis courts were established - the pool and pool house were more recent additions.

George Russell (1857–1914)

Owner George Russell (1857–1914) spent the greater portion of his time superintending Langi Willi. 

Mr. Russell was known and esteemed by a very large circle of friends, not only in Melbourne, but throughout Victoria.

A breeder of racehorses and of fine merino wool, in 1892 Mr. Russell was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly as the member for Grenville, and he retained the seat until 1900, when he retired.

Over the past century, many dignitaries have been hosted at Langi Willi including members of the royal family, governors, prime minsters, test cricketers and Davis Cup tennis players.

This grand estate is a few minutes drive south-west of Ballarat, and is on the market (Dec. 2018)  with a venerable history.


1908: home of the late Mr George Russell

1913: Mr Frank (Francis Thompson) Funston was manager of Langi Willi Station

1914: The estate of the late Mr. George Russell, of Langi Willi, Linton (Vic), was valued for probate at ,£350,171

Nov 1923 ​home of Mr and Mrs George Blackwood

Oct 1933 home of Mrs Arthur Yencken

1937: home of Mr. and Mrs. Euan D. MacKinnon 

1945 home of Mr and Mrs E.D. MacKinnon

It was the childhood home of Victoria’s longest serving Premier Henry Bolte and also hosted some swank parties with Australia’s former elites including famous cricketers.


It sold in 2016, for the first time in 157 years, for $4.5 million.

Read more:

Majella 693.jpg

Majella, 473-475 St Kilda Road Melbourne

Majella was built in 1913 for James Alston to the design of architect Arthur Peck. Alston wanted his house to be close to his new agricultural machinery factory in South Melbourne.

Majella is a large house set well back from St Kilda Road by a garden and circular driveway.

It is a two storey red brick residence asymmetrically composed with a terra cotta tile roof, bay windows and half timbered and stuccoed gable ends.

The two storey verandah and balcony incorporate glazed terra cotta faience panels, paired Ionic columns constructed of reinforced concrete and a simple timber balustrade.

Expanses of red brickwork are relieved by rendered lintels to the openings.

At the rear of the house was a brick garage, demolished in 1989. Internally there is an impressive staircase in the wood panelled entrance hall, leadlighting to the bow windows, and various original fittings throughout.

Residential use of Majella ceased in 1943 on the death of James Alston, since when it has been occupied by a number of commercial and government bodies, including the Australian Broadcasting Commission between 1951 and 1972.

Read more: 


North Park, Essendon


North Park, 69 Woodland Street, Essendon

North Park, now known as the Australian Headquarters of the St Columban Mission, was the home of Alexander McCracken, renowned brewer and sportsman.

The 42 roomed mansion was built in 1888 by builder D. Sinclair for the cost of £10,750 to the design of Henry Kemp of the prominent Victorian architectural firm of Oakden, Addison & Kemp.

In the tradition of the baronial mansions of wealthy British industrialists, the residence was built to symbolise its owner's prosperity and achievements.

The large, two storey, picturesque residence is set on the highest point of Essendon and anticipates the popular Queen Anne Revival style in its use of

  • red brick for walls,

  • half-timbering with roughcast in the gables,

  • orange terracotta tiles,

  • ornamental bargeboards,

  • decorative finials and chimneys, and

  • ornate glazing.

    • Three ornately carved chairs survive from the furniture which was designed to complement the elaborate interior.

  • A spacious ballroom was added to the ground floor in the early years of this century which now serves as a chapel.

  • A new wing was added to the house in 1966, and a new office building replaced the original stables in 1968.

  • The coach house was retained except for a small section on the south side.

Alexander McCracken died in 1915 and in 1923 North Park became the Australian headquarters of the St Columban Mission.

The former North Park is of architectural, historic, and aesthetic importance to the state of Victoria.

The former North Park is architecturally important in demonstrating a high degree of creative achievement, being a pioneering example of the Queen Anne Revival domestic architecture in Australia.

This style became the dominant expression in Australian domestic architecture in the decades immediately before and after 1900.

The house is architecturally important for its use of imported Marseilles terracotta roof tiles in possibly their first application in Australia.

Made by the French company, Guichard Carvin de Cie, St Andr, these unique tiles feature the firm's signature bee imprint.

The interior is architecturally important for its rich decoration including multi-coloured pressed metal ceilings, plaster friezes, timber panelling, encaustic tiling and elaborate stained and coloured glass.

Other important extant detail includes ornate door knobs and push plates, and gas light hardware. Three ornately carved chairs in the entrance hall dating from the McCracken ownership are important for their continued association with the house.

The former North Park is historically important for its association with renowned brewer and sportsman, Alexander McCracken (1856-1915) and its imposing massing and design reflect his position and achievement in Melbourne's industry and his standing in local society.

Alexander McCracken is an important historic figure in the brewing industry but was also a founder, secretary and then president of the Essendon Football Club. He was also the first President of the Victorian Football League, and Chairman of the Royal Agricultural Society.

North Park is of historical interest as the Australian Headquarters of Saint Columban's Mission since 1923.

The grounds of North Park are of aesthetic importance as an outstanding example of the gardenesque style and for the unusual three curved terraces, wide drive, garden path remains, and the evergreen trees and large conifers which contribute to the picturesque profile of the overall composition. 

Read more:

Queen Bess Row


Queen Bess Row

72-76 Hotham Street East Melbourne

Queen Bess Row, built in 1886-87, was designed by the Melbourne architects Tappin Gilbert & Dennehy.

Queen Bess Row is made up of three houses that appear to be one large four storeyed mansion with a central Flemish-influenced gable and two minor pediments over the flanking wings.

Prominent chimneys, dormers, arcaded and grouped windows, steeply pitched roofs, red brick walls and stone dressing all contribute to a picturesque outline.

On the main facade there are a substantial number of round-arched openings with stone or render dressing and keystone mouldings. String courses run around the building. The interior is of a predominantly Jacobean character with leaded lights, mantels and panelling.

How is it significant?

Queen Bess Row is of architectural and social significance to the State of Victoria.

Queen Bess Row is architecturally significant as a fine example of the work of the notable architectural firm of Tappin Gilbert and Dennehy, who during the 1880s, designed a number of important buildings throughout Victoria.

Queen Bess Row is the first fully developed example of the Queen Anne Revival in the style of noted English architect Richard Norman Shaw and marks the advent of a style that was to dominate 20 years of Melbourne's domestic architectural history.


Queen Bess Row has social significance for its associations with the Temperance Movement.

The Temperance Movement was an influential organisation in Victoria and had lobbied hard for the 1885 Licensing Act. Queen Bess Row is an early surviving Temperance Hotel, known otherwise as a Coffee Palace.

Queen Bess Row is socially significant for its use as apartments from the late 1880s, a fall-back purpose that was incorporated into its design.

It was one of the first buildings to be used as apartments in Victoria, before later becoming a terrace of three houses.

Read more:


Rotha, 29 Harcourt Street,
Hawthorn East

Rotha was designed by the notable nineteenth century architect John Beswicke as his own residence.

The house, built in 1887, is two-storey red-brick and includes design features which anticipate the Australian Queen Anne style popularised at the turn of the century.

A single-storey ballroom was added sometime before 1902. Rotha is one of eleven houses constructed as a speculative venture in Harcourt Street by Beswicke and his father Charles, one of the Port Phillip District's early squatters. The Beswicke family occupied the house until 1980.

How is it significant?

Rotha is of historic and architectural significance to the State of Victoria

Why is it significant?

Rotha is of historic importance as a result of its association with one of Victoria's early squatting families, and as the residence of the eminent architect John Beswicke. Rotha is unique in anticipating the Australian Queen Anne style of architecture not popularised until the end of the nineteenth century.


Significance of Individual Property

  1. A brilliant house and garden design, certainly the best in Harcourt Street and in Hawthorn by architect John Beswicke. Significant architecturally for its flamboyant interpretation in pre Queen anne form of Beswicke's developing standard mansion house plan.

  2. Architecturally and historically significant as the oldest, largely unaltered, Beswicke mansion in the Harcourt Street Precinct of State significance. Possibly additionally significant individually (examination required).

  3. Significant for the substantially intact garden form, which combines with the house to provide an excellent picture of the intentions of Beswicke's grand scheme for Harcourt Street.

  4. Significant for its substantial contribution to the Harcourt Street mansion house precinct.

Read more:


SHENTON 782.jpg


Shenton, 41 Kinkora Road Hawthorn


Shenton was built in 1890 for the coal, chaff and grain merchant John Shenton Gordon.

The house was purchased in 1897 by George Swinburne, the prominent engineer, commercial entrepreneur, politician and member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly.

Shenton is a two-storey red brick building featuring an asymmetrical front facade, original internal features and garden landscape features created for George Swinburne.


  1. Architecturally significant for the early use of red brick on an experimental mansion form.

  2. Historically of outstanding significance for its long association with George Swinburne, a prominent Hawthorn citizen, who became a Councillor, MP, and was a founder and patron of the Swinburne Technical college (now the Swinburne Institute of Technology).


Together with his wife Ethel, George Swinburne was an advocate of technical education in Victoria.

Their support enabled the opening of the Eastern Suburbs Technical School in 1908 (later the Swinburne Institute of Technology) and in the 1916 the opening of the first technical school for girls in Australia as a branch of the school.


The Swinburne family occupied the house until its sale in 1963 to the Immigration Department for use as an immigration reception centre.

  • Sold for $3,200,000 in May 1999

  • Last Sold $2,020,000 in Apr 1990

Read more:

Talana pio21045405.jpg

Talana, 1 Harcourt Street and

27 Auburn Road HAWTHORN EAST 

  1. A highly individual adaptation of the Australian style in the Queen Anne, at the height of its popularity.

  2. A rare example of the overall hipped roof type, adapted to two storey mansion house form.

  3. Illustrative of the inventive work of Hawthorn's great architect Beswicke.

  4. A substantially intact mansion which is a landmark in Auburn Road and Harcourt Street.)


The last of Beswicke's mansions in Hawthorn, and the gateway building to the mansion house precinct in Harcourt Street, Hawthorn.

  • “Executed in the required red brick, the decorative embellishments are in render and rough cast, overlaid with timber.”

  • “Although the house has a basic gable wing, to coordinate point form, it departs from the standard Queen Anne pattern in several areas:

    • Tower. Porch & Verandah
      The principal facade to Harcourt Street has (overlaid on the basic form), a tower and entry porch gable feature and the return verandah is a highly individual design.

    • Bay Window & Tower Window: The corner bay expression in the verandah is atypical and the Gothic tracery in the tower window unusual on a Queen Anne design.

  • “The roof is clad with Marseilles tiles. Given their date, these are probably of imported French origin along with the cappings and griffon.

    • Although the building addresses the corner site with its corner balcony, the principal facade is clearly Harcourt Street.

    • The grounds provide an appropriate context for the building but do not contain a garden which makes a contribution on its own.”


The Harcourt Street Precinct, Hawthorn, is an area of heritage significance for the following reasons:

Harcourt Street features a concentration of nineteenth century mansions of a high level of design, a number of which retain expansive grounds.

The mansion houses are interspersed with series of distinctive and substantial Federation designs, and interwar houses in Tudor and related modes.

Read more:

hawthorn east_0013_14.jpg
talana-hawthorn-east-2 (1)
hawthorn east_0010_11.jpg
hawthorn east_0016_18.jpg
hawthorn east_0001_2.jpg
hawthorn east_0002_3.jpg
hawthorn east_0015_17.jpg
hawthorn east_0017_19.jpg
Talana Animation large.gif
Tay Creggan
Tay Creggan_Hawthorn 498.jpg


Tay Creggan, 30 Yarra Street, Hawthorn


"Tay Creggan is a national treasure"


Architectural excess can be cause for sheer delight.

“Tay Creggan” – the house on the rocks – is the fantastical building of gables, dormers, turrets and tall, twinned chimney stacks that can be glimpsed from across the Yarra at Richmond.

Up closer you can see scalloped terracotta roof tiling, fancy fretwork and finials, the ”candle snuffer” profile of the most prominent turret, the many pretty porches and the diamond leadlight in bay windows that project from the timbered upper storey.

When the house – now the year 9 campus of Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School – was built in 1889, it was an architect’s own home that took the boom style of late-Victorian housing to the next level of lavish.

With all that exterior detail and exceptional interior appointment – the ballroom has three stained-glass cupolas, four wooden dragon gargoyles and a huge inglenook fireplace in Scottish oak – it has always been problematic for architectural historians to classify.

Stylistically, what is it? Elizabethan revival? 19th-century eclecticism? Early arts and crafts? Queen Anne revival? Picturesque gothic? Colonial Gormenghast? The embellished copy of an Italian mountain villa once visited by its architect?

It has been called all of these. But whatever the model, it is considered one of the most important houses in Australia. The National Trust says Tay Creggan makes it into ”the first rank of noteworthy buildings”. Certainly unique in Melbourne, it sent its architect, Robert Guyon Purchas, broke.

Purchas was bumped from ownership, almost as the house was completed, by the 1890s bank crash.

And for the next three decades the terraced garden estate, with its coach houses, stables, paddocks and tennis and croquet courts, was a family domain that required 10 maids, a coachman and four gardeners.

Today, Tay Creggan is Strathcona’s dedicated Year 9 Campus; providing a rich, challenging and unique experience for teenage girls when they are exerting greater independence and exploring personal identity.

Tay Creggan_Hawthorn 501.jpg

Since June 2009, Tay Creggan has been listed in the Victorian Heritage Register recognising its ‘architectural significance as one of the finest examples in Victoria of the Victorian Queen Anne Revival style and as one of the most picturesque houses built in Victoria in the late nineteenth century.’

Construction of the Tay Creggan house commenced in 1893 by Mr Robert Guyon Purchas who was the owner, architect and builder.

Tay Creggan is Scottish for ‘house built on a rock’. His concept was influenced by an Italian Chateau that had impressed him during his travels on the continent in the 1870s.

However, Purchas lost his fortune in the1890s depression and was forced to sell the unfinished home.

The newly married Michael and Flora Spencer became the owners in 1897, and had Purchas design a number of changes to the house for them.

In the original plan, a gallery for the orchestra was to be built above the fireplace in the ballroom and this had been partly installed. The large wooden beam, still visible along the low ceiling at the south of this room (later used by Strathcona as the weaving room), was the support for this orchestral gallery.


The new owners decided that the ballroom should be a billiard room instead, and so the gallery was closed off and six foundation pillars were erected under the floor. These pillars and the steel wedges may be seen from the passageway of the cellar.

The fireplace in the billiard room came from Scotland and is made of Scottish oak.

In the front hall the Spencer Family Crest appears above the fireplace. Mr Spencer died in 1900 at Tay Creggan at the age of 31 and is buried at Boroondara Cemetery.

In 1901, Mrs Spencer married Mr A H McKean and whilst they were away on a lengthy honeymoon, further alterations to the home took place.

History of Tay Creggan year9-TC
Tay Creggan rt17606-32390
Tay Creggan 498
Tay Creggan_57acff287f_b
Tay Creggan s21

The original stairs were removed, creating the gracious hallway of today, and the new stairs, with a stained glass window above them, were installed at the southern end of the hall.

In great contrast to the original stairs, there was now a substantial landing half way up and each step was much shallower than initially conceived.  a substantial landing half way up and each step was much shallower than initially conceived.

The home itself was built most substantially: the lower part of the ground floor walls are 18 inches (45.7cm) thick (this presented enormous difficulties when subsequently sewerage and electricity were installed) and all rafters and floor joists are of oregon.

The floor joists, all of which are 10 x 3 inches (25.4 x 7.6cm) with 12 inch (30.4cm) centres, support New Zealand kauri floor boards 1.5 inches (3.8cm) thick and secured from underneath with brass screws.

In the early days, there were ten servants at Tay Creggan, including a coachman and four gardeners. The cook and three maids lived ‘at the top of the back stairs’.

At the bottom of these stairs was the sewing room (with tiled floor, now the Conference Room), a storeroom and the butler’s pantry.

The main drive swept down and passed the house as it does now, but on its western side a bank appeared which gradually increased in height as the drive led into the stable yard

The stable yard had a bricked surface, was large enough for a coach and a team of three horses to turn in and was surrounded by coach house and stables.

The coach house contained space for a hansom cab, wagonette and a dog cart and there was a harness room attached.

There were four double and two single stalls in the stable, a feed room, fowl house, loft and sleeping quarters for the coachman. There were always at least four horses, many fowls and a Jersey cow.


The garden has always been a feature with its winding paths and shady trees. The croquet lawn and grass tennis court were tended meticulously, especially the latter, as many interstate games were played there.

A pergola, covered with prodigiously-yielding vines and adding glorious colour to the garden, ran down the side of the tennis court to the river.

This pergola divided the main garden from 1.5 acres (0.6 ha) of vegetable garden. Many seedlings and much advice about growing vegetables came from the Chinese market gardeners whose farms were on the river banks on either side of the property.

The milking shed was on the south side of the stables and a path through the cow yard led to a jetty on the river

Read more:

Warwillah 254.jpg


Warwillah 572 St. Kilda Road Melbourne

An important and, for Melbourne, an early example of Federation Queen Anne, built in 1896 (possibly by John Beswicke).

The facade is asymmetrical, but the larger half timbered gable and cantilevered banked window on the south side is balanced by the polygonal corner tower and candle snuffer roof on the north.

Other architectural motifs of interest include the depressed pointed arches to main openings, engaged colonettes at the porch entrance and the chimneys with vertical brick banding in the manner of Henry Kemp.

The main entry hall, despite some modifications, retains ornate fibrous plaster ceilings.

The staircase, with its diagonally boarded soffit and the great stained glass window, signed by W Montgomery, are the most impressive internal features.

Warwillah is architecturally significant for its unusual combination of predominantly Federation Queen Anne architectural features with a number of Gothic and free Classical motifs.

The building has a high level of integrity and includes a number of important original fittings of which a large stained glass window is of particular interest

This building was an Education Department hostel until it was sold on in March 1984.

Read More:


Keep Reading: