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The Gascoigne Estate, Malvern


The Gascoigne Estate and Federation Style


The Gascoigne Estate is bounded by Tooronga, Wattletree & Burke Rds and Anderson & Coppin Streets. 


Sandwiched between Tooronga and Burke Roads, the renowned Gascoigne and Waverley Estates have some of the best examples of Edwardian and Queen Anne-styled architecture but also some later Federation

One of the best period streetscapes in Melbourne is Gascoigne Estate, East Malvern (Finch Street and Central Park Road).

Rae Tomlinson, from Marshall White, says the area, developed in the 1880s, is like a prestigious housing estate.

“Most of the houses are Edwardian with a couple of Victorians scattered in the estate so there is a consistency of build.”

It has long, wide avenues, and Central Park, a large English common-style park, forms the heart of the close community.

Price guide: $2 million to $4 million-plus. [1]

City of Stonnington Federation Houses Study

Finch Street is a long north-south road, first referred to as Finch Street North and Finch Street South, which was laid out in various stages and developed as part of numerous estate subdivisions.

Finch Street South, between Dandenong Road and Wattletree Road (in Malvern East), was laid out in stages in 1860 and 1880; however, the land remained undeveloped until the railway line between Oakleigh and South Yarra opened in 1879.


Finch Street South was subsequently developed as part of the 1885 Gascoigne Estate and 1890 Waverley Estate, and comprises Federation houses, with a high percentage of Interwar houses along Wattletree Road, Belson Street and Nott Street (Raworth 1994:3-4).

The northern end of Finch Street North (and Vincent Street), between Martin Crescent and High Street (Glen Iris), was created in 1886 (Foster & Stefanopoulos, 2006:29). [2]


The Heritage of East Malvern

The area comprising the former Gascoigne, Gascoigne Extension and Waverley estates is of regionaI significance as a substantial and important example of Federation and inter-war suburban development in Melbourne.

Initially subdivided in the late nineteenth century, it experienced its greatest growth in the first decades of the twentieth century.

The area therefore exhibits a mixed character typical of land subdivided during the land boom of the 1880s, with generous allotments often backing onto narrow lanes occupied with houses often built as much as forty years after the initial subdivision.

The area is one of the least altered and most easily interpreted examples of this sequence of development in Melbourne's inner suburbs. [3]

Architect Thomas [B] Munttz  tbm-sm.jpg

Establishment of the Gascoigne Estate

The Gascoigne Estate was masterminded by the resourceful Matthew Davies, who was the largest owner, although the extent of his holdings was obscured by a smokescreen of companies and connections.

The Gascoigne Land Company was registered in February 1885, and the next month the first auction was announced by Davies' brother-in-law, James Mercer.

Planned by the ubiquitous Malvern surveyor, T B Muntz, the allotments were mostly 66 feet x 150 feet, with some larger corner blocks.

The key word in advertising was 'salubrious', and

the capping phrase 'a character and stability

rivalling TOORAK and SOUTH YARRA'.

The Gascoigne estate was planned by Thomas Bingham Muntz (Prahran Mayor 1885/86 and Councillor 1883-1888 & 1889-1893 and Engineer for both Malvern and Prahran Councils) for the Gascoigne Land Company was first advertised for sale in March 1885.


Over the next five years much of the land was consolidated into a single ownership, and in March 1885 the Gascoigne Estate (a subdivision of Crown Allotments 79 to 82) was offered for sale by the Gascoigne Land Company.

  • This area included the allotments of Coppin Street,

  • the east side of Tooronga Road,

  • the south side of Hunter Street (later Central Park Road), and

  • the west side of Burke Road.

In November 1885 the Gascoigne Extension was offered for sale, comprising Crown Allotments 83 to 86 and including

  • Anderson Street,

  • the north end of Finch Street,

  • Belson Street,

  • Nott Street,

  • Kingston Street and

  • the land now occupied by Central Park but at this stage subdivided into suburban allotments. [4]


First homes built in the Gascoigne Estate

By October 1885, after a dramatically short life span typical of the boom, the Gascoigne Land Company was in liquidation, but its demise had been compensated for three months before by the birth of the Malvern Land Company Limited.

Despite the rapid entrance and exit of companies, seventeen houses were built on the estate between January 1885 and February 1886, mostly in the southern sections.

According to Clements, they were 'fairly typical of the High Victorian domestic style', but the introduction of an asymmetrical layout in these buildings represented a move away from classical balance.


Even though the boom was heading towards its maximum inflation, only ten more houses went up in the next five years.

In the trough of the depression, from 1891 to 1893, the period when Melbourne's population declined by almost 50 000, only three houses, all timber, were erected, and, gloomy about the area's immediate prospects, Davies allowed 'permissive occupancy' to the Melbourne Golf Club on part of the land. [5]

Melbourne Golf Club established in 1891


In 1891, quick to take advantage of the hiatus was the Melbourne Golf Club, later the Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

  • Much of the land was taken over for a golf course in June 1891, the contractors Finlay & Conacher having laid out the links in a matter of weeks.

  • The 18 hole course, was taken over by the Caulfield Golf Club (later the Metropolitan) in 1901.

  • A clubhouse was established in an unoccupied Italianate villa at 16 Turner Street and another empty house across the street was used by the associates and caddies.

  • When the Royal Melbourne Golf Club removed to its present home at Sandringham in 1901, the course was taken over by Caulfield (later Metropolitan) Golf Club, but the course was abandoned to domestic development when that Club also moved on in 1907.


1890s Depression hits Melbourne Development


Melbourne expanded in the nineteenth century during the development boom fuelled by the gold rush, before the interruption caused by the 1890s’ depression.

The Gascoigne Estate in Malvern East was not fully developed until the twentieth century, so Victorian era houses are scattered throughout Malvern east of Glenferrie Road such as in Stanhope Street. [6]

The smaller allotments of the Waverley Estate (bounded by Burke & Waverley Rds and Coppin & Finch Streets) were released in 1891.

The financial crash of 1891 virtually froze development on these estates and allowed the Melbourne Golf Club to open a course over much of the estates.

Development recommenced when the economy improved and with the opening of the Wattletree Rd tram in 1910 and the Waverley Rd tram in 1913. [7]


Finch Street developed with Federation Queen Anne homes

After the depression, the first burst of building on the Gascoigne Estate was mainly confined to Finch Street.

  • In August 1899, the well-known architectural partnership of Beverley Ussher and Henry Kemp called tenders for the 'erection of six 6 roomed villas with tyled roofs .. . all of different designs' (Numbers 21 to 33 Finch Street).

    • In 1899 this group of six substantial houses was erected in Finch Street to designs prepared by noted architects Ussher & Kemp for developer William Knox. Another large house,

  • ‘The Gables’ was built to the south of these in 1902, again to the designs by Ussher & Kemp.

    • These were in the new ‘Queen Anne’ mode, which with its red brick walls and timber fretwork contrasted substantially with the stuccoed Italianate of previous decades, and this new mode was to dominate the development of the area.

  • This side of Finch Street was not part of the Gascoigne or Waverley subdivisions per se, but faced on to the Waverley Estate and its buildings contribute significantly to that character of the area and helped greatly in setting the elegant suburban cachet of the area.

At the same time, other architects — Sydney H Wilson, one of the original architects of the town hall, J Beswicke & Klingender and Howitt & Godfrey — were working there.

By 1904, the rate books show twenty-four houses in the street, all but two of them constructed in brick, and occupied by the solidly middle class: secretary, importer, sharebroker, lawyer (four), clerk (two), traveller, draper, gentleman (four). [8]


Best addresses in Malvern East:

From  [9]

  1. Finch Street(Illustrated below)

  2. Kingston Street Malvern East (Illustrated below)

  3. Central Park Road(Illustrated below)

  4. Kerferd Street (Illustrated below)



Federation heritage of Finch Street, Malvern East



Federation heritage of Kingston Street, Malvern East

Federation heritage of Central Park Road, Malvern East



The overall character of Malvern's area is a mature Federation and inter-war area with broad tree-lined streets.

The Gascoigne estate area has for many years been seen as quintessential Malvern.

The area's associations with Central Park are contributory to its significance.


The land upon which Central Park is sited was part of the Gascoigne Extension estate, and its development as a park by Malvern council can be sees as a notable intervention adding significantly to the verdant character of the area as a whole.

Above: 5 Central Park Road, Malvern VIC                         12 Central Park Road Malvern East                          16 Central Park Road Malvern East 

Above: 22 Central Park Road Malvern East                      24 Central Park Road Malvern East                          25 Central Park Road Malvern East

Federation heritage of Kerford Street,

Malvern East