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Grace Park Estate, Hawthorn Victoria

 

Grace Park Estate runs in a series of fine groves and crescents from Hawthorn Grove down through Chrystobel Crescent to Grace Park and the former Hawthorn Football Ground. 

The Grace Park Estate, based around Chrystobel and Linda crescents, has 33 homes by architect Christopher Cowper which were built in the ornate Federation Queen Anne style (with turrets and Tudor-style woodwork) between 1908 and 1912. These days those homes command prices upwards of $3 million each.

Grace Park takes its name from the orginal estate established by Michael Lynch between 1846 and 1848.

His land became housing development of the 1880s that was unusual for being designed for leasehold tenure.

 

The Grace Park Estate was formed from several lots purchased by Michael or Julia Lynch between 1846-47, forming grounds to Grace Park House, constructed by them before 1858.

 

Grace Park Estate is an Historic Area. Street names are:

Mary, Power, Moore, Ruby, Charles and Eric Streets, Chrystobel, Linda, Hilda Crescents,

all in HAWTHORN, BOROONDARA CITY.

CROWN PORTIONS & ALLOTMENTS IN THE PARIS
Grace Park Estate sale Feb 16, (1895)?

Grace Park House

The prominent Colonial architect John Gill designed the first section of the house later known as Grace Park House which was built for the Irish immigrant, publican and

Hawthorn land owner Michael Lynch in 1857.

It was extended in the early 1870s. Subsequent alterations and extensions occurred in the early 1890s after the house had been converted to the Grace Park Ladies College.

The house was designed in the Georgian style, is stucco and comprises two storeys. It features shuttered french doors opening onto a double-storeyed timber-framed verandah.

How is it significant?

Grace Park House is of historic and architectural significance to the State of Victoria

Why is it significant?

Grace Park House, constructed in the Georgian style, is an important example of the Colonial architect John Gill's work.

The house is also important because of it's ability to exhibit, by its symmetrical proportions, the aesthetic characteristics of the Georgian style.

 

  • After Michael Lynch’s death in October 1871, Julia Lynch became the owner/occupier of the house and three acres.

  • In 1884 the Grace Park Estate was leased to the Grace Park Leasehold Syndicate headed by Henry Byron Moore and was subdivided soon after into the broad serpentine street form of the Grace Park area.

  • Moore became insolvent in 1891 and there followed a series of convoluted lease arrangement until in 1904 the Settled Lands Act made sales possible. These commenced in 1904.

Hawthorn Borough Plan dated 1880s
 

Grace Park House is historically important because of its association, through Michael Lynch, with Melbourne's early development and illustrates the opportunities available to the early settlers of the Port Phillip District.

 

The 1890s additions and alterations, commissioned when the house accommodated the Grace Park Ladies College, are historically important for their association with the rise of private educational facilities for girls in the Colony and the emergence of an upper middle class.

The History

Grace Park was one of the first estates established in Hawthorn.

Michael Lynch of the Rising Sun Hotel in Mel bourne and his wife Julia (nee Grace) bought Crown Allotments 38-42 bound by Power Street , Glenferrie and Burwood Roads and the present northern back fences of Mary Street .

On the highest part of the property, they built their two-storied home (c. 1857).

The house was designed by notable Melbourne architect John Gill and included 8 rooms, a cellar and stable.

In 1989, Grace Park House was included on the Historic Buildings Council Register by virtue of its being 'of special significance to the State of Victoria '.

This magnificent property also received an 'A' grading in the Hawthorn Heritage Study (Meredith Gould, 1992).

Its primary significance is historical as it is the original mansion house and land of the 'Grace Park Estate' around which an area, famous for its street design, was planned.

It is also important as one of the earliest surviving mansion houses in the Hawthorn area that, although altered, has architectural importance as a rare example of a Georgian styled house.

Michael Lynch was a leading pioneer. He was a member of Boroondara's Road Board and was a donor of land for the Church of the Immaculate Conception.

Lynch's will stipulated that the Grace Park estate was to be retained by his family in perpetuity.

After his death in 1871, Julia Lynch became the owner-occupier of the house and land. However, in 1874, the homestead and 4 hectares became Mrs. Robert Colvin Clark's Ladies' College and the rest was leased to Edmund Edwards, a local horse breaker.

From c.1900 until the 1930s, the house was variously a boarding house and private flats. More recently, physicist Dr. Maxwell Swingler and his wife have resided there.

Architect Christopher Cowper

 

Architect Christopher Cowper bought and developed thirty-three allotments between 1908-12 for the Grace Park Estate in Hawthorn (HO152), which George Tibbits described as ‘a sanctuary of houses in the Melbourne Queen Anne manner’.​

Christopher Cowper was a significant architect in early 20th century Boroondara, best known for his extensive Queen Anne residential development in Grace Park, Hawthorn.

Christopher Cowper Architecture

Chrystobel Crescent is thought to follow the original curving drive to the Lynch family home, which had become Grace Park Ladies College by the time lots in the estate were offered for sale.

Remaining blocks were sold after 1906 when the Kew railway line cut through and most homes in the estate were built after that time.

 

Today the estate is recognized as having some of Melbourne’s best Edwardian architecture.

Grace Park Precinct

Above: Precinct 26 in Hawthorn

The majority of the precinct 26 is within the Grace Park and Hawthorn Grove heritage overlay area (HO152) which is significant for its later Victorian and Federation era dwellings.

The significance of the area derives from its plan of subdivision, with curving crescents and rights of way; and its housing, which is mostly representative of the Edwardian era but also includes some older buildings of the 1880s.

 
 

Designs by Architect Christopher Cowper

-from Architect Christopher Cowper at www.federationhome.com

Identified Cowper house designs in the City of Stonnington:

  1. House, at 9 Towers Road, Toorak built 1915

  2. House, at 45 Lansell Road, Toorak built 1915 (?)

  3. House, at 25 Hopetoun Road, Toorak built 1916

  4. House, at 3 Mernda Rd, Kooyong 1939 (CM&A)

 

Outside the City
  1. House at 71 The Broadway, Camberwell;

  2. House at 14 Studley Avenue, Kew

  3. House at 22 Studley Avenue, Kew

  4. House at Barry & Stawell Streets corner, Kew

  5. Constantia at Hilda Crescent, Hawthorn (1907-12)

  6. House at 62 Riversdale Rd & Fordham St corner, Hawthorn (multiple roof gables against a hipped main roof, using colonial Bungalow forms)

 

Other contemporary houses identified in heritage studies of the city as significant:

  1. House at 310 Glenferrie Road, Malvern built 1912-13

  2. House at 6 Stonnington Place, Toorak built 1912-16

  3. Ballara 49 Lansell Road, Toorak heritage assessment

  4. House in Lansell Road, Toorak built 1913

  5. House at 17 Munro Street, Armadale built 1913

  6. House at 1181 Malvern Road, Malvern built 1913

  7. House at 221 Burke Road, Glen Iris built 1913-14 (demolished )

  8. House at 6 Munro Street, Armadale built 1914

  9. House at 679 Toorak Road, Kooyong built 1914 (demolished )

  10. House at 8 Stonnington Place, Toorak built 1914

  11. House at 4 Como Avenue, South Yarra built 1914

  12. House at 14 Power Avenue, Toorak built 1914

  13. House at 1059 Malvern Road, Toorak built 1914-15

  14. House at 12 Somers Avenue, Malvern built 1914-15

  15. House at 4 Belmont Avenue, Glen Iris built 1914c (demolished )

  16. House at 23 Monaro Road, Kooyong built 1915

  17. House at 9 Towers Road, Toorak built 1915

  18. House at 3 Mernda Road, Kooyong built 1915

  19. House at 45 Lansell Road, Toorak built 1915c

  20. House at 1097 Malvern Road, Toorak? built 1915c

  21. House at 19 Alleyne Avenue, Armadale built 1915c

  22. House at 4 Finch Street, Malvern East built 1915c

  23. House at 15-17 Webster Street, Malvern East built 1915c

  24. House at 5 Towers Road, Toorak built 1916

  25. House at 1088 Malvern Road, Armadale built 1916

  26. House at 25 Hopetoun Road, Toorak built 1916

  27. House at 1078 Malvern Road, Armadale built 1916

  28. House at 704 Toorak Road, Kooyong built 1916

  29. House at 16 Chesterfield Avenue, Malvern built 1916 (demolished )

  30. House at 1050 Malvern Road, Armadale built 1916-17 (demolished )

  31. House at 76 St. Georges Road, Toorak built 1918

  32. House at 28 Clendon Road, Toorak built 1918

  33. House at 28 Clendon Road, Toorak built 1918

  34. House at 304 Glenferrie Road, Malvern built 1918

  35. House at 64 Hopetoun Road, Toorak built 1918 (demolished )

  36. House at 3 Yar Orrong Road, Toorak built 1919

  37. House at 719 Toorak Road, Kooyong built 1919

  38. House at 395 Glenferrie Road, Toorak built 1919 (demolished )

The Grace Park and Hawthorn Grove Precincts, Hawthorn, are of heritage significance for the following reasons:

  • The place is a concentrated and relatively intact precinct of generally high quality residential buildings of the later Victorian and Federation periods.
     

  • Hilda Crescent has an unbroken set of highly distinctive Federation house designs, and the mode continues in the adjacent streets.
     

  • The area is characterised by mature gardens and street trees, filtering the light in the more southern streets, south of Kinkora Road, and giving the area a distinctive shaded character.
     

  • The diagonal house compositions and curving streets in the Grace Park Precinct combine to create an informal and picturesque character.
     

  • The northern section - Kinkora Road and Hawthorn Grove - has a large concentration of 1880s housing in tighter patterns that are similarly characteristic of that earlier era, and is relatively intact. 

    • These streets were the first typically-scaled suburban development in Hawthorn, in contrast to the St James Park area which began as a mansion group.

Above: Constantia, 9 Hilda Crescent Hawthorn, Booroondara City, VIC

Grace Park Federation Era Houses

A group of houses in Hilda Crescent was designed by Christopher Cowper

  1.  1 Hilda Crescent (1909),

  2.  9 Hilda Crescent (1907), and

  3. 15 Hilda Crescent (1910), and probably

  4. 21 Hilda Crescent, (1908).

 

Cowper reputedly also designed

  1. 11 Chrystobel Street and

  2. 13 Linda Crescent, Hawthorn.

 
 

Above: "Winton" at 15 Chrystobel Crescent Hawthorn (circa 1915)

 

Winton is a magnificent double storey Edwardian residence and was built for a William Burne.

  • For a period before the Second World War until 1960 William Elliget and his family lived in "Winton".

  • Although always a private home, for some time the large room at the rear of the house, which has its own external access, was rented out and once had a kitchenette.

 

All the fine features of the Edwardian era are on display in this home.

  • There are beautifully proportioned rooms,

  • an ornate slate roof and intricate fretwork down the entrance hall and in the dining room bay window.

  • Leadlight appears not only in the gracious windows of the formal areas but also in every door throughout the house.

  • The painted glass in the window above the landing halfway up the stairs depicts Australian birds.

  • The decorative plasterwork on the cornices and ceilings in the entrance hall, formal rooms and main bedroom is also original and well worth looking up to admire.

 

At the rear of the house the deep verandah opens to lawn and garden, a tranquil setting for the family pool.

The mature garden is of generous proportions and features many established plants and trees, perhaps from the Lynch era.

- from Open Houses 2007: Chrystobel Crescent

Chrystobel Crescent OPEN HOUSE 2007
 

Above: Constantia, 9 Hilda Crescent, Hawthorn

Constantia, 9 Hilda Crescent Hawthorn VIC

A single storey brick house of eight rooms, constructed in 1907, this is Cowper’s own home: a single storey Queen Anne house, part of a group in Hilda Crescent designed by Christopher Cowper. The house at 9 Hilda Crescent illustrates what Cowper found most attractive, in particular

  • the corner turret, used on many of his designs, and 

  • the vertical valence decoration terminating in an arch form. In this case the verandah arch is supported on stumpy columns not noted on his other designs.

  • The building is also interesting for the absence of Cowper’s much used Tuscan columns, which are a strong characteristic of the urban form of Grace Park.

Statement of Significance

 

  1. Architecturally significant as one of a group of Cowper's designs in Hilda Crescent and Grace Park.

  2. Historically significant as Cowper's own home.

  3. Architecturally significant for its contribution to the outstanding Queen Anne precinct of Grace Park, which is of State significance.
     

 

Above: Residence 7 Chrystobel Crescent Hawthorn, VIC

7 Chrystobel Crescent Hawthorn VIC

Statement of Significance
  1.  A large and late example amongst the best of the buildings constructed in the second development period at Grace park which incorporates many standard design Grace Park features.
    A landmark in the Urban Conservation Area which has statewide significance in the development of the Garden Suburb.

  2. A fine example of the transition between the Queen Anne (or Federation) styles and the garden bungalow.

11 Chrystobel Crescent Hawthorn
13 Linda Crescent Hawthorn

Above: 13 Linda Crescent Hawthorn

Wembden, 40 Chrystobel Crescent Hawthorn, VIC

 

Above: Wembden, 40 Chrystobel Crescent Hawthorn, VIC

Wembden 40 Chrystobel Crescent Hawthorn

Grace Park Design Competition

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

    • In 1884 architect Leonard Flannagan won third prize in the category for a villa costing less than £750 in the 1882 competition conducted by the Grace Park Syndicate which was then subdividing the Grace Park Estate in Hawthorn.​​

 
  • 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.

  • The curving railway easement to Kew was formed in 1887 but was in use for only a few years. This fortuitously reinforced the garden suburb planning by providing a park spine through the centre of the estate.

  • Despite the economic conditions of the 1890s several properties were developed.

'Lawton' Moore St Grace Park Estate

in the twentieth century, the character set by the earlier development was reinforced with Queen Anne and Garden Bungalow designs often by architect/developer Christopher Cowper.

  • By the end of World War One most land was fully developed and the distinctive character of the precinct was set.

  • The standard elements used in this structure are used on many other Grace Park Properties, including 7, 11, 39, 22, 20, 18 Linda Crescent, 18 and 40 Chrystobel Crescent amongst others.[4]