Cedric Ballantyne's Bungalow and Interwar Architecture


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A WORK IN PROGRESS
232 Kooyong Road, Toorak
232 Kooyong Road, Toorak

The architect of 232 Kooyong Road was Cedric Heise Ballantyne (1876-1957).
  • Ballantyne was born in Prahran and educated in Sydney and Melbourne. He was articled to Percy Oakden from 1892 to 1897 and served as his chief draftsman from 1897-1900 before entering into partnership with Oakden in 1901.
  • Oakden and Ballantyne are credited with being the first Melbourne architects to show an interest in American bungalow idioms.
  • Notably early bungalow designs by the firm include Skelbo, Ballantyne’s own house in Toorak Road, Malvern (1908, demolished), and Illabrook, Lansell Road, Toorak (1909, demolished).
  • Oakden and Ballantyne were also responsible for a number of commercial buildings in the city including Lister House at 61-65 Collins Street (1915, now demolished), the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency offices, and the Champions Buildings.

Practice History



Oakden entered partnership in 1900 with his employee Cedric Ballantyne, and after Oakden's death in 1917
Goulburn   Garden   Suburb
Goulburn Garden Suburb

Ballantyne continued in practice at first by himself, in partnership with the engineer-architect Henry Hare in 1921–6, alone again until 1933, briefly with his associates B. P. Sutton and G. H. Sneddon, then in partnership with Sneddon alone until 1939.
  • The practice remained an important one and Ballantyne's works included, for example, the now controversial Regent Theatre in Collins Street.
  • Employees of the practice still survive, in particular Mr. Keith Reid who can remember being instructed in about 1925, while a junior in the office, to go down to the vaults and sort out and destroy the older and now useless material.[2]

After Oakden retired in 1916 due to failing health, Ballantyne designed a garden suburb in Goulburn with Donald Esplin.
  • In 1919, Henry Hare was accepted as a partner in Oakden Ballantyne & Hare (soon renamed Ballantyne & Hare). Projects from this phase of Ballantyne’s career include the clubrooms for the Lawn Tennis Association of Victoria at Kooyong, and several private homes and flats in Toorak, Brighton and St Kilda Road, Melbourne.
  • In the late 1920s, after undertaking a study tour of the United States, Ballantyne designed a series of opulent picture palaces for Hoyts Theatres Ltd, for which he is perhaps best remembered.
  • The finest of Ballantyne’s theatres, the Regent in Collins Street (1929), had lavish interiors in an amalgam of Italian renaissance, Medieval and Spanish baroque styles.

Throughout most of his career, Ballantyne was architect for the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade Board, a position he inherited from Percy Oakden.
  • Ballantyne practised as C H Ballantyne & Associates from 1927, creating the Athenaeum Club in Collins Street (1928-30).
Kooyong lawn tennis club building
Kooyong lawn tennis club building

  • By 1933, he entered into partnership with G H Sneddon to form Ballantyne and Sneddon. Ballantyne was in semi-retirement from the early 1930s, working on various projects before closing his office in 1951 and permanently retiring to Merimbula.[1]

Architect Percy Oakden's influence


  • Oakden seems to have been responsible for the Tudor design of Queen's College and Wesleyan Churches, now in a style of less strident polychromy, at Albert Park (1890) and Male Street, Brighton (1891).
  • In 1892 the firm became Oakden & Kemp, but the practice dwindled in the depression. Kemp left for Sydney late in 1895 and the partnership dissolved next year.
  • In 1901 Cedric H. Ballantyne, who had been Oakden's pupil and then his chief draftsman, joined him in a partnership which was responsible for the City Club, Lister House, the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Co.'s offices at the corner of Collins and King Streets, Champion's buildings and others.
    Illabrook, Ballantyne’s Lansell Road design (1909)
    Illabrook, Ballantyne’s Lansell Road design (1909)

The Craftsman Bungalow


INDIGENOUS MATERIALS
  • An artistic use of such materials as river rock, clinker brick, quarried stone, shingles, and stucco is common.
ARTISTIC NATURALISM
  • Most bungalows are low and spreading, not more than a story-and-a-half tall, with porches, sun porches, pergolas and patios tying them to the outdoors.
EMPHASIS ON STRUCTURE
  • Look for artistic exaggeration in columns, posts, eaves brackets, lintels, and rafters. Inside, too, you’ll find ceiling beams, chunky window trim, and wide paneled doors. Horizontal elements are stressed.


Two bungalows by the Melbourne architects P. Oakden and C.H. Ballantyne in 1908 provide the introduction of the twentieth-century bungalow to Australia.
  • The first was a one-storey house with a rather jumbled plan. The exteriors, however, were very good.
  • Two intersecting gables with wood bevelled siding and vents rested on walls of similar siding or rubble stone piers. The stone piers defined the open verandahs, which were bounded with a single post handrail.
    Oakden & Ballantyne: Harry Martin house, Toorak 1908
    Oakden & Ballantyne: Harry Martin house, Toorak 1908
  • Rubble rose out of the ground to provide a rail of sorts for the steps to the verandah. The second bungalow, for Harry Martin in Toorak, was one of the best examples of a consciously designed Australian bungalow of any period

Harry Martin Bungalow, Toorak, Victoria. Oakden and Ballantyne, architects. 1908.
  • It was two storeys and the floor plans were simple and direct. There was a modest entry to a hall which connected all rooms, an ingle-nook, a spatially open drawing and living room, and up the stairs were three bedrooms and an open upper porch or sleep-out.
  • Floorplan, Harry Marttin Bungalow, Toorak
    Floorplan, Harry Marttin Bungalow, Toorak
  • The two storeys were diminished visually by continuing the roof over the verandah and inserting, so to speak, the upper porch into the tiled roof. It was a wooden structure with wood bevelled siding and cedar shingles in the gable.
  • Natural or rubble field stone supported the ingle-nook windows and was placed between the paired posts of the verandah. The proportions were carefully studied to produce a truly fine example of bungalow architecture.
  • The Oakden and Ballantyne bungalows were constructed almost simultaneously with the first article devoted to the subject—‘The Building of a Bungalow: A Style That Should be Popular in Australia’. It was a very short article in Building magazine, only a hundred or so words, but it at least introduced the idea as reasonable for Australia in June 1908. Yet, the deed, the material fact, had already been accomplished and more were to follow
Windarring (2 Glyndebourne Ave) featured in the March 1928 issue of the Australian Home Beautiful, was designed by Oakden & Ballantyne in 1918.
Windarring (2 Glyndebourne Ave) featured in the March 1928 issue of the Australian Home Beautiful, was designed by Oakden & Ballantyne in 1918.

Windarring. (2 Glyndebourne Ave) Double storey interwar villa with attic storey. Divided into units, Heritage Overlay Number HO180.
  • This striking two-storey Craftsman style house was designed by the accomplished partnership of Oakden and Ballantyne, forerunners in the American Bungalow style.
  • The bungalow, with its low gables, overhanging roofs, heavy beams, rough-cast walls and flat roofed
    verandahs with thick pylon supports, was quickly gaining momentum.
  • Glyndebourne Avenue, created in 1919 with the subdivision of the ‘Glyndebourne’ Heights Estate, was well placed to attract home-owners expecting the latest in architectural styles.
    Oakden & Ballantyne: Harry Martin house, Toorak 1908
    Oakden & Ballantyne: Harry Martin house, Toorak 1908

Bungalow style became the major suburban mode of c. 1915-26.
  • Federation form was simplified to basically four-square 'servantless houses'.
  • Open corners or porches replaced return verandahs, and a new horizontality and Japanese detailing stemmed from an influential US Bungalow movement.
  • Witness Oakden & Ballantyne's Martin house, Malvern (1908):
  • Melbourne Bungalows differed from their generally more solid and densely packed Sydney counterparts,
    • had a heavier grain than Brisbane stump-house Bungalows and
    • were tighter - visually and physically - than spreading Adelaide Bungalows.
    • Contained and sheltering, they fitted Australia's inward-turning 1920s mood and
    • were usefully cheap in that uneven economy.

Bungalows proliferated in subdivisions of ostensibly older suburbs like Richmond, Brunswick and Northcote, and dominated bayside housing from St Kilda to Portsea.[2]

Houses built by Cedric Ballantyne and partners


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1 Carmyle Ave Toorak (Units)
1 Carmyle Ave Toorak (Units)


Apartments in Glenferrie Rd, later numbered 383, called 'Hillingdon'
Apartments in Glenferrie Rd, later numbered 383, called 'Hillingdon'

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8 Finch St Malvern East by C. Ballantyne
8 Finch St Malvern East by C. Ballantyne
[3]

39 Hopetoun Road, Toorak (1932)


39 Hopetoun Road, Toorak 1932
39 Hopetoun Road, Toorak 1932
Architect Cedric Ballantyne submitted plans for a two-storey brick residence for Wilfred Kent Fethers, facing Hopetoun Road in 1932. This house was later numbered 39 Hopetoun Road. Col. Fethers, Manager for Australian Royal Insurance, and distinguished soldier from World War I, owned the property until the 1955-6. In the same year, on the site of ‘Rostrevor’, a house was built to the design of architect Robert Hamilton with its entrance from Linlithgow Road.
Description

39 Hopetoun Road is an imposing Old English style residence. The fall of the land has enabled this two storey house to have a low level entry driveway and a garage beneath the ground floor. This has provided a dramatic emphasis to the massing of this building in combination with the steeply pitched terracotta shingle roof and tall chimneys. The roof consists of several ancillary hips to the dominant principal hip as well as an octagonal turret (which presumably serves as a stairwell). The entrance is adjacent, and features an unusual arched porch, the curvature of the arch reflected in the curved terra cotta shingle roof above. The light coloured clinker brickwork is relieved by a section of half timbering. The garden is enhanced by the terracing, the mature trees and general landscape character.
Detail of entry and stair turret,  39 Hopetoun Road Toorak
Detail of entry and stair turret, 39 Hopetoun Road Toorak

Integrity


The house and landscape is apparently intact. The house appears to retain its original garage doors, brick driveway and rustic stone fencing.

Analysis


The English style makes a dramatic contrast with Cedric Ballantyne's normal preoccupation with the Spanish Revival idiom for residential architecture at this period.
  • This is one of the most impressive English style residences in Toorak.
  • Its powerful massing can be compared with Plaisted's 655 Toorak Road and provides a strong testament to the skills of Cedric Ballantyne, who was one of the most interesting architects of the period because of his use of rich architectural imagery, and the Regent Theatre interior in particular.
  • The attention to details and materials of both house and landscaping provide an impressive character to this property.
East Elevation, 39 Hopetoun Road Toorak
East Elevation, 39 Hopetoun Road Toorak

  • The client Wilfred Kent Fethers was a characteristic member of the upper echelon of Toorak society, a leader of the insurance industry, with a distinguished war record.

Statement of Significance


39 Hopetoun Road is of regional significance as one of the most impressive English style residences in Toorak. It provides a strong testament to the skills of noted interwar architect, Cedric Ballantyne. The attention to details and materials of both house and landscaping provide an impressive character to this property.

  • 232 Kooyong Road, Toorak
    232 Kooyong Road, Toorak
  • The architect of 232 Kooyong Road was Cedric Heise Ballantyne (built 1935).

232 Kooyong Road, Toorak (1935)


The house at 232 Kooyong Road is a substantial double-storey Spanish Mission revival style house, which is built on a sloping site so that it essentially presents as a single-storey building to the street.
  • It has a hipped Cordova tiled roof with broad eaves and ornate chimneys with arched vents and Cordova tile capping. External walls are rendered with a rough trowelled finish.
  • The picturesque asymmetrical Kooyong Road façade has projecting bay with a round arched opening to the front entry porch trimmed with ‘ropework’ moulding.
  • The remainder of the façade is screen by a tall garden wall with a small arched timber gate providing access to a front courtyard. This aspect of the design is evocative of a walled Southern Californian mission compound.
  • The house remains largely intact externally apart a double car garage addition to the front, and the glazing-in of the original arcaded ground floor loggia and sleep out balcony at the north-west corner.

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  • 'Wildfell' 614 Toorak Road, Toorak VIC in 1922
    'Wildfell' 614 Toorak Road, Toorak VIC in 1922

Wildfell, 614 Toorak Road, Toorak (1920)


Ornately detailed and vastly proportioned throughout, the home comprises 5 bedrooms plus study and several entertaining and formal living rooms all surrounded by beautiful established gardens.

Wildfell, 614 Toorak Road, Toorak
Wildfell, 614 Toorak Road, Toorak
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622 Toorak Road (Entrance Macquarie Road) Toorak, (for J. Smith, 1926)

Substantial 1920's Spanish Mission style family home set on almost half an acre of established grounds amongst some of Toorak's finest properties offering 4-5 bedroom accommodation with 200' (61.10m) frontage to Macquarie Road.
622 Toorak Road (Entrance Macquarie Road) Toorak, Vic 3142
622 Toorak Road (Entrance Macquarie Road) Toorak, Vic 3142

Features:

Entrance patio, grand entry foyer leading to formal sitting room and separate dining room with sunroom overlooking Northern garden and in ground pool, large den or home office and kitchen with generous meals area. Upstairs comprises grand master bedroom with walk in robes and substantial Northern views, 4 additional bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
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622 Toorak Road (Entrance Macquarie Road)  Toorak, Vic 3142
622 Toorak Road (Entrance Macquarie Road) Toorak, Vic 3142

Commercial Buildings of Cedric Ballantyne and partners



1901-1917 Melbourne Wool Stores

Younghusband Pty. Ltd. Wool and grain warehouses, 2 -50 Elizabeth Street, Kensington


Graeme Butler has noted that architects Oakden & Ballantyne did work on the complex in 1906 and on the basis of this has speculated that the partnership may have been responsible for the design of Wool Store No.1 in c. 1901.
Younghusband Wool store no 1
Younghusband Wool store no 1

  • Percy Oakden and Cedric Ballantyne (a former pupil of Oakden's) were in partnership from 1901.
  • Wool Store No. 1 was of red brick construction and of four-storeys in height with a sawtooth roof incorporating south lights. It faced north and had its principal façade to Chelmsford Street, extending southward along the Melbourne-Essendon railway line.
  • Oakden & Ballantyne designed Wool Store no. 3 (also known as the Tallow Store) in 1917 (additions 1923). While not confirmed, the attribution for Store no. 1 is certainly conceivable.

  • Butler also references Oakden & Ballantyne's design for the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency offices on the corner of King and Collins streets in the city, which while more flamboyant and elaborate, also has a related Romanesque quality.

1910 The Former New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Company Ltd Building


  • 538-544 Collins Street, Melbourne City
  • Style :Queen Anne Revival or Edwardian Baroque
Former New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Company Ltd Building
Former New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Company Ltd Building

  • external image 1086.gifVictorian Heritage Register VHR H0478

  • The Former New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Company Ltd Building was built in 1909-10

  • The four storey red brick and freestone building was designed by Oakden and Ballantyne and built by Swanson Brothers.

The walls are red brick, sitting on a granite plinth, with render around the windows and sandstone ashlar blocks at the bottom part of the wall and in some areas around the windows.

The building's prominent corner site is accentuated by a heavy corner tower with oriel windows. The windows of the ground and first floor are slightly recessed within extended arches featuring stone voussoirs, while balconettes separate the third and fourth floors.

The Building is of architectural significance for its unusual and eclectic style which is symbolic of a transitional time in Victorian architecture.
  • Its free and eclectic use of Classical elements, oversized and ruptured details, broken pediments, over-scaled keystones, balustraded balconettes, oriels, combination of contrasting red brick and stone, metal clad cupola with ventilation turret and circular and arching windows with stone voussoirs demonstrates a move away from the exotic art-nouveau/romanesque back towards more conservative Classical styles just prior to WW1.

  • The use of the Free or Edwardian Baroque styles in commercial buildings was unusual in Melbourne, and this building is now a rare example. The building, particularly the King and Collins Street facades and the cupola with ventilation turret and flagpole on the roof, represents an example of excellent early twentieth century craftsmanship, and is a major contributor to the Collins Street streetscape.
    Victoria Golf Club
    Victoria Golf Club


1927 Victoria Golf Clubhouse


The Victoria Golf Club was established in 1903 and is one of Melbourne's oldest golfing establishments.
  • The Club constructed the present Clubhouse when it moved to its Cheltenham site in 1927.
  • The architect was Cedric Ballantyne who was a member. He presented the Club with the decorative weather vane that surmounts the hipped roof above the current Bar.

Ballantyne's Theatre designs


Cedric Ballantyne, as an architect, did not seem to require another architect to design his theatres although the Regent and Plaza Theatres in Melbourne are as opulent as any US example.
  • Certainly the report on these two theatres in the US Motion Picture News (October 5th, 1929: 1217-1220) only mentions Ballantyne’s firm. Ballantyne, and partner Hare, had designed the Wintergarden Theatre, Brisbane, using Australian motifs (opened 1924) but then he went on to design a number of the Regent Theatres for Hoyts, commencing with the one at South Yarra that opened in 1925, (Thorne: 1976; 18,22).
  • According to the Melbourne Argus, April 27, 1925, it was designed after Ballantyne had investigated theatre design during an overseas visit.
  • In the time between designing the South Yarra and Melbourne Regent Theatres, he designed the ones of the same name in Sydney and Adelaide, both opening in 1928 (See Thorne, 1981: 184, 308).[4]


National Theatre (Victory Theatre) St Kilda (1921)


The National Theatre, St Kilda
The National Theatre, St Kilda
The National Theatre, St Kilda opened in April 1921 as a cinema, the Victory Theatre, described at the time as the second biggest cinema in Melbourne with a capacity for an audience of 3000.

The original design by architect Cecil Keeley included a crush hall and roof gardens.

By the late 1920s it was owned by a consortium that included film entrepreneur Frank W. Thring who became the managing director of Hoyts and later set up his own company Efftee Films.

The theatre directors commissioned extensive alterations in 1928 to designs by the architect Cedric H. Ballantyne. The works reduced the seating capacity to 2550 and made the cinema more luxurious to compete with the newly built Palais Theatre, also in St Kilda.external image 1086.gif

The works included a new proscenium arch, grand entrance foyer with panelled walls and mosaic tiled floor, upper lounge and a barrel vaulted mezzanine promenade. A central marble staircase, using Australian marble, replaced the original two side staircases. Downstairs the original plan included six small shops but two shops made way for more foyer space in the 1928 alterations. The form of the shopfronts remains.

  • The National Theatre, a heavily modelled Classical revival building, is sited on a diagonal axis with a triangular entrance foyer and two principal facades on both Carlisle and Barkly Streets.

Winter Garden Theatre (1924)


  • 189 Queen Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000 (permanently closed)
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Located adjacent to His Majesty’s Theatre. The Winter Garden Theatre was opened on 1st August 1924 with Rin Tin Tin in “WheSociety)re the North Begins”.
  • It was designed by Melbourne based architectural firm Ballantyne & Hare in association with Hall & Prentice of Brisbane.
  • Seating was provided for 1,500 in the stalls and 1,000 in the circle.
  • The proscenium was 45ft wide. equipped with a Wurlitzer 2 Manual 7 Ranks organ which was opened by American organist Byron Hopper. The organ was removed in 1937 and installed in the Plaza Theatre, Sydney.

The Winter Garden Theatre was closed in December 1973 and the foyer was converted into retail use, and later a bank.
  • The auditorium was demolished in 1981, and later the remainder of the building was demolished to build the Winter Garden Centre on the site.
  • Contributed by Ken Roe
  • The Wintergarden Theatre, Brisbane, illuminated in 1927 for the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York (centre photo, from Organ History website)

Regent Picture Theatre, Ballarat (1927)


Regent Picture Theatre Ballarat VIC
Regent Picture Theatre Ballarat VIC
The Regent Theatre was commissioned by Ballarat Theatre Limited, a subsidiary of a national company, Hoyts Theatres Limited. This company owned and operated several theatres in Ballarat, including Her Majesty's, the Brittania and the Plaza Theatre, at this time.

Designed to seat approximately 1950 people, the Regent Theatre was large even by metropolitan standards.
The theatre was originally designed by Melbourne architects Arthur W. Purnell and Cedric H. Ballantyne, the latter being the architect responsible for the Regent Theatre, Collins Street, Melbourne in 1929.

The interior of the Regent Theatre, Ballarat was significantly damaged by fire in 1943 and external image 1086.gifarchitects Cowper, Murphy and Appleford were commissioned to re-design the theatre building.
  • This firm was also responsible for the rebuilding of the main auditorium of the Regent Theatre, Melbourne after a similar fire in 1945.
  • The Free Classical style was adopted for the original theatre design.

Hoyts Regent Theatre, George Street Sydney (1928)


  • 487-503 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000 (demolished)
  • Style: Italian Renaissance
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Designed by the distinguished architect Cedric H. Ballantyne of the firm Ballantyne & Hare, it was built by James Porter & Sons.
Text from 'Lost Sydney':
  • The 2,297-seat Regent Theatre opened its doors in the heart of George Street on 30th March 1928 with Greta Garbo & John Gilbert in "Flesh and the Devil", with the Regent orchestra containing 40 musicians accompanying the silent film.
  • The Regent Theatre was equipped with a Wurlitzer 3Manual/15Ranks theatre pipe organ.
There had been a theatre planned on this corner site from about 1914 with many architects having an interest in the plans. The site was owned by J.C.Williamson, Australia's leading theatrical producer who already had other Sydney live theatres and weren't particularly interested in building another. This is why the planning went on so long and passed through so many hands, most notably architect Henry White.
  • Williamsons eventually decided to build the theatre and immediately lease it to Hoyts Theatres Limited. The interior decoration was to be completed in a Hoyts house style similar to the other Regents' planned or already completed in other main cities of Australia.
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The facade in George Street was Italianate in style and decoration. Monumental pillars and pediments soaring above a glittering bronze and glass marquee.
  • Horizontal and vertical neon signage and urns. There were a selection of small shops along the massive George Street frontage with the main entrance to the lobby beneath the arch in the marquee.
  • You stepped into a triple height lobby with a marble staircase and walls faced in marble. Above you hung a spectacular Art Deco crystal chandelier made of thousands of glass balls cascading down like a waterfall.
  • This was the only evidence of deco in what was otherwise Italian Renaissance furnishing throughout.[5]

"This was a fantastic building with a wonderful interior. The roof was removed in the eighties, thus allowing the interior to deteriorate to the point that demolition was allowed. The lot then sat empty for over 20 years. "
  • "The beautiful 1928 Regent Theatre was yoinked down in 1989 during the middle of the night amidst protests from the general public. Since that particular case, the SCC changed the ruling so that now you have to apply for a demolition certificate. The Regent was owned by The Fink Family (aptly named) and stood where Foster & Assoc.'s Regent Place now stands."[6]

Regent Theatre, Rundle Mall Adelaide (1928)


  • 101-107 Rundle Mall, Adelaide, SA 5000
  • Architectural style: Spanish-Moroccan style
The most opulent theatre on Rundle Street was the Regent Theatre, built in 1927-1928 to the design of architects Cedric, Ballantyne & Associates of Melbourne and English, Soward & Jackson of Adelaide. The elaborate plasterwork was done by Hopkins Pty. Ltd.

Described as ‘Australia’s most luxurious theatre’ and a ‘palace of art’ when it opened on 29 June 1928, the Regent’s lavish interior featured seats for 2,298 patrons, marble stairs, portraits, tapestries and a sculpture.
  • There was provision for a stage and full orchestra. A large Wurlitzer organ, now in Memorial Hall at St Peters College, played at movie screenings.
  • Suitably, a grand charity variety show filled the stage on the Regent’s last night as a grand cinema in 1967 before the stalls and downstairs foyer were converted into an arcade and the stage space used as part of a second cinema. This smaller version cinema survived until 2004.

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One of the most glamorous and beautiful of Australian picture palaces was The Regent Theatre, located on Rundle Street.
  • It opened on June 29, 1928 with the features, MGM’s “Flesh and the Devil” and Fox’s “The Gay Retreat”. There was an orchestra of 16 players.
  • The Wurlitzer 3Manual 15Ranks theatre pipe organ was installed some three months after the gala opening at a cost of 25,000 pounds ($AUD50,000) and premiered on September 22, 1928 with American organist Ray de Clemens, who took up a 3-month residency.
Adelaide Regent Theatre Auditorium
Adelaide Regent Theatre Auditorium
It was the third Regent Theatre in the Hoyts Theatres chain to open, after Perth and Sydney. It was also one of the first public buildings in Adelaide to be air-conditioned.
  • The huge auditorium in Spanish-Moroccan style seated 2,300 patrons. A highly arched proscenium was the focal point and was bathed in a range of subdued colors. From behind the intricate grille-work in and around the proscenium, emanated the distinctly rich sounds of the mighty Wurlitzer.

  • Stage shows were also always a part of the Regent Theatre presentations. A massive crystal chandelier hung above the lounge circle, and there were other smaller versions placed around the theatre.

In December 1953, the first CinemaScope film “The Robe” opened for an eight week run. In late-1959
  • TV came to South Australia and theatre attendances started to dwindle. In 1961, the theatre closed for three weeks so that six shops could be built along one side of the stalls, with the shops facing out onto a laneway at the side of the theatre. 298 stalls seats were lost, leaving the theatre with 1,964 seats.

Regent Theatre Collins Street Melbourne (1929)


Regent Theatre Collins Street Melbourne
Regent Theatre Collins Street Melbourne

The Regent Theatre was designed by Cedric Ballantyne and built by James Porter & Sons, and opened in 1929.

Ballantyne combined Spanish Gothic and French Renaissance styles to produce one of Victoria's largest and most lavish cinemas in the inter-war period.

The auditorium, surmounted by a domed ceiling and flanked by colonnades, provides a handsome spectacle in which, because of careful detail, the large scale of the enclosed space is not immediately apparent.

Regent Theatre, Melbourne
Regent Theatre, Melbourne

The foyers and promenades are decorated in exaggerated styles, reflecting the ostentatious nature and romanticism of the cinema industry at that time, although they combine to enhance the splendour of the auditorium.
  • The basement-level Plaza Theatre, replete with references to Spanish Baroque and medieval styles, was originally intended to be a Cabaret and was built with side promenades for dining and drinking and with a large central dance floor. But the failure to obtain a liquor license led to its conversion to a cinema.
  • The main auditorium of the Regent was destroyed in a fire in 1945 and rebuilt in 1947 under the direction of Cowper, Murphy and Appleford, external image 1086.gifarchitects.
  • The re-creation of the plaster mouldings was the work of James Lyall. Such a large cinema became increasingly costly to run and in 1970 it closed its doors, having been sold to the Melbourne City Council to be redeveloped as part of its City Square project. What followed was 25 years of deliberation and conflict over demolition or restoration plans, before the fully refurbished theatre, resurrected by theatre entrepreneur David Marriner and Allom Lovell and Associates, was re-opened in 1996.
  • After 25 years of neglect, the Regent Theatre — one of three intact interwar picture palaces in Melbourne — underwent major restoration and reconstruction to provide the city with a new live theatre venue. Lovell Chen, alongside its co-architects, researched, designed and documented the project.
  • The Plaza became a function venue, and the main auditorium a major live theatre venue.
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Ballantyne's Fire Stations


The design of fire station buildings also changed significantly after the 1920s.
  • Oakden and Ballantyne had originally been the Metropolitan Fire Board architects, and their designs were often in red brick in the Federation style from the 1890s to about 1915 and then in the domestic revival style from 1915 until the 1920s.
  • The designs often included stucco bands and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade wording expressed on light colour bands in contrast to the red brick. In many respects the fire stations resembled domestic buildings although in a much larger form, with the garage doors dominating the front façade.2

  • The domestic design of fire stations in the 1920s was in response to the vision of the then General Fire Chief to make the suburban fire station a suitable work place for the men, and a suitable home for the fireman’s family. Hence, the strong presence of residences, gardens and other domestic amenities. After the 1920s, use of designs by other architects charted the departure from the red brick domestic style architecture and to modernist style more industrial looking buildings in cream brick.[7]

Ivanhoe Metropolitan Fire Brigade Station


  • 75-77 Upper Heidelberg Road IVANHOE, Banyule City
Ivanhoe Metropolitan Fire Brigade Station
Ivanhoe Metropolitan Fire Brigade Station

  • The Ivanhoe Metropolitan Fire Station is the earliest surviving example of a fire station design by prolific architects Oakden and Ballantyne, and one of the earliest metropolitan stations.

  • The building is substantially intact externally.







The Former Hawthorn Fire Station (1910)



The Former Hawthorn Fire Station
The Former Hawthorn Fire Station
The Hawthorn Fire Station was constructed in 1910 to the design of Cedric Ballantyne of the architectural firm of Oakden and Ballantyne.
  • The two storey asymmetrically planned, red brick building consists of a fire station at ground floor level and two flats above.

  • The building is designed in the Edwardian Freestyle and its most notable features are its arched vehicle openings with original timber doors, and its Art Nouveau wrought iron detailing.
  • Apart from minor and reversible modifications the building is remarkably intact and retains all the features of a small suburban fire station.

The Hawthorn Fire Station is architecturally important as a particularly successful adaptation of the Edwardian Freestyle to a domestically scaled suburban fire station.


  • It is also important as a design of then noted architect Cedric Ballantyne of the firm Oakden and Ballantyne who designed most of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade's buildings in the early twentieth century.

Former Preston Metropolitan Fire Brigade (1912)


  • 378 HIGH STREET, PRESTON, DAREBIN CITY
  • Victorian Heritage Register
Former Preston Metropolitan Fire Brigade
Former Preston Metropolitan Fire Brigade
The former Metropolitan Fire Brigade station at Preston, designed by Cedric Ballantyne and constructed by 1912 is significant.
  • The station comprises two, two-storey brick early twentieth century buildings.
  • The elevations of the former station-house at the corner of High Street and Roseberry Avenue are asymmetrically composed in a Free Classical-style of restrained use of Classical motifs and elements.
  • Its walls are faced in red brickwork, with render used for architectural embellishment including around doors and window openings, creating a blood and bandage effect.

  • At the rear and facing Roseberry Avenue is a two storey brick building with a hip roof, which is built to the front and east side boundary. It has a tall chimney with a rendered cap and terracotta pots.

  • There is a wide bank of white rendered cement under the eaves, which has small brackets.
  • There is a tall double hung sash window with highlight in the ground floor adjacent to a recessed doorway.
  • At the first floor level there is a large rectangular opening framing the balcony, which has centrally placed tall French windows (or doors). This building is connected to the main building by a single storey brick section set back from the street.

Old Sunshine Fire Station (1920s)


  • 330 Hampshire Road,SUNSHINE
  • On the corner of Hertford and Hampshire Roads in Sunshine is the old Sunshine Fire Station, comprised of the engine house, offices and residential flats.

Old Sunshine Fire Station & Flats
Old Sunshine Fire Station & Flats
Sunshine Metropolitan Fire Station and flats complex is significant to the City of Brimbank as one of the more ornate and well-preserved public buildings in the City.

The complex relates to the Hampshire Road 1920s offices of H.V. McKay, and the demolished Sunshine Post Office.

Along with these and other public and commercial buildings in Sunshine's centre, the Fire Station represents the dramatic period of growth and development, in both industrial and residential areas in what was then an outer satellite suburb.

The Georgian revival style gives the building some distinction among the generally unembellished industrial and residential properties around it.
  • Architecturally, the complex is also one of a group of utility buildings designed by the renowned commercial architect, Cedric Ballantyne.
  • Because of its good state of preservation, it is an excellent example of his work and compares favourably to other fire stations across Victoria from the inter-war period.

Coburg Metropolitan Fire Brigade Station (former) (1925)


  • 725 Sydney Road,Coburg, Moreland City
Coburg Metropolitan Fire Brigade Station
Coburg Metropolitan Fire Brigade Station
The former Coburg Metropolitan Fire Brigade Station located at 725 Sydney Road, Coburg is of local historic and aesthetic significance to the City of Moreland.

Of historic significance, for its role housing the Coburg Fire Brigade (which was already in existence) from its construction in 1925 to its closure in 1992. (AHC Criterion A.4)

Of aesthetic significance as a typical example of inter-war civic architecture, and good example of the work of the Brigade's long serving architect Cedric Ballantyne. (AHC Criterion E.1)





Former No 3 Carlton Fire Station (1928)



Former No 3 Carlton Fire Station
Former No 3 Carlton Fire Station
Fire Station No 3 was designed by Cedric Haese Ballantyne and built 1927-29 in a late Edwardian Baroque manner. It is still functioning, its
external image 1086.gif
accommodation occupied, is in very good condition and is remarkably intact and unaltered.
Other than Eastern Hill, it is probably the largest Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) Station.
It has state historical significance as the representative embodiment of the inimitable work practices and way of life of the MFB and particularly of the period 1928-50.

It has state level architectural significance as a characteristic and largest work of the prolific designer of MFB fire stations, C H Ballantyne (1876-1957) and an excellent representative example of this important building type.
File Note: Converted to apartments 2000,


Ascot Vale Metropolitan Fire Brigade Station and Residence (1927)


  • 258-260 Union Road, Moonee Ponds
Metropolitan Fire Brigade station
Metropolitan Fire Brigade station
The Metropolitan Fire Brigade station complex at 258-260 Union Road, Moonee Ponds, was built in 1927.

It is aesthetically important. This importance (Criterion E) is derived from the design of the station building in the comparatively unusual Neo Georgian style and, although understated, remains stylistically unusual in the Municipality.
  • external image 15.gifMoonee Valley City

The Essendon North Fire Station (1930)


  • 16 Bulla Road and Woodland Street, Essendon North, Moonee Valley City
Essendon North Fire Station
Essendon North Fire Station

The Essendon North Fire Station was constructed by W.O. Longmuir & Son in 1930 to the design of Cedric H. BalIantyne. Ballantyne had extensive experience in the design of suburban fire stations, firstly, as a draughtsman for Oakden & Kemp, next, as a partner of Oakden and finally, as a sole practitioner.
The building is architecturally significant as a remarkably intact example of a fire station built in the English Domestic Revival idiom (Criterion E). The intact engine room doors are particularly noteworthy, since many suburban fire stations have been altered to accommodate the larger dimensioned fire trucks now used. The domestic aesthetic of the building reflects MFB policy of the early twentieth century, which sought to provide more commodious accommodation for employees and their families and encourage a sense of the fire brigade as a family friendly organisation.
external image 15.gifMoonee Valley City






The Regent Theatre was commissioned by Ballarat Theatre Limited, a subsidiary of a national company, Hoyts Theatres Limited. This company owned and operated several theatres in Ballarat, including Her Majesty's, the Brittania and the Plaza Theatre, at this time. Designed to seat approximately 1950 people, the Regent Theatre was large even by metropolitan standards.The theatre was originally designed by Melbourne architects Arthur W. Purnell and Cedric H. Ballantyne, the latter being the architect responsible for the Regent Theatre, Collins Street, Melbourne in 1929. The interior of the Regent Theatre, Ballarat was significantly damaged by fire in 1943 and architects Cowper, Murphy and Appleford were commissioned to re-design the theatre building. This firm was also responsible for the rebuilding of the main auditorium of the Regent Theatre, Melbourne after a similar fire in 1945.The Free Classical style was adopted for the original theatre design.REGENT PICTURE THEATRE
  1. ^ http://www.stonnington.vic.gov.au/files/assets/public/adl/c222-citations/232-kooyong-road-toorak.pdf
  2. ^ http://www.emelbourne.net.au/biogs/EM00083b.htm
  3. ^ http://www.stonnington.vic.gov.au/files/assets/public/vision/strategic-planning/strategies-and-structure-plans/heritage-strategy/heritage-reference-documents/malvern-1989-1992/city-of-malvern-heritage-study-appendix-1-architects-of-malvern-1992.pdf
  4. ^ http://www.rossthorne.com/downloads/Presentation%20by%20Thorne.pdf
  5. ^ http://www.visitsydneyaustralia.com.au/regent-theatre.html
  6. ^ http://sydneyarchitecture.com/GON/GON03.htm
  7. ^ http://www.whitehorse.vic.gov.au/IgnitionSuite/uploads/docs/Attachment%204%20Item%20914%20C140%203%20Parts%2020%20February%202012.pdf