Architect Harold Desbrowe-Annear


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A 1903 Desbrowe-Annear house.
A 1903 Desbrowe-Annear house.

See also

Harold Desbrowe-Annear was an influential Australian architect who was at the forefront of the development of the Arts and Crafts movement in this country, and was one of the most innovative architects in Australia in the early twentieth century.

Original Architecture

  • Trained in the heady days of Melbourne’s 1880s land boom and imbued with the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement, he was acclaimed by Robin Boyd as a
    pioneer of modernism.
  • In his first book Victorian Modern published in 1949 Boyd wrote ‘Harold Desbrowe Annear was the first Australian-born to produce original architecture, a big bluff, hearty architect, who knew what he wanted, and saw that his clients got it.’

Desbrowe-Annear embraced the power of architecture to improve people’s lives.
  • Open plan living areas expressed architecturally the new openness and sense of freedom that was flowing through society at the time of Federation – an Australian architecture that responded to climate, use and place.
  • In the spirit of the Arts and Crafts he saw the suburban house in its widest sense – as part of a total ensemble that included the interior, the furnishings and the garden. He promoted the idea of an ‘architecture of democracy’: an art available to everyone. Adopting a variety of styles, the houses were nonetheless all planned for comfort and functional efficiency, as well as good design.

Harold Desbrowe-Annear
Harold Desbrowe-Annear

Origins

Harold Desbrowe Annear (1865-1933), architect, was born on 16 August 1865 at Happy Valley, Sandhurst (Bendigo), Victoria, son of James Desbrowe Annear, miner, and his second wife Eliza Ann, née Hawkins. Annear had six much older stepsisters, two sisters and a brother alive when his father died in 1883.
  • He was educated at the Hawthorn Grammar School. In 1883 he was articled to the architect William Salway (d.1903) who had arrived in Victoria in 1854 and served articles withJ. Reed. Salway had toured Asia, worked in China in 1868-75, and after returning to Melbourne in 1876 had built up an extensive practice.

Early Practice

About 1889 Annear left Salway to set up on his own. His talents were already recognized within the profession: he had received awards for sketches published in building journals and for an illustrated essay on English Gothic architecture.
  • His papers on John Ruskin (1889) and on methods of architectural criticism (1893), delivered before the Victorian Institute of Architects, were later published in Melbourne and show him to be a staunch admirer of Ruskin and the American H. H. Richardson, whom he called 'the greatest modern architectural genius'. They also reveal his deep commitment to the arts and crafts movement and to the concept that architecture is an art, not a profession.
In 1900 Annear became a foundation member and first president of the T-Square Club, which was centred on the Working Men's College and embraced artists, craftsmen and architects.
  • In 1903 he outlined the club's orientation in an address which was later published: 'Now the fellowship of this trinity is considered valuable, in order that the artist might be more architectural, that the architect might be more artistic, and that both might be better craftsmen'.
  • He held doggedly to these views and never joined the professionally oriented Institute of Architects. In practice his opinions were expressed in designs which were often praised for bringing artist, architect and craftsmen together.

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He was a foundation member and supporter of the Arts and Crafts Society, an authority on and collector of antique furniture and objets d'art, and a skilled designer of furniture.
  • Stout and jaunty, with a round, smooth, rosy face, Annear usually wore a monocle.
  • To Joan Lindsay he was 'what is known as a “character”, and [he] gloried in it'. She describes him in middle age as a devotee of good living, who 'loved to play host in his studio cottage in South Yarra where he dispensed hospitality in true eighteenth century style …
  • He was so witty so indiscreet and so truly loved beautiful things that only the most strait-laced clients objected to his eccentricities and occasional full-blooded lapses into vulgarity … In all things he was rococo, standing for a touch of fantasy in suburbia'.

Desbrowe-Annear's Styles

Working in a variety of modern styles, Annear sought to create an architecture suited to the climate and geography of Australia.
  • Annear's earliest designs were in an adapted American-Romanesque manner.
  • However, he also worked in a variety of modern styles; his most distinctive early design, possibly influenced by the Viennese Sezession style, was the Springthorpe memorial in the Kew cemetery (1897), described by the Argus in 1933 as 'the most beautiful work of its kind in Australia'.
  • In his own words he was a 'developed specialist'—that is 'a man who finds, after diligent study and much experience of architectural history, that the best expression of his work is obtained when he designs in the style with which he is in thorough artistic sympathy'.
Archibald prize-winning portrait of H. Desbrowe Annear by W B McInnes
Archibald prize-winning portrait of H. Desbrowe Annear by W B McInnes

Peter Crone outside his beloved Desbrowe-Annear home, Chadwick House in Eaglemont.
Peter Crone outside his beloved Desbrowe-Annear home, Chadwick House in Eaglemont.


In 1902-03 Annear planned three houses for which he is best known: 32, 34 and 38 The Eyrie, Eaglemont.
  • Chadwick house designed by Harold Desbrowe Annear in 1903, is the central house in this group of three designed by Annear, all of which benefit from Heritage Victoria registration, as well as National Trust classification.
  • These were free and decorative adaptations of a half-timbered, roughcast, and Marseilles tiles genre called, in Victoria, Queen Anne style.
  • They were planned so that one space could freely flow into another, with built-in cupboards and distinctive, vertically sliding windows.
  • His own house, 32, contained his monogram, derived from Dürer's, in stained glass.
4 Como Avenue, South Yarra
4 Como Avenue, South Yarra

He persisted with the half-timbered and roughcast designs into the 1920s but from about 1910 also contrived a related form of expression: a gabled house with half-timbering applied only as an abstracted pattern in the upper parts of gable-ends.
  • In this manner he designed a house for the artist Norman Macgeorge at Alphington (1910) where the garden was laid out by Blamire Young.
    "Broceliande" Toorak, Melbourne, by H. Cazneaux et al
    "Broceliande" Toorak, Melbourne, by H. Cazneaux et al
  • Another example was a house at 4 Como Avenue, South Yarra (c.1920-25).
  • For his two distinctive designs, Broceliande (also known as Troon) at 224 Orrong Road, Toorak (1918, demolished), and Inglesby at 97 Caroline Street, South Yarra (1919, demolished),
  • Both Broceliande and Inglesby indicated the influence on him of the West Coast of America and the Spanish Mission Revival, and
  • his continuing desire to create an Australian architecture by adapting that of countries climatically and geographically related to southern Australia.

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Bendigo born Desbrowe-Annear designed many of Melbourne's highest character homes in the decades from about 1880 and during the period of a land boom.
His work, acclaimed by Robin Boyd, includes homes designed in the Arts and Crafts and American Romanesque styles.

Nationally important Desbrowe-Annear designed, privately owned properties:

by Marc Pallisco June 15, 2011
Private homes in Melbourne on show for the first time give us a unique opportunity to see noted architect Desbrowe-Annear's work.

1. M.H. Baillieu House, 729 Orrong Road Toorak.

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Harold Desbrowe Annear design 729 Orrong Road Toorak Vic

Among Desbrowe-Annear's grandest designs is the mansion at 729 Orrong Road, built in 1925 and retained for four generations by members of the Baillieu family.
  • The home's current owner, Good Guys founder Andrew Muir, made headlines in 2007 when he appointed an agent to knock on the door of the then owner, comedian turned radio commentator Steve Vizard, to make an offer despite it not being on the market.

FALLEN businessman Steve Vizard has set a Melbourne house price record by selling his Toorak mansion for about $18 million.
  • Mr Vizard, who has owned the eastern suburbs property since 2003, has more than doubled his money by selling the Orrong Road mansion to an undisclosed Chinese buyer, who reportedly knocked on the door and made an offer the former television comedian couldn't refuse.
  • The sale price of the mansion, built by the blueblood Baillieu family more than 80 years ago, easily eclipses the former Melbourne house price record held by Toll Holdings chief Paul Little, who paid $16million for Toorak mansion Coonac in 2002.
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Muir offered $17.75 million reportedly because he admired from afar.

"The former M.H. Baillieu residence and garden, 729 Orrong Road, Toorak, designed by noted architect H. Desbrowe Annear in 1925 and retained in family ownership for over four decades, is of State cultural significance:
  • for the largely unaltered residence which retains unpainted tapestry brickwork and cement render, and the design of which is an accomplish mix of classically-derived elements used with a Baroque exuberance;
  • for the layout, design and major planting of the garden; this aspect illustrates a prevailing enthusiasm for Italian and Mediterranean
    influenced gardens and this is amongst the best surviving examples in Victoria of this style, especially given the complementary ensemble of house and garden and the general intactness of the design;
  • for the design and workmanship of its architectural landscape elements, including retaining walls, garden walls, steps, balustrades, tennis court, the
  • drive and pathways; the external masonry wall is of special importance for its design (which incorporates architectural elements of the residence and has oculi with wrought iron bars permitting vistas into and out of the garden);
  • for its planting, especially the mature trees and cypress hedges, and the tradition of planting the perennial borders.
  • for its aesthetic qualities, principally derived from the vistas within the garden, changes of level, mature planting and consistent use of masonry for architectural elements of the garden;
  • for the survival of the plan by Harold Desbrowe Annear, a towering figure in the history of Australian architecture and design; his garden plans are extremely scarce and this plan communicates ideas not fully realised in the property;"
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The Eyrie Houses, Heidelberg

The three houses that Desbrowe-Annear erected in Eaglemont were commissioned by his father-in-law James Chadwick in 1903. They were
  • 36–38 The Eyrie, built as a residence for the architect and his family;
  • 32–34 The Eyrie, known as Chadwick House and
  • 55 Outlook Drive, known as the Officer House.
    THE CHADWICK HOUSE
    THE CHADWICK HOUSE
While relatively modest in size, their design indicates that the architect was prepared to grasp the issue of the "small home" as one of the most challenging of the 20th century.
  • They embody the principles of William Morris in their truth to materials and place, structural 'honesty', functionalism and celebration of the builder's craft.
  • They are weatherboard with rough cast and half-timbering and exhibit many technological innovations including wall recessed, sliding window sashes, modular wall-framing and convection heating vents to fireplaces. .
  • Each house was thoughtfully positioned on the slope of the hill, with increasing setbacks from the street, so as not to block the views from within.

2. Desbrowe Annear House (1903)

Harold Desbrowe Annear was one of Australia's leading and most innovative Arts and Crafts architects of the early twentieth century. The house at 38 The Eyrie, Eaglemont, designed for himself and his wife Florence, is highly representative of the architect's work during this period, and is possibly his most inventive.
  • 38 The Eyrie is part of an important group of three houses at this location, all designed by Annear. Of the three houses, this one demonstrates the greatest attention to detail and contains a space in the downstairs area that was used as Annear's studio.
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h01009 desbrowe annear house 38 the eyrie eaglemont piazza feb mz
h01009 desbrowe annear house 38 the eyrie eaglemont piazza feb mz

  • The Chadwick houses, or Eyrie houses as they are known, form a unique collection and are fine examples of the architect's work as well as highly realised expression of the architect's ideas.
  • In these three related houses he was able to explore variations in concepts and detailing. These houses are considered to be the best and clearest expression of Annear's Arts and Crafts designs.
  • 38 The Eyrie is a medium sized residence built on two levels utilising the fall of the land. Built in 1903, The Annear house was built using a timber balloon frame and incorporates a number of elements for which Annear is recognized.
  • These include characteristic window designs, built in furniture, a square corner bay window, a verandah space cum outdoor living area that Annear called a piazza, the simple use of materials, the expression of structure and a planning layout that is a clear departure from the traditional layout of compartmentalised rooms off a linking hall way toward an open plan.
  • 38 The Eyrie contains a higher degree of attention to detail than is usually found in his houses of this period. This is demonstrated by overlaid elements of the red pine fretwork as lintel ornamentation in the internal openings and in the work of the various brass door, overmantles and sideboard fittings.
  • The house exhibits an irregular though carefully realised external articulation which is the result of a design approach where the building's exterior was derived from its plan form.
The Annear House
The Annear House

h01009 desbrowe annear house 38 the eyrie eaglemont entry eaves feb mz
h01009 desbrowe annear house 38 the eyrie eaglemont entry eaves feb mz

  • The home at 36-38 The Eyrie is of considerable architectural and historic significance. Substantially intact, 36-38 The Eyrie is one of three houses constructed on the Eaglemont Estate.
    • The house was designed by prominent architect Harold Desbrowe Annear for himself and his wife Florence in 1903.
    • The house is a notable example of his early arts and crafts mode, featuring many of his characteristic elements such as half-timbered and roughcast walls, weatherboarded plinth and horizontal groupings of casement windows with timber bracketed window hoods.
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3. The Chadwick House (1903)

The home at 32-34 The Eyrie is of considerable architectural and historical significance.
chadwick house the eyrie eaglemont south elevation she project 2003
chadwick house the eyrie eaglemont south elevation she project 2003

Chadwick House, 32-34 The Eyrie, was designed in 1904 by the architect Harold Desbrowe Annear for his father-in-law, James Chadwick. The house is a two-storey, Medieval inspired Arts and Crafts style building with half-timbered roughcast walls, a hipped and gabled Marseilles-patterned tile roof, arcaded chimney stacks and cantilevered gables. Internally the house has extensive timber panelling with built-in furniture and storage space.
  • Chadwick House has the half-timbered rough- cast walls the hipped and gabled marseilled-pattern tile roof arcaded chimney stacks and cantilevered gables.The swagged and ogee-arch slatted balustrading to its balconies and the overall picturesque disposition of elements have been borrowed from northern European 14th and 15th century domestic styles.
  • These are exemplified in the white rough cast and black stained timbering (i.e. black and white houses) both internally and externally it may be seen as an early example of medieval revival style unique to Heidelberg.
James Chadwick owned this house after its construction and leased it to a civil servant Charles Stanesby until he himself became the occupier in 1907. A later occupier was Arthur V Walker.
  • Chadwick House is significant for architectural reasons. Chadwick House is architecturally significant as an outstanding example of the work of eminent and influential architect Harold Desbrowe Annear.
  • Annear was instrumental in introducing the open plan form into Australian domestic architecture and Chadwick House, along with 28-30 The Eyrie and 36-38 The Eyrie, is an early example of his work which demonstrates this Modernist doctrine.
  • Through its incorporation of Modernist ideas and Medieval-inspired design principles, Chadwick House was influential in the developmentof the Art and Crafts movement in Australia and embodies the cultural dogma of domestic architecture in Australia through its utilisation of the open-plan form.
  • Chadwick House is important as an intact and notable example of the work of Annear and as one of the prototype forms which remained peculiar to his work.
    h02082 officer house eaglemont mz june2005 04
    h02082 officer house eaglemont mz june2005 04
    • The Chadwick houses or Eyrie houses as they are known form a unique collection and are fine examples of the architect's work as well as highly realised expression of the architect's ideas.
    • These houses are considered to be the best and clearest expression of Annear's Arts and Crafts designs. The house is referred to as the Officer House after a George Officer who rented the place from James Chadwick after it was built.
    • Substantially intact, 32-34 The Eyrie is one of three houses constructed on the Eaglemont Estate and designed by prominent architect Harold Desbrowe Annear in his early Arts and Crafts mode.
    • The house is a notable example of this style, featuring many of his characteristic elements such as half-timbered and roughcast walls, weatherboarded plinth and horizontal groupings of casement windows with timber bracketed window hoods.

4. Officer House - 55 Outlook Drive Eaglemont (1903)

Built in 1903, 55 Outlook Drive, Eaglemont, often referred to as the Officer House, is a residence designed by Harold Desbrowe Annear. Annear moved to Eaglemont in 1901 where he was able to develop his Arts and Crafts principles through a number of commissions. The most well known of these are the three houses he built for his father-in-law James Chadwick in The Eyrie of which this is one.
  • Officer House, 55 Outlook Drive is a medium sized residence built on two levels utilising the fall of the land.
  • The house was built using a timber balloon frame and incorporates a number of elements for which Annear is recognized.
  • These include characteristic window designs, built in furniture, a square corner bay window, a verandah space cum outdoor living area that Annear called a piazza and the simple use of materials, albeit in a highly decorative manner externally.
  • The house exhibits a somewhat irregular though carefully realised external articulation which is the result of a design approach where the building's exterior was derived from its plan form.

h02082 officer house eaglemont mz june2005 02
h02082 officer house eaglemont mz june2005 02

h02082 officer house eaglemont mz june2005 03
h02082 officer house eaglemont mz june2005 03

h02082 1 officer house eaglemont mz june2005 001
h02082 1 officer house eaglemont mz june2005 001

RESIDENCE SOHE 2008
RESIDENCE SOHE 2008


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5. Darvall House - Billiard Room extension (1908 - 1911)

(Can anyone find more details?)

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6. Macgeorge House (1910)

The home at 25 Riverside Road is of considerable architectural and historic significance. The building was the home of prominent artist and critic Norman MacGeorge, reflecting the continuing role of Heidelberg as a popular artist's rural retreat.
  • Externally largely intact, 25 Riverside Road is one of a number of houses designed by prominent architect Harold Desbrowe Annear in his early Arts and Crafts mode.
  • The house features typical characteristics of this style such as roughcast walls, tapered roughcast chimneys, groupings of casement windows, timber verandah balustrading, built-in furniture and innovative open planning principles.
    MACGEORGE HOUSE
    MACGEORGE HOUSE
    MACGEORGE HOUSE
    Built in 1911, the Macgeorge House (also known as Fairy Hills) is situated at the intersection of the Yarra River and Darebin Creek in Ivanhoe.
    • A substantial bungalow, it is roughcasted externally with some half timbering to gables.
      MACGEORGE HOUSE SOHE 2008
      MACGEORGE HOUSE SOHE 2008
    • The interior is comprehensively finished in a variety of natural and dark stained timbers, with very fine hand crafted detailing to fittings and furnishings. The house remains largely intact to its original appearance and character to both exterior and interior.
    The Macgeorge house is of architectural significance as an important and remarkably complete example of the work of leading architect Harold Desbrowe Annear in the early years of this century.
    • While demonstrating a number of features typical of his work at this time, such as his love of roughcasted and half timbered bungalow forms and richly detailed Arts & Crafts interiors, it shows his broad tendency in this period toward simplification and abstraction of form and details, factors important to the notable character of his later work.
    • The associated gardens are an integral part of the original conception of the site by the Macgeorges and their architect. Vestiges of the original formal garden adjacent the house and of the bush garden along the river make an important contribution to the appreciation of the site and of the tastes of the Macgeorges.
    The Macgeorge house is of historical significance for its associations with the Macgeorges and, through them, with a larger circle of artists, art patrons and art critics in Heidelberg and Melbourne from 1910 through to 1970.
    • Following the bequest to the University of Melbourne by the Macgeorges,the association with the arts community as accommodation for artists in residence from the University of Melbourne.
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Bray House - 234 Rosanna Road Rosanna
Bray House - 234 Rosanna Road Rosanna

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7. Bray House (1910)
The home at 234 Rosanna Road is of considerable architectural significance. Externally largely intact, 234 Rosanna Road is one of a number of houses in the municipality designed by prominent architect Harold Desbrowe Annear in his early Arts and Crafts mode.
  • The house is a notable example of this style, featuring many of his characteristic elements such as half-timbering and roughcast walls, weatherboarded plinth and horizontal groupings of casement windows with timber bracketed window hoods.

Napier Waller House
Napier Waller House

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8. Napier Waller House and Studio (1922)

Napier Waller House and Studio, 9 Crown Road, Ivanhoe is of state significance. The house was the residence of nationally renowned artists Christian and Napier Waller for fifty years.
  • Now understood to be Desbrowe-Annear inspired, the couple are believed to have designed the house, which retains the majority of its interior decoration including murals by the artists and furnishings.
  • In addition to the intact house and surrounds, the property retains Waller's studio, artworks and tools. The house is also distinctive for its innovative spatial planning.
The Waller House in Fairy Hills is so named because it was the residence of Mervyn Napier Waller, the acclaimed artist who gained National fame from his water colours, stained glass, mosaic works and murals and his wife Christian, who was a distinguished artist and designer of stained glass in her own right. In particular Napier Waller's works adorn the Melbourne Town Hall, the Myer Emporium Mural Hall, the Victorian State Library and the Australian War Memorial.
NAPIER WALLER HOUSE SOHE 2008
NAPIER WALLER HOUSE SOHE 2008

NAPIER WALLER HOUSE SOHE 2008
NAPIER WALLER HOUSE SOHE 2008

  • The Waller House is a split level house designed by Napier and his first wife Christian who intended the house to be both a home and a workplace. For this the design was conceived to accommodate the tall studies and pieces of the artist's work.
  • The Waller house was built by Phillip Millsom in 1922 and the architectural style of the house is a mixture of Interwar Arts and Crafts, Interwar Old English and Interwar California Bungalow. The house is constructed from reinforced concrete walls with a rough cast pebbledash finish. The roof is steeply pitched with a prominent half timbered gable over the front entrance and has Marseilles pattern terracotta tiles. There are small paned casement windows. There have been several additions to the original design over the years but these have all been sympathetic to the original design.

The house is entered from a two sided verandah into an entrance hall, panelled in Tasmanian wood.
Napier Waller House 26788
Napier Waller House 26788

  • This has stairs leading to the different levels of the house interior. In one direction the hall leads to a main living hall which was Napier Waller's original studio and later used as the main living room in the house. This room has a high ceiling with casement windows, a musicians’ gallery and a broad brick fireplace flanked by fire-dogs and bellows made by the sculptress Ola Cohn (1892 – 1964).
  • Like many of the other rooms in the house the studio is panelled and floored with Tasmanian hardwood and contains some of the studies for Napier Waller's murals: “The Five Lamps of Learning; the Wise and Foolish Virgins” a mosaic for the University of Western Australia and, “Peace After Victory” a study painting for the State Library of Victoria.
  • Above the panelling the plaster walls are painted in muted colours in wood grain effect. The raftered plaster ceiling has been painted in marble effect with gold leaf. Book shelves, still containing the Wallers’ beautiful books, are built into the panelled walls. Furniture in the room includes a settee with a painted back panel featuring jousting knights, painted by Christian Waller, a leather suite and black bean sideboards and cupboards. This furniture was designed in the nineteen thirties by Napier Waller and by Percy Meldrum and a noted cabinet maker called Goulman.
  • The studio cum hall also contains many ceramic works created by studio potter Klytie Pate who was Christian Waller’s niece and protégée. The entrance hall leads in the other direction to a guest room, known as the “Blue Room”. This was the idea of Napier's wife Christian and has simple built-in glass topped furniture and Napier's murals of the “Labours of Hercules” which include a self portrait of the artist. An alcove section of the room was constructed out of an extension to the verandah. Stairs lead from the entrance hall to the musicians’ gallery which has a window and overlooks the studio cum living room. The kitchen near the studio/hall is panelled and raftered with built-in cupboards conforming to the panelling. The ceiling is stencilled in a fleur-de-lys design by Napier.
  • The dining room lies to the right of the studio cum hall and contains shoulder high panelling and raftered ceilings. It has an angled brick corner fireplace and the walls and ceiling have the same painted treatment as the studio cum living room. The oak dining furniture was designed by Napier. A small den with high window, furnished with leather chairs, opens off the dining room.
  • Opening off the hall to the left is a long rectangular room known as the glass studio. This was added to the house by builder C. Trinck of Hampton in about 1931 and contains Napier Waller's kiln, paintbrushes and stained-glass tools on the benches, and stained glass designs and racks which are still stacked with radiant streaked glass from his work with stained glass windows. A bedroom and bathroom with attic pitched rafter ceiling and casement windows is situated on the upper level of the house. Another bedroom in ship's cabin style with flared wall light fittings and built in bunks opens off this first bedroom.
The house backs onto a courtyard enclosed by a long bluestone garden wall. The house is set in a three and a half acre site with cypress hedges and gravelled paths. The garden drops away to a hillside slope with manna gum trees.
  • Set on the slope is a flat roofed studio built in 1937. It has an undercroft beneath a studio room and this contains a lithographic press and a printing press of 1849 for woodcuts and linocuts. This was used by Napier and his first wife Christian to produce prints in the 1930s. Napier was widowed and married his stained glass studio assistant Lorna Reyburn in 1958.
  • The Waller House has recently become famous for yet another reason. The exterior has been used as a backdrop in the ABC/ITV co-production television series, “The Doctor Blake Mysteries” (2013). The house serves as the residence of the program’s lead character, Doctor Lucien Blake (played by Australian actor Craig McLachlan), and the doctor’s 1930s tourer is often seen driving up to or away from the Waller House throughout the series. The Waller House is the only regular backdrop not filmed in the provincial Victorian gold rush city of Ballarat, in which the series is based.

NAPIER WALLER HOUSE SOHE 2008
NAPIER WALLER HOUSE SOHE 2008

NAPIER WALLER HOUSE SOHE 2008
NAPIER WALLER HOUSE SOHE 2008

napier waller house detail of front verandah dec1985
napier waller house detail of front verandah dec1985

Napier waller house_mural
Napier waller house_mural

napier waller house studio wing dec1985
napier waller house studio wing dec1985

Some works of Napier Waller to be found around Melbourne include:
springthorpe memorial kew stained glass ceiling feb1986
springthorpe memorial kew stained glass ceiling feb1986

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9. Springthorpe Memorial

Booroondara Cemetery, Kew, (1897 – 1900)
The Springthorpe Memorial in the Boroondara Cemetery, Kew, was Desbrowe-Annear's first Arts and Crafts venture.
  • The Springthorpe memorial is of significance as one of the most exciting and scholarly memorials to have been built in Australia, for the outstanding use of a variety of materials in its execution, and the quality of its workmanship.

Dr John Springthorpe commissioned this memorial to be built for his wife, Annie, who died in January 1897.
  • Likened to a classic Greek doric templezo, the marble sculpting of the tombwas carried out by Bertram McKennal while the iron sculpture was executed by Webb Gilbertzz.
  • An article in the Argus at the time considered the memorial to be '...the most beautiful work of its kind in Australia...'.
  • The memorial is scholarly in its design, exciting in the use of a variety of materials, and beautifully executed.
  • The materials adopted in the work include the Ionian order columns executed in black, Labrador granite, grey granite to the entablatures and pediments, wrought iron on the balustradings, vibrantly coloured leadlight to the domed ceiling and mosaics and encaustic tiles to the floor.

In addition to the temple form of the memorial itself, it was given an impressive entrance way that remains substantially intact, built in grey granite with metal plaques and gate.
  • The design was influenced by William Lethaby’s writings on the iconography of the domed temple form in “Architecture: Mysticism & Myth”. Consequentially the architecture is symbolic.
  • The geographic alignment of the tomb ascertains that the intense light of the afternoon sun lights up the temple with brilliant colour.
  • It explores the idea of the hoped-for union of souls.[1]


10. Westerfield (1924)

Westerfield was a 45 hectare property purchased in 1920 by Russell and Mabel Grimwade as a farm and rural retreat, in an area which became popular in the 1920s for the holiday houses of Melbourne's most prominent families.
Westerfield from north
Westerfield from north

Westerfield_From Road_RN_Dec 08
Westerfield_From Road_RN_Dec 08

Westerfield_house garden lily pond_KJ_Dec 08
Westerfield_house garden lily pond_KJ_Dec 08

Westerfirld_Frankston_rear_KJ_Dec 08
Westerfirld_Frankston_rear_KJ_Dec 08

  • Russell Grimwade (1879-1955) was one of Australia's outstanding industrialists, scientists and philanthropists. He was trained in science, was chairman of numerous chemical companies, including the family pharmaceutical business, Felton Grimwade & Co, which later became Drug Houses of Australia, and of the Victorian Board of Scientific and Industrial Research.
  • His interests included arboriculture, carpentry, photography and forestry, and he was an enthusiast for native plants who published an Anthology of Eucalypts in 1920. At Westerfield he began to plant what became a collection of more than fifty species of gums, as well as acres of lavender and roses, from which oil was distilled.

A house designed by the fashionable Melbourne architect Harold Desbrowe Annear was built at Westerfield in 1924. Nearby was a terraced lawn, a garden and pergola, probably also designed by Annear, an orchard and vegetable garden, and a timber windmill (now demolished) designed to generate electricity for the house.
  • An area of natural bushland east of the house was retained.
  • With the onset of World War II Australia's supply of many essential plant-derived drugs was cut off, and Grimwade, with the aid of the Federal Government, obtained seed from England and cultivated at Westerfield crops of poppies, foxgloves, deadly nightshade, henbane and colchicum. He constructed a drying shed, and with the resources of the family firm's laboratories developed extraction techniques to produce many of the drugs essential for Australia's war effort.
  • The poppy seed grown at Westerfield was distributed to farms around Australia, and was able to satisfy all of Australia's morphine requirements until after the war. Grimwade was knighted in 1950. The property was sold and subdivided after his death.
The Westerfield estate is now on 14 hectares and incorporates a house, garden, paddocks, dam and bushland.
The two storey Arts and Crafts style house has ground floor walls of uncoursed locally-quarried granite rubble and a half timber and stucco upper floor.

11. Westridge House & Grounds

The house with is unique architectural style, its backdrop of Westbourne woods and its surroundings of pines and cypresses, creates a distinctive picturesque feature in a historic Canberra area.
  • Houses in a similar style designed by Annear are at Outlook Drive and The Eyrie, in Eaglemont, Coolock House, Bendigo and Clifton Hill Railway Station, all of which were constructed in the late 1880s.
  • These buildings all reflect a design approach which fits between Tudor revival and Arts and Crafts style.
Westridge House & Grounds
Westridge House & Grounds

Westridge House & Grounds
Westridge House & Grounds

Westridge House & Grounds
Westridge House & Grounds
Westridge House & Grounds
Westridge House & Grounds

Westridge House was built as the principal's residence for the Australian Forestry School. It was designed by Harold Desbrowe Annear and was completed in January 1928 at a cost of4880 pounds.
Westridge House including garden and garage, is an important example of early 20th Century residential architecture by the architect Harold Desbrowe Annear. The building displays an eclectic transitional style reflecting the Arts and Crafts ideals but with a simplified interpretation. It is finely proportioned with creative detailing such as built in cupboards, and windows sliding into wall cavities.

Westridge House was established as the residence for the principal of the Australian Forestry School in 1927 in the suburb of Westridge (now Yarralumla). The building has a strong association with its early residents, Charles Lane Poole and Dr Max Jacobs, who were notable contributors to developing the Federal Forestry Bureau and principals of the Australian School of Forestry.


Obituary Mr. Harold Desbrowe Annear

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : Friday 23 June 1933

Mr. Harold Desbrowe Annear, who died yesterday at a private hospital, was one of the most widely known architects in Melbourne.
Harold Desbrowe-Annear, pencil drawing by the late Geo. W. Lambert.
Harold Desbrowe-Annear, pencil drawing by the late Geo. W. Lambert.


THE LATE MR. H. DESBROWE ANNEAR.
Having been born in Bendigo on August 16, 1864, Mr. Desbrowe Annear was educated at Hawthorn Grammar School and was articled to Mr. Gal way, a leading Melbourne architect.
  • When he became qualified in 1890 Mr. Desbrowe Annear began to practise privately, and he became a leading member of his profession.
  • He was for many years instructor in architecture and drawing at the Working Men's College, and he was a foundation member of the Arts and Crafts Society in which he took great interest.
  • He was the designer of the Springthorpe tomb in the Boroondara Cemetery, which is said to be the most beautiful work of its kind in Australia.
  • He designed a great arch over Prince's Bridge which was one of the features of the decorations on the occasion of the visit of their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York (now Their Majesties the King and Queen) to Australia in 1901.
  • During the Great War Mr. Desbrowe Annear engaged in Red Cross work, and he designed and supervised street decorations for button days.
  • He was associated with the designing of the Church street bridge over the Yarra.
Mr. Desbrowe Annear was essentially a designer of homes, and many Toorak mansions stand as a tribute to his skill.
  • He also designed many large houses at Portsea and Sorrento, among the best known being those erected for Mr Harold Armytage and the Messrs. Bailhue.
  • Another conspicuous work done by him was the reconstruction of Menzies Hotel.
Mr Desbrowe Annear was an authority on antique furniture and objects d'art, and he was a skilled designer of furniture.
  • His advice and help contributed toward the success of the recent exhibition of antiques.
  • He frequently lectured about antiques and on art subjects.

He had diabetes for some years but died of hypertensive heart disease on 22 June 1933 at St Kilda, and was cremated. He was survived by two sons and by his wife to whom he left his estate valued for probate at £348.[1]
Mr. Annear had been in ill health for some time. He leaves a widow and two sons-Messrs. James and Hector Annear.


Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Harold Desbrowe-Annear Heritage


Australian Heritage Database: Edited Search Results

Cranlana Garden 62 Clendon Rd
Toorak, VIC, Australia
(Indicative Place)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Delgany Castle 3809-3819 Point Nepean Rd
Portsea, VIC, Australia
(Indicative Place)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Glynt Gardens 16 Bay Rd
Mount Martha, VIC, Australia
(Indicative Place)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Katanga 372 Glenferrie Rd
Malvern, VIC, Australia
(Registered)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Longacres 15 Range Rd
Olinda, VIC, Australia
(Identified through State processes)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
M H Bailleu Residence and Garden (former) 729 Orrong Rd
Toorak, VIC, Australia
(Indicative Place)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Macgeorge House 25 Riverside Rd
Ivanhoe, VIC, Australia
(Identified through State processes)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Miegunyah 641 Orrong Rd
Toorak, VIC, Australia
(Registered)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Mulberry Hill House and Grounds Golf Links Rd
Baxter, VIC, Australia
(Registered)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Portsea Hotel 3746 Point Nepean Rd
Portsea, VIC, Australia
(Indicative Place)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Ranelagh Club Guest House Dormitory (former) & Garden 21 Rosserdale Cr
Mount Eliza, VIC, Australia
(Indicative Place)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Residences and Grounds 32-34, 36-38 The Eyrie
Eaglemont, VIC, Australia
(Registered)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Sidney Myer Music Bowl Linlithgow Av
Melbourne, VIC, Australia
(Listed place)
National Heritage List
The CSIRO Forestry Precinct Banks St
Yarralumla, ACT, Australia
(Registered)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
The CSIRO Forestry Precinct Banks St
Yarralumla, ACT, Australia
(Listed place)
Commonwealth Heritage List
The Forestry Precinct Banks St
Yarralumla, ACT, Australia
(Registered)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
The Lodge 5 Adelaide Av
Deakin, ACT, Australia
(Registered)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
The Lodge 5 Adelaide Av
Deakin, ACT, Australia
(Listed place)
Commonwealth Heritage List
Westerfield 86-96 Robinsons Rd
Baxter, VIC, Australia
(Indicative Place)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Westridge House & Grounds Banks St
Yarralumla, ACT, Australia
(Registered)
Register of the National Estate
(Non-statutory archive)
Westridge House & Grounds Banks St
Yarralumla, ACT, Australia
(Listed place)
Commonwealth Heritage List
Report Produced: Wed Feb 18 21:31:03 2015

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  1. ^ http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/annear-harold-desbrowe-5036