Architects of Federation Housing in Victoria

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Melbourne Architects

Architects Beverley Ussher and Henry Kemp were at the forefront of the development of the domestic Queen Anne in Melbourne and Australia.

Early buildings such as
  • Campion College (former Dalwraith) of 1906, (Studley Park Road, Kew) and
  • Woodlands of 1888 (Woodlands Street, Essendon)
were instrumental in the development of the style to suit the typical suburban form which reached its peak in the first decade of the twentieth century.

Ussher's work falls into two categories,
  • the gabled design, usually a two storey form and
  • the hipped design where gables, on two co-ordinate points, project from an overall hip, usually a single storey form.
external image The%20Gables%20Mansion%20and%20Gardens.jpg

The Gables Mansion
external image 8094084_13_FS.jpg

608 Riversdale Road CAMBERWELL
In general, Ussher's largest houses eg Dalwraith in Kew of 1906, adopt the gabled designs. These houses fall into the mansion category.
It is the single storey designs, which usually apply to large houses rather than mansions which have developed into the distinctive Australian style, Queen Anne Domestic and which were the most popular in the first decade of the twentieth century eg
  • Hedges' residence, 1897 in Canterbury and
  • Clarke's residence in Toorak of 1897.

Ussher joined with Kemp and developed the style with the characteristic features of tiled hipped roofs, timber verandah decorations and a strongly three dimensional form with a corner emphasis. Several key practitioners worked within the style. Ussher and Kemp, Walter Butler, Christopher Cowper amongst others.[1]
Canterbury Vic by Ussher and Kemp.jpg
Built Circa 1909 - 31 Canterbury Road, Camberwell, Vic 3124

Doneraile Canterbury Vic by Ussher and Kemp.jpg
  • "Doneraile is a prototype for the emerging Federation villa. Its asymmetrical planning, strapwork chimneys, plain brick walling, pyramidal slate roof and Japanese turned timber detailing are all Federation characteristics, but were seen in combination in only a few houses prior to 1890. It is one of a limited number of prototypes that appeared in Melbourne during the period 1889-1892.

  • "Doneraile is a virtual compendium of very early Federation forms and detail; these components are combined with elegance and directness, and with a particular scale that was to recur throughout the Federation period.

  • "Doneraile is one of the key examples in Boroondara which demonstrate the shift toward Federation architecture, along with houses by Alfred Dunn and others in Oxley Road, Hawthorn, by Ussher and Kemp in Camberwell, Canterbury and Balwyn, and Christopher Cowper in Hawthorn. It is part of Boroondara’s contribution to the development of Federation architecture in Australia.."[2]

"Younger (Melbourne) architects shared (an) interest in changeful, often asymmetrical forms and empathy.
Melbourne suburb Hawthorn built subdivisions like the Grace Park Estate, which designs spoke of a well-to-do suburb.

But they focused on the emerging British and American arts and crafts 'Free Style' architectures, variously and inappropriately dubbed 'Queen Anne' or 'American Romanesque'. These...

  • expressed materials and interior circumstance more directly,
  • had freer internal plans and
  • accentuated structure and links to local climate, nature and even perceived social patterns.

"This shift was informed by national sentiment, and led to a new fusion, Federation architecture, evident in
  • more centralised plans where possible,
  • plain brick or timber exteriors,
  • complex roofs drawing wings and porches together under a hipped, tiled homestead form.[3]

Warwillah - a Transitional Modern Gothic/Queen Anne design with an asymmetrical facade. It has a prominent gable with pointed arches and colonettes and a great stained glass window.
Image ©2011 Walking Melbourne
"From around 1887 Melbourne leaders were
  • Alfred Dunn in Hawthorn and Toorak,
  • Christopher Cowper in Hawthorn and Camberwell (Grace Park, Broadway),
    Christopher Cowper.jpg
    Malvern Heritage Study Appendix One: Architects
  • Arthur Fisher in St Kilda,
  • A.B. Rieusset in Caulfield,
  • Henry Kemp and Beverley Ussher in Essendon, Kew and Canterbury.
    Toorak Houses.jpg
    Malvern Heritage Study Appendix One: Architects

After 1900

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

'Harold Desbrowe-Annear was one of the most innovative architects in Australia in the early twentieth century.
  • 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.’

  • Robert Haddon,
Anselm gallery
Click to view
"Anselm was designed by noted English born architect Robert Joseph Haddon(1866-1929) as his own house and constructed in 1906. A single storey Arts and Crafts influenced red brick house with attic, Anselm has a pyramidal slate roof with prominent chimney stacks. There is a octagonal corner tower with saucer shaped domed roof surmounted by a weather vane, and the tower has decorative terracotta panels immediately below the eaves line. The front door opens immediately into a large living or common room, screened from view by a timber and bottle glass screen.
"Anselm, 4 Glenferrie Road Caulfield VIC, front view Sept 1998"

  • "Anselm is architecturally significant as an Arts and Crafts influenced villa and as an example of the work of architect Robert Haddon, which combines elements characteristic of much of his work including the corner tower, decorative Art Nouveau style terra cotta work" -
  • "His design for his own residence, Anselm, 4 Glenferrie Street, Caulfield (1906), combined elements characteristic of much of his work; balanced asymmetry, the use of towers, bays and bull's-eye windows, steep roofs, attic rooms, open planning and applied decoration in the form of terracotta patterned tiles and florid wrought iron. His principles were closely allied with those of the English Arts and Crafts architects who were propounding simplicity, originality, craftsmanship, structural honesty and a national sentiment."
- Aust Dictionary of Biography
  • Nahum Barnet,
  • **Walter Butler**,
    "Butler was rightly considered an architect of great talent, and many of his clients were wealthy pastoralists and businessmen. His country-house designs include ...
    Blackwood (1891), near Penshurst, for R. B. Ritchie,
    Wangarella (1894), near Deniliquin, New South Wales, for Thomas Millear, and
    Newminster Park (1901), near Camperdown, for A. S. Chirnside.
    Equally distinguished large houses were designed for the Melbourne suburbs:
    Warrawee (1906), Toorak, for A. Rutter Clark;
    Thanes (1907), Kooyong, for F. Wallach;
    Kamillaroi (1907) for
    (Baron) Clive Baillieu, and
    extensions to Edzell (1917) for George Russell, both in St Georges Road, Toorak.
    These are all fine examples of picturesque gabled houses in the domestic revival genre. " Aust Dictionary of Biography
  • Rodney Alsop and others
    moved to new levels of open planning, new materials and Art Nouveau balances of line and plane, while maintaining formal origins in Federation architecture.
    Rodney Alsop.jpg
    Malvern Heritage Study Appendix One: Architects

1. Large Residential Designs

The following illustrations of large residential designs and citations are from "Walking Melbourne"
Mitre Tavern 1900Built: 1900 - 1910
Mitre Tavern 1900-1910
English Queen Anne style additions were constructed using Marseille pattern terra cotta tiles on a gable roof with half timbered gable ends.

Image ©2011 Walking Melbourne

The Mitre Tavern is historically significant as an early Melbourne hotel which has been popular amongst Melbourne's business and artistic community since the middle of the nineteenth century. In the early twentieth century it was the favourite meeting place of theT Square Club, an informal group of architects and artists.
The Mitre Tavern at Bank Place is a two storey cement rendered brick structure on a bluestone base. The building probably dates back to pre-1850 but it was not established as the Mitre Tavern until 1867 when the first publican was Henry Thompson. In the 1870s the building is listed in rate books with between fourteen and sixteen rooms, which become eighteen rooms by 1895.
This two-storey hotel has externally been altered a number of times, most significantly in the early twentieth century when it was given its faintly medieval appearance, including window shutters. Alterations also included English Queen Anne style additions into the structure, notably Marseille terra cotta tiles and the half-timbered gable ends.

Listed with the Victorian Heritage Register H0464

Majella Mansion
Built: 1913
473-475 ST KILDA ROADArchitect:
Arthur Peck
Majella Mansion 1913
Image ©2011 Walking Melbourne
Large Edwardian mansion with curved features and prominent gables.
The construction of the verandah is unusual, incorporating concrete columns faced with faience (a glazed non-clay ceramic material. It is composed mainly of crushed quartz or sand)
as permanent formwork.
Built in the Edwardian period in the Edwardian Baroque style

Majella was built in 1913 for James Alston to the design of architect Arthur Peck. Majella is a large house set well back from St Kilda Road by a garden and circular driveway.
It is a two storey red brick residence asymmetrically composed with a terra cotta tile roof, bay windows and half timbered and stuccoed gable ends. The two storey verandah and balcony incorporate glazed terra cotta faience panels, paired Ionic columns constructed of reinforced concrete and a simple timber balustrade. Expanses of red brickwork are relieved by rendered lintels to the openings.
Majella is architecturally significant as a late expression of Arts and Craft architecture.

external image majella-vhr-4246.jpg
Internally there is an impressive staircase in the wood panelled entrance hall, leadlighting to the bow windows, and various original fittings throughout.
Residential use of Majella ceased in 1943 on the death of James Alston, since when it has been occupied by a number of commercial and government bodies, including the Australian Broadcasting Commission between 1951 and 1972
Listed with theVictorian Heritage Register (VHR) Number
Avalon Mansion
Built: 1903
70 Queens Road
Architect: William Pitt
Avalon Mansion 1903

This large mansion reads as a an Edwardian terrace from its southern side with a long timbered verandah divided into ornate bays and sections with a pavillionstyled roofline.

St. Hilda's House
Built: 1907
Ward and Carelton
St. Hilda's House 1907

Internally the British Arts and Crafts movement inspired the tiled mantels, foliated leadlight patterns, fretted decorative trusswork and stained timber wainscotting. Extant elements include the linoleum floor in the hallway; the main bathroom, complete with pressed metal dado, glazed tiling, bath and washbasins; the built-in linen cupboards at the top of the rear stairs; and the stencilled Evangelical inscriptions on the walls of the dining room and reception room.
A range of arts and crafts influences including Tudor and American Romanesque, featuring red brick and terracotta tiled roof.
St Hilda's is a two storey house constructed of red brick relieved by panels of terra cotta with large areas of the exterior of the first floor covered in roughcast. The building possesses elements derived from the English Elizabethan, Romanesque and Norman periods of architecture. Half-timbered gables, arcading and cushion column capitals express these influences, whilst the corner tower with its flared eight sided spire and walls and the roof terracotta grotesques (eg eagle) are typical of the grander so-called Queen Anne style residences of the Federation period.

2. Local Residential Designs

These featured houses are from the "Review of B-grade Buildings in Kew, Camberwell & Hawthorn" which is prepared by the city of Boroondara as a contribution to the development of Federation (architecture).
Camberwell residence designed by architect N P Anerson

The Bungalow, (became) the major suburban mode of (domestic housing) around 1915-26.

  • Preston_architect_home.jpg
    Canterbury home of architect C H Richardson
    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.

Balwyn bungalow possibly designed by Graeme Butler

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.

Leading architects included Marcus Barlow, the Tompkins brothers, G.B. Leith and the State Savings Bank office.

Designer-builder real estate firms, from Dunlop & Cornwell in Murrumbeena to Algernon Elmore in Blackburn, extended packaged design and financing that marks housing construction to this day.
  • The Bungalow could stretch to churches (Mount Pleasant Uniting, Nunawading, 1917; Church of Christ, Balwyn, 1926),
  • railway stations (Mentone, Hampton),
  • and even walk-up flats - 'Manhattan bungalows' - in Prahran and South Yarra.
  • They were not simply one-storeyed: 'Bungalow' meant informal, healthy living and shelter at day's end, resonant notions after the Great War and its influenza pandemic.

Bungalow form was moderated by other, conspicuously applied styles later in the 1920s and the early to mid-1930s. These included
  • suburban Tudor and French Provincial modes, and
  • Spanish Mission gained lustre from Hollywood, a new metropolis for Australia's imagination.

Subdivisions in the 1920s and 1930s such as the Golf Links and Hassett estates in Camberwell and fringe suburbs - East Malvern, Ashburton and Ivanhoe - all reflected this shift.
  1. ^

    Arden, 1045 Burke Rd, Hawthorn East, VIC, Australia;search=state%3DVIC%3Blist_code%3DRNE%3Bkeyword%3DUssher%3Bkeyword_PD%3Don%3Bkeyword_SS%3Don%3Bkeyword_PH%3Don%3Blatitude_1dir%3DS%3Blongitude_1dir%3DE%3Blongitude_2dir%3DE%3Blatitude_2dir%3DS%3Bin_region%3Dpart;place_id=100044
  2. ^
  3. ^ From the Dictionary of Melbourne, Architecture