Evolving Port

Port Melbourne and Fishermans Bend continue to change. Houses are changed or demolished and new houses take their place. New forms of housing are created. Port Houses records some of these changes.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

25 Barak Road - from woe to go

August 2017

The re-built 'brick by brick' house at 25 Barak Road was passed in at auction for $1.9 million. The property impressed 'with its lavish detail' according to real estate agent Marshall White.

21 July 2013

In the early morning of June 29th, 2008 the house at 25 Barak Road, Port Melbourne was illegally demolished. In a highly planned operation, heavy equipment was brought to the site early. A chain saw cut through the roof, and then the front wall was knocked in. Neighbours remonstrated with the wreckers. No demolition or planning permits had been obtained. The house is covered by a Heritage Overlay in recognition of the Fishermans Bend estate being the first constructed by the newly formed Housing Commission of Victoria. 


July 2008
Port Phillip Council took the matter to court. For some time until the case was heard, the site was fenced off. The owner was prosecuted. The magistrate, Phillip Goldberg, said 'he could not impose the maximum fines of $150,000 because of sentencing discounts for his guilty pleas and lack of prior convictions "however enticing it might be". Zeqaj was convicted and fined $45,000 with $7500 costs.' (The Age, 13 May 2009)

The decision required that original material be retained on site to be incorporated into the reconstruction of the front facade of the house.

A planning permit for the house was finally issued by VCAT in August 2009. The permit was to 'Retrospectively approve the partial demolition of an existing dwelling and the construction of a new ground and first floor alterations and additions including repairing and restoring the original front facade and roof of the dwelling on the site'.


Prior to the redevelopment, the modest foundations of the original house were revealed, as well as a fine lemon tree near the back fence.
Back to the foundations
The redevelopment is now complete.

What do you make of this tale of 25 Barak Road?


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

305 The Boulevard, Port Melbourne

Changing circumstances on The Boulevard

On 13 July, 305 The Boulevard, Port Melbourne was sold for $1.326 m. The Department of Human Services property was auctioned by Greg Hocking.
A website that marks this 75th year of public housing in Victoria shows the layout of the Fishermans Bend estate (its the third image under 1930s), the first estate built by the newly formed Housing Commission to a winning planning design. (The text under the image is not quite right. The winning design for the layout of the estate was by Saxil Tuxen. Fowler was the person who pioneered the use of pre-fabricated concrete panels for housing. The first of these houses is on Howe Parade and has been discussed by Port Houses previously.)

Just in case you're wondering, the Fishermens Bend estate is covered by a heritage overlay reflecting its significance to the history of housing in Victoria. The overlay is supported by guidelines for redevelopment particular to the estate.
It is hard to reconcile that these modest dwellings, built for people in dire need of housing in the thirties, now sell for such huge sums.
305 The Boulevard

Monday, July 15, 2013

'Faux heritage versus contemporary' or something in between?

The Age (8 July) article  'Faux heritage versus contemporary home design' gave several photographic examples of each. Is the argument really as polarised as that?
The purpose of heritage policy is 'To conserve and enhance heritage places of natural or cultural significance'. Planners use a range of decision guidelines to assess applications but the guideline of greatest interest to observers of Port Melbourne's streetscapes is likely to be 'Whether the location, bulk, form and appearance of the proposed building is in keeping with the character and appearance of adjacent buildings and the heritage place.'
The planning scheme map of Port Melbourne shows the areas covered by a heritage overlay. In a heritage overlay area, a planning permit is required for most changes. In Port, there are many examples of additions to heritage places and new houses that have replaced heritage buildings. Some of the additions pre-date the current policy or pre-date guidelines or studies for particular areas such as Garden City and planning amendment C89 which implemented the recent review of Port Melbourne's heritage overlay.
As with all planning matters, there is vigorous contention. Some people  prefer additions to look pretty much the same as the original house, whereas others favour contemporary additions. The intention of contemporary additions, supported by the Burra Charter, is to leave an observer, now or in the future, in no doubt as to which is the original fabric and which is the new.
Here are some examples I find pleasing. This Heath St house demonstrates to me that 'many architects and designers understand that good "contemporary design" can take many forms, and one form is to design buildings that are polite to their neighbours. And to be "polite" does not necessitate the crass imitation of past styles.' (Michael Jorgensen, letter to The Age July 10, 2013)

a replacement building that is polite and respectful of its neighbours
Heath St, Port Melbourne


cnr Graham and Dow St, Port Melbourne


Any addition to this house, being on a corner, would be highly visible. The house may be double fronted but the site is small. This addition is set into the roof space to reduce its prominence. The dark colour is recessive. As you can see, the addition is not visible from Graham Street, so the objective of retaining the significance of the heritage place is fulfilled.
Knowing that people have different views about planning and particularly on this matter, this is an invitation for you to nominate your best and worst examples in Port Melbourne.

Friday, July 5, 2013

205 & 207 Esplanade West, Port Melbourne

2 February 2016
2 02 2016
7 October 2014
Clearing the site
The plaster oozed like cream in a layered cake. Gone now.
The houses are/were at that interesting junction between Dow St and Esplanade West, Port Melbourne that lead to endless confusion for taxi drivers.
5 July 2013
The planning permit phase
The property at 205 Esplanade West begins its journey to a new incarnation with the appearance of the planning notice on the fence. The proposal is for three, three storey townhouses with roof terraces.
Planning application 454/2013 was lodged on 29 May 2013. You can track the application on Port Phillip's application register.
205 & 207 Esplanade West

November 2012
Changing hands

The property sold for $1,600,000 (source Sold Price)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

35 Albert Street – a neglected gem now ripe for renovation

35 Albert St, Port Melbourne
After decades of neglect which didn’t bode well for a double-fronted Victorian house at 35 Albert Street, approval was sought to demolish the building and replace it with three two-storey townhouses. The City of Port P,illip and Albert Street residents combined to affect a change of heart. The application changed to a proposed restoration aid extension to this now heritage-listed building, and a reduced scope of works which now includes just one adjoining townhouse.

VCAT issued a permit on 21 June 2013 which requires the retention of the double-fronted dwelling which will contribute greatly to the heritage rejuvenation in this section of Albert Street. (contributed by Greg Hansen)



Monday, July 1, 2013

Going solar in Heath St