Evolving Port

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

03 December 2011

63 Rouse St, Port Melbourne

25 March 2015

63 Rouse St, Port Melbourne under construction 
Element Five

20 January 2014

63 Rouse St, Port Melbourne - demolition 

The former Kosdown printing premises at 63 Rouse St were demolished over the heatwave week. Hot work!

Kosdown was in Rouse St, Port Melbourne for about 30 years. They have moved to 10 Rocklea Drive in Fishermans Bend.

Marketing for the Evie apartments describes Port Melbourne as Melbourne’s ‘most dynamic and eclectic’ inner beach suburb.

15 April 2013

63 Rouse St, April 2013

3D and Branding created by KIKGROUP, Interior by Hecker Guthrie and architecture by Rothe Lowman

Architects Rothelowman
Monson Property Group

12 February 2015

The recent sale of Kosdown in Rouse St has created interest in the planning controls for this site. The site is in the Port Melbourne Mixed Use Area and is covered by a Design and Development Overlay [DDO] in the Port Phillip Planning Scheme. The particular requirements for this part of the DDO provides for an absolute maximum height of 19.5m [6 storeys].

63 Rouse St, February 2011

199 - 203 Rouse St, Port Melbourne


August 2013

I'm exceptionally disappointed with the treatment of this corner of Rouse and Nott St. Touted as the pride of Port Melbourne, Luur offers nothing to the public realm - keeping its delightful spaces including a communal roof deck all to itself. 

Rouse St was imagined in 1999 as the spine of the proposed new residential areas south of Graham St. All new development was to contribute to the high level of pedestrian amenity, shelter from the wind, and visual interest through the incorporation of urban art.

This has been achieved to an extent in Tjingari (opposite at 216 Rouse St) with Barbara Weir's artwork etched onto the outside walls and above the entrance. The aspirations for Rouse St fall far short with the ground level treatment of Luur. 

October 2011
14 October 2011

The corner of Rouse and Nott St was occupied by Rosebank Engineering - a narrow building on the corner. Next door was a narrow car park used by the company. 

The site was cleared towards the end of 2011. Luur will have 31 apartments over 6 levels. The site was formerly a modest office building recently occupied by Rosebank engineering - the remnants of which you can see in this picture. The site is covered by Design and Development Overlay 1 [DDO1] of the Port Phillip planning scheme which specifies a maximum height of 6 storeys in this particular location. 

Architect: Terry Harper 

Builder: Hamilton Marino

04 September 2011

299 The Boulevard, Port Melbourne

Fishermans Bend guidelines stand up to the test

the pair of houses 299 The Boulevard

The City of Port Phillip refused the application for the demolition of the dwelling at 299 The Boulevard and the construction of a new two storey dwelling. It was then appealed to VCAT who affirmed Council's decision to refuse the application. 

Tribunal member Dr Rebecca Leshinsky had 'concerns that the demolition will affect the significance of the heritage place and the construction of the new dwelling will be unsympathetic to the scale and form of the heritage place. She acknowledged that 'the surrounding buildings in The Boulevard have become more diverse over time, with more recent two storey developments'. She was of the view 'that this new diversity in the surrounding buildings should not set a precedent for further removal of significant heritage fabric ... ' and the fact 'that there has been change in the area is indicative that future change to the surrounds must now be carefully monitored to prevent decay of the heritage and neighbourhood character. The 'picking off' of a further existing dwelling through demolition will be detrimental for the preservation of the remaining existing character of the Estate.' 

To read more of the decision, click here.

07 August 2011

Garden City Bank Houses

Beacon Rd, Garden City

The Garden City bank houses are covered by a heritage overlay in the Port Phillip Planning Scheme. This means that a planning permit is required to make changes - to fences and windows as well as more substantial renovations. 

Guidelines prepared in 1997 were updated in 2010 to assist people wanting to make changes to their Garden City homes. The guidelines are accessible via the link in the right hand menu.

06 August 2011

51 Bridge St, Port Melbourne

March 2019

An article on this Heritage cottage, Port Melbourne  by Alexandra Buchanan architects was featured in The Local Project on 7 March.

History of 51 Bridge Street

This house is built on Allotment 15 of Section 50, shown on a Township plan of Sandridge dated 5 November 1860. At this stage it was the only land in Port Melbourne east of the lagoon which had been surveyed into allotments. Access was limited to a bridge at Graham Street or alternatively travelling around the end of the lagoon, in the vicinity of Raglan Street and Ingles Street. 

Allotment 15 was purchased from the crown by William V Buckhurst, an agent from Emerald Hill. During 1874 he erected the present brick house at 51 Bridge Street.

The building is a good example of a small single fronted house in Port Melbourne. It is constructed of dark brown and black bricks with delicate wooden barge boards and a turned wooden finial. The house has cast iron brackets and frieze; probably added at a later date.

(source: Port Melbourne Conservation Study, prepared by Jacobs, Lewis, Vines Architects and Conservation Planners July 1979, p167)

Heritage policy

City of Port Phillip policy on upper level additions to heritage buildings: The photographs demonstrate the City of Port Phillip Heritage Policy which is that:

'an upper storey addition is sited and massed behind the principal facade so that it preferably is not visible, particularly in intact or consistent streetscapes.' (Local Planning Policies - Clause 22.04 p2 of 7)

01 August 2011

86 to 88 Dow St, Port Melbourne

September 2023

Cladding is being replaced on the development. 

July 2011
84 - 88 Dow St, July 2011

Work has begun on 86 to 88 Dow St, Port Melbourne. The site has been vacant for about two years. The application, refused by Council, was supported at VCAT. The decision is one of several by VCAT for the area south of Graham St, where the Tribunal has preferred the growth direction of the City of Port Phillip's planning scheme above the sensitivity to the heritage buildings to the east. The development will be over 5 levels and contain 23 dwellings with basement carpark. 

The site was sold by private treaty in 2006 for $2,525m.

The site was formerly a marine engineering works.

05 July 2011

52 Crichton Avenue, Port Melbourne


52 Crichton Ave, Port Melbourne 

52 Crichton Avenue was the home of former Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society member, Ann Smallpage. Ann moved to Crichton Ave from Warnambool as a child when the Bank Houses were still under construction. Her father was a driver with COR - the Commonwealth Oil Refinery. 

Ann was a photographer and chronicler of events as well as having a photographic memory. Her detailed recall of events and places has informed the recording of Garden City and Port Melbourne's history during the 20th Century.

Now 52 Crichton Ave has been the subject of a VCAT decision relevant to many planning applications for bank houses. Residents often argue that the 'garden' or backyard is a fundamental attribute of the character of 'Garden City' and should be protected from undue encroachment from extensions. 

From the VCAT decision

'The focus of the objectors case was on the development's interface with neighbouring back yards; they sought to argue that the additions are too large, bulky, would be visually imposing and would diminish the sense of spaciousness of the backyard realm, thus affecting an established feature of the neighbourhood.'

The VCAT member reinforced the objective in state planning policy of  'protecting the streetscape appearance of dwellings - an outcome that involves directing new development to the rear. As a consequence, the backyard character of this area is not static.'

'This decision highlights that backyard realm can be a neighbourhood character feature of an area, however, the primary objective is to protect heritage buildings as they present to the principle street, and the consequence of such policy is that development must be directed to the rear of the site.'

Since this is a very brief extract from the decision, I recommend reading the summary by clicking here. The full VCAT decision is available here.


The property was sold by Frank Gordon & Co for $805k.

01 July 2011

324- 326 Howe Parade, Port Melbourne

The single storey pair of houses at 324 - 326 Howe Parade were the first to be built by the newly established Housing Commission of Victoria at the Fishermen's Bend estate in 1939. They are also of scientific [technical] significance as imporant early examples of the Fowler precast concrete system. 

The houses are on the Victorian Heritage Register [H1863] because of their significance and any changes to them require Heritage Victoria approval. A permit [P12535] was granted by Heritage Victoria in January 2010 for a two storey rear extension and conservation works to the registered house. A condition on the permit states that 'the extensive use of external red brick is not consistent with the design philosophy of the experimental concrete house. The use of external face brickwork is to be reduced to provide a finish that is more reflective of the Moderne design of the experimental concrete house such as rendering the brickwork or increased use of rendered cement sheeting.'

07 May 2011

74 Stokes St, Port Melbourne


2 February 2013

Here is Iconica completed. Iconic? You be the judge.

74 Stokes St, Port Melbourne, February 2013

8 May 2011

74 Stokes St, Port Melbourne, 8 May 2011

This site was formerly occupied by a double fronted house - hidden behind a high brick wall. The site is located in the Mixed Use Area of Port Melbourne - the area generally bounded by Graham/Beach/Pickles/Princes Sts. This area contains some of Port Melbourne's most significant heritage buildings, heritage protected houses, and former industrial sites. It is also an area designated for growth. This has led to some tension in planning decision making as to what constitutes the greater imperative: growth or protection of heritage, and the interface between higher order development and low rise residential. 

This particular decision is a case study of this debate. Council refused the application but it was subsequently approved at VCAT. While I recommend reading the whole Tribunal decision, here are a few key points from the it's decision:

"30. So what does all that [Council's planning policy] mean? We are of the view that the notion of respecting character and maintaining amenity needs to be considered in the context of a site located in an area that is earmarked for growth, tall buildings and as a consequence, more intense development. "Change" of a substantial nature is envisaged in this area. It would be a nonsense to, on one hand, identify this area as being of metropolitan significance and for growth, and then, on the other hand, stifle the significant strategic growth opportunity that it offers by insisting that new development must respond to the low rise character of the traditional housing stock, or to expect that amenity impacts would be the same as those that might be more reasonably be anticipated in other residential areas where there is not the same strategic support for growth. The Tribunal believes that asking for significant change and observance of 'character' is the equivalent of driving a motor car with a foot on the accelerator and brake at the same time." Oakley Property Group Pty Ltd v Port Phillip City Council [2009] VCAT 1609 (12 August 2009) 

The development was featured in today's Age Council believed that it could manage this tension, but successive Tribunal decisions have favoured growth in this area over protection.

07 April 2011

169 Liardet St, Port Melbourne

169 Liardet St, 11 March 2012

169 Liardet St, June 2011

26 March 2011

Old and new - how do they relate?

The letter reads: ' Enlighten me oh one of obviously superior intellect
What is a chav? [someone else helpfully explains that is Geordie for bogan]
Is that someone who may be able to justify their vandalism of someone else's property as their only outlet for their vitriol, mute [sic] feelings of inadequacy for not being a productive member of society or sheer frustration at not having a job or a life?
Nice artwork by the way
Very intelligent and professional'

A lively debate in strong terms about the application of the City of Port Phillip's heritage policy and the scale of new development is taking place on the hoarding of the dwelling taking shape on the corner of Greig and Durham St, Albert Park.

The application for this property was refused by Council and approved by VCAT. It replaces a fifties style dwelling - not a Victorian era cottage.

The recurrent issues at the heart of people's concerns are how old and new buildings relate, the extent to which new additions and dwellings should reference the old and the scale of new development.

28 February 2011

What is proposed for the former Faram's hardware?

Following the screening of The Last of the Independents by film maker Kevin Anderson, several people asked what will take its place.
Here is a summary of the proposal taken from VCAT's description [VCAT ref no P1927/2008]:

The proposal is to demolish the rear of an existing shop retaining the front facade, verandah and parapet wall. A new three storey building is proposed behind the retained portion of the existing building comprising the following:
  • basement level containing 13 carspaces at ground floor, four retail tenancies with a total floor area of 474 sq m
  • first floor containing four two bedrooms apartments and two one bedroom apartments. Each dwelling is provided with a balcony facing the street or rear boundary.

11 February 2011

Flooding in Lalor St, Port Melbourne

It is a week since we experienced the massive downpour of 4 February which led to flooding in various parts of Port Melbourne.

One of the areas affected was Lalor St, Port Melbourne - that small segment of street that runs parallel to Bay St between Bridge and Liardet St.

Lalor St is covered by a Special Building Overlay. 

As several place and street names in Port Melbourne suggest, water has been a presence in our area from the earliest days: Pool St, Spring St, Lagoon Reserve.

28 January 2011

Farams: 405 Bay St, Port Melbourne

20 May 2013
The direction given by VCAT as summarised below is given effect in the re-development:

27 January 2011
The recent demolition of all but the verandah and front wall of the former Faram's Hardware has prompted interest in the planning history of the site.
In June 2008, Council refused a permit for a number of reasons, including that 'the proposal would demolish too much of the existing heritage buiding which would detract from the originality and heritage values of the existing buildings' and that 'the proposed alterations and additions to the street facade of the existing building and at the upper levels would detract from the originality and heritage values of the existing buildings.'
The applicant took the matter to VCAT. In May 2009, VCAT approved the amended plans that were put forward at the hearing.
Here are some relevant extracts from the Tribunal's decision:
'11. Although the Heritage Overlay ... constrains development, the existence of the overlay does not prevent redevelopment of the land. It does mean that any redevelopment of the site needs to occur in a way that is respectful of the character of the building and the heritage setting.
12. The front facade and verandah of the existing shop premises are the key elements of the heritage fabric and these are to be retained in the proposed development.'
To read the full VCAT decision in full, click here

21 January 2011

What does a heritage overlay mean?

A heritage overlay is a valuable mechanism in council planning schemes to protect areas of heritage housing that have been identified as significant. The overlays are usually supported by studies of their significance undertaken by heritage experts.
To demolish a house covered by a heritage overlay, a permit is required. The permit application process is rigorous, and if the applicant is seeking to demolish a house, they will be required to satisfy the tests outlined in the City of Port Phillip's heritage policy.
Where there is no heritage overlay in place, a permit is not required to demolish a house unless it has an individual citation of significance.
Hence, the heritage overlay is a very powerful mechanism in a planning scheme.
The importance attached to a heritage overlay is indicated in this photograph from Evans St which suggests that this house is a development opportunity because it is outside a heritage overlay.

18 January 2011

92 Derham St, Port Melbourne

Living next door to a steel castings factory

image courtesy of the Port Melbourne Historical & Preservation Society

This photograph of 92 Derham St was taken in 1972. The Port Melbourne Council then began to encourage sites such as this to transition to full residential development. The Derham St property was purchased by the Port Melbourne Council for $50,000 on September 21, 1972. 

The factory made every washing day a headache. It was replaced by some modest terrace housing.

13 January 2011

502 - 518 Williamstown Rd, Port Melbourne

502 - 518 Williamstown Rd, Port Melbourne, 2011

VCAT found little to commend in the application for 32 dwellings at 502 to 518 Williamstown Road and ordered that no permit be issued. Council had recommended a conditional approval for this development.

The Tribunal found it to be 'an overly ambitious proposal which constitutes a poor site response in terms of the intended car parking arrangements and the extent to which the new built form will involve high and imposing walls built out or close to the site boundaries.' [21, ref P934/2010]

09 January 2011

220 Esplanade East, Port Melbourne


The completed development from Esplanade East.

220 Esplanade East, Port Melbourne, 2013

There was a magnificent magnolia tree in the front yard of 220 Esplanade East, and some mature silky oaks to the rear of the site.

April 2011

On 29 April 2011, VCAT ordered that Council's decision to refuse the application be set aside. A permit was granted for the demolition of the existing building and the construction of of four two storey dwellings.

Here are some conditions on the permit that may be of interest:

Condition 7. Prior to the completion of the development two trees (Angophora costata) must be planted to the satisfaction of the Responsible Authority [Council] in the Esplanade East centre median in the vicinity of the subject site, at a cost to be borne by the applicant.

Condition 12. Privacy screens as required in accordance with the endorsed plans must be installed prior to occupation of the building to the satisfaction of the Responsible Authority and maintained thereafter to the satisfaction of the Responsible Authority. 

Here is some of the reasoning behind VCAT's determination which is relevant to many situations in Port Melbourne.


25. The proposed building ... is also designed to present a firm and noticeable modern aspect to the front street. It is not unique in that respect. So modern an aspect does not mimic the remaining Victorian and Edwardian residential buildings of the area, but mimicry is a poor approach to infill development. The proposal would make a more positive contribution than the existing dwelling on the review site and, whilst being noticeable, would not, in my opinion be overly dominant or overbearing.

28. There is no heritage value in the building to be demolished. The only question is whether the proposal unduly detracts from other buildings of heritage interest of the area more broadly. In my opinion it is acceptable from these points of view.

Neighbourhood character
29 ... It is ... a question of how this proposal would fits into its streetscape and its neighbourhood, in terms of its existing neighbourhood character. That neighbourhood character is no longer exclusively represented by the original development of the area. It is now rather various with variety of infills and redevelopments from several periods, including modern ones. I consider the proposal to be quite suitable from the neighbourhood character point of view. Indeed, it makes a positive contribution to the neighbourhood, the streetscape and the area, a more positive contribution than with the existing building on the site. 

30 I do not regard the proposal as an overdevelopment of this site, although it might be considered that in some other contexts. ... this is a closely settled inner suburb where town houses of this sort are acceptable. I regard this proposal as being acceptable in terms of its setbacks and site coverage.'


January 2011

Port Phillip Council considered, and refused, this application in August 2010. It had been recommended for approval by Council's planner. 

220 Esplanade East, Port Melbourne, January 2011

The application involves
  • the demolition of the existing post-war house and removal of 4 Grevillea robusta ['silky oak'] trees on the McCormack St boundary. Tree removal does not require a planning permit. The construction of 4, two storey dwellings
  • dwellings 1 and 2 on the western side of the allotment with garages, vehicle access and front entrances off Esplanade East 
  • dwellings 3 and 4 on the western side of the allotments with garages, vehicle access and front pedestrian entry off McCormack St.
The application is now before VCAT.

07 January 2011

157 Albert St, Port Melbourne

11 January 2011

155 and 157 Albert St viewed from Union St. The plane trees of Clark St can be seen the background.

157 Albert St, July 2006

The Port Phillip Council did not make a decision within the required time and hence the application was taken to VCAT. VCAT approved the development in October 2008. To follow the arguments that led to their decision, click here

'I am satisfied that the objectives of Clause 22.05 and Performance measures 1,2,3 and 4 are met. In arriving at this conclusion, I am influenced by the following:
  • the building is less than 3 storeys
  • the streetscape has a diverse building scale, and the height of the new development is no more than 1 storey above the height of the lower of the adjoining buildings
  • the streetscape does not have consistent roof forms
  • front setbacks in the street are diverse
  • vegetation and landscaped front setbacks do not form a significant part of the character of the neighbourhood [Kidston v Port Phillip CC [2008] 1969, 17]

18 Lyons St, Port Melbourne

1 July 2017

This property is once again for sale. It has deteriorated significantly since 2011 when it was last the subject of planning discussion. Advertised for the land. Just land.

Curious that I should have noticed this sale notice today, exactly six years to the day since I last posted about this property.

1 July 2011
18 Lyons St, Port Melbourne, January 2011

Approval for the demolition of this dwelling and the construction of a three level building containing two dwellings with associated basement carparking was given by VCAT in August 2009 as Council had not made a decision within the required time. 

Discussion at VCAT centred on the nature and character of Lyons St:

'The street and surrounding neighbourhood is characterised by mainly late Victorian era housing interspersed with a number of circa 1960s alterations or infill houses along Lyons St, circa 1970s housing facing Esplanade West and circa 1960s walk up flats along Dow St to the rear and a circa 1930s Masonic Lodge along Liardet St. Lyons St is mixed in appearance' [Fredman Molina Planning Pty Ltd vs Port Phillip CC,13]