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.

24 November 2015

51 Esplanade West, Port Melbourne




Most building sites resumed work on 16 January 2012 but not 51 Esplanade West. No explanation is offered to us interested passers by. We guess instead - is the project in trouble? the builders having an especially long holiday? The site is now neither the old nor the new, but the unsatisfactory in between. 

The eucalyptus caesia suffers the ignominy of being treated as a tip rather than the silver princess she really is.


Work has resumed at 51 Esplanade West after an interval so long that people were beginning to wonder whether the project was proceeding.


The house at 51 Esplanade West was demolished in December 2010.

The planning process

The application for 4 three storey dwellings with 8 on site carparking spaces was approved by Council in April 2008. Council approval was appealed to VCAT, which approved the application in August 2008.

Heritage report

The heritage report that supported the demolition of 51 Esplanade West described the house as follows:
'Constructed during the interwar era, the single-storey interwar building has stuccoed masonry walls and a hipped roof clad in tiles. From the major hip protrudes two minor gables. One is these gables roofs the entrance porch, which features tapestry brick dressings and a dropped arch supported on ionic columns. Windows are generally timber framed. A low masonry fence with wrought iron panels and a tapestry brick capping borders the front and side of the property, while vehicle access to the site is from Rouse St.The c1894 MMBW plan of the street shows that the site was developed later than its Victorian neighbours.' (Bryce Raworth Report to Council November 2007)
Raworth argues in support of the demolition that:
'It stands as a relatively isolated example of interwar building stock. The MMBW plan of 1894 shows that while the remainder of Esplanade West was developed by this time, the subject site remained vacant with the exception of what appears to be stables at the rear of the site. Nor is the building in itself of sufficient significance to warrant an individual heritage overlay. Despite being a fairly typical example of an interwar villa, it is by no means exceptional.'
House and garden 

Ron loved his garden, caring for it meticulously - especially his roses which lined the path to the front door. He then turned his attention to planting the naturestrip.

The house also had a garage accessed from Rouse St. Ron was a sun baker and loved to catch the afternoon sun in the backyard.

51 Esplanade West from town planning report supporting its demolition, courtesy of Emerald Hill Heritage Centre, City of Port Phillip

Ron with Esplanade West neighbour, Keith Thomas c1989

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