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.

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.'