Evolving Port

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

Monday, September 16, 2019

September 2019

Lois Collinder writes

"One of my earliest memories is sitting in Mr Bullough's grocery shop next door watching him weigh the sugar and tip it into brown paper bags. He'd also cut off pieces of butter from the large yellow slab for the ladies coming in with their coupons. I still remember the smell of the produce and Mr Bullough putting up the shutters every night. The cardboard mobiles advertising biscuits swayed in the breeze and the sawdust on the floor was soft beneath my feet. If I was a good girl I might get some broken biscuits from the tin or a pennyworth of chocolate balls in a paper cone."

from Memories of Port, Port Phillip Through My Eyes, Port Phillip Seniors' Festival Writing Competition, 2008

Friday, August 23, 2019

139 - 145 Montague St, South Melbourne

August 2019
The 'renowned' Olympia Gym has gone. The premises are being leased by Conquest.

Holding up the corner of Montague and Thistlethwaite St since 1991
Olympia Gymnasium's facebook site says: "After 28 years of inflicting pain, Paul is pulling down the roller shutter for the last time.

Everyone who calls the gym home knows that Paul is here from 5.30 in the morning to 10.30 at night, 365 days a year.

Paul has decided he needs some time out. So, with mixed emotions, he is closing Olympia. Sad to be closing, naturally. But also deeply grateful to the members who have chosen to work out at Olympia over the years. So many stories, so many memories.

Thank you to everyone who has made the journey to Montague Street since 1991."

29,000 vehicles pass this site every day, according to a VicRoads traffic report. (source: Conquest)

Sunday, August 11, 2019

150 - 160 Turner St, Lorimer, Fishermans Bend

August 2019

The site has been cleared of all vehicles. Passion fruit vines have been planted along the fence, as well as some citrus trees. 

Something is afoot!

150 - 160 Turner St, August 2019

150 - 160 Turner St, August 2019

April 2019

The site is reported to have sold for between $8m, according to The Age (9 April), less than the $10m owners Gary Brill and John Ayres had been seeking a year ago. It was last sold in August 2001
for $1,050,000 (realestate.com.au)

A permit was granted for a 36 storey building in July 2016.

150 - 160 Turner St, May 2019

The 2,618 sq metre site was acquired for $1.05m from the state government in 2003.

July 2018

150 Lorimer St is for sale by Colliers with a permit for a 30 level building.

July 2016

A planning permit was issued for a 36 level building in July 2016.

Architects: Artisan Architects

11 October 2015

While the Minister for Planning is the Responsible Authority for this application in the Lorimer Precinct of Fishermans Bend, the City of Melbourne’s comments were sought

At its planning meeting on 6 October, the Council resolved to write to the Minister advising that they did not support the application for a 30 storey building on a number of grounds including that

  • a majority of apartments rely on borrowed light
  • there was insufficient setback from Turner St (which is proposed to be a linear parkway)

    Unprepossessing 150 Turner St
    • there were insufficient setbacks between podium and tower
    • there were unreasonable wind tunnel effects at ground level
    • it would exceed the density contemplated for Fishermans Bend in the Strategic Framework Plan, was distant from public transport, and would put strain on community services and facilities

    Report to the Future Melbourne (Planning) Meeting 6 October 2015

    Friday, August 2, 2019

    161 Buckhurst St, Montague

    August 2019

    161 Buckhurst St will become Lenny. There will be only one apartment on each of the five levels.

    The property will be developed by Eton Property Group. Its attributes:

    "With a 94% Walkability Score rating, everything you need is within walking distance. Stroll to South Melbourne Market, Bay Street shopping precinct, and South Melbourne Primary School, so close to the city and sea by the nearby Montague station light rail."

    August 2019
    14 April 2019

    Since I last passed this way, the house has been demolished.

    The lilly pilly trees on the footpath are laden with fruit.

    April 2019

    28 March 2019

    The property deteriorates. The structure is revealed.

    March 2019 
    2 August 2017

    The City of Port Phillip has granted an extension to a permit originally granted in 2014.

    The application was first lodged in 2011 and originally proposed a four storey building.

    The Council argued the proposal would be an underdevelopment relative to planning guidelines at that time that recommended a five storey street wall and a maximum height of eight levels.

    The application was amended to increase the height to six levels, and a permit was duly issued (by the Minister) in January 2014.

    16 April 2017

    Looks like 161 Buckhurst is not going to be around for much longer.

    Read its planning history below.

    161 Buckhurst St is one of the few  (possibly the only) remaining double fronted house in Montague. It had a significant heritage grading.

    An application to demolish the house and construct a six level building was was lodged with the (then) Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) on 14th March, 2013 not long after the re-zoning of the area in 2012.

    The Port Phillip Council did not support the demolition of the building because it had a significant heritage grading and was not structurally unsound but the decision was not theirs to make.

    The application was approved by then Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy.

    Architects: Paul Delany

    171 - 183 Ferrars St, Montague

    August 2019

    Demolition has begun to enable this new development. Industri, which has sustained the community on hospitality over many years, closed at the end of July and will move to the nearby Wayside Inn.

    August 2018

    171-183 Ferrars St, South Melbourne returned to the Port Phillip Council for consideration. The permit applicants have sought changes under Section 72 of the Planning and Environment Act.

    The changes include reducing the number of apartments, changing the dwelling mix to include more 3 bedroom apartments and deleting the bridge to connect the development to the City Road tram stop. The through block link from Ferrars St to Railway Place is retained.

    September 2016

    Marketing has begun for this 20 level development, Vivid 181. It emphasises the advantages of the location and the convenience of the public transport:
    'A beautifully designed Pedestrian Bridge connects Vivid 181 residents to what will feel like your personal Light Rail Station via a secure weather protected Arcade.'

    It is a project of Michael Emery and John Denton of Denton Corker Marshall.

    2 July 2015

    Planning Minister Richard Wynne has issued a permit MPA14/0004 for a revised scheme for this site.
    The project was reduced from 25 to 20 storeys, minimising overshadowing.
    • 98 apartments, 20 storey tower
    • Mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments
    • Development value: $30 million
    • Developer: One Eight One Pty Ltd
    • Architect: Denton Corker Marshall

    The proposal provides for a walkway through to the City Road tram stop. This was not supported by the City of Port Phillip.

    26 November 2014

    It would be hard to find a person who doesn’t think the renewal of Fishermans Bend and Montague is a good idea.

    Its how its done that is the question. And now its being done. Applications are being considered according to the Strategic Framework Plan released in July by the Metropolitan Planning Authority. Applications are referred to the City of Port Phillip for comment – not decision.

    Fishermans Bend remains relatively unknown. With only a small residential population, the sense of fierce ownership of place is not as great as in more established suburbs.

    Heritage? Although it was the site of much of Victoria’s post war manufacturing, few traces of that industry remain. The buildings that house Montague’s small industries are not remarkable. Many of them are not that old.

    Creative industries moved from Port and South Melbourne to Montague where the rents were cheaper and began once again to transform the area with creative energy.

    173-181 Ferrars St, South Melbourne

    I went for a wander to get a feel for the place that is the site of the planning application for 173 – 181 Ferrars St.

    It’s very handy for South Melbourne Market. It’s literally on the City Road tram stop. It’s an easy walk or ride to the city or the bay. It’s easy to imagine walking through the site along the proposed link from Thistlethwaite St to access the light rail. Railway Place’s walls exhibit street art of wit and precision. The blue stone lane is full of the gritty urban character that people flock to see in Melbourne.

    The application had been referred to the Office of the Victorian Government Architect for comment. The framework plan’s guidance for this section of Montague is for a preferred height of 18 levels. The application was for 24 levels. In light of the discussion earlier this week about the OVGA, it is interesting to read that the design review panel said:

    ‘Without clear direction on the nature and extent of discretionary height decisions, the additional 5 storeys was supported on the basis that it created a more slender and elegant building.’ and
    ‘The question of how discretionary height limits will be applied needs to be addressed with consistency and an equitable approach’
    The City of Port Phillip assessed the application according to the Framework Plan and expects an application at the preferred maximum height of 18 storeys. What is the justification for the extra height? Is a ‘more slender and elegant’ building a sufficient reason to not observe the preferred maximum height?

    The application is unusual in that all apartments have adequate access to light and none rely on borrowed light. That should not be noteworthy. The environmental plan lacked ‘commitment’.

    The Council examines the nitty gritty detail of the application to anticipate the future life that will be led here. So important to get those details right, as overlooked details can return to haunt.

    High vehicles won’t be able to turn left

    Will those removal vans be able to fit under that 3.8 m bridge? How will the garbage trucks make their way onto City Road?

    Questions remain.

    Will the architects Denton Corker Marshall continue as architects right through the project?

    How will the building relate to the future school proposed on the corner of Ferrars and Douglas St?

    As the Fishermans Bent Network comment, assessing individual applications, even on their merits against the Framework plan, is not a sufficient pre-condition for a liveable precinct.


    City of Port Phillip 173-181 Ferrars Street, South Melbourne 18 November 2014

    530 Williamstown Rd, Port Melbourne

    August 2019

    Is this the only pair of houses of this design in Port Melbourne? Opposite the Port Melbourne Football Ground. The planning application is for an upper level extension to the rear.

    August 2019
    December 2017

    81 Bridge St, Port Melbourne

    August 2019

    The site is cleared by Green Demolitions and Earthworks.

    81 Bridge St, August 2019

    April 2019

    Six three level dwellings are for sale by Cayzer - each with an indicative sale price of  $2,100,000.

    April 2019

    March 2018

    The site is secured. 

    March 2018
    September 2017

    The planning application was refused by the City of Port Phillip and appealed to VCAT.

    June 2017

    Planning application 164/2017 is being advertised for six three storey townhouses with rooftop terraces.

    November 2016

    The site is still for sale.

    July 2016

    The property is for sale again by Greg Hocking, Holdsworth. Now just a development site: 'the site, the sounds, the scope'. The property 'damaged and dilapidated.'

    September 2015

    81 Bridge St sold for $3,700.000. Agents Hocking Stuart described the property as offering 'an increasingly rare "blank canvas" opportunity to renovate/build a district showpiece (STCA), or explore the enormous multi-townhouse development potential (STCA).'

    From spectacular to dilapidated

    Following a fire in 2014, this unusual house has collapsed into a sorry crumble of bricks and roof.
    This corner block has become pure potential. The lush green billboard promises a good yield.

    June 2015
    Shortly after the fire in November 2014

    24 11 2014
    Here is the house looking proud on a beautiful day in March 2009.

    Addressing the corner
    Image David Thompson 
    David Thompson explains how this unusual house - for Port - came to be built.

    Wednesday, July 31, 2019

    60 - 82 Johnson St, South Melbourne

    July 2019

    The site has been cleared by Delta. 

    July 2019

    April 2019

    Demolition work has begun on site. Not much more than the facade of this brick warehouse remains.

    Brick warehouse - April 2019

    Pile of bricks from demolition of the warehouse - April 2019

    2017 - 2018

    The site has lain fallow. Fennell grows tall.

    Salvo branding flaps on the fence.

    2 February 2017

    Bill McNee sold the site to Mario Salvo for $40 million. (source: Age 2 02 2017)

    4 September 2016

    Marc Pallisco reports that developer Bill McNee is speculated to be selling half of the 9776 sq m 60-82 Johnson St site for about $28m. (Age, 24 09 2016)

    Minister Wynne issued a permit for the site in May 2015.

    According to Pallisco, McNee acquired the site in 2013 for $10.1m from the Kennard family.

    The site has been for sale since September last year.

    23 September 2015

    The site at 60-82 Johnson St is for sale. Bought for $10m in September 2013, it is believed that the asking price will be $60m, according to The Financial Review.

    60 - 82 Johnson St, South Melbourne in 2015

    29 May 2015

    Seeing Red

    When this warehouse thrust itself on my attention, I didn’t realise that it was part of 60-82 Johnson Street – one of three developments approved by Minister Wynne on Friday 22 May. The development includes 1276 apartments built across four towers at from 21 to 46 levels.

    Johnson Street is currently a quiet and handy link in the bike route from Port to Docklands and the world of the north beyond.

    The planning application was first submitted back in 2013 and was assessed according to the Strategic Framework Plan approved by Matthew Guy, planning minister in the Napthine government.

    It is not immediately clear whether the development on the ROTHELOWMAN website is the development that was finally approved.

    Minister Wynne was at pains to emphasise that none of the single bedroom apartments was less than 40 m2 and none relied on borrowed light.

    The planning report notes that Johnson Street is wide enough to support a Copenhagen style bicycle lane – but it is unclear whether that is a condition of the development.

    The application leaves the wider public realm and community infrastructure questions unanswered.


    Urban Melbourne provides all the facts and figures about this development – bike and car parking, apartment numbers, tower heights.

    Urban Melbourne – 60-82 Johnson Street, South Melbourne- Sandridge precinct


    Brick warehouse 29 March 2013

    Friday, June 21, 2019

    8 Turville Place, Port Melbourne

    June 2019

    The site has been cleared in preparation for three 3 storey dwellings.

    Planning history

    Planning application 712/2017 was lodged on 18 August 2017, refused by the Council on 26 February 2018, and finally approved on appeal to VCAT on 14 March 2018.

    1 April 2017

    The property was sold on 1 April 2017 for $1,790,000.

    photo: Cayzer
    In 1988 it was sold for $175,000.

    Sunday, April 14, 2019

    Boundary St, Port Melbourne

    April 2019

    This striking, site responsive house on the Port Melbourne side of Boundary St was recently written up in HomeWorldDesign.

    It responds well to its brief which was "to design a striking, modern house that made the most of the small site and yet responded to the neighbouring urban fabric and location."

    Chan Architecture's response was "to start with materials and forms that were prominent in the Port Melbourne area and combine them in a unique manner. Strong, angular lines were used in conjunction with recycled brickwork that made reference to the warehouse aesthetic and the metal cladding and rectangular forms related to shipping containers."

    The recycled bricks are warmed by the autumn sun - April 2019
    The recycled bricks continue the brickwork theme down Boundary St.

    222 Ingles St, Port Melbourne

    30 March 2019

    The estate of the late Dr Thomas Beresford is selling Boral's former Port Melbourne premises at 222 Ingles St, Port Melbourne.

    The Boundary St frontage of 222 Ingles St - April 2019

    The property had been used as a plasterboard factory since the 1940s and Boral had leased it since the 1960s. Several buildings were demolished in 2011-12 and there is one shed remaining in the middle of the site.

    The site has been neatened up - a little - the grass slashed and the graffiti/street art removed. This piece had been on the Boundary St facing wall since 2014.

    art in place on Boundary St facing wall from 2014 to 2019

    Site 4956 sq m

    Agent Lemon Baxter

    (Source: Age Commercial Real Estate 30 March 2019 p25)

    Sunday, March 17, 2019

    134 - 142 Ferrars St, South Melbourne

    March 2019

    The buildings on site at 134 - 142 Ferrars St have been demolished. Only the sub-station remains.

    The site from neighbouring South Melbourne Primary School

    April 2017

    After four years, a permit* has been granted for this site. Down from the originally proposed 49 storeys, the building is now approved at 18 storeys and includes 17 three bedroom homes and 6 affordable housing units to be managed by a housing association.

    US technology company Sunguard Availability Services is the developer, Rothelowman the architects.

    This site is immediately opposite the new South Melbourne Primary School – Ferrars St.

    *permit 2013/000088 was granted on 10 April 2017

    28 April 2013

    Not unexpectedly, the Port Phillip Council did not support the proposal for a 49 storey development at 134 – 142 Ferrars St, and has asked the Minister for Planning to refuse the application.

    134 - 142 Ferrars St in April 2013
    Not unexpected because the proposal failed the Council’s assessment on a range of tests. Most importantly that it greatly exceeded the height and scale preferred in the Council’s adopted Montague Structure Plan.

    The environmental performance of the proposal was not considered adequate. The proposal was assessed against the Montague Structure Plan in the absence of a plan for the Fishermans Bend Urban Renewal Area (FBURA). There is also no development contribution plan in place.

    The planning report recommended that no permit should be granted until such a plan is in place and added that ‘this is preferable than piecemeal agreements between the Minster for Planning and developers, which may result in ad-hoc, uncoordinated and inconsistent works within the FBURA'.

    July 2012

    The 1,970 m2 site was sold for $3,036,000

    In February 2000, the site was sold for $2,250,000, and in November 1983 for $952,000. (source: realestate.com)

    37 - 47 Thistlethwaite St, South Melbourne

    17 March 2019

    The possibilities.

    for sale: 37-47 Thistlethwaite St


    According to Colliers, a local developer has purchased the site for $7,525,000 on behalf of a private owner-occupier following strong interest from multiple bidders. 

    The site sold without a permit but with an architect-designed concept plan for an eight-level development of 84 apartments.

    22 June 2016

    Con Gallin music retailer and vintage guitar collector is selling this site. The site houses a two-level warehouse and office, which act as the support office for music instrument retailer Allans Billy Hyde. Mr Gallin bought the chain from receivers in 2012.

    He sold his collection of famous guitars – including those used by the likes of Paul McCartney and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page – for $1.5 million in 2014. (source Financial Review 10 08 2016)

    Colliers is handling the sale by EOI closing 22 July at 3pm. 

    The Thistlethwaite Street site last sold for $3.6 million in mid-2007.

    • 1,237m2
    • architect's concept for 84 apartments
    • 3 street frontages

    Tuesday, March 12, 2019

    78 Princes St, Port Melbourne

    February 2019

    Came across this 1995 photograph of 78 Princes St at the Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society.

    The photograph was taken for a dilapidation report undertaken by Mirvac in preparation for the construction of Beacon Cove.

    78 Princes St 1995

    Saturday, March 2, 2019

    108 Dow St, Port Melbourne

    Late flowering 

    The home of Kelvin Edwin McIntosh who was born and died in this house. (29 05 1942 to 22 02 2018)

    This cactus, bursting out of its pot, flowered magnificently in February.

    February 2019

    Kelvin liked to sit on the verandah of the house and watch the world go by - and offer his thoughts on the world too.


    PORTogether Meet one of Port Melbourne's Kids - Kelvin McIntosh

    86 Princes St, Port Melbourne

    February 2019

    The site is cleared.

    The site at 86 Princes St is cleared 

    January 2019

    On my morning walk, saw 86 Princes St being deconstructed. Over the past year, it has been gradually disappearing behind vines, signalling that demolition was nigh.

    morning of 15 January 2019
    A permit was issued on the 22 January 2018 for the demolition of the house and the construction of a three storey dwelling with a two storey garage/studio to the rear of the site. (Application No 552/2017)

    Tuesday, February 26, 2019

    Army and Navy Hotel, Port Melbourne

    December 2018

    A private auction was held on 1 December. The property sold on 27 December 2018.

    4 May 2013

    After lying neglected and ignored for almost twenty years, the heritage listed Army and Navy Hotel has metamorphosed into some very sophisticated townhouses, now for sale. This photograph precedes the change.

    Dow St was a centre of activity for the Naval Brigades that preceded formation of the Australian Navy. The great apprehension of a Russian invasion galvanised the Brigades.

    Here is just a snippet to convey the presence of Navy in Dow St:

    'The Sandridge Corps of the Naval Brigade paraded on Friday at the drill room in Dow Street for official inspection. A hundred members were present … and the men went to quarters. The guns were all cast loose and run out, guns on both sides manned; broadside and independent firing was practised. The Officer in Command was Capt Steele assisted by Capt Johnson and Lieuts Swallow and Smith.'

    A letter to The Age (14 01 1933) recalls some of the early settlers, including

    'Captain Harry Hall (who) signalled his retirement from the sea by conducting the dual businesses of a sand contractor and a publican. He kept the Army and Navy Hotel in Dow-street, opposite the old drill hall.'


    Visit the Victorian Heritage Database for a photograph that captures the presence of the Army and Navy Hotel.

    Sunday, February 24, 2019

    73 Heath St, Port Melbourne

    February 2019

    The house at 73 Heath St has been demolished. Gone for now - but not for long as it will be re-constructed.

    It was found that the hipped-roof front section was in such poor structural condition it could not be brought up to modern standards to meet building regulations and energy requirements.  Port Phillip Council building surveyors supported the demolition.

    The cottage, with its slate roof and chimney will be reinstated, along with its double-hung windows. A more street sympathetic fence will enable a two way interaction between the house and the street.

    73 Heath St, Port Melbourne 

    Saturday, February 23, 2019

    51-59 Thistlethwaite St, South Melbourne

    March 2019

    The site has been cleared, and construction of Lilix has commenced.

    looking towards Thistlethwaite St from the City Road end

    Lilix 'will become part of the fabric of South Melbourne, perfectly positioned in the emerging Montague precinct where the area's eclectic industrial past is giving way to new parks, schools and contemporary living'. (source: Lilix)

    Lilix is a project of Spec Property.

    from commencing soon to building commenced - March 2019

    August 2018

    The site at 51-59 Thistlethwaite St has been cleared in readiness for construction.

    • Floor count: 8
    • Dwellings: 148
    • Developer: SPEC property

    formerly Tyres Plus, also fronting City Road



    permite approved site for sale 2016

    9 December 2015

    51-59 Thistlethwaite St and 486 City Rd, South Melbourne

    This application, first lodged with Council on 19 January 2015 was to
    • construct a mixed use, 4, 7, 13 and 16 level building containing retail and commercial tenancies,
    • 258 (126 x 1BR, 109 x 2BR inc. 6 SoHo, and 23 x 3BR) dwellings, community spaces including a toy library, and car and bicycle parking, 
    City of Port Phillip planning report 9 December 2015


    The site was sold for $572,000. (source Domain)