Municipal stables Sth Yarra_south elevation_18 Feb 08
Statement of Significance
What is significant?
The former Municipal Stables at South Yarra were constructed in 1910 on land purchased by the former Prahran City Council in 1888 and used as its Corporation Yard and as a site for its 'destructor' or waste incinerator. The Council used horses to cart rubbish, move the tar used for road construction, power the horse brooms used for street sweeping and for tasks associated with the destructor. By 1912 there were seventeen horses in the stables, but in that year the Council began to acquire a fleet of motor vehicles and by 1928 operated several Ford trucks, mainly used for street cleaning. In the inter-war period Council continued to rely on horse-drawn transport for larger projects, such as the extensive earthmoving works carried out in the early 1930s at Como Park as part of the extension of Alexandra Avenue. The continuing reliance on horses required the extension of the stables to the west in 1936-7. In the late 1930s it was decided that horses should be phased out in favour of motor vehicles, but this was not implemented until after World War II. Council continued to maintain its fleet of horses, mainly for rubbish collection, until about 1960 when the use of horses was abandoned permanently. The stables were converted into an amenities block for council workers, which required the blocking of many of the window and door openings and the removal of the internal features usually associated with stables. It is now used as a Council store.
The former Municipal Stable is a rendered brick building with a central two-storey gable roof section flanked by single storey wings with raking parapets disguising their skillion roofs. The door and window openings have red brick architraves, and the main entrance on the south side has a segmental brick arch above and retains its original doors. The 1930s single storey hip-roofed addition to the west is in a similar style to the original. There are louvred wooden ventilators above the original ground floor openings. The ground floor windows and one of the external doors on the first floor have been bricked in, and the rendered walls of the eastern skillion section have been painted white, but otherwise the original building is externally intact. Nothing appears to remain of the original ground floor stalls apart from the posts supporting the first floor, which once marked the divisions between the stalls. On the first floor, reached by a modern metal stair, is a large open space, once probably used as a hayloft, with again no remaining internal features to demonstrate its original use.
How is it significant?
The former municipal stables at South Yarra are of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The former Municipal Stable at South Yarra is the only known surviving example of a Municipal stable in Victoria, and is historically significant as a demonstration of the continuing importance of horses in Victoria, particularly for municipal work, until the second half of the twentieth century and of the buildings which were once essential to accommodate them.
The former Municipal Stable is architecturally significant for its unusual building form with the two storey central section flanked by raking parapets adorning the skillions roofs on each side.