The West Richmond Heritage Overlay Area is part of the two allotments purchased from the Crown in 1839 by William Highett and R W Wrede. Highett, an early settler from Tasmania, was a squatter, merchant and banker. In the early 1850s, Highett erected the mansion Yalcowinna on the south side of Erin Street, where the Epworth hospital now stands. William Hull purchased a section of Highett's allotment and built a large stone residence in the early 1850s on the Bridge Road frontage. Next door was George Jame's residence (both demolished). (139)
Opposite Yalcowinna, on the north side of Erin Street, a pair of semi-detached houses was built in the 1850s-1860s. One was owned by the pioneer Presbyterian the Rev. Dr Adam Cairns and the other by merchant William Muir (see Muir St).
R W Wrede immediately sold his 1839 allotment to James Hodgson (one of the first members of the Legislative Assembly).(140)By 1855 it had been subdivided into the present street layouts. (141) There were two houses on the south side of Highett Street at this time, set back from the street with formal gardens, as are the existing houses. The Edwardian-era houses at 44 and 46 Highett Street have early wings at the rear as an indication of this earlier phase.
In 1889 the mansion Yooralbyn (29 Erin St, later renamed Elim) was built for merchant William Harper (see HO257). Further subdivision occurred on the north side of Erin Street in the 1870s and the south side was subdivided in the early 1880s.
In the 1880s the mansion Millew was built for Robert Hoddle's widow near to Yalcowinna. This was leased by the Salvation Army in 1903 as the Bethesda hospital, then purchased and extended by them in 1912. On the south corner of Erin and Hoddle Streets is the unusual Urbrae (171 Hoddle Street, on the Victorian Heritage Register), the combined mansion houses of Dr. Tom Boyd and Dr. William Boyd.
By the late 1890s the MMBW Detail Plans showed most of the area developed as residential, with the accumulation of private subdivisions (and the later imposition of the railway) yielding irregular street layouts and lot sizes. Small attached and detached verandahed houses, set close to the street, were located in short streets such as Moorhouse, Muir and Normanby, with larger detached houses and gardens in the wider, more elevated streets like Erin St. Larger houses, both attached and detached, were shown in longer east-west streets such as Egan and Highett but the latter had larger gardens and street setbacks. One distinctive aspect of Highett St is a stepped side lane that runs off the street up the hill to the south, an element more typical of inner Sydney suburbs. Street furniture such as gas lamps, pitched crossings, asphalted footpaths and street crossings were shown, along with telegraph poles shown in Lennox and Erin Streets (142). No street trees were shown.
The railway linking Melbourne to Clifton Hill opened in 1901, with the West Richmond Station built across the western end of Highett Street. Traffic was diverted to Hoddle Street via Muir Street and Freeman Street.
Main development era
The main development period evident in the West Richmond Heritage Overlay Area is that of the Victorian era with a contribution from the Edwardian-period. There is also a contribution from some well preserved inter-war buildings and individually significant places of all eras.
The Heritage Overlay Area contributory elements include (but not exclusively) mainly detached and attached Victorian-era and Edwardian-era houses having typically:
. Pitched gabled or hipped roofs, with some facade parapets,
. One storey wall heights but with many two storey houses,
. Face brick (red, dichrome and polychrome) or stucco walls, with some weatherboard;
. Corrugated iron and slate roof cladding, with some Marseilles pattern unglazed terra-cotta tiles from the Edwardian-era;
. Chimneys of either stucco finish (with moulded caps) or of matching face brickwork with corbelled capping courses;
. Post-supported verandah elements facing the street, set out on two levels as required with cast-iron detailing and timber detailing for some
. Edwardian-era houses;
. Less than 40% of the street wall face comprised with openings such as windows and doors; and
. Front gardens, originally bordered by typically timber or iron picket front fences of around 1m height;
Contributory elements also include:
. Corner shops and residences with display windows and zero boundary setbacks.
. Well preserved buildings from the inter-war era;
. Rectilinear irregular subdivision typical of private development in the Victorian-era, with rear and side service lanes;
. Public infrastructure, expressive of the Victorian and Edwardian-eras such as bluestone pitched road paving, crossings, stone kerbs, and channels, and asphalt paved footpaths;
. The West Richmond Railway Station, landscape and associated trackand tunnel.
How is it significant?
HO338 West Richmond Heritage Overlay Area is aesthetically and historically significant to the City of Yarra (National Estate Register [NER]Criteria E1, A4)
Why is it significant?
The West Richmond Heritage Overlay Area is significant:
. For intact groupings of some of Richmond's most substantial late 19th century houses, such as Elim, a mansion still with extensive grounds and remnant planting,
. For the many houses originally occupied by eminent Victorians.
. For its distinctive historic landscape character, enhanced by its hillside topography, mature street plantings and unusual urban elements such as the obliquely-sited West Richmond railway station, a stepped lane off Highett St, original stone kerbs and gutters and the use of traditional street materials;
. For the significant contribution of the West Richmond railway complex and landscape; and
. For the many individually significant buildings in the area including well preserved inter-war examples like the Moderne style flats at 151 Hoddle Street.