Balwyn Road Residential Heritage Study Review 2006
Statement of Significance
Significance of Individual Property
The place is of historical and architectural significance. It is of historical significance for its associations with George Mercy and Sir Aaron Danks. George Mercy, an importer by trade, was a prominent local citizen and was elected Mayor of Camberwell in 1906-07. Aaron Danks was a hardware merchant, committee member of numerous public institutions, magistrate of the Children's Court and philanthropist. He was knighted in 1925.
Hazeldene and was built in 1889 for George Grenville Mercy. It is a typical house of the late 1880s, of architectural note for its unusual cast iron balustrading and friezes (assumed to be original) and the substantial semi-basement which is uncommon.
Hazeldene was enlarged by the subsequent owner, Sir Aaron Danks in two stages. The second phase of work was undertaken in 1909, and included the large music room which has Arts and Crafts detailing. It was designed specifically to accommodate an organ, which remains in situ.
According to the National Trust, the two-manual organ is also significant as it is believed to be the only organ in a residence of its period to remain in its original location. It is of interest for its symphonic tonal design, incorporating two sets of undulating ranks on the swell and a Vox Humana stop placed beneath the music room floor.
The Balwyn Road Residential Precinct is of historic significance because the pattern of development reflects that of Boroondara generally. In much of Boroondara one or two periods might be represented in any one precinct, however in the Balwyn Road Residential Precinct all periods are nearly equally represented. As such, the precinct is a microcosm of the broad sweep of development across the City. The relative consistency in the allotment width and/or size across the different phases of development serves to unify the precinct.
There are historical associations with several eminent families (Danks, Goldings, Marfleets, McAlpins, etc). Of further interest is the profile that some residents have had at a broader level (either State, national or international) and the manifold connections between various residents within the precinct and the City of Boroondara.
The Balwyn Road Residential Precinct is of aesthetic significance for the many high quality buildings, some of which are of individual significance at the broader level, and others that are generally good examples of their architectural style. The buildings are remarkably intact to their period of construction and have been well maintained. There has been limited change of building stock. A high proportion of the buildings have been architect designed. Although there are a range of styles evident, there is a consistency in scale and setbacks.
The extensive and well maintained landscaping both to the street (with trees and wide reservations) and the private gardens provides a level of cohesion. One of the gardens (no. 17) is a rare example of a late nineteenth century intact suburban garden. In addition, some of the early road and paving infrastructure is intact.