1. The mansion house and land from which a garden suburb at State significance was established.
2. One of the earliest surviving mansion houses in the Hawthorn area and although altered, of architectural importance as a rare example of a Georgian styled house.
3. It is an early but altered example of the work of the notable Melbourne architect, John Gill.
4. "Grace Park House" has associations with Michael Lynch, publican, the first owner and well-known early Melbourne citizen and early settler in Hawthorn.
HO152 Grace Park and Hawthorn Grove Precincts, Hawthorn
The Grace Park and Hawthorn Grove Precincts, Hawthorn, are of heritage significance for the following reasons:
- The place is a concentrated and relatively intact precinct of generally high quality residential buildings of the later Victorian and Federation periods.
- Hilda Crescent has an unbroken set of highly distinctive Federation house designs, and the mode continues in the adjacent streets.
- The area is characterised by mature gardens and street trees, filtering the light in the more southern streets, south of Kinkora Road, and giving the area a distinctive shaded character.
- The diagonal house compositions and curving streets in the Grace Park Precinct combine to create an informal and picturesque character.
- The northern section - Kinkora Road and Hawthorn Grove - has a large concentration of 1880s housing in tighter patterns that are similarly characteristic of that earlier era, and is relatively intact. These streets were the first typically-scaled suburban development in Hawthorn, in contrast to the St James Park area which began as a mansion group.
- The Barkers Road section is more heterogeneous, but does incorporate several notable Federation and Bungalow designs. Clovelly Court is an impressive apartment group utilising garden villa forms, comparing with both the courtyard flats in the Fairview Park Precinct (HO148) and the more similar Corsewall Close (HO149).
- Located at the southern end of the precinct, the Michael Tuck Stand at the Glenferrie Oval is striking both for the way it draws on its red-brick domestic surroundings as it is for its 1938 modernity.
- The precinct is visually unified by the shared, curving park based around the former Kew Railway line, that runs though the entire precinct from south to north and reads as a reminder of the precinct's early popularity as a commuter suburb.
The Grace Park estate was formed from several lots purchased by Michael or Julia Lynch between 1846 and 1847, forming grounds to "Grace Park House", constructed by the Lynch's before 1858.
After Lynch's death in October 1871, Julia Lynch became the owner/occupier of the house and 3 acres. In 1884 the Grace Park Estate was leased to the Grace Park Leasehold Syndicate headed by Henry Byron Moore and was subdivided soon after into the broad Serpentine Street form of the Grace Park area. Moore became insolvent in 1891 and there followed a series of convoluted lease arrangement until in 1904 the Settled Lands Act made sales possible. These commenced in 1904. Architect Christopher Cowper bought and developed 33 allotments between 1908 and 1912. An architectural competition for new buildings for this elegantly designed suburb, set a standard of high quality homes in up to date designs, on large allotments. The designs in the competition, some of which were built, and those which came later, emphasised the open garden nature of the Estate by constructing houses which addressed at least two sides. Extensive lanes to the rear kept horse/carriage and later car access away from the frontages, and allowed the high amenity of the footpath promenade under tree avenues to dominate. The centrepiece of the Estate was the creation of a Park - "Grace Park" on the lower lying land. Associated facilities for lawn tennis and cricket added status to an already desirable location, well served by train routes.
The curving railway easement to Kew was formed in 1887 but was in use for only a few years. This fortuitously reinforced the garden suburb planning by providing a park spine through the centre of the estate.
Despite the economic conditions of the 1890s several properties were developed. in the twentieth century, the character set by the earlier development was reinforced with Queen Anne and Garden Bungalow designs often by architect/developer Christopher Cowper. By the end of the First World War most land was fully developed and the distinctive character of the Precinct was set.
There have been many phases of alteration at Grace Park house. Obscuring vegetation makes it impossible to accurately describe the building. It is known from secondary sources that the two storey house has an extensive verandah incorporating squat bluestone columns, accessed via french doors. The National Estate citation suggests Georgian styling is used. The mansion sits in a commanding position amidst a substantial garden.