Keilor Road Precinct
2-12 KEILOR ROAD, ESSENDON NORTH and 3-19 KEILOR ROAD, ESSENDON, MOONEE VALLEY CITY
Statement of Significance
What is significant?
The Keilor Road Precinct, comprising shops and commercial buildings constructed in the interwar period and early post-war, is significant. The precinct comprises single and double-storey commercial buildings mainly constructed between 1925 and 1939. They are all of masonry construction, both with a cement rendered finish as well as face brick examples. In keeping with the eclecticism of the interwar period, they range in style from simple Stripped Classicism, to Neo-Grec and the Streamlined Moderne. The fine Metropolitan Gas Co. Building by architect Tompkins provides a clear entry to the precinct, complemented by the Lincolnshire Arms Hotel across the road (remodelled c1938, HO369) which is just outside the precinct.
All buildings in the precinct are Contributory, apart from 8 Keilor Road and the heavily altered former State Savings Bank at 9-13 Keilor Road.
Key attributes that contribute to the significance of the precinct include:
- The consistency of scale (one and two storeys), form, siting (generally built to the front and side boundaries), original cladding materials (face brick, render, roofs clad in corrugated iron where concealed behind a parapet, or tiled where visible) of Contributory buildings.
- The high degree of intactness of the Contributory buildings above parapet level, as well as the retention of original cantilevered verandahs.
- The retention of original shopfronts to Nos. 5, 10, 12, 15 & 19 with solid stallboards (clad in tiles or bricks), metal-framed display and highlight windows, recessed entries with tiled floors, and timber-framed glazed doors.
- The absence of vehicle crossovers.
How is it significant?
The Keilor Road Precinct is of local historical and architectural significance to the City of Moonee Valley.
Why is it significant?
It is historically significant for its demonstration of the commercial development that followed the path of the tramway, which allowed both easy access to new shopping strips as well as encouraging residential development on either side, which created demand. The Essendon electric tram service arrived at the Mt Alexander Road junction in 1906, and was extended about a kilometre along Keilor Road to Gillies Street in 1923. In 1925, the precinct began to develop in earnest. (Criterion A)
It is also significant for its association with John Keam Real Estate, which was one of the first businesses to be established in the precinct (in 1914), and the earliest surviving building was purpose-built for Keam in 1925-26 (Nos. 3-7). John Keam & Co. played an important role in the development of Essendon North and Essendon West acting as the agent for major subdivisions such as Fountain's Paddock in 1916, Major's Paddock in 1917, Devonshire Estate from 1920, and the Boulevard Estate with 300 blocks north of Buckley Street overlooking the Maribyrnong River from 1920. (Criterion H)
It is architecturally significant as the best collection of late interwar commercial buildings in the municipality, which is notable for its consistency of built form and relatively high degree of integrity to the period of development. (Criterion D)
Keilor Road Precinct - Physical Description 1
The precinct sits at the south-west end of Keilor Road, where it meets Mt Alexander/Bulla Road. Buildings in the precinct are located on both sides of Keilor Road, and 2-2A Keilor Road (the former Metropolitan Gas Co.) also addresses Bulla Road from its corner site. This building and the Lincolnshire Arms Hotel (HO369) provide a visual gateway to the precinct. While the hotel is not located within the precinct, the 1930s Moderne alterations and additions to the 1905 building are in keeping with and complement the development in the precinct. Most of the buildings are single-storey in height, increased by some large parapets, as well as some two-storey buildings. All but the State Savings Bank (Nos. 9-13) are built to the front and side boundaries.
Buildings of the 1920s in the precinct include the John Keam's shops at Nos. 3-7, the State Savings Bank next door at Nos. 9-13, and the Metropolitan Gas Company building on the angled corner site of Nos. 2-2A. Typical for that eclectic decade, they present a number of styles. Keam's three shops of 1925-26 are rendered with a simple but attractive Stripped Classical composition with a parapet above verandah level and a raised raking pediment over the centre shop. Decoration is restricted to a few cast-cement reliefs. The centre shop, No. 5, retains what appears to be an original shopfront with a deep central ingo, metal-framed windows and a tiled stallboard (overpainted blue tiles). The three shops retain a cantilevered verandah with a pressed metal soffit.
The former State Savings Bank of 1928, next door, is a very restrained free-standing Georgian Revival building of red brick with a tiled pyramidal roof. First floor windows are six-over-six sashes, two of which replaced the inset porch in the 1970s alterations. The ground floor to the north and west sides has been obscured by a 1970s single-storey extension infilling the angled front setback and a side garden. As part of these works, the ground floor of the front facade was demolished, including a projecting portico. Since the 1970s, this ground-floor extension has undergone major alterations to create two shopfronts. Due to this series of alterations, the building is graded Non-Contributory.
Across the road, Tompkins' Metropolitan Gas Co. building is an elegant Neo-Grec single-storey building with an articulated parapet to the Keilor and Bulla Road frontages. The building is rendered and broken up into bays by piers that project above the parapet, with an abstracted triglyph at the top. The narrow corner bay has a stepped aedicule. At the middle of the Keilor and Bulla elevations is an abstracted raking pediment between piers. The building retains its original return cantilevered verandah at the corner (later extended along Keilor Road). The ground floor has been extensively altered, with the bases of the piers removed as well as the solid walls and small windows shown on the original plans, and the double front doors that were in the corner bay.
The 1930s buildings in the precinct are the pair of single-storey shops at Nos. 15-17, and neighbouring double-storey No. 19, as well as the single and double-storey composition at Nos. 4-8 (though No. 8 was recently demolished and replaced with an intrusive concrete slab and glass building). The earliest of the group, Harry Winbush's has much in common with the Stripped Classical Keam's shops. It has a simple rendered parapet with a clinker brick coping and stepped central section, and applied floral roundels at either end. The building retains its original cantilevered verandah. The shopfront to No. 15, with tiny (overpainted) tiles to the stallboard, recessed entry, highlight windows and metal-framed windows appears to original (apart from the door). The other two are Moderne in style, typical of the late 1930s, both featuring the fashionable dark brown glazed manganese bricks of that period. Both are designs of 1939 by architect FT Humphryis, but differ in their level of embellishment. No. 19 is a simple composition with a slightly stepped parapet with a band of mottled solider bricks below it, and cream bricks around the first-floor windows, which are set below a concrete hood. The shop retains its original shopfront (recessed entry, metal framed windows, highlight windows), but the tiles have been replaced with faux stone cladding. Across the road, the double-fronted shop at No. 6 is a sculptural delight with a high parapet with curved corners and recessed 'speedlines' in mottled tapestry brick. The centre of the parapet is raised between two abbreviated piers with curved tops flanking a raised section of parapet in half tapestry bricks. Below it is a louvered vent with a surround of half manganese bricks. The composition was completed by two side wings (Nos. 4 & 8), with prominent transverse gable roofs covered in terracotta pantiles (or Cordoba tiles, typical of the Spanish Mission style). Sadly, the shop at No. 8 has recently been demolished.The latest shops are the pair at Nos. 10-12, possibly built as late as the 1950s, though they share an aesthetic with the simple 1939 shop at No. 19. The facades are of clinker brick (popular in the 1930s and '40s), with a straight, unembellished parapet. Windows have a fixed centre pane and double-hung sashes to the sides (replaced at No. 12). They share a cantilevered verandah, and both retain their original shopfront. They have recessed entries, stallboards clad in half-bricks (overpainted), metal-framed windows and highlight windows, timber-framed glazed doors, and square beige tiles to the floors of the ingos.
Heritage Study and Grading
Moonee Valley - Moonee Valley Heritage Study
Author: Context Pty Ltd, 2015
Moonee Valley - City of Moonee Valley Stage 1 Heritage Gap Study
Author: Context PL