The Former Clifton Motors Garage including the 1938 Moderne structure fronting Queens Parade and the former workshop, showroom and residential spaces behind.
The site on which the Former Clifton Motor Garage is located was originally a sawmill and wood yard. In 1919 the site with existing workshop and garage was purchased by George and Lindsay Laity. In response to the growth in car ownership in the 1920s, the Laitys expanded the business by constructing a new brick garage and residence in 1921 and a car showroom in 1926. By 1933, Lindsay Laity was the sole owner. In 1938 he redeveloped the property, installed new equipment and engaged architect J H Wardrop to design a new unified frontage to Queens Parade in the Moderne style, similar to the adjacent United Kingdom Hotel (VHR H0684), also designed by Wardrop. During the 1940s and 50s, the business was owned by Edwin McKeown and then R. Bayford Pty Ltd. The property has been in the same ownership since 1964, when it began operating as Tru-Mould Tyre Services. In recent years, the property has operated as a bar and restaurant.
The Former Clifton Motor Garage comprises a symmetrical street frontage in the Moderne style with workshop spaces behind (now converted to a kitchen and restaurant) and a former residence on the first floor. The place is dominated by a central tower with vertical fins above a centrally located window with entrance doors on either side. Single storey wings flank the tower on each side. Each wing has a large central opening for car access, and a window at each end. The lower walls are tiled with orange and brown ceramic tiles inlaid with red horizontal strip tiles. The upper walls are constructed of red bricks laid in a horizontal banded pattern with rendered panels framed in dark bricks. The former residence is located behind the central tower on the first floor and the ground floor is a single open space. The floors are polished concrete and the walls are exposed red brick. The western side of the building has exposed trusses and an unlined corrugated iron roof, and the eastern side has exposed trusses with plasterboard ceilings. The rear of the building now contains a commercial kitchen.
Traditional owners/Registered Aboriginal Parties
This site is part of the traditional land of the Wurundjeri people.
HOW IS IT SIGNIFICANT?
The Former Clifton Motors Garage is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria. It satisfies the following criterion for inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register:
Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural places and objects. 22 May 2018 19
WHY IS IT SIGNIFICANT?
The Former Clifton Motor Garage is significant at the State level for the following reasons:
The Former Clifton Motor Garage, designed by J H Wardrop is of architectural significance as a notable example of Moderne style architecture in Victoria. This is expressed through the striking 1938 street frontage to Queens Parade. Art Deco and Moderne style architecture became synonymous with car showrooms and garages, office buildings, cinemas and hotels in the 1920s and 1930s. The Former Clifton Motor Garage references the adjacent Former United Kingdom Hotel (VHR H0684), also designed by Wardrop through its scale, Moderne design and materials. The Former Clifton Motor Garage exhibits a streamlined, symmetrical design through the use of strong horizontal and vertical lines, cubic forms, vertical fins, and decorative brick and tile work. The Moderne frontage unifies the rear garage, showrooms and residence and conveys an image of the developing Australian motor car industry as modern, fast and forward thinking. Additionally, the Moderne frontage is an unusual and early example of the practice of modernising an earlier building through the construction of a new facade only.
The Former Clifton Motor Garage is significant to the State of Victoria for demonstrating the principal characteristics of motor garages and show rooms in Victoria. The relative lack of integration between the 1920s structures and 1938 Moderne facade, and the level of intactness of the place, offers a clear understanding of the history and evolution of the motor garage in Victoria. The surviving openings and cavernous spaces of the Place are clearly evident remnants of the functioning garage and show room, and the Moderne facade is a notable example of the pressure commonly felt by garage owners to rapidly modernise in the 1930s. The integrity of surviving structural and internal elements of the 1920s residence, including original timber staircases, balustrades and lead light windows also contribute to the ability of the Former Clifton Motor Garage to cohesively demonstrate the development and chronology of motor garages and show rooms in Victoria. [Criterion D]