Statement of Significance
What is significant?
'Norway' house at 2 Woodstock Street, and the stables located at 2 Woodstock Street and 33A Parlington Street, Canterbury, are significant.
The house is a substantial two-storey Italianate villa constructed in 1892, and extended in 1913. The 1913 works featured fine-quality leadlights and a Blackwood mantelpiece with carvings of eucalyptus leaves by renowned woodcarver John K Blogg. The stables building appears to date from the early 1900s, possibly as part of the 1913 works. The house and stables were constructed for owner and occupier Otto Romcke, who resided there until his death in 1935. In 1916, Romcke donated land to the City of Camberwell on the south side of Woodstock Street, planted with Australian native trees and shrubs, now known as Norway Reserve.
Alterations and extensions to the house and stables made after Romcke's ownership are not significant.
How is it significant?
'Norway' house and stables are of local historical significance to the City of Boroondara.
Why is it significant?
'Norway' house and stables are of historical significance for their association with Otto Romcke. Romcke was a Norwegian national and owner of a successful timber and joinery company in Melbourne. He emigrated to Melbourne in the mid-1880s, and became one of the leading timber importers in Victoria. In 1906 he was appointed the Consul-General for Norway in Australia and New Zealand by the Norwegian Government. His position in the local Norwegian and wider Melbourne community was demonstrated by his sponsorship of the expedition to the South Pole by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, and then hosting Admundsen in his home in 1912. This association is strengthened by the place's proximity to Norway Reserve, which commemorates Romcke's place in the local community and illustrates his interest in the flora of his adopted country. (Criterion H)
The stables building is also of historical significance for its rarity value. 'Norway' is one of a small number of houses in the suburb, and Boroondara more widely, that retains its stables building. While most substantial houses of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries once had their own stables, this building type is increasingly rare. In the suburb of Canterbury is the only identified intact example that illustrates the stable accommodation typical of middle and upper-middle class suburban development. (Criterion B)
'NORWAY' - Physical Description 1
'Norway' is a two-storey Victorian Italianate villa at 2 Woodstock Street set within a large garden with a low hedge at the front boundary. It stands on a slight rise on the north side of Woodstock Street, overlooking Norway Reserve to the south. At the rear of the house, in the north-east corner of the site, is a two-storey brick stable building. Half of it is located within the property boundaries of 2 Woodstock Street, while the eastern half is used for the dwelling at 33A Parlington Street (which stands behind a 1940s house at 33 Parlington Street).
The house is asymmetrical in form with a large two-storey canted bay to one side with its own semi-octagonal hipped roof. It has many features characteristic of the Italianate style, including a low hipped roof with an 'M' profile, rendered chimneys with cornices, bracketed eaves, round arched windows to the canted bay and square-headed windows with highlights elsewhere, and rendered walls ruled to appear like ashlar (stone) and there are moulded stringcourses at the springing height of the window arches, and between the two floors.
As detailed in the history, the verandah was altered and the house extended by Otto Romcke in 1913. As seen in the c1920 photos, a glazed timber vestibules were added at the ground and first-floor entrances to the front facades. Since that time, the glazed panels and outer door were moved to the west elevation of the house, where the kitchen is now. They feature bold Art Nouveau leadlights. A more restrained and elegant Art Nouveau leadlight window was installed as part of the c1913 works to the arched staircase window on the west elevation. Another major external feature of these works is the two-storey verandah on the west side of the house. While partially enclosed by the leadlight windows from the former front vestibule, the ground floor of the verandah appears to be intact, retaining its timber posts and brackets. The upper level no longer has the arched openings (or windows) visible on the early 1900s photos, possibly due to rebuilding after the fire in 1925.
There is a sun room on the east side of the house, at ground floor level, with timber panelling below a bank of windows with a cusped window head. It also appears to be part of Romcke's additions in the early 1900s, as it is not shown on the 1904 MMBW plan.
The replacement two-storey verandah has a concave roof, combined cast-iron lace frieze and brackets, and cast-iron balustrade with timber handrail. French doors open onto the balcony. At ground level, the window sills of the two windows have been dropped to create French doors (compare with the c1920 photo), and the front door and surround (including highlight and sidelight panels) was reinstated with a typical Victorian model.
The former stables stand in the north-east corner of the site, and about half of the building extends into 33A Parlington Street where it has been converted into a dwelling. It is constructed of hard red brick, similar to that used for the 1913 extension to the house. As its footprint is larger than that seen on the 1904 MMBW plan, it is likely to have been rebuilt or enlarged at the same time.
Most of the stables building is two-storeys in height, with parapeted gables at the west and east ends. There is also a single-storey section on the west side, which also appears to be original (though the north and south parapet walls were raised in 1989). Windows are double-hung sashes with flat brick arches. On the south elevation there are double ledged garage doors which appear to date to its use as a garage in the early twentieth century. They took the place of a single window, so the original entrance was likely on the east side (now 33A Parlington Street). The 1989 plans show bluestone paving on the south side of the former stables (probably original), but this has since been replaced with bricks. Views to the stables are restricted due to the large carport surrounding it. The stables are clearly visible from Parlington Street, down the side driveway. There is an external chimney in the end wall of the two-storey section. Appended to its east side is a single-storey section with parapeted gable ends on the north and south sides.
Heritage Study and Grading
Boroondara - Municipal-Wide Heritage Gap Study: Vol. 1 Canterbury
PARLINGTONVictorian Heritage Register H0731
FROGNALLVictorian Heritage Register H0707
ROTHAVictorian Heritage Register H0510
"AMF Officers" ShedMoorabool Shire
"AQUA PROFONDA" SIGN, FITZROY POOLVictorian Heritage Register H1687