The Esplanade residential Heritage Precinct, which comprises all land in HO6 and generally includes properties with a frontage to the Esplanade between Thompson Street and Giffard Street, Williamstown.
How is it Significant?
The Esplanade Residential Heritage Precinct is of local historic, social and aesthetic significance to the City of Hobsons Bay.
Why is it Significant?
Historically, the Esplanade is significant for its illustration of the strong relationship between the early residential development early residential development of Williamstown and the maritime industries that defined the character of the city at that time. It is notable for its very early dwellings from the mid-to-late nineteenth century, many of which were occupied by locally important residents who were associated with the maritime pursuits that distinguish Williamstown within the metropolitan area. (AHC criteria A4 and D2)
Aesthetically, the Esplanade is significant as a cohesive nineteenth century residential streetscape comprised of predominantly Victorian era houses with common or similar characteristics of design, siting and scale. Many are externally intact and others, although altered, still retain their distinctive form and siting and hence contribute to the precinct. Distinctive elements include:
- The presence of a number of larger villas in the Italianate style, which is uncommon in Williamstown.
- The visual connection between the houses and the waters of Port Phillip and Hobsons Bay.
- The influence of the relatively severe maritime environment on building details such as high corrugated iron fences to keep out salt and drifting sand and the relative absence of mature ornamental trees in private gardens and the complete absence of street trees.
On this basis, the following properties and other elements contribute to the significance of the precinct:
- 4, 5 7, 9-14 and 16-20 Esplanade (inclusive)
Please note that some heritage places within this precinct may also have an individual citation in this Study and there is a separate citation for the Esplanade Foreshore precinct. Please refer also to the citations for individual properties in the Esplanade west of Giffard Street and the Hannan's Farm Heritage Precincts.
This precinct generally comprises the properties with a frontage to the Esplanade, which are located between Thompson and Giffard Streets. It comprises a series of large, detached mostly single but some double-storey villas, many in the Italianate style, which is relatively uncommon in Williamstown. Examples of the Italianate style include Nos. 7, 9, 13, 14, 16, 18 and 19, while No. 19 is a rare example of the Transitional styles between the Victorian and Queen Anne periods.
The houses generally share similarities of materials, form and styling, which includes:
§ Predominant single storey scale.
§ Pitched roof forms.
§ Detached or semi-detached siting.
§ Verandahed forms
§ 'Punched' fenestration occupying less than 50% of the wall surface.
§ Originally, no provision for publicly visible motor vehicle storage on site.
Some of these dwellings retain sheet iron fences or solid fences on the street frontage, required in earlier days to keep out salt spray from gardens and landward sand drifts.
As with The Strand, there is a strong relationship between this precinct and the bay; the houses enjoy commanding views across the foreshore reserve to the waters of Port Phillip and the approaches to Hobson's Bay.
The street reserve of the Esplanade, which has no street trees and the wide bitumen roadway, with a gravel verge on the southern side, contributes to an austere appearance along the landward side of the Esplanade and reinforces the connection between the houses and Port Phillip.