Why is it significant?
Mosspennock is an Italianate mansion of render on brick construction built for James Purves. The north wing designed by Charles Webb, is a two storied double fronted facade with a solid arcaded verandah and balcony made up of a central entrance pavilion flanked by two gently projecting bows. There is a balustrade at balcony level and a balustraded parapet.
The subsequent expansion of the building by Purves to the north, south and east was probably not to Webb's design. Internally the building is a complex one with extensive modifications. The whole building was further substantially altered in the 1930s and 1940s.
How is it significant?
Mosspennoch is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
What is significant?
Mosspennoch is architecturally significant as one of the residential works of architect Charles Webb. It has stylistic ties with Webb's celebrated design for Mandeville Hall at Toorak and was the largest dwelling in East Melbourne until 1887 when Cliveden was erected on an adjacent site. Webb was the designer of the Alfred Hospital (1869), Royal Arcade (1869) and the Grand Hotel, later known as the Windsor (1884).
There was little development of East Melbourne before 1852 as the area remained reserved by the government long after Fitzroy, Collingwood and Richmond were made available for development. In 1848 Bishop Perry chose the area for his Anglican Bishop's Palace overlooking the Fitzroy Gardens. The first public land sales in East Melbourne took place in June 1852, when 20 allotments were sold off. Between 1852 and 1870 a total of 299 crown allotments were sold off.
Development took off in the late 1850s after the gold rush subsided. Many terraces were built for rental and lodging. The residential area known as Yarra Park was bounded by Wellington Parade, Vale Street and Punt Road. It was the site of the original police barracks but was subdivided in the 1880s.
(Ashton and Wilson, East Melbourne Conservation Study 1975)
Jame Liddell Purves became a QC in 1886 and he was involved in a wide number of speculator court cases. In 1892 he defended directors of the Premier Building Association, in 1892 Charles and Earnest Clarke of the Land Credit Bank, and in 1896 directors of the City Bank. One of the City Bank directors, Jenkin Collier was a long-term neighbour of Purves. He also defended the Age Newspaper in 1894 in a libel case brought by the Victorian Railways.
(ADB, Vol.5 pp.459-61)
History of Place:
Associated People: James Liddell Purves, QC