Architecturally, one of the State's best designs in the Moderne-Classical manner, designed by the distinguished firm of Bates Smart & McCutcheon and the winner of acclaim from the architectural profession in the form of the RVIA Medal.
Historically, a prominent expression of a minority Christian faith in the metropolitan area and perhaps the first Modern/Moderne church design in the State.
HO159 Prospect Hill Road Precinct, Camberwell
The Prospect Hill Road Precinct, Camberwell, is of heritage significance for the following reasons:
-The areas north of the railway line comprise a generally intact collection of late Victorian and Federation houses, all very well designed and with a high level of integrity to their gardens and street appearance. The precinct is one of the most intact and homogenous estates of this type in Melbourne, rivalling the Central Park- Stanhope Street region in Malvern and the other leading Boroondara concentrations of this period, the Grace Park Estate in Hawthorn (HO152) and the Barry Street Precinct in Kew (HO143). It is the foremost precinct of combined late Victorian-Federation building stock in the former Camberwell municipality.
- Many late Victorian and Federation houses in this area have been custom-designed, giving the precinct a distinct identity (this is particularly true for areas north of Prospect Hill Road). The area as a whole is marked by a general cohesion in scale, address of the streets, property dimensions, materials and detailing and fence height.
Though there are variations, the streets have a general uniformity in their mature street tree coverage, basalt kerbs and pitching, asphalt foot paving, and driveway width. Within the general precinct heavy traffic volumes have been kept to four streets in three axes: Stanhope Grove-Trafalgar Road, Prospect Hill Road, and Broadway west. The Read Gardens, a small but mature park, is a central focal point.
-The north-western section of the Prospect Hill Precinct, the former Tara Estate (bounded by the south side of Canterbury Road, the east side of Loch Street, the south side of the Broadway and the western edge of HO159), is Camberwell's most intact and distinguished concentration of Victorian and Edwardian building stock. It was developed from 1890 following the subdivision of the land around John O'Shannessy's residence, Tara (1859, now 2 Berwick Street). The area has a high level of visual cohesion and period expression, deriving from its consistency of scale, form, materials and siting. Many buildings within the Estate are of individual distinction, having been custom-designed in variations on the prevailing Italianate and Federation styles. This area also features some interwar development.
-The general late-Victorian and Federation character of the Prospect Hill Precinct is modulated by the former Hollies Estate along Cookson Street, which comprises an excellent and intact series of interwar designs spanning that entire period (1919-1940), and including the Christian Science Church, winner of the Victorian Architecture Medal in 1938. The interwar character of the group is enhanced by the survival of original fences, mature gardens and street surfacing, and relates well to the existing railway cutting landscape to the south.
-To the east of the Tara Estate, the Russell Estate (bounded by Russell Street, the south side of Canterbury Road, the Broadway and Sefton Place and the railway line) was subdivided between 1888 and 1903 and was largely developed by the 1920s. Its building stock is predominantly late Victorian and Federation but also features some interwar development. At the north-eastern corner of the Prospect Hill Precinct, Broadway and Sefton Place are generally Federation in character, and feature a number of Queen Anne villas of individual distinction.
-South of the railway line, development is predominantly late Victorian and Federation in character and includes, in Royal Crescent/Craig Avenue, a particularly fine collection of Queen Anne villas.
-Also south of the railway line but north of Prospect Hill Road, the former Prospect Hill Estate extends from the west side of Lorne Grove eastward. Building stock in this area is generally consistent with the late Victorian and Federation theme of the place as a whole, although there is also some interwar development.
-The southern areas of the Prospect Hill Precinct (from the south side of Prospect Hill Road to the southern edge of the precinct) were developed for the Riversdale,Kasouka and Gladstone Park Estates from the late nineteenth century. As for the balance of the precinct, these areas are predominantly late Victorian and Federation, with some streets of particularly high integrity and with individually significant buildings. The south-eastern corner of the precinct (Brinsley and Wandin Roads and part of Riversdale Road) comprises a mix of Federation and interwar Bungalow houses, and is generally less intact.