This row of three narrow single storey terraces has been in the news lately as it has narrowly escaped compulsory acquisition and demolition1 that is set to clear land for a new railway line as part of the Victorian Regional Rail Link while the same cannot be said for the row of three 1990s postmodern terrace houses at 96-100 on the adjacent site.
Terrace Houses: 102-106 Victoria Street, Footscray. Melbourne, Victoria
The Victorian row of working class terraces near Middle Footscray station has a distinctly Sydney-like topography in inner Melbourne. As Victoria street dips below the railway overpass, brick stairways add interest and prominence to their situation, particularly with their prominent parapets. The terraces are in mixed condition, with 102 having been painted over in cream and the other two demonstrating their original unpainted banded brick and render appearance. The parapets hide gable corrugated iron roofs each with a central ornamented chimney and fireplace and each parapet has a Palladian motif consisting of three bay entablature with central triangular pediment. The pediment mid terrace has a rendered finial, while the flanking terraces have a slightly lower decorative crown. The centre terrace also features a complex mannerist composition of twin keystoned arches. All are flanked by scrolls and were also presumably once flanked by urns on pedestals, however only 102 now retains the ball shaped parapet decorations. A deep cornice is propped by twin brackets on either side of a pair of rendered festoons and centre wreath.
The party wall of 106 has been modified to sheild from traffic and both front facades and party walls have bands in lighter brick, all but one decorative acanthus corbel on the end of 102 are missing. The cast iron verandah posts with cornithian capitals define the doorway with 102 and the mid terrace having the side-by-side hallways. A deep decorative fringe in iron lace. All of the balustrades, presumably in cast iron have been replaced in the 1940s or 50s with cyclone fences. Each features six panel victorian doors with sidelights and fanlight and sidelights on windows as well for maximum light.
The terraces are protected by a Maribyrnong City Council heritage overlay HO702 however I have not been able to find a heritage study which specifically refers to them.
Terraces are rare in Footscray and often difficult to date. This row is no exception, while the ornament and red brick is typical of the turn of the century, there are hallmarks of other eras, for example the verandahs are interesting for their banded corrugated roofs, something more often found in the 1870s. It may be that this row has been redecorated at several points in its past. If anyone has any more information, please feel free to share.
My family lived in 102 Victoria St for many years. I was born into this home and it housed my family of 7. Lots of memories of the home and its surrounds. We all move out in 1964 but not very far. We moved next door, to the back of the property 128 Buckley St until 1987. The area has really changed, for the worse,with the demolition of houses and so much graffiti .
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