At the time I took this photo of this pair of terraces in Prahran, a big display sign had just gone up for new apartments called “Nero Apartments”. There were mattresses out the front and the obviously evicted tenants were moving their stuff out of the place. Presumably this pair of single storey villas were to make way for another apartment box like the ones next door. It was sad to think of the Grattan Reserve being without these uniquely Melbourne polychromatic boom style terraces.
When I lived in South Yarra I had often admired this little vestige of Victoriana with its extraordinarily intact magnificent iron lacework filigree style brackets, zig zag brick patterns, eave brackets, stunning chimneys, blind arched keystone openings, vermiculated original rendered party wall and exposed corrugated iron hipped roofs. A few rows of single storey terraces in the Greville Street area have new leases on life as vibrant, funky and very trendy little shops. It is such a shame that this one could not join the party.
What was more sad is when I researched the heritage status of the area to find that very few of the City of Stonnington’s terraces (or in fact heritage buildings in general) are offered any sort of heritage protection. Stonnington’s heritage overlays offer probably the most scant of any inner Melbourne council, yet it has some of the city’s most impressive buildings. The few terrace houses that remain in the municipality are retained more through the love of their owners than any planning policy. With the push of policies like Melbourne 2030 this leaves the area very vulnerable to losing much of what, in my opinion, makes it (and Melbourne for that matter) very special.