161-181 Cecil Street, South Melbourne. Melbourne, Victoria

These terraced houses are part of the Emerald Hill Estate, an entire block that was formerly occupied by the Melbourne Protestant Orphan Asylum between 1855 until 1877 and since 1974, has been government buildings and public housing.  This particular row is one of South Melbourne’s longest and most intact. 

Terrace Houses: 161-181 Cecil Street, South Melbourne. Melbourne, Victoria

Terrace Houses: 161-181 Cecil Street, South Melbourne. Melbourne, Victoria

Although they were built in late 1888, these terraces appear to anticipate the later Queen Anne style with the red brick “blood and bandage” appearance and picturesque form.  The row steps forward and back in an irregular way rather than symmetrical with end terraces of sorts with spans of three, four and two terraces between.  These protruding terraces as well as the mid terrace of the section of three feature the tall parapet with a triangular pediment in an Italianate classical Palladian temple motif, flanked giant scrolls.  This in turn is propped up by pilasters which drop down to the deep cornice.  On either side of the parapet are angular semi-pediments where urns would normally sit. It is dominant on Cecil Street with its tall parapet which effectively hides the row of mixed gable and hipped roofs.

The party walls project to encase the verandah and feature urns on the end terraces with classical scroll corbels at each level.  The two storey verandahs are dressed in iron lace including a lacework frieze and compartmented with two cast iron columns creating an undulating effect through the repetition of brackets. Deeper brackets with pendants are a feature of the ground level.  The brickwork includes bands of polychrome with flat arches above the windows which are a wide three window combination featuring etched glass above at ground level and single double hung on the upper storey.  Interestingly the recessed terraced homes feature a wave cast iron balustrade and only single columns to mark the entryways.

The entire precinct is heritage classified at state level under H1136, but is additionally registered by the National Trust (B3453) and afforded local heritage protection under a City of Port Phillip heritage overlay.

One Response to “161-181 Cecil Street, South Melbourne. Melbourne, Victoria”

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  • Lesley Poker: Built in 1874. Originally built by a John Watson ( very wealthy) who built the one next door for his...
  • Anne: Thanks for your comment. We own one of these terraces and would be interested in any info you have.
  • Kate Van Dyck: Love this photo. One off my GG Grandfather’s lived in No 21 and died at that address. So...
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