231-237 Williams Road, Toorak. Melbourne, Victoria

Starting at the street corner of Cassell Street, this row of three terraced houses displays different states of maintenance. Unfortunately none of them are heritage protected, putting the entire row at risk given that the dilapiated end terrace was sold in 2012.

Terrace houses and corner shop: 231-237 Williams Road, Toorak. Melbourne, Victoria

The three terraces have separate corrugated iron hipped roofs with eave brackets giving them a sense of individuality, while the shared chimneys and party walls allude to them being part of a row. Only one of the terraces (237) gives an indication of its original dark polychromatic facade, the others being painted in a single colour with only the chimneys and their bands of yellow and brown brick remaining unchanged.

The end terrace (231) is emphasized with a more complete roof which hangs over the corner and a side facade, making the slight difference in width of this terrace less obvious. This terrace at 231 appears to have functioned as a milk bar since the 1950s with its googie styled modified base with its leaning aluminium framed windows and pastel tiles serving as a shopfront giving way to a lineleum and neon interior. Vacant at the time of this photograph, its closure marks a shift in commercial demographics from the corner convenience store to the 7 eleven and shopping malls. Still it retains its original upper storey.

The most obvious things about the mid terrace (233) is the white colour scheme and the large wall. Additionally, the iron lacework balustrade appears to have been replaced with one of a slightly different pattern.

The party walls are plainly dressed, putting the emphasis on the double storey verandah, which projects out to the property line, with its cast iron lacework for decoration. The two double hung window openings of the upper storeys run almost floor to ceiling, on the two terraces that still have them the two windows at the ground level are shorter but still very tall, offset slighly to allow for the door which has a skylight above it that almost reaches the floor above.

While only the terrace at 235-237 retains the first storey brackets, fringe and palisade fence, the others retain the fringe and brackets of the upper storey as well as the cast iron panel balustrade. The terrace at 235 also reveals the original banded brickwork which runs in double string courses across the entire facade and party walls offsetting the narrow verticality of the terraces. 237 is a newer addition set back from the street so as to hide its feeble attempt to mimic the style of the other houses, however the original chimney may indicate that there was at least one other terrace in this row which may have been demolished sometime in the distant decades.

The City of Stonnington is the responsible planning authority. It would be a real shame if these terraces were to be removed from what is a significant Victorian era streetscape.

I’m not certain of the date of these terraces, however given the style I would estimate around 1889-1890.

3 Responses to “231-237 Williams Road, Toorak. Melbourne, Victoria”

  • Felix:

    Gawd, just knock them down already. Hideous looking things terraces.

  • Toorak Resident:

    Let’s hope that someone renovates and restores the old corner store. It does appear to need a lot of work though. Both of the other properties sold a few years ago and were open for inspection. The brown terrace is gorgeous and retains a lot of period features (not just it’s impressive facade). Unfortunately over the years someone has been allowed to wreck the white terrace in the middle of the picture by building that high fence and basically devoiding the interior of any character (basically no period features remain). A real shame.

  • Restoring Corner Shops complete with Collectables from that era make terrific Museum-come-cafes.

Leave a Reply

Recent Discussion
  • admin: I think what this shows PeteS is 343 with its pre-modified facade (complete with the tiny strip of balustrade...
  • Crystal: More info on Simon Harvey please Regards, Crystal
  • Nicole: Hi there Hoping you may have some further details about these terraces. I am moving into 184 soon and...