57-69 Spensely Street, Clifton Hill. Melbourne, Victoria

The Clifton Hill estate was developed in the 1870s and with its own railway station opening in 1888 quickly sprouted a number of boom terrace rows.  This row of seven (including corner shop) erected the same year in the Queen Anne style and is one of the most consistent and richly decorated in suburban Melbourne. They were developed by T Smith for Charles Abbott in 18881

Terraces (59-69) and Corner Shop (57) in Spensely Street, Clifton Hill

Architecturally they are interesting for the unusually rich decoration and the nature of the corner shop with its splayed entry.    Possibly the only letdown is the cement tile roof.  The roofs are otherwise a very interesting feature, with bulky Italianate chimneys, individual exposed hipped roofs and rhythm provided by central gable ends.  The gable ends feature a prominent shell relief.  Attention to detail on these terraces is exceptional and few surfaces are left bare.  String courses of moulded rinceau patterns decorate the frieze and each level.  The party walls also feature (from top to bottom) vermiculation, female heads, stretched triglyph and acanthus scroll corbels andlike many in the Clifton Hill area, strips of glazed tiles were used, this time vertically on the party wall consoles with different individual patterns for the upper and lower storeys and each house..  Each verandah is divided into two bays by a central cast iron composite column and are decorated by iron lacework including frieze, brackets and balustrade.  In contrast to the doors, the windows are tall and wide with sidelights and the upper storey has tall french style windows to allow for access and ample natural light.  The terraces are set back from the street behind a cast iron palisade fence.

The terraces are located within the Clifton Hill Eastern Precinct (HO316) which covers most of the suburb and provides heritage protection under the City of Yarra Planning Scheme.2


  1. Collingwood Heritage Study Review 1996
  2. City of Yarra Planning Scheme

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