This row of four typical Italianate double storey Melbourne terraces is situated in Parkville which is a small are with one of the most beautifully preserved stands of terraces in Australia. While the rendered terrace is more subdued than others in the area, there are still some subtle but interesting horizontality emphasised by the cornice and the linear friezes of the verandah and repetitive parapet which is relatively intact with its ball finials.
Fern House, Victoria House, Albert House and Park House: 67-73 Morrah Street, Parkville. Melbourne, Victoria
The surface may originally have been unrendered, in any case it is rendered (as the chimneys imply) and treated in mustard and the parapet hides a gable/hip roof of slate. The chimney arrangement is interesting, with 67 and 69 both having two chimneys along one party wall and 71 and 73 having single central chimneys. There is a strong linear cornice which connects all of the terrace houses. Above each house has a segmental cartouche with a crown, flanked by scrolls, entablature and finials in typical Palladian style. Larger finials mark the party walls which protrude with to frame the verandah and feature refined decoration including “pineapple” finials (only three remain), vermiculation and scroll on the upper level, and female head and scroll on the lower. The verandah roof is a skillion of corrugated iron. The verandahs are decorated in subdued and very fine iron lacework composition, notably column free, with a framed frieze and circular repeating panelled balustrade. The lower level has a frieze with tiny fringe and brackets.
There are no doors to the upper verandah, only French windows provide access. Below, the door has a sidepanel and fanlight combination and the main window features Palladian style sidelights all with rendered bevelled brick edges. The front courtyards are framed by a cast iron palisade fence with bluestone footings with the party wall extending slightly to the property line with a parquetry tile floor forming part of the entrance and porch.
The terraces have heritage protection under the City of Melbourne’s heritage overlay HO4 which covers most of Parkville and Royal Park.
I’m not certain of the date or architect, or the origins of the names of the houses, however it would appear to be early to mid 1880s.
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