Granite Terrace (pictured here in 1958 a hundred years after its construction in 1858) is one of those buildings for which I wish I had a time machine to plead with developers not to demolish. Armed with the knowledge of what was there before it is a painful experience to see what is there today. Granite Terrace, a three storey Regency style terrace flanked another famous Melbourne terrace completed the same year – Royal Terrace.
The facade of Granite Terrace was, as the name suggests, made of load bearing granite, in fact a light variety of the stone, however side walls were of bluestone. The terrace had quite an interesting history. It was built by Henry Miller, M.L.C. known as “Money Miller” and the stone was quarried from his quarries at Mill Park near Morang1 and the architects were Robertson & Hale2.
Granite terrace, along with several of Fitzroy’s earlier rows had the general appearance of a row of classic English town houses. The ground floor loggia is one of its most interesting features. Granite Terrace, unlike Royal Terrace had a loggia with vouissoir and keystone rather than verandah at ground level. This feature was also rehashed on shorter nearby terraces – Blanche and Falconer. But like Royal Terrace, its refined features included quoining, ashlar, parapet cornice, string courses and Regency window sashes. The individual houses were simply marked by rusticated piers in between arcades of smooth arches. The terrace was set well back from the street (which may have contributed to its demise), with a garden and bluestone wall with cast iron palisade.
The National Trust fought to save the historic terrace from as early as 1957 and right through the 1960s. In fact it still carries a file under the number B594 for the demolished terrace. However it failed in its bid and Granite Terrace was finally razed in 1965. Its replacement was a typical 1960s industrial two storey brown brick functionalist warehouse office cantilevered ground level parking and garage which still stands today, signficantly out of character with the rest of the Victorian era streetscape.