Hillside is a terrace I’ve been fascinated with for many years. Occupying a commanding position setback high atop Richmond Hill on busy Hoddle Street, this tall double storey row of three Italianate terrace houses has been without its double storey verandah for so long I wonder if anyone remembers what the original looked like. Nevertheless, its architecture reveals many interesting and typically Melbourne features.
Hillside: 155-159 Hoddle Street, Richmond. Melbourne, Victoria
Graeme Robertson whose brilliant books include “Victorian Heritage” (1960), feature shots of the remodeling of Hillside sometime in the years just prior to it being published. According to the book, the terrace was converted into a sixty room hostel/brothel known as “Hillside Flats” with interior partitioning and exterior removal of the verandahs, balconies and party walls intended to allow more light to enter the rooms and to prevent the unsavoury sight of stockings hanging to dry. According to the images, the balustrade panels were of the foundries of Angus Maclean (registered number 309 dated 19/9/82) accompanied by cast iron corinthian columns and deep curved frieze, fringes and brackets. The party walls featured mouldings of classical entablature but mannerist inspiration, including projecting corinthian pilasters combined with scrolls and wreaths.
Although the site is on quite a steep slope, the terrace is laid out evenly, giving it additional prescence. The parapet features a classical segmental pediment propped up by classical columns to frame a cartouche with the name Hillside following the curve of the arch sitting above a row of festoons. The parapet is dotted with sturdy finials between which are classical balustrades. A bold cornice is framed by double brackets and spaced with festoons. Blind party walls featuring large classical columns project but no longer frame a verandah. However the stripped back facade does reveal the elegant arched French windows which are grouped in pairs with mouldings and string courses giving the impression of irregular spacing but to deliberately match the doorways at ground level which are clustered and recessed to appear like a loggia.
Large classical gateposts and heavy cast iron palisade fence frames a small garden courtyard of each house with a steep bluestone stairway leading up to the doorways which feature heavy eight panelled Victorian doors with arched fanlights above.
Hillside Terrace appears to be boom style giving an indication that it was built in the mid to late 1880s.
Interestingly the cutting for the Epping and Hurstbridge railway lines from Wellington Parade to nearby West Richmond Railway Station is runs directly underneath Hillside terrace and outbuildings.
Despite the 1950s renovation the terraces are now heritage protected as part of the City of Yarra’s West Richmond Precinct (HO338).1
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