Rockdale is an attractive freestanding double storey former middle class home in the Italianate terrace style. Like many of the grand homes along this stretch of Punt Road close to St Kilda Junction it is set back from the street. Despite its obvious grandeur, Rockdale is unfortunately not afforded any heritage protection under the City of Stonnington planning scheme.
The terrace is highly decorated in rendered brick, however it has been significantly modified, the “modernisation” dating to sometime before the 1950s resulting in the removal of its cast iron lacework, replacement of its support column with concrete and enclosing its upper storey verandah in aluminium framed glass.
Currently adaptively re-used as an office/dwelling, it survived through the mid 20th Century as a 13 room guesthouse. 1
Nevertheless, Rockdale retains many of the features of a classic Melbourne terrace, including the classical symmetry of a tall parapet graced with segmental pediment and crowns featuring the name of the terrace emblazoned on it that hides a large hip and gable tiled roof and chimneys. The prominent parapet is flanked by large scrolls and a typical Italianate balustrade and entablature with urns capping the party walls which are heavily vermiculated and decorated with twin scrolls at each level. Below the cornice is a frieze with bracketed mouldings and double scrolls. The corrugated iron roofed verandah bullnoses out and blind arched openings on the upper storey may at one time, like the ground level, been open to provide views up and down the parade.
The ground level doorway and window are notable for their flat arched mouldings, decorative sidelights and leadlight patterning allowing generous light into the principal rooms.
I don’t have any information on the date of construction or achitect, however given the presence of late Victorian and early Edwardian details it would appear that this house dates to the early 1890s. It is quite possible that the original style of the terrace was unpainted red brick and render and that its current beige invasion paint scheme originates to its postwar makeover.
One would hope that this terrace could not only be preserved but its original features reinstated and this example of boom style architecture be restored to its former glory.
Endnote. Sadly “Rockdale” was demolished in 2015 for the development of the modern 3 storey “Salt Apartments” complex after being approved by the City of Stonnington.
- The Argus, Saturday 8 September 1951 (pg23) ↩