Wilson’s Terrace: 129-135 High Street, Prahran. Melbourne, Victoria

This row of four double storey Victorian filligree terraces has been adaptively used as professional suites. Given the lack of current heritage protection offered (as of 2014 it is not covered by a heritage overlay under the Stonnington planning Scheme1. Given the position of the signage on the segmental arch of the parapet which bears the name “Wilson’s Terrace”, one would think this terrace was originally a row of five with two houses on either side of the mid-terrace. However, its first mention in The Argus in 1881 advertises it as a row of four houses, each with seven rooms.2 Tenders were called for its construction in 1884 by architects W H Elleker.3 The houses were originally numbered 15-27 High Street.4

Wilson's Terrace 129-135 High Street, Prahran. Melbourne, Victoria

Architecturally it is an elegant example of a boom style terrace. Though most of the architectural treatment is concentrated on High Street, the terrace presents a blank wall to the corner of St Edmond’s Road. The central parapet breaks through an otherwise parapetless roofline, something unusual for Melbourne terraces. The eave is marked by turned wood brackets otherwise exposing the large sloping sheets of corrugated iron and wide stumpy and plain red bricked chimney stacks. Its typical detailed cast iron lacework and decorated party walls are highlighted by a range of different urn styhles including pineapples as well as acanthus scroll corbels modillion and other details. With its white painted facade, it is unclear (though likely given the appearance of the chimneys) whether the original had exposed brickwork and cement render.

The iron lacework features a deep frieze at each level, along with an asymmetrically placed corinthian column to mark each entryway. The upper storeys have two sets of tall french windows, although additions appear on some, while the lower storey feature large paladian style triple windows. The doorways feature six panel Victorian doors with sidelights and transom. Set back from the street, the original fence has been removed and the corner house at 135 has unfortunate detraction of a brick wall (not to mention missing verandah details of the upper storey.

The origin of the name Wilson is unclear to me, so if anyone has any information to add please comment below.

  1. Stonnington Planning Scheme 04HO
  2. The Argus. Friday 28 October 1881. Advertising, pg. 12
  3. The Argus. Thursday 7 August 1884. Advertising, pg. 3
  4. The Argus. Friday 20 March 1885. pg. 7

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