Dec 10, 2010

Notable Buildings of Moonee Valley

"NGARVENO", 71-73 Ngarveno Street, Moonee Ponds.

The home "Ngarveno" was formerly owned by John Davies, who was the Member of Parliament for North Melbourne and Chairman of the Bench at the Moonee Ponds Court House. He died in 1901 aged 82 years. The Ngarveno Estate, established in 1862, originally extended from the Moonee Ponds Creek to Mount Alexander Road, and from Dean Street to Ormond Road. Davies established vineyards that covered 16 acres and was renowned for its wine. The name of the house was chosen by Davies because of its position facing towards the east, overlooking the Moonee Ponds Creek, it must have been flooded with light as the day dawned, so Davies gave it the aboriginal term for "rising sun" or "sunnyside"- 'Ngarveno". The original "Ngarveno" is a lovely old house with spacious verandahs on three sides. It is of bluestone with a stucco surface. Its style is plain - the most ornate feature being slender wooden columns on the verandah. It is among the oldest houses in the Essendon area.

"ROSEBANK", Rosebank Avenue, Strathmore.

Thomas Napier one of the earliest residents in this area was born in Scotland in 1802 and came to Melbourne in 1837. He was present at the earliest land sales in the town and bought the sites of the Commercial Bank, Collins Street and the "Argus" Office. A carpenter by trade, he built a small cottage on the Collins Street site and later bought land in the Essendon area. In 1845, he petitioned the government - then in Sydney - to make available for sale some country blocks. It did and he was able to buy 100 acres (40 hectares) "on the Moonee Ponds", 9.5 kilometres from Melbourne, and an area then officially known as Lot 15 in Doutta Galla, N.S.W. He built a house on what was then known as Napier's Hill - presumably the site of the present "Rosebank". He died in 1881 and his property was then divided between his wife, Jessie, and his son, Theodore. In 1891, Jessie Napier's property was passed on to her daughter and son-in-law - Dr. and Mrs Barber and it was in this year, that the present house "Rosebank" was built. It is a two storey brick house with iron lace on the verandah and parapet and other ornamental features such as the patterned brickwork. The house is magnificiently situated with extensive views towards the east. In 1923, Rosebank was bought by the Fathers of the Columban Missionary Society, and later by the Sisters of Charity who bought the property in 1961, the nuns sold the property in 2005.

LEBANON, Wendora Street, Strathmore

Lebanon, the oldest house in the area, must once have had extensive views over the countryside - occupying an elevated position, where the only other house visible was that belonging to John Pascoe Fawkner on the hill to the north. John Murray Peck, famous as one of the founders of Cobb & Co., bought this land in 1881 and built the house, calling it Lebanon after his birthplace in New Hampshire, U.S.A. Peck arrived in Melbourne in 1853 aged 23 years, having worked with Wells Fargo in his home country. Already an expert with horses and coaches, he joined with Freeman Cobb and others in forming a company and their first coach ran in January, 1854. Peck embarked on a business venture in the 1860's when he bought several thousand sheep and shipped them to Otago gold fields, but the sheep were destroyed by the New Zealand Government, which did not pay Peck compensation. Other sheep waiting in Australia for shipment had to be destroyed, this venture cost him his savings that he had amassed through his partnership in Cobb and Co. Later Peck was a familiar figure at the Newmarket saleyards, where he was a leading auctioneer of cattle. He died in 1903.

NORTH PARK MANSION, Woodlands Street, Essendon

Prior to North Park being constructed it had a number of owners including John Thomas Smith of Ascot House and William Kissock (who bred dairy cattle there in the 1860's). The land was purchased by Alexander McCracken in 1887 for the sum of 5000 pounds. Oakden, Addison and Kemp were commissioned to design the 42 room North Park Mansion in 1888. The construction used Red Northcote bricks, sandstone from Waurn Ponds, basalt from Malmsbury and roofing tiles from Marseilles, France. Alexander McCracken, after a very active life involved in business, public and sporting affairs, died in 1915 and in 1920 his widow sold all of the remaining North Park Estate land other than the Mansion and six acres. The mansion was then sold to Harvey Paterson, an executive of B.H.P. In 1923 the house and land was sold to the Columban Order. The house served as a seminary for thirty years and today it is the Australian headquarters of the St.Columbans Mission. The architecture style of North Park is a combination of Scottish Baronial, French, Victorian and Tudor, however nevertheless remains an impressive and noteworthy building. The Mansion has been protected by being added to the Victorian Heritage Register in 1997.

CHANTRELL, 36-38 Margaret Street, Moonee Ponds.

By 1860 Melbourne's population had increased to 14,000 and it was at this time at "Tower Villa" was built and re-named "Chantrell" by the Kent Hughes family, the house has played an important part in early history of Moonee Ponds as the home of some of its most distinguished citizens. By the turn of the century Melbourne directories list J. Cunningham McFarlane, solicitor, at "Tower House', 28 Margaret Street, Moonee Ponds. Later, the building became a doctor's residence owned by Dr. George Strachan and later by Dr. Montague Owen Kent Hughes, who combined a successful political career with his practice of medicine. The name "Chantrell" is derived from the Chantrell Pelicans on the family coat of arms. The 1905 MMBW plan of Essendon shows "Tower House".

The Local History Room Vertical File at the Sam Merrifield Library has more information on homes in the area such as Roslyn Court which was owned by the Gilbertson family, Ardmillan, Ardoch Tower and the Moonee Ponds Courthouse.

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