FLOOD, FIRE AND FEVER
A History of Elwood
Walking Tour of the Art Deco Apartments of Elwood
The beauty and style of many of Elwood’s apartment buildings is often underestimated. Take a short stroll and enjoy these 27 stunning ‘walk-ups’ built from the 1920s to the 19402 in a variety of Art Deco styles variously called Streamline Moderne, Spanish Mission, Jazz Moderne, International and Mediterranean.
These buildings grew out of the rapid development during the 1920s and 1930s in response to reclamation of swampland, subdivisions of grounds of large houses, and immigration. Flat development followed transport routes such as Grey, Barkly, Mitford and the Broadway tram route because access to the city was important to the new wave of occupants. These flats had many popular innovations such as wrap-around balconies enabling occupants to enjoy the sun from two direction of others enclosed as ‘sleepouts’.
This walk is summarised with kind permission of the Art Deco Society Inc from their publication ‘Walk in Elwood’ by Robin Grow. 21
The walk starts from the corner of Mitford and Milton Streets and ends at the shopping centre at Elwood Junction (Ormond and Glenhuntly Roads).
1. 21 SOUTHEY STREET. Note addresses on this and other buildings are often graphically portrayed in styles significant in the world of Art Deco including Valoma Court – 4 Avoca Avenue and 43 Shelley Street.
2. 9 SOUTHEY STREET
3. ESMIA – 5 SOUTHEY STREET. Enclosed or partially enclosed stairwells were a feature of newly constructed buildings and provided protection from the weather.
4. THEOROSE – 6A SOUTHEY STREET. Names of these buildings are often significant. Theorose was named for furrier Theodor Dunaev and his wife Rose.
5. POETS CORNER – 38 MITFORD STREET. This highly visible landmark reflects the local streets named for poets.
6. GLENORE – 4 SOUTHEY STREET
7. 2 SOUTHEY STREET. Glass bricks, new products of the Art Deco era, are found on many buildings to increase light in areas such as enclosed stairwells.
8. AVOCA COURT. Here the Lydster Brothers, builders from Windsor in 1939/40, subdivided one of Melbourne’s most delightful and intact interwar courts. They also built Theorose (above) Maifae and Elnor (below).
9. MONTON – 2 AVOCA AVENUE
10. AVOCA LODGE – 1 AVOCA COURT
11. MAIFAE – 5 AVOCA COURT
12. ELNOR – 3 AVOCA COURT
13. VALOMA COURT – 4 AVOCA AVENUE
14. SOMERSBY – 28 AVOCA AVENUE. Next door to Somersby, 26 Avoca Avenue was converted to a Jewish Sunday School in 1942 in response to the influx of Jewish refugees. It later became a Scout Hall, with lettering that overlays the Star of David, and is the site of a memorial to St Kilda Scouts lost in WWII.
15. RAJON – 3 TENNYSON STREET. Blocks are often created grouped around communal garden areas to compensate for limited open space such as Rajon built 1946/7.
16. 30 TENNYSON STREET
17. CAMBERLEY – 17A MILTON STREET
18. 28 MILTON STREET
19. 44 MILTON STREET
20. BELMAC – BROADWAY AND GOLDSMITH STREETS. Parts of Elwood have a strong Mediterranean flavour. Belmac, Narooma and Del Mont Rose (below) are exquisitely located on or near small parks and reserves.
21. NAROOMA – 25-7 GORDON AVENUE
22. DEL MONT ROSE – 1 BROADWAY
23. L’ESPOIR – 39 SHELLEY STREET. Prominent architects and designer buildings were responsible for some of Elwood’s fine examples of interwar architecture. Esmond Dorney designed L’Espoir, Del Mont Rose (above) and Windermere (below).
24. 43 SHELLEY STREET
25. ARALUEN – 123-125 RUSKIN STREET
26. WINDERMERE – 49 BROADWAY This marvellous streamline building is listed on the Register of the National Estate.
27. BURNETT GRAY INFANT WELFARE CENTRE – 51 BROADWAY. This centre, named for a former Mayor and first Elwood councillor, was converted from a residence in 1950. It supported young mothers at a time of limited crèche facilities and negative attitudes to working mothers.
(Art Deco building photos by Robin Grow)
21 Southey Street
Esmia, 5 Southey Street
2 Southey Street
Somersby, 28 Avoca Avenue
Rajon, 3 Tennyson Street
Belmac, 1 Goldsmith Street
L'Espoir, 39 Shelley Street
Windemere, 49 Braodway
Burnett Gray Infant Welfare Centre, named for first Elwood councillor, later Mayor