Walkies: Elegant Enclave

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Having both of my buddies busy toiling at work most of the week, I find that I have loads of time to explore the city at my own pace. The Visitor Information Centre @ Fed Sq is a huge help especially when you need tips on how best to optimize your time in Melbourne/ Victoria.

One section I loved browsing was the Self-Guided Walks (for more information, go to http://www.thatsmelbourne.com.au). I picked up a few maps knowing that I would be doing many solo explorations.

Duration: 1.5 hours (unless you plan to powerwalk and not stop so often for photo shoots 🙂 )
3 km

Attraction: ogle at elaborate ironwork, graceful architectural features of Victorian homes that have been faithfully restored

Tip: Wear comfortable walking shoes & spare battery for photo aficionado…


Federation Square is pretty much the starting point for many of the city self-guided tours, but I snipped off a few minutes by getting off the 109 just as it entered Collins St. Cross the street, and I’m making my way into Treasury Gardens. Adjacent to Treasury is Fitroy Gardens, and I was not surprised at all to see quite a number of office co-workers donned in running attire having a great time sweating it out around the park:

Walking through the gardens you wouldn’t have an inkling that
you’re right smack in a bustling city.

Amazing feeling.

Not even 10 minutes into my tour, I found an interesting memorial worth a quick detour. It’s not exactly located on the main path, so you have to walk towards:

Look around the area and you will find this:

Getting back on the main path, you’ll come across the conservatory:

It was such a beautiful, not so glaringly sunny day and I could see a few groups of elementary students enjoying their field trip to Fitzroy Gardens. Next attraction en route is a true gem: Captain Cook’s Cottage. It was literally “imported” from England. Brick by brick!

For a small fee, you can enjoy a personal tour of Captain Cook’s historic residence. Eventhough this was my solo tour, I still had to keep to my schedule. Too many things to do in Melbourne! 🙂

I just HAD to include this. I mean, the hydrangeas were crazy gorgeous!!

As I edged closer towards Clarendon Street, I continued east into George Street. The Elegant Enclave tour has officially begun! I must say the 19th century Victorian homes look extremely well-maintained and such residences define East Melbourne.

“One of East Melbourne’s oldest homes is the 1856 terrace, while behind the hedge is gracious Braemar, dating to 1865 and nearly demolished in the 1970s.” – (from thatsmelbourne.com.au)

“Divert briefly left at Powlett Street for two neighbouring homes from the 1880s. Foynes (No. 52) and Eastcourt have masses of iron lacework. Back on George Street, the house (No. 125b) at the end of a drive was part of an early farm, while the Art Deco flats (No. 109) were built in 1930.” – (from thatsmelbourne.com.au)

“When you see the George Street café, continue straight ahead on the street’s left side before returning to the café via the other side. Along here are a converted 1920s post office (No. 24); and Georgian Court (No. 21), built as apartments in 1860; and the 1865 home of Melbourne’s first surveyor, Robert Russell (No. 49).”- (from thatsmelbourne.com.au)

“Turn right into Simpson Street to view magnificent Queen Bess Row (corner of  Simpson and Hotham Streets).
Built in 1886, it is three private homes.” – (from thatsmelbourne.com.au)


Sydenham House, built in 1856 as a girls’ school

Dorset Terrace has front doors unusually placed diagonally to the gates.

In the 1880s, this was Cairns Memorial Presbyterian Church.

However, a fire in the 1980s nearly demolished the church, but was salvaged and later converted into apartments.


Cross Gipps Street and continue into Nunn Lane, noting the Victorian home on the lane’s right side with its contemporary addition.


Walking towards the alley next to this row of gorgeous houses, I came across a truly modern addition to this neck of the woods…

A mobile dog-grooming salon! Bow-chicka-bow-wow!


The 1868 home has an unusual opera-box-style balcony. Like other houses along here, it looks two-storeyed but because of a slope, is three storeys at the rear.

Trickseys! 🙂

The 1873 mansion 21 with the arched veranda, Crathre (corner of Gipps and Powlett streets), has been a private hospital and rooming house.

Saved from demolition, it is now a restored private home.


Get right into Gipps Street for notable homes. This is Nepean Terrace. In 1888, it was the home of actor Frederick Baker who died on stage at the Princess Theatre and whose ghost, Federici, is said to haunt the theatre…


This was the townhouse of Constance Stone, who became Australia’s first female doctor in 1890.


Home to Eugene von Guerard, prominent artist and teacher in the late 1800s.

Home safely ensconced behind the white wall, No. 107 Powlett Street is the former home of Picnic at Hanging Rock author Joan Lindsay and husband Daryl Lindsay, once director of the National Gallery of Victoria.


“Magnolia Court was Ormiston Ladies College. In the early 1900s, Magnolia Court was home to those involved in Melbourne’s theatre and the early days of the Australian Ballet.”

“On Powlett Street, the terrace house was home to Peter Lalor, who lead miners in the Eureka Stockade uprising at Ballarat in 1854.”

Hang in there… we’re more than half-way through with this self-guided tour! 🙂

“Turn right into Hotham Street and you will see The Gothic House (1861). Designed by architect Joseph Reed (who designed Melbourne Town Hall, State Library and Royal Exhibition Building) for deputy surveyor-general Clement Hodgkinson (who designed the Fitzroy and Treasury gardens).”


Opposite is Fairhall, an elegant 1860 townhouse, now the home of the Johnston Collection*.

*The Johnston Collection
A beautiful house museum displaying an antique dealer’s legacy of English and French antiques is in East Melbourne.

Cyprus Terrace


Cyprus Terrace was designed to look like two grand houses but is actually four homes.


On Hotham Street, hidden behind the long black fence is Bishopscourt, home to Anglican archbishops since 1853. Ain’t no chance for a peek-a-boo…

Fairies’ Tree

Now we’ve crossed Clarendon Street heading back towards Fitzroy Gardens. If you’re feeling rather parched or hungry, you may take five at the Pavilion café. Out front is the Fairies’ Tree by one-time East Melbourne sculptor Ola Cohn and the Model Tudor Village.  This marks the fun end to a long Elegant Enclave tour on foot…

So, how popular was this tiny tudor village?

This was probably group 6 of infinity 🙂

Continuing at a much reduced pace, I headed up the hill, past this historical landmark…

Oh loooorrrdd… where is my tram stop? …Just round the corner… where I found something that reflected how my feet felt by then


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