Melbourne’s Most Magnificent Streetscapes – Edition #7

South Melbourne 3205 – Howe Crescent

Following on from our exploration of St Vincent Place (Albert Park) in Edition #3, we now cross the road into South Melbourne to discover Howe Crescent, which forms part of the original historic horse racing circuit that was divided during the mid-19thcentury. Much akin to St Vincent Place with its curving nature and frontage onto parklands, this iconic crescent is split into two unjoining sectors. Home to much fewer residences than its Albert Park neighbour, Howe Crescent represents the grand historic properties of an area known for its small allotments. Unveiling an impression array of period architecture, the stately Victorian buildings are what make Howe Crescent such a magnificent Melbourne streetscape.

15-17 Howe Crescent – The Early Days c.1869

These three enchanting Victorian terraces are to believed to be some of the most initial constructions upon Howe Crescent. The first building development is believed to have commenced around 1865, after the first land sales happen the year prior. No. 15-17 feature rendered facades over the ashlar blocks, distinctly ornate lacework and wrought iron front fences, in varying states. Originally occupied by a blank clerk named Robert Stoddart, no. 17 is currently for sale with a quoting range of $2.6M-2.75M.

22 Howe Crescent – Redfern Residence c.1890

It’s thought that notable South Melbourne builder and original owner Redfern constructed the freestanding Victorian at 22 Howe Crescent. The home attracted a N.A.V. of £100 after its initial build, then spectacularly dropped to £50 after the depression. Built with a terrace form and elaborate detailing, the home is a fine example of late Victorian architecture in freestanding form.

30 Howe Crescent – Former Barrett Residence c.1867

Taking a prominent corner position and leaving an unquestionable presence over the landscape, 30 Howe Crescent is a commanding Italianate Victorian steeped in local history. Build for Dr. James Barnett in 1867, before additions were made to the home in following years, this home thus becomes one of the first erected within the Howe Crescent area. The Barrett family were initially made famous by surgeon James, who had five children become medical practitioners in varying significant roles. Following Barrett’s death and the property passing hands, it was made into five apartments in the 1950s, before being acquired by the Victorian Chapter of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in 1971 as its headquarters and was renamed, ‘Robert Russell House’.

39-40 Howe Crescent – The Elegant Pairing c.1867

Giving the effect of a single house with the entrance doors hidden to the sides, the elegant pair at 39-40 Howe Crescent represents an early and distinct form of period architecture. Unlike their heavily iron-laced neighbours, these homes exhibit unique timber verandahs with coupled posts, turned drops and a lattice frieze. The latest sale was no.40 in 2013, for $4.525M.

41-42 Howe Crescent – One of Port Phillip’s Very Finest c.1865

Originally owned by minister of the Clarendon Street Presbyterian Church Hugh Darling as a dual residence, 41-42 Howe Crescent is now standalone as one of Port Phillip’s most grand and opulent properties. Appearing as two homes yet converted into one grand showstopper, the property hit the market in 2018 looking to shatter local records with $14M-$15M price expectations, yet Domain records show the property sold for $12.5M in 2019 after 223 days on market. The home has been completely transformed internally even boasting a swimming pool on an extensive block in excess of 900 square metres. Still retaining its iconic façade, when this home was divided into two it featured many famous tenants including auctioneer John Buxton, architect William E. Wells and surveyor Edward Clarke.

43-45 Howe Crescent – The Triple Story Treat c.1882

An astonishing sight for any architecture appreciators, the row of Victorian residences at 43-45 Howe Crescent are one of the very few remaining three-storey terrace rows in Melbourne. When local merchant and tobacco manufacturer Charles Arnell bought the land of 43-45 Howe Crescent from solicitor Charles Roy, the land was described as being a ‘garden’. Originally constructed in 1882, the distinct tri-level homes retain their unwavering charm and scale today. The verandah spans the first two floors, while the third floor featured double hung sash windows with a projecting cast iron balconette.

46-48 Howe Crescent – ‘Hazelwood Terrace’ c.1865

Designed by eminent architect Charles Webb, the trio of early Victorian homes at 46-48 Howe Crescent represents initial development upon this famous crescent, a distinct bold rendered façade and the illustrious Webb architectural style. The home is in line with Webb’s nearby work (including Tasma Terrace and the Windsor Hotel) in its decorative yet restrained nature. Sharing some similarities with its neighbours, the building features a balcony spanning over the three properties.

49-50 Howe Crescent – ‘Blinkbonnie’ c.1866

Unlike many of its double and even triple level neighbours, the distinct single level Victorian known as ‘Blinkbonnie’ at 49-50 Howe Crescent is an integral piece of this landmark streetscape. Unique in its well set back from the pavement manner, the double fronted residence is on a particularly wide frontage and acts as a fine example of 1860s construction with its embellishment, symmetry and chimneys.

Standing out as a true pioneer of grand Victorian architecture in Port Phillip, Howe Crescent’s relatively large allotments, stately builds and park side prominence means it will always be of high attraction. David Wood of Belle Property Albert Park said ‘Howe Crescent is a very significant South Melbourne street and this little pocket of the suburb has always maintained its [value] and stood above the rest’. Heritage listed and majestic in its standing, Howe Crescent has always been and shall continue to be one of Melbourne’s most magnificent streetscapes.