Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has been a resident and practicing architect in St Kilda for over 33 years. He comes from a long line of architects, engineers and builders going back at least 5 generations with various branches of his family having lived in the South Melbourne and St Kilda area since 1859.

He has researched and written on a range of architectural and local history subjects, and has contributed to the Australian Dictionary of Biography and the Encyclopedia of Australian Architecture.

Peter has acted as the Society's heritage officer since 2002 and was its president from 2009 until 2015.

Thursday, 31 July 2014 18:08

Crown Allotment 178A

 Grantee:  James McCulloch
 Date of Purchase:  1857.12.21
 Date of 1st sale:  ?1866
 Date of Subdivision:  1918

James McCulloch purchased this allotment at the Government Land Sale held on 21 December 1857. It was probably sold a short time later to a new owner who commissioned Lloyd Tayler architect to design a villa on the site in the Cottage orné style. See Fernacres.

 SourceContents or [note]
1. Argus 1857.12.22 p.4  Crown Land Sale

The Melbourne monthly series of Government land sales were resumed yesterday at Messrs. W. M. Tenant and Co.'s rooms. The attendance was by no means numerous. ...

Suburban Lots, Prahran County of Bourke, Parish of Prahran. Fronting Alma road, lot 3, 5 acres and 12 perches, £90 per acre, James McCulloch

2. Argus 1863.07.25 p.3


Tenders are invited until August 5, inclusive for the erection of a villa in the Alma road east, St Kilda. Lloyd Tayler, architect.

Saturday, 26 July 2014 18:43

Racecourse, 1-13 Blessington Street


Other names:

St Kilda Cup (from 2 January 1850), Village Belle races

Date began:

1st January 1847


Frank Liardet


A bush course on which a mostly two day event was held, located on Crown land between Blessington Street and the Point Ormond, once a year.


St Kilda Racecourse was located at the southern end of Peanut Farm Reserve. Races, including the St Kilda Cup, were in late December and early January from 1848-1868. Surrounded by swampland, the boggy course was often problematic for horses and riders. However it was a convenient distance from town and so it became popular with race-goers. On Boxing Day 1866, over 3000 people attended. [from CPP Heritage plaque] The last race was held on 26 December 1868.


1850 - J. Henderson, M. Chitty




Description or [note]

1. Melbourne Argus 1846.12.22 p.2

Petty Sessions - Temporary Licenses

Mr Frank Liardet applied for a temporary license for the sale of fermented and spirituous liquors upon the race course, between the beach and St Kilda, on the 1st and 2nd January next. Granted.

2. Argus 1847.01.01 p.2

New Year's Day

This being the first day of the New Year, 1847, a variety of amusements will come off at the Beach, which has been got up for the occasion by Liardet, there will be also racing on the course between the Beach and St Kilda, for saddle and bridle, silver-headed whip, &c.

3.  Belle's Life 1848.01.15p.2

The St Kilda Races

"All the world and his wife", as the saying is, whereat the St Kilda on Tuesday last (Jan 4) to witness the races. [there follows a description of the event and winners].

4. Argus 1848.12.26 p.3

District Petty Sessions, Saturday December 23rd 1848

Mr John Stephen applied to the Bench on behalf of Messrs. J. Howard, D. Meany, D. Barry, W. Blannin, P. Sheedy, and M. Sheedy, licensed victuallers, that they be allowed to sell spirits at the St Kilda on the occasion of the approaching Races. …The application was granted, subject to the same restrictions as in the case of the Melbourne Races.

5. Argus 1849.12.29 p.1


[description of races and rules] Stewards: J. Henderson, M. Chitty
6. Argus 1850.01.03 p.2

St Kilda Races

[results of first days races, including the 1st St Kilda Cup which was won by Mt Thomas Sibering's Honi Heki]

7. Argus 1869.01.02 p.11

St Kilda Annual Races

Saturday last saw a large crowd assembled on the beach below St Kilda to witness the Village Belle races; but although there were above 4,000 people present, we do not believe that more than ten per cent of them cared for the races… [description of the results of the last recorded event held at this location]

Tuesday, 22 July 2014 15:56

Crown Allotment 3

More text will be added here shortly.

John Vardy, Plans of the Borough of St Kilda 1873, plan 5WW, CPP CollectionJohn Vardy, Plans of the Borough of St Kilda 1873, part plan 5WW, CPP Collection

More text will be added here shortly.



 No Reference Description or note

Tuesday, 22 July 2014 15:47

Crown Allotment 1

More information will be added here shortly.

John Vardy, Plans of the Borough of St Kilda 1873, plan 5WWJohn Vardy, Plans of the Borough of St Kilda 1873, part plan 5WW, CPP Collection

Add more text here.


NoReferenceDescription or note

Tuesday, 22 July 2014 15:19

Crown Allotment 6

Content to be added here shortly.

Vardy8WWJohn Vardy, Plans of the Borough of St Kilda, 1873, part plan 8 West Ward, CPP Collection

From the valuers notes, the owners of the the above properties in 1873 were: Mrs Freer (#1), D. Nicholson (#2), J. Dane (#3), J. Dane (#5)


No.ReferenceDescription or note
3. Sale by Auction, Argus 1849.05.01 p.3 William Easy is favoured with instructions to sell by auction on Monday 14th May the following lots 2-6 being portion of Allotment no. 6

Monday, 14 July 2014 10:53

Terrace, 31 Fitzroy Street

More text will be added here soon.

Tuesday, 08 July 2014 15:46

Stoke House, 30 Jacka Boulevard

St Kilda By the Sea 1913, p.14, SLV

Other Names: Shelter Pavilion, Shelter Shed, Foreshore Pavilion, Foreshore Tearooms, Stokehouse, Stoke House
Date Built: February to September 1908
Architect: David Foster Stevenson (d. 1936)
Builder: W. Johnston, Box Hill
Cost: £457
First Occupant: Mary Gillespie
Description: Large two storey timber structure, open on upper level, with enclosed kitchen and tearooms below, designed in the Queen Anne style, surrounded by earth mounds giving protection from the sea, and having bridges from these mounds to the upper level, all on an area of reclaimed land projecting into the sea.
History: See notes and summary below
Other Occupiers: Miss Weickhardt (-1913-)

H92.150 785View ca 1910-1920, John Henry Harvey 1855-1938 photographer, image #H92.150/785, SLV Pictures Collection

  SourceNote or summary
1. Argus, 1906.06.26 p.4

St Kilda Beach another Coney Island.

St Kilda Shore Committee formed and given authority of foreshore from Dickens Street to municipal boundary with South Melbourne.

2. Argus, 1908.02.08 p.20

St Kilda Improvements.

The St Kilda shore committee has accepted the tender of Mr W. Johnston, of Box Hill, at £457, for the erection of the large shelter pavilion at St Kilda beach. Mr D. F. Stevenson, who won the prize for the best design, will be the architect.

3. Argus, 1908.09.09 p.2


Tenders for the use of the refreshment-rooms at the new Shelter Pavilion for one, two or three years will close on Monday, 28th September, 1908 at noon.

4. Argus, 1908.10.03 p.5


St Kilda Shelter Pavilion tea-rooms. Fresh tenders for the above, closing noon Friday, 9th October, 1908, four rooms and kitchen, instead of two. Other Concessions.

5. Argus, 1908.10.14 p.8 Mrs Mary Gillespie's tender to rent the tea-rooms at the new shelter pavilion for three years, at £110 annum, has been accepted by the St Kilda foreshore committee.
6. St Kilda By the Sea 1913 p.14 [Picture of tearooms from side looking south]



Friday, 04 July 2014 10:40

Crown Allotment 172B

Grantee: James Gill
Date of purchase: 1853.10.07
Date of 1st sale: 1870
Date of subdivision: ca.1870-1872, part to Thomas A'Beckett, remainder to E. D. Holroyd.

It is likely that a plan of subdivision was prepared that had a similar layout to that which was proposed for Allotment 172A. In the 1873, from John Vardy's plan 8NW, we see that two of these subdivided lots were in the ownership of Thomas A'Beckett on which his house Crest Hill stood. The remainder of the land had been amalgamated into the garden of Fernacres next door, owned by Edward D. Holroyd.

 SourceContents or [note]
1. Argus 1853.10.06 p.8

Government Land Sales

At eleven o'clock Friday, 7 October, the following suburban and country lands will be offered for sale by public auction, at the Auction Rooms of Messrs. W. M. Tenant and Co.'s.

Suburban Lots. Prahran, between St Kilda and Brighton. Upset price £2 per acre. Lot 9, 5 acres 12 perches, portion 172b.

2. Argus 1870.01.13 p.3

Sales by Auction

This day at twelve o'clock. Finest building block on Alma Road. Original Government Allotment 172B, Prahran. …

This beautifully elevated building site, being Allotment 172B, and containing 5 acres and 12 perches, securely fenced, of the finest land, for one or two villas, that can now be had in the choicest part of that favourite locality–Alma road.

This choice piece of land is in the immediate neighbourhood of the villa residences of Messrs. Holroyd, Degraves, A'Beckett, Couche and Brahe …

3. Argus 1870.02.28 p.4

Commercial Intelligence

Messrs Gemmell, Tuckett, and Co. report the following sales:- …allotment 172b, Prahran, comprising 5 acres and 12 perches, for £500.

Friday, 04 July 2014 10:37

Crown Allotment 172A

At the Crown Land Sale on 12 December 1855 James William Fawcett purchased Allotment 172A consisting of 5 acres & 12 perches [= 2.06 hectares] for £155.#1

Subdivision of Crown Allotment 172a in 1864Plan of Subdivision [North left of image]A plan of subdivision was prepared in ca. 1864 dividing the property into 10 villa sites.

The auctioneer J Howorth described the sites  thus: The choicest sites for villa residences in the highest part of the Alma Road, St Kilda, commanding the most picturesque view of the Bay and surrounding scenery to be found in Melbourne. It is known as Portion 172A, and adjoins on the high side the Hunt Club Kennel, and is close to the noble mansions of Ambrose Kyte, Esq. MLA, and the residences and properties of Messrs. McCulloch, Turnbull, Were, Michie, and Hellins, and is but a few minutes walk from the Chapel Street Railway Station. NB. This valuable position must be seen to be appreciated.#3

This was put to a public auction on 18 November 1864. However it appears that the bids did not reach the owner's reserve so none were sold.#2

Sometime later the whole allotment was sold to Frederick Christian Lange of Lange & Thoneman who lived nearby in Inkerman Street. In 1870 Lange employed Lloyd Taylor architect to design a new house which he called Herford.#3

Click here for more information.



No.ReferenceDescription or note
 1. Argus 1855.12.13 p.4

Government land Sale

Prahran, upset price £2 10s. per acre. Lot 13 - 5a. 0r. 12p. James William Fawcett, £31 per acre.

 2. Argus 1864.11.12 p.2

Sale by Auction,

Important sale of villa allotments. J. Howorth is favoured with instructions form James W. Fawcett Esq. to Submit to public competition, at Lloyd's Rooms, on Friday, November 18, at two o'clock. Lots 1-10.

 3. Argus 1870.10.20 p.3


Tenders invited for the erection of a villa residence in Alma Road, East St Kilda for F. C. Lange Esq. Lloyd Tayler Architect.82 Collins-street west

 4. Argus 1888.03.03 p.15

Sale by Auction

[Outlines a description of Herford stating 'the whole of these improvements are on Crown Portion 172A'.]

Monday, 20 January 2014 13:35

Slideshow key

Unless otherwise stated the images used in our slideshow can be found and downloaded from the Pictures Collection, State Library of Victoria.



Image #

thumb h90.90-71-nar

St Kilda Courthouse & Town Hall ca. 1861-1865
Looking north across Barkly Street towards the corner of Grey Street showing the bluestone watch house and lock-up in the distance on RHS. Photographer unknown.


thumb h84.346-75-nar

St Kilda Town Hall, Brighton Road ca. 1910-1921


thumb h32492 4682-nar

St Kilda Road ca 1910-1920 
View looking north from the Junction.


thumb h2009.61-79n

St Kilda Road 
At High Street intersection


thumb h84.233-195-nar

Barkly Street ca. 1906-1915
View from the Village Belle Hotel roof looking south showing the VR electric tram at the intersection of Barkly and Mitford Streets. Photographer unknown.


thumb v600-img324-nar

Esplanade ca. 1865-1872
View of Granny's shop looking south towards Point Ormond in the distance

Cooper v2, p158
thumb h3617nar

Granny's Shop, Esplanade ca. 1868-1872
View of Granny's shop

thumb h32492-4665-nar

Alfred Square & Esplanade ca. ?

thumb h32492-6549-nar

 St Moritz, Esplanade ca. ?

thumb image-h32492-5664-nar

 Catani Clock Tower steps, Esplanade ca. 1950-1960

thumb H92.150 785

Shelter Pavilion & Tearooms ca. 1908-1914
View looking south across the Catani Arch gardens towards Mrs Mary Gillespie's tea rooms [the Stoke House in more recent times] 

thumb h32492-3255-nar



Shelter Pavilion & Tearooms ca. 1948-1954
View looking north across the Catani Arch gardens towards the Catani Clock Tower


thumb h32492 6786-nar

Gardens, Jacka Boulevard ca. 1948-1954
View looking north across Catani Arch lawn towards Catani Clock Tower

thumb h91.50-2358-nar

South Beach ca. 1938-1950
View from Brooks Jetty

thumb h92.150-784-n

Weniger's Carousel, Lower Esplanade ca. 1913-1919

thumb h90.37-21-nar

Little Luna Park, Lower Esplanade ca. 1908-1920

thumb h32492-8159n

St Kilda Beach ca. 1948-1950 
View towards Little Luna Park, Palais Theatre & Luna Park

thumb h32492-4932-nar Palais de Danse, Lower Esplanade ca. 1920-1925 H32492/4932
 thumb h32492 6372-nar Jacka Boulevard ca. 1934-1954
View looking south to Little Luna Park
thumb h96.160 2004-nar  St Kilda Pier ca. ? H96.160/2004 
thumb h32492-4663-nar St Kilda Baths ca. 1905-1925 H32492/4663
thumb h32492-4283-nar St Kilda Baths ca. 1930-1954 H32492/4283
thumb h91.50-842-nar St Kilda Baths ca. 1930-1954 H91.50/842
thumb h2007.130 57-nar Esplanade & Jacka Boulevard ca. 1930 H2007.130/57
thumb h32492-7570-nar Fitzroy Street ca. 1926-1940 H32492/7570
thumb h32492 4638-nar Fitzroy Street ca. 1910-1925 H32492/4638
thumb h324924684 Gregory Hall, Chapel Street ca. 1920 H324924684
thumb h324924710-nar Elwood Village, Ormond Road ca. 1906-1920 H324924710


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