1868 Israel Bloomington built ‘Rondebosch’ to a design by the architects Crouch & Wilson for the merchant, Israel Bloomington. Bloomington was born c.1826 in Poland, arriving in Australia c.1853. He was the proprietor of a boot/outfitters warehouse in Swanston Street and was a leading member of the Melbourne Jewish community (Heritage Victoria).In the same year as ‘Rondebosch’ Crouch and Wilson designed a similar residence known as ‘Toldara’ at 40 Alma Road for the Jewish jeweller and merchant, David Rosenthal (See the PPHR citation for ‘Toldara’)
Israel Bloomington died at ‘Rondebosch’ in 1878, at the relatively young age of 53 (The Argus, 24 May 1878, p.1)
In 1987 the house was purchased by St Michael’s Grammar School and is now known as ‘Hewison House’.
Crouch & Wilson The architects Thomas James Crouch and Ralph Wilson were well known and prolific designers in Melbourne in the nineteenth century. They had good links with the Jewish community and worked extensively in St Kilda. In the same year as ‘Rondebosch’ they designed a similar residence known as ‘Toldara’ at 40 Alma Road for the Jewish jeweller and merchant, David Rosenthal (See PPHR citation for ‘Toldara’) and in 1872 they designed the first St Kilda Synagogue.
I884 a two-storey addition was made to the building. Nahum Barnet was the architect (The Argus, 26 April 1884, p.11, tender notice).
In 1872 Crouch and Wilson designed the first St Kilda Synagogue which was instigated by the most prominant members of the St Kilda Jewish community including Rosenthal and Bloomington. Services had been held at the Wesleyan Church Hall and joined with the congregation at East Melbourne about fifty Jewish families living in St Kilda, Bloomington and several other prominent community members resolved to form the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation at a meeting held at ‘Rondebosch’. The new congregation held services at the St Kilda Town Hall before building their own synagogue in Charnwood Crescent, which was consecrated on 29 September 1872 (Cooper, 1931) Review text here
Rondebosch was built for Israel Bloomington, who was a wealthy boot and shoe importer. He was also a founding member and treasurer of the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation.
Rondebosch has since become part of the St Michael’s Grammar School.
Information taken from City of Port Phillip Heritage Review HO6. Author Heritage Officer: David Helms CoPP.
MMDB Entry 6371 and 971
Heritage Victoria, VHR citation for ‘Rondebosch’
Melbourne & Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) Detail Plan no. 1360, dated 1898
Part of St Michaels Grammer School