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Rondebosch, (Extant) 25 Chapel Street

The Residence of J. sic Bloomington Esqr. The Residence of J. sic Bloomington Esqr. Photo by Donald McDonald, SLV image H87.91/14

  • Date Built: Date Built 1868
  • Demolished: Extant
  • First European Land Owner:

    To come

  • Owners and occupiers:

    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’. 

  • Architects:

    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

  • Description:
    Description of Rondebosch (adapted from David Helm CoPP Heritage Officer)
    Described as 'one of the finest examples of Victorian: Renaissance Revival in Melbourne' Rondebosch’ was constructed in 1868. It is described as having 'a symmetrical front facade with an entablature and central pediment over the verandah and balcony, supported on massive Doric columns at ground level and Ionic columns above. Plain arched brackets and cast iron balustrading decorate the balcony and below polygonal bays flank the central arched entrance. Voussoirs and rustication emphasise the ground floor facade'
    In 1884  a two storey wing was added which is sympathetic to the original design and features arched windows and banded rendered walls.
    ‘Rondebosch’ is substantially intact. Internally, ceiling roses, cornices and skirtings still remain although later partitions, doors and carpets have been added. A mature Washingtonia Palm is a notable planting in the front garden.
  • History:

    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.

  • Sources:

    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

    Obituaries Australia ‘Embling, William Henry (18401-1912)’, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/embling-williamhenry-
    18767 [accessed 7 June 2016]
    ‘Plan of the Borough of St Kilda Surveyed and Complied under the direction of the Borough Council by
    J.E.S. Vardy’, 1873
    Port Phillip Heritage Review (PPHR) Volume 1, Version 17, September 2015 David Helms
    Sands & McDougall Directories, 1865-1885
    St Kilda Rate Books (RB) Public Records Office of Victoria Series Title 2335/P Microfilm copy of Rate Books, City of St Kilda [1858-1900] viewed at Ancestry.com on 21 May 2016 (1881, no. in rate 454 & 455)
  • Compiled by: Helen halliday
  • Last updated: Friday, 13 May 2022

Part of St Michaels Grammer School