Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mayfield Park - three extra snippets of information

From a newspaper known as the Dandenong Journal, largely pertaining to the Glen Alvie estate which was located close to Mount Waverley railway station (there is a bit of almost-readable material about it on Mount Waverley's wikipedia page).

Glen Alvie itself has some internal reserves; look at the odd arrangement around Sherwood Road and there is also a more conventional IR in Winbourne Road to its north-west. It is the local progress association which is promoting discussion re: major open space in the area and pressing council to find a large recreation area. Mayfield Park fits the bill. No particular explanation of why it should then be an internal reserve-styled space, though Glen Alvie is setting a style there.

Dandenong Journal 19 May 1948 p. 8

Dandenong Journal 9 June 1948 p. 5

Same as above - Dandenong Journal 9 June 1948 p. 5

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mayfield Park, Mount Waverley Vic.

It's not much of a story (at this point, anyway!). It possibly starts here:

Melbourne Argus 21 April 1955 p. 17

Or perhaps it starts here: 

Or both. Essentially, it's the usual urban creep narrative. Here is another map, ostensibly from the '1960s' (which is a long period of time, and I'm still not sure I believe that the Gladstone/David/Walker/Laurence/Stanley/Robert streets were ever built): 

N. R. Reid & Co; from the State Library of Victoria. View the whole thing here

The first map above is from my Morgan's Official Street Directory [of] Melbourne and Suburbs, which is undated but is probably late 1940s/early 1950s, and I am assuming that Mayfield Park the farm was here somewhere in the middle of the crescent formed by Laurence Street. I'm only assuming that because it is roughly the location of the present-day Mayfield Park (the park/ sports reserve) as seen in this from Map 75 of a Gregorys street directory from probably around 1977 or '78 (note the inclusion of McLaren, Donald and Howard streets for orientation):

So here, you can see why Mayfield Park the park is of interest to me: it's a large open space apparently bounded on all sides by housing/buildings. Check the current state of the place; it is largely the same. 

I can only speculate (as a lot of the speculators who caused the above craziness might also have said) as to what happened here. Obviously the originally proposed Gladstone Ave/ David Street/ Laurence St subdivision in the Morgan's directory was never constructed (its form suggests it was a much bigger enterprise, too - if we assume the idea is to mirror those crescents south east of Walker Street).   The Stanley Street/ Robert Street alignments look like an intrusion from another idea altogether, suggesting a few grand ideas from a few grand men about forty years (?) too early. (By the way, a very detailed account of a tragic airplane disaster in the Melbourne Argus of 9 June 1936, p. 17 makes it clear that not only was Anderson's Lane very much in existence at this time - I'm guessing it roughly follows the alignment of present-day Bales St - but it had telephone wires on it, these being the apparent cause of the air disaster in question). 

The reason that I make a point about the messy subdivision rubbish in this area prior to the creation of Mayfield Park is that I suspect this was part of the reason for the creation of the park - either speculators moved in and bought land there but were unable / unwilling to continue to pay rates on it, or for some other reason it ended up in the hands of council, as per the Sunshine example detailed recently. I am imagining that some enterprising council employees saw the opportunity to provide open space in the area and heighten the amenity for the surrounding subdivisions. You should also compare the Gregory's map and the present-day Google Map as far as the open space areas adjoining Pamela, Bernard, Cora, and Bales are concerned - all one big space now, stretching east.

Of course the creation of the Mulgrave Freeway (1972; now a part of a bigger enterprise, the Monash Freeway) made the greatest changes of all in this area, bisecting a suburb and changing the social climate either side. I would love to read the documentation on the way that the City of Waverley (as it was up until 1994) braced itself for the changes the Freeway would make to its communities. A lot of streets were lost in the construction of that Freeway... although many of them were surely only streets on paper.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Trystan Edwards

From Robert Freestone who says only that it is 'Trystan Edwards, 1934'. More information as it comes to hand. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tennis Courts in block bounded by Devonshire, Cornwall, Thomsons and Una Streets, Sunshine, Victoria

Victoria Kolankiewicz alerted me to this unusual space this afternoon: a block in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine within which two 'roads' (unnamed, probably better termed lanes) run alongside what I assume is a public open space containing tennis courts.

A search in the digitised newspapers reveal nothing of consequence regarding the designation of the space for recreation aside from the information that Una Street, which it should be assumed was created at the same time as the block in question, dates back to at least 1937. Here is a mention of it in the Sunshine Advocate from 8 October 1937, p. 6, in which it is apparently being repaired by council:

It would be sensible therefore to assume that the block dates back to the first half (at least) of the 20th century. But curiosity got the better of me and I decided to spring for the original subdivision plan:

The confusing part is not the plan per se (though that's not exactly a common format for a suburban subdivision) but the date on it: it was lodged on 31 March 1960.

Note no designated purpose for the large central space ('lot 9') and the 'roads' are clearly far too narrow to be anything other than lanes (though Google Maps suggests that they allow for road access!). I'll have to visit this site soon, at which time I'll have more to report and can add to this information.


My trusty Morgans Official Street Directory Melbourne and Suburbs from some indeterminate (but pretty guessable) late 1940s time reveals that the site was, at one time, crossed by two roads, Shelley Street and Byron Street: (this is map 59, by the way):

The Sunshine Advocate for 19 January 1951 (p. 1) tells us this:

The next step might be to advertisements like the one appearing in the Advocate on 15 December 1950 (p. 5) which gives us some detail on the size of the 'small lots' in question (as small as 20x55 ft) as well as the names of the former owners, all of whom apparently defaulted, and who I'd love to spend some time tracking down - maybe in the next life. Meanwhile, the origin mystery is largely cleared up: Sunshine Council appears to have resubdivided in the late 1950s and concentrated purely on street frontage. Council may have trumpeted its benevolence in dedicating the space at the rear of the four housing lots in Una and Devonshire to public recreation, but the digitised newspapers of Trove largely run out at about 1960, so that is not an easy 'get', nor is it really a sure one.

UPDATE # 2: Mystery solved (by Victoria, who gets the prize for being a snake that eats its tail). From the online History of the Sunshine Parish:
Land in Devonshire Road had become available to the Parish and the opportunity was taken up with the idea of making provision for youth recreation.  Four en tout cas tennis courts were built and opened in 1960.  Three years later the Duke of Norfolk (who was in Australia with the touring English cricket team) opened the Youth Centre Building, the lit basketball courts and the cricket practice wickets.  The portions of land not built on were sold off to help finance the project.  

Monday, January 4, 2016

Hampstead Garden Suburb: A Conservation Study (1971)

Hampstead Garden Suburb: Plan for Conservation (subhead on cover is 'A Conservation Study'): Consultants' report to The New Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust Ltd Shankland Cox & Asssociates April 1971 p. 22, 23 excerpts. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

City Planning, Perth 1965-1967 by Paul Ritter

P. 79 of this fascinating tour de force. I'll put aside the typification of internal reserves as 'Radburn greens' for another day.

Monday, September 28, 2015

McAdam Reserve, Northcote, Victoria

This is almost certainly an ad-hoc space created by the demolition of some building or other – probably, given the space’s onetime working class status, a small backlane business – I’m thinking a dairy or something similar. In any case, it is not a ‘classic’ internal reserve given that it has access by one footpath from Stanley Street, but then also by two laneways which could technically allow vehicle access (though there’s nowhere for a vehicle to actually stop). It was almost certainly not a part of the original plan for the area.

The playground is very well stocked. Barbeque, climbing equipment, etc. What is most interesting from our point of view is that on the Saturday morning I visited, it was occupied by the perfect users: five children, four adults, the adults almost certainly being parents to the children. Two backyard gates were open into the space, suggesting that these users were very local (I should have asked them. I didn’t want to intrude on families enjoying a shared and semi-private resource).

I’ll go back at another time and see what other uses it might have. All surrounding properties have high fences, suggesting there is no particular surveillance going on here. But otherwise, a very fine example – the kind of IR we’d like to see.

See it on google maps here