Kew has, ever since its first settlement, borne the distinction of being Melbourne's prettiest and healthiest suburb. These attributes are doubtless due to its elevated situation, no part of the Borough, except the immediate river banks, being less than 75 feet above sea level, while a large part is almost 200 feet and attains as high as 278 feet at the eastern end of Cotham Road. This is the highest spot in any direction within the same distance (4¾ miles) of the General Post Office, and has been levelled to be almost equal to the top of the flag pole on Government House tower. The charm of Kew results not only from the scenery created by its undulating character and the windings of the River Yarra, which for about eleven and a half miles forms its northern and western boundaries, but also from the extensive views to be had in almost every direction, and in our ramble through the Borough we «35» purpose calling attention to some of the more picturesque of these.
Owing to its elevation, except by the valley of Glass' Creek in the north-eastern corner, Kew receives no drainage from any other district, but passes on to its neighbor Hawthorn all storm water which does not flow directly into the Yarra. Another advantage is that out of its area of 3,553 acres, or about 5 square miles, no less than 700 acres are included in public reserves, &c. This possibly from a municipal officer's point of view, may be unfortunate, but it is undoubtedly to the advantage of its inhabitants.
Bonwick, in his sketch, which has already been quoted, says, when entering Kew near the old Beehive Hotel, since replaced by the modern structure at the corner of Church Street and Barker's Road, Hawthorn, that the latter road terminates abruptly at the Yarra, "at a place where a bridge must be some day." His prophecy has come true, and most of the vehicular traffic to and from Kew now crosses the Yarra at this point, by what is known as the Victoria Bridge. There has been a proposal in 1861 for the erection of a wire suspension bridge, and public meetings in support of the suggestion were held in Richmond and Kew, but nothing came of the scheme. However, twenty years later the idea of a bridge was revived, with the result that in March, 1884, the present bridge was opened by the Mayor of Richmond. From its apparent frailness it was severely criticised at the time, but Professor Kernot, of the Melbourne University, stood up for it, and up to the present it has justified his opinions. The material from the cutting on the Kew side was taken across the river by aerial tramway to form the embankment on the Richmond side. Three years later the bridge had to be widened in order to accommodate the tramway line then being constructed.
Let us, therefore, enter Kew by the Victoria Bridge, just three miles from the General Post Office. Here, on the Richmond side, is situated the terminus of the cable tram from Melbourne, and «36» the horse tram to Kew. May it not be long before the latter is converted into electric traction.
As we approach the bridge from town the magnificent bank of foliage on our left attracts the attention, and at all times of the year presents a cool, refreshing appearance. Over the bridge commences Barker's road, the boundary road between Kew and Hawthorn, Kew being on our left and Hawthorn on our right. In order to make an approach to the bridge on a suitable grade it was necessary here to make an extensive cutting through the high silurian rocks forming the eastern bank. In these days of the advance of nature study our schools this cutting has proved a great boon to teachers and students of geology, for nowhere in the vicinity of Melbourne can the faults and folds of these ancient rocks be so conveniently studied as in the Barker's Road cutting, and it is no uncommon sight to see parties of school girls and boys having some of the mysteries of creation pointed out to them.
Kew Asylum from Studley Park, 1890.
On top of the cutting is "Rockingham" the home of Mr . J. H. Syme, of the "Age" proprietary, situated in a charming garden, of which that bank of foliage previously mentioned forms part. In the early land sales the block having Barker's Road for its southern boundary was purchased by John Bakewell and with the exception of a block facing Studley Park, brought the highest price of any land sold in Kew. Most of this block is now included in the Findon estate and has been for many years in the hands of the Miller family, Findon Street taking its name from the estate. "Findon" is one of the early houses of Kew, and was built by Dr. Palmer, afterwards Sir James Palmer President of the Legislative Council and one of Melbourne's magnates in the forties and fifties. It was early in its history purchased by Mr. Stelphen George Henty, M.L.C., one of the Henty brothers, the founders of Portland and Western Victoria, and remained his town residence for many years, afterwards passing into the hands of the Hon: Henry Miller, M.L.C., the representative of the district including Boroondara in the «37» first Legislative Council of Victoria, on his death passing to one of his daughters. The house has not been occupied for many years, but the grounds have been kept up, and the old fashioned house and its beautiful surroundings have been occasionally used for a bazaar or a garden fete in aid of some deserving charity.
Studley Park Bridge. Johnston Street Bridge.
Notwithstanding the old familiar taunt that Kew ought to be called "Skew," it is well to remember that with the exception of High Street, formerly known as Bulleen Road, and Willsmere Road, practically all of the roads and streets of Kew are laid out either east and west, or north and south.
We now come to the exception, High Street, and turn northwards along the tram line. Just here in the early fifties was a piece of road which gave serious trouble to the bullock drivers and teamsters of the period. Tales are told of loads having been stuck for two days in the mud while the drivers sought further assistance. Now all is changed, and we have a splendid stretch of road in front of us. On our right there have recently sprung up a number of modern villas of varying designs, standing on what was until comparatively recently O'Shaughnessy's (sometimes spelled O'Shanassy in the early days) farm, for many years probably the nearest farm to Melbourne, and in July, 1*60, the scene of a champion sloughing match under the auspices of the Victoria Agricultural Society, whose headquarters were at Heidelberg. Nearly opposite O'Shaughnessy Street (named after the builder of the Kew Hotel and owner of the farm) is the old mile post "IV. miles to Melbourne," but owing to the opening of the Victoria Bridge the distance is now reduced to a little over 3½ miles. 0'Shaughnessy Street ends at Foley Street, commemorating the married name of one of O'Shaughnessy's daughters, one of the first white children born in Kew, and still resident in the Borough.
Bounding "Findon" on the north is Stevenson Street, named after one of Kew's early mayors. From that street to the Junction was the "Clifton" estate, hence the Clifton Hotel at the corner of Studley «38» Park Road. Numerous pretty villas now occupy the High Street frontage. Away on a hill to the right are the imposing buildings of Xavier College, of which more anon. In the hollow between is the Kew railway station, round about which a number of new shops and villas have recently been erected. At the Junction we get a glimpse of the life and bustle of the business portion o the Borough. Part of the "Junction Store" was erected nearly sixty years ago, and was known as "The Woodman's Arms " the first public house in Kew. Its name doubtless indicated the principal occupation of the early inhabitants, for trees were plentiful and there was always a ready sale for firewood in the growing town of Melbourne. Nailed to a large peppermint gum growing where Mr. Merfield's pharmacy now stands was, in 1852, a board on which might be read "The Village of Kew extends 976 yards from this point." Hence the adoption of the name Kew for the whole district. Even in those days, along Princess Street was a track leading to the "Willsmere," "Belford," and other farms bordering the Yarra, while instead of the present High Street another track left the Beehive corner and passed over the Xavier College hill, across the present cemetery, and on towards Bulleen, a very early settlement on this side of the Yarra, for the "Port Phillip Gazette" of 1846 contains notices of cattle impounded at Bulleen pound.
The Kew Hotel was opened in July, 1855, and as mentioned before, was erected by Mr. Patrick 0'Shaughnessy,a genial Irishman fond of a bit of a hunt, and who lived to see Kew grow to a respectably sized township. He had been for some time farming on "Willsmere," but probably attracted by the increase of business caused by the discovery of gold, decided to try his luck as a hotel keeper. Most of the early election meetings were held at the Kew Hotel, and no less a luminary than Edmund Gerald Fitzgibbon, afterwards Town Clerk of Melbourne, and finally Chairman of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, wooed the electors of South Bourke from its balcony, long since removed, «39» as also the greasy post with oil lamp (kerosene had not then been introduced) which once marked the apex of Mr. O'Shaughnessy's land.
Along the Studley Park Road are some of Kew's finest houses, while the row of elm trees with which it is lined is a splendid sample of the street trees of the Borough. On our right was for many years a well-wooded, bracken-covered paddock, owned by one of Victoria's most brilliant barristers, R. de Courcy Ireland, where at times the aborginals were wont to camp on their journeys between Corranderrk and town. Later it was purchased by Mr. George Wharton and named "Fernhurst," thus commemorating the fact that much of the land now covered by the buildings of Kew was once a wilderness of bracken, among which grew wattles so thickly that about the site of the post office it was almost impossible to force one's way between the trees. The extensive bread factory o Cr. T. G. Jellis occupies a portion of "Fernhurst," while Fernhurst Grove just above contains some handsome modern houses.
We pass "Neama," the home of Mr. E. A. Atkyns, a former mayor of the Borough, and who has been sitting at the council table since 1880. He commenced his municipal career in the neighboring Borough of Hawthorn, and was mayor of that municipality in 1866-7. He was a prominent cricketer in the early days, when the first cricket ground in the district occupied the site of Barker railway station. Nearly opposite is "Field-place," named by Mr. Francis Henty, one of the pioneers of Portland, after an estate in his native county of Sussex, and who passed the last years of his life in Kew. "Goathlands," the residence of the late Sir Malcolm McEacharn, is a handsome modern mansion built by Mr. George Ramsden on the site of "Clifton House," the home of Mr. William Stevenson, one of the early mayors. At Howard Street, recently opened up and named after a former resident, we have an opportunity of getting a fine view of the southern suburbs of Melbourne, including the shipping in Hobson's Bay. "Thornton," the residence of Mr. Hugh Thomson, bears an old-fashioned «40» look, and dates back to the fifties. Opposite is "Cradley," the residence of Mrs. Aubrey Bowen, for many years occupied by Mr. George Stevenson of softgoods fame.
The next residence of note is "Clutha," built at great expense by Mr. John Carson in 1856, and still a fine house. On portion of the "Clutha" estate stands a magnificent red gum tree, one of the last remaining of a splendid forest of these trees which once extended from Studley Park across to Riversdale Road, Hawthorn. Mr. Carson was a notable horticulturist, especially as regards fruit trees, and took many prizes at different shows for oranges, lemons, grapes, &c., and was continually experimenting with new varieties. He was a member of the first municipal council and the first mayor of the Borough. Carson Street commemorates his name and leads us past "Mooroolbeek," the fine residence of the Hon. Frank Madden, M.L.A., the present Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria, and who was "our member" when the electorate of Eastern Suburbs included Kew. He also, besides being a lawyer and a politician, is of a practical turn of mind, and delights in watching the progress of new kinds of grasses, &c., suitable for fodder. Let us continue on and inspect the entrance gates to "Blytheswood" perhaps the finest in the State, and marking the entrance to the home of the late David Syme, (proprietor of the "Age" and a power politicians had to reckon with for many years. Here Carson Street becomes Bakewell Street, named after the original owner of the land, and at another turn becomes Findon Street, mentioned a few pages back.
Returning to Studley Park road we can for a moment get a fine view to the Metropolitan Hospital for Insane away to our right. Looking away to the north-west can be descried the bold outline of Macedon, in the middle distance the Sunbury hills, nearer at hand are the chimneys of Northcote's numerous brick works, while almost at our feet runs the Yarra, with the farm attached to the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum on the opposite bank. Fenwick «41» Street, commemorating another original purchaser, leads round towards the Yarra, and now contains some pretty villas.
The fine mansion with tower on our right is "Raheen," the residence of Sir Henry J. Wrixton, K.C.M.G., an old resident of Kew, who has recently retired from parliamentary work and the presidentship of the Legislative Council, which he held for many years. The house was built by Mr. Edward Latham, of Carlton Brewery fame, and occupies a splendid position, the grounds sloping down to the ever flowing Yarra. Just opposite "Raheen" is "Dalsraith," the newly erected mansion of Mr. S. W. Gibson, of the firm of Foy & Gibson. The house commands a fine view of the southern suburbs of Melbourne, and occupies the site another ot our early legislators, the Hon. W. Degraves, had picked out for himself, but never occupied. Hodgson Street commemorates the name of John Hodgson, a man who filled many positions in the early days of the young city of Melbourne. He was a general merchant, and was elected to the legislature of New South Wales before the separation of Victoria. He early took a fancy to Studley Park, in fact, he is generally credited with having given the name to the reserve, taking it from his native place, Studley, near Bradford in Yorkshire. He was building "Studley House" when it was purchased in 1860 by Mr. James McEvoy, a Riverina squatter, whose sons were well known in cricketing circles in later years. On the other side of Hodgson Street is portion 77, which, as I remarked in a previous chapter, brought the remarkable price of £24 per acre at the original sale in November, 1851. On portion of the block is Mr. Carl Pinschoff's mansion, "Studley Hall," one of the finest in the district, but owing to its position not seen to advantage by the passer-by.
Hoddle, or whoever surveyed this part of Boroondara, set apart 203 acres as a reserve, probably because the land was of too steep and stony a character to be suitable for occupation. At any rate, whatever was the cause for its reservation,«42» future generations will have the satisfaction of feeling that in Studley Park, Melbourne possesses a breathing space unrivalled for situation and proximity to its thickly populated areas.
Walmer Street forms part of the eastern boundary of Studley Park, and at its southern end there was at one time a ferry for foot passengers, popularly known as the Simpson's Road ferry, as it formed a connection between Kew and that road. Some years ago this was replaced by a footbridge, as means were required to take the water main for the supply of the Botanical Gardens and Albert Park Lake over the-river. At the time of writing a tunnel is being constructed alongside the bridge in order to convey the sewerage of portion of Studley Park into the Richmond system. "Walmer House" is another of the older erections in Kew, and was the home of Mr. Joseph Lush, an early partner in the well known drapery firm now Hicks, Atkinson and Co. Colonel Ballenger's house, at the corner of Walmer Street and Studley Park Road, was formerly known as "Vil1a Alba," and was the residence of Mr. William Greenlaw, general manager of the Colonial Bank, who jealously guarded the interests of the park, regarding it almost as his own private property. From the tower a fine outlook over the park lands and towards Melbourne may be obtained. Just inside the park opposite has recently been constructed by the government a fish hatchery for the purpose of rearing various kinds of fish for re-stocking the Yarra and other streams.
Continuing along the road, now disused, we come to the site of the former Studley Park Bridge, or "Penny Bridge," as it was familiarly known, owing to the fact that foot passengers were charged a toll of 1d. This was a wooden bridge built by a private company at a cost of about .£9,000, and opened for traffic on 6th June, 1867. Whether the company ever paid a dividend history does not relate. No doubt the bridge was a convenience, for it linked up Kew with Church Street, Richmond, which it will be remembered, is continuous with Chapel Street, Prahran. The bridge had a precarious «43» existence after the abolition of tolls in 1878, for it had to retain its toll as the only means of maintenance; however, it was finally closed and removed a few years ago.
A few hundred yards up the river was, until the middle fifties, Hodgson's punt; its exact position was at the foot of what is now Clarke Street, Abbotsford, alongside the Convent wall. Among his other enterprises, John Hodgson, whom I mentioned in a previous page, had taken up under a £10 a year lease a squatting area in the Studley Park portion of Boroondara for depasturing sheep, and built a house for himself overlooking the Yarra. Doubtless finding the isolation of the position inconvenient, he established the punt before mentioned, which was also used by the inhabitants of the district for many years as a means of getting wood and other produce to their customers on the Collingwood side of the river.
From the high banks as we ramble up the stream a fine view is obtained of the densely populated city of Collingwood, with some of the prominent public buildings of Melbourne showing up against the horizon, while the establishment conducted by the Nuns of the Good Shepherd at Abbotsford lies across the river nearly 180 feet below us.
Bonwick says that in 1852 the government purchased Hodgson's punt and house for £2,500, intending to utilise the latter as a police barracks, but it has long since disappeared. Governor Latrobe, who evidently had an eye for the picturesque, witness his selection of the site for the Melbourne Botanical Gardens, had some idea of having a Government House erected in Studley Park, and commenced laying out grounds by the Yarra with that object in view. In the triangle formed by the two roads, the one we have just mentioned and traversed, and that leading to Johnston Street Bridge, may be seen the reservoir from which is drawn the water for the use of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens and the Albert Park Lake. The water is pumped from the Yarra near Dight's Falls, about three-quarters of a mile away, and forced up into the reservoir, which «44» is about 200 feet above sea level. In the immediate vicinity of the reservoir will be noticed many old excavations of considerable size. It was from these pits that in the sixties the neighboring municipalities were wont to draw their supplies of gravel for making their foot paths. This practice was being carried on to such an extent that at last the Kew Council entered a loud protest against it. Finally the government yielded to their request and closed the pits, and though over forty years ago, the damage done to the park still remains an eyesore. We are now on the road leading to Johnston Street Bridge, and from it as we approach the bridge many delightful views can be obtained. In fact, I do not think a better comprehensive view of Melbourne and suburbs is to be obtained from anywhere than from the high bank overlooking the Convent; while on our right the view of Yarra Bend Asylum," with Northcote and the northern suburbs beyond, is also very fine.
The Yarra above Old Tramway Bridge.
The present Johnston Street Bridge is the second structure on the site. The first, called the "New Bridge" by Bonwick, was erected by the government and opened with great rejoicings on the part of the Collingwood folks in 1858. It was a wooden structure, consisting of two huge arched girders composed of numerous lengths of timber strapped and bolted together, set between stone abutments 180 feet apart. From the arches the floor of the bridge was hung. It is said to have cost £30,000, with £20,000 additional for the approaches, a very considerable cutting having; to be made through the high bank on the Kew side. But the bridge did not last long; dry rot got into the timbers, and its care was one of the first duties imposed upon the Kew Council in 1861. Later some £750 was spent in building a staging under the bridge so as to prevent it falling into the Yarra, and during the great flood of 1863 fears were entertained for its safety. However, it lasted till 1876, when the present iron structure took its place. The Yarra here is particularly shallow, especially at low tide in summer, for since the remove, of the falls at Queen's Bridge, Melbourne, «45» the tide makes its influence felt as far as this place, quite ten miles up stream.
Taking the road along the river, we reach the pumping station before mentioned close by is the historic spot known as Dight's Falls, very different in appearance now to when Grimes saw them, as related in my first chapter, or when Gardiner and Hepburn crossed their cattle in December, 1836. Notwithstanding their present artificial appearance, there is still a certain amount of picturesqueness about the scene, while the steep angle at which the rocks on the Kew side dip to the stream is well worth noticing. These falls were said to be a favorite gathering ground of the aboriginals, probably for fishing purposes, for though not of much value now from that point of view, in the sixties anglers were to be seen by the score fishing for that most delicate of all our native fish, the fresh water herring, and one which required no little skill to safely land. Just below the falls the early settlers of Boroondara, before the bridges were built or the punt instituted, often crossed with dray loads of produce when desiring to reach their Collingwood customers by the shortest route. It is somewhat remarkable that Dight's Falls forms the subject of a colored frontispiece in a volume descriptive of Australia written by P. Just, and published in Dundee in 1859.
"The Pipes" Old Tramway Bridge.
Studley Park has many interesting features that I must omit for want of space. Even after the wear and tear of sixty years grazing and trampling, there are pretty dells left, while in the gums may often be seen the brilliant plumage of parrakeets or parrots when searching for food among the branches. The golden wattle has its only home near Melbourne in the park, and when in bloom towards the end of August it is usually well worth a visit. The silver wattles along the river bank have to a. great extent disappeared; they are not long lived trees, and the cattle have not allowed young specimens to grow to take their lace. Wild flowers of various descriptions used to deck the park «46» in the fifties, while innumerable birds flitted among the trees.
Returning along the ridge from the falls we are now on that narrow neck of land which Grimes mentioned in his report on the Yarra; through this it has several times been proposed to tunnel in order to obtain water power or electricity; for various purposes. Perhaps some day the scheme may be carried out.
The view from the ridge is very fine. The towers of Kew Asylum stand up before us. The Yarra Bend Asylum, on the other side, was established by the New South Wales Government so long ago as 1848. Nearly a hundred feet below us are Burn's boat houses, busy place during the summer, when boating parties are coming and going all day long on Sundays and holidays. A motor launch has recently been put on the river, and the voyage up stream to "Rudder Grange" at Fairfield will be a revelation in the way of scenery to anyone who has not yet ventured on the trip. Just beyond is an expanse of green sward, a great place for picnics and games on public holidays, and before Melbourne possessed so many outlets by railway, Studley Park or the Survey Paddock (now Richmond Park) were the only places thought of if it was desired to spend a holiday out in the open. Our path will lead us up on to high ground again, and into the ornamental plantation of the eastern edge of the park.
Though covering an area of only 203 acres, reference to the map will show that the park has a river frontage of nearly four miles. Situated as it is in the extreme western portion of the Borough, it has not been much used by Kew residents, and it was therefore unlikely that Kew would spend much on its upkeep. Recently, however, a Board of Management has been appointed, with the Hon. F. Madden as its Chairman, and as the City of Collingwood and the Government have agreed to share in the cost of maintenance, it is hoped that improvements will be carried out in due course. That these improvements will consist in the planting «47» of native trees to replace those which have died or have been destroyed is our earnest wish.
As we emerge from the park we see "Alfheim" one of the oldest of Kew residences, built by John Hodgson in the fifties for his daughter, Mrs. Wrede. Retracing our steps as far as Studley Avenue we enter among a number of recently erected villas and mansions. They stand on the former estate of Captain John Murchison, one of Victoria's pioneer squatters, after whom the town of Murchison on the Goulburn takes its name. He was the first overlander to drive a tandem team from Sydney to Melbourne. It was a relative, Sir Roderick Murchison, the famous geologist, who, long before it was found, predicted the finding of gold in Australia from the similarity of the rocks submitted to him to those of the gold producing parts of the Ural Mountains in Russia. From the piazza of "Lockinge," the handsome residence of Mr. J. F. Treadway, a delightful view of a reach of the Yarra lying like a lake nestling among the hills is obtainable.
Stawell Street, taking its name from a former Chief Justice of the State, Sir Wm. Foster Stawell, is now entered. His estate, "D'Estaville," has been shorn of much of the land, handed over to the builder, and covered with beautiful houses of great variety, but "D'Estaville," built at great expense in 1857, stands out from them all on account of its solidity-one of the few Melbourne mansions built of bluestone. On the slope below, Mr. J. L. Carnegie, a recent Kew mayor, has built an imposing edifice, which, when the plantations grow up, will have a very fine appearance. We now come upon a group of streets named after Victoria's leading Judges, such as Barry, a'Beckett, Molesworth, Willis, and Fellows Streets. In Barry Street are the extensive grounds of the Studley Park Bowling and Tennis Club, also "Ruyton," one of Melbourne's leading ladies' colleges. "St. Ives," the residence of the Hon. F. T. Derham, built about 1890, was one of the first red-tiled houses built in Kew. Opposite is the home of Mr. H. Hedderwick, one of Kew's oldest residents and a former mayor.«48» Numerous other fine residences abound in this part of the Borough. The present mayor, Mr. J. Falding McCrea, has recently erected a handsome villa, "Melsonby," in Molesworth Street.
At the western end of Molesworth Street are Macaulay's boat sheds and grounds, yearly becoming a favorite resort for picnics and boating parties, and a busy scene on public holidays. The proprietor deserves all credit for his efforts to stop the destruction of native animals and birds on his property hence it is no uncommon sight on a moonlight evening to see opossums scrambling about the trees enjoying their protection, while on a summer evening a platypus or two may frequently be seen swimming about in some quiet corner. The fishing about here is not to be despised; perch, bream, Murray cod, blackfish, and eels may at times be tempted from their watery home.
Passing along Fellows Street, where are situated numerous fine residences, among them "Fairholme," the residence of Cr. J. K. Merritt, one of the most popular of Kew's recent mayors, we traverse ground purchased by Mr. Thomas Wills in 1845, and farmed even at that early date.
The junction of Wills, Princess, and Eglinton Streets with Willsmere Road is a spot which affords a delightful prospect of hill and valley, with the deep blue of the Plenty and Dandenong Ranges in the distance. On a clear day the houses of Kinglake, overlooking the Yan Yean, may be easily made out, while occasionally the snow on Mount Arnold, near Marysville, is discernable up the Watts Valley between Mounts Monda and Juliet.
Here also is the imposing entrance to the Metropolitan Hospital for Insane. The reserve of 396 acres was originally set aside as a site for a village, being so indicated on a plan of Count of Bourke lands put up for auction in Sydney in 1538; but early in the history of the young colony became the favored position for a lunatic asylum. The first building was planned to occupy the high hill to the north, now part of the Asylum farm; and entrance lodges still standing, and occupied by «49» Asylum officials, were built in the early fifties. A sketch plan of the proposed buildings may be seen in the parliamentary papers of 1866, but what caused a stoppage of operations has been lost in antiquity. However, in 1863, the land was again proposed be used for the purpose of a lunatic asylum. Kew, which had meanwhile applied for portions as a common and as a recreation reserve, had become a more populous suburb. The question greatly exercised the minds of the inhabitants at the time, and public meetings were held, some advocating that the asylum would bring trade to the shopkeepers, while the wealthier class pointed out that it would be an undoubted detriment to the advancement of the suburb. The Borough Council entered a protest against the adoption of the asylum scheme, but it was of no avail. Plans were drawn, and in 1866 the tender of Mr. John Young was accepted for the building on the present site, but a dispute as to the quality of the work executed soon led to a cancellation of the contract, and Mr. John Young, after a protracted inquiry and discussion in Parliament, was granted compensation. He afterwards removed to Sydney, and at his home in Annandale up to a few years ago was known as a great entertainer of Victorian and other bowlers. Fresh tenders were called, and Mr. Samuel Amess, afterwards Mayor of Melbourne, secured the contract. The reserve became a busy scene for many years. Dozens of families resided round about the works, and a hotel, the Princess, sprang up near the entrance gates. The adjacent streets were terribly cut up by the cartage of the building materials, though the stone for the foundations was quarried in the Yarra Bend grounds and brought across on the high bridge, part of which still stands and is used as a footbridge between the two asylums. The bricks were all made on the ground from clay obtained from an immense pit situated part within the space enclosed by the boundary wall at the south-east corner of the building. The site, from a picturesque point of view, is unrivalled near Melbourne, as those who have been privileged to ascend the towers will «50» readily grant. Besides the asylum for adult patients there are a series of cottages for idiots of all ages, also residences for officials, &c., so that altogether a very large community lives within the boundaries of the reserve. The asylum, portion of which was first utilised for patients in 1872, has had a somewhat unenviable career; every now and again events have arisen which have called attention to its presence, but such happenings seem to be inevitable when the difficulties of dealing with over a thousand persons in various stages of derangement, some of them hardly recognisable from their actions as human beings have to be considered. The land is doubtless valuable, and those who are acquainted with recent parliamentary history will remember that it has already been sold on paper, and the money spent by a prodigal ministry years ago; but the asylum still remains, and will probably be there long after many readers of these pages have ceased to tread the streets of Kew.
Along the river in the asylum reserve are many delightful bits of scenery. A pleasant reach just above the old tramway bridge was chosen last February for a "Canoe Carnival," a sort of miniature Henley-on-the-Yarra, and afforded for the afternoon a gay scene of fun and frolic. It is expected that future years will see this develop into one of the events of the boating season. Further along, before reaching the "Pipe Bridge," the banks of the stream are well clothed with native vegetation, and one can get an idea of what the beauty of the Yarra was before man introduced his boasted civilisation. At one place the bank rises almost sheer up to a height of 150 feet above the stream. The "Pipe Bridge," as it is popularly known, consists simply of two huge pipes conveying the Yan Yean water on its way from Preston to the southern and eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Continuing our' ramble we see on the opposite bank the villas of the residents of Fairfield, and shortly arrive at the site of the proposed weir for the Ivanhoe Lake scheme, designed by the late W. Thwaites, Engineer-in-Chief of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, «51» for the purpose of securing an even flow of water in the Yarra throughout the year, at the same time forming up-stream a lake about six miles long and covering; some 2,200 acres, which might become a great yachting and boating resort. "Rudder Grange" recently established as a riverside picnic spot, occupies the Fairfield bank just beyond. The disused bridge of the Outer Circle railway is the next prominent landmark, and has barely justified its existence, for the line had been used for only a short time when it was found unpayable. Agitation is again going on for the re-opening of the railway, and it is quite probable that soon after Kew becomes a town trains may once more be seen traversing this picturesque spot. Close at hand is the old clay pit from which the bricks for the first Asylum lodges were built, and on the side of the hill may be seen the butts of the Kew Rifle Club. From the highest part of the reserve close by, beautiful views, embracing both city and mountain, are obtainable.
Notwithstanding the strong arguments in favor of the sale of the reserve, provided the Asylum be removed, and the consequent addition of practically a new province to Kew, perhaps yielding sufficient revenue to advance it to the dignity of a city, it would be a lasting pity and a public loss to Melbourne and its surrounding cities were any considerable part of the reserve to pass into private hands. The ideal scheme would be to turn Studley Park, the Yarra Bend reserve, and the Kew Asylum reserve into a huge park, which would cover about 800 acres, intersected by the river, to be crossed here and there by bridges available for light traffic only. When that is accomplished Melbourne would possess a lung second to none in Australia, and all within four miles of the General Post Office.
At the Asylum gates we are at one extremity of the several sections purchased at the original land sales by J. W. Cowell and Catherine Cowell. In the forties Cowell was proprietor of the Royal Hotel, one of Melbourne's leading hostelries. About 1880, the properties, amounting to nearly 400 acres, were purchased by a land company called the Hyde Park «52» Estate Company, and placed on the market in small allotments. This was almost the first sign of the land boom which, in the course of about ten years, practically transformed the outer suburbs of Melbourne, and ruined thousands of speculators. A large number of blocks were speedily sold, and the majority have by this time been built upon, so that what were once beautifully wooded paddocks are now dotted with houses of various descriptions. The plans of this company added no less than 5¼ miles of streets to the Kew total. Previous to this acquisition by the Hyde Park Company the land had been popularly known as Smart's, Kitchingman's, and Ogborne's paddocks, from the names of the respective lessees, the former comprising those portions of Sections 57, 58, and 59 north of Willsmere Road, Kitchingman's comprising the balance; 0gborne's being Section 88, opposite the cemetery. Smart's was used for grazing purposes only, while in each of the others was situated a slaughter yard. In the very early days a fine brick villa had been built on an eminence overlooking the river. Here was residing in July, 1859, Colonel Neill, Commandant of the forces when he met with the riding accident on the Bridge Road, Richmond, which resulted in his death. The accident was attributed to his horse having been frightened by a dog, and the imposition of a dog tax is generally regarded as arising from that sad occurrence.
”The Oldest Inhabitant“ A Giant Red-gum Tree.
Passing along Willsmere Road for some little distance, the Outer Circle railway bridge is crossed, and close by is the disused Willsmere station. The Golf Club as its headquarters near by, the links occupying all the northern portion of the Hyde Park Estate. Connor's Creek, now a deep sinuous gully, bisects them and proves a troublesome obstacle to the ardent golfers. The land now slopes away to the confluence of Connor's Creek with the Yarra, producing the sand bank well known to one or two generations of Kew swimmers. Here for many years lived "Bob" Stewart, with his familv, one of the identities of early Kew, a man familiar with «53» every move and action of the feathered, or finny, inhabitants of the locality. Being on the old main road to the Yarra farms, the Government or the Boroondara Council, had early built a bridge over the creek, but it was rendered useless by the great flood of December, 1863, and for many years there was only a crossing for foot passengers.
Entrance to Boroondara Cemetery, Kew.
The reaches of the Yarra visible here were at one time bordered with a wealth of native trees, wattles, gums, &c., but time and man have played sad havoc with them, and Willsmere corner has lost much of its former charm. The name Willsmere has of late years become familiar to Melbourne matrons owing to the operations of the Willsmere Certified Milk Company, which originated on the estate, but has long since ceased to be interested in it, or to draw its supplies therefrom. Within the last two years it has passed out of the hands of the original owner's son, Mr. Arthur Wills, who had for some years conducted it as a model dairy, into those of Mr. Chas. Rout, of whose system of operations a well illustrated article was given in the "Victorian Journal of Agriculture" for August, 1910. The rich river flats are being made to produce as they have never produced before, and the industrious Chinaman has secured a long coveted corner for the growth of vegetables and the ever popular tomato.
From the cross roads formed by the intersection of Kilby and Belford Roads we have a prospect which nearly up to Christmas each year is not approached in beauty by any spot within double the distance from Melbourne. Belford farm was farmed in the forties by William Wade, an English farmer with remarkably progressive ideas for the period. He kept a large staff of farm hands, generally numbering about twenty. The principal crops grown were oats for hay, potatoes, and wheat. It is related that one crop of potatoes ready just after the diggings broke out realised the handsome sum of £3,000. His farm became the scene of field trials of nearly all the new machinery imported into the colony. The first steam ploughing was done there. «54» Many of the machines he purchased for his own use, and to this fad, if it may be so termed, is attributed his failure to make the farm pay. The farm was in the fifties awarded the "Argus" gold medal for the best farm in the colony. The great flood of December, 1863, proved very disastrous to it, almost the whole of the portion north of the Kilby Road being submerged, in places to a depth of fifteen to twenty feet, and several of the families had to be rescued by boats. The next farm, "Kilby," was the home of the Oswin family for many years, but has long since passed into other hands.
We will now direct our steps across the paddocks to the East Kew State School. This school is limited to seventy pupils. It is treated by the department as a model country school, and used for training teachers in the method of conducting small schools by one or two teachers, so that when sent to distant corners of the State they may not be at a loss as to how to proceed when left to their own resources. The school in its present location has been a great success, and the district urgently demands more accommodation. It is really the successor of a school established at Bulleen many years ago, of which Mr. Frank Tate, now the Director of Education, was the sole teacher. From the school grounds, just 200 feet above sea level, can be seen a panoramic view of mountains and valleys only equalled by that afforded by Doncaster Tower. Not far away is that well known landmark the Harp of Erin Hotel, built by Edward Glynn in 1854. The Harp has been the scene of many lively meetings. Horse races were held there in November, 1864, and occasionally since. The Melbourne Hounds used for many years to have annual meets, when red-coated riders might be seen assembling from all directions. The construction of the Outer Circle railway bridge close by has spoiled the outlook towards Kew. Not far away is the recreation reserve where the youths of the district are wont to spend their Saturday afternoons at cricket, football, or lacrosse, and on the rise towards Prospect Hiil is the Boroondara Cemetery, yearly becoming «55» more prominent owing to the natural vegetation having to be sacrificed to make way for memorials of the dead.
At the far end of High Street, just across Glass' Creek, named after Hugh Glass, one of the early land speculators, was until lately the district pound known as Glass' Creek Pound, established by John Oakes on a four-acre reserve, and to whom three acres was afterwards sold. In the very early days this reserve, it may be noted, was actually claimed by Hawthorn after its establishment as a borough, but without success, while the present recreation reserve was gazetted as a cemetery for Richmond; fortunately the Richmond folks thought the site too far away, and abandoned it. A part of the four-acre reserve is now occupied by the Koonung branch of the Kew Congregational Church, which is successfully carried on by lay preachers.
Turning along Harp Road we have a grand prospect of the Dandenong Ranges about twenty miles away. Lady Brassey, authoress of "The Voyage of the Sunbeam," writing to a literary friend in Melbourne, said :-"Of all the beautiful suburbs in your remarkable city, I have been more especially struck with Kew. If I were going to settle down in this part of the world, it is there I should select to build a residence, partly because the outlying portions of it to the north-eastward are so picturesque and salubrious, and partly because the views across the valley of the Yarra, in the directionof Heidelberg and Templestowe, combine the specific charm of the landscapes in the English county of Surrey, with all that is most characteristic as regards brightness and variety in the scenery of your own country. One of the most vivid pictures, which I have hung up for future enjoyment in the retentive chambers of my memory, is that which I shall carry away of a drive one summer evening along the Bulleen Road from Kew to some place the name of which I cannot call to mind." Was it an wonder then that, in cutting up one of the estates here, the name "Lady Brassey's Drive" was given to one of the streets.
Normanby Road, commemorating the governorship of the Marquis of Normanby, was originally Connor Street, named after the creek, but from whom the creek takes its name seems to be lost in antiquity, probably after the holder of one of the £10 a year grazing licenses issued in the forties. In those days the cemetery and recreation ground was known as the "forty-acre reserve," and used as a camping place for teams and travelling stock. Normanby road takes us though the estate known as Motherwell's paddock, one of the first cut up in Kew (July, 1868 . along to Cotham Road, near the Genazzano Convent, passing several of the older residences on the way. Mr. G. P. Smith, our member for many years, lived in this road. The convent commands a very fine outlook, and is itself visible from a wide circle. Rimington's Nurseries, in Mont Victor Road, are well worth a visit, especially in the violet season, quantities of these flowers being sent to Sydney every year. Nearly opposite the convent is a service reservoir holding about 3,000,000 gallons of water, 270 feet above sea level, Kew's highest point. Opposite was the well known Sandhill Nursery, established by William Holt early in the fifties. "Darracombe," built in portion of the nursery, was for many years the home of Mr. Alex. F. Mollison, one of Victoria's pioneer squatters. Mollison's Creek, in the Pyalong district, commemorates his name. Opposite is "Heroncourt," the recently erected residence of Cr. W. G. Hiscock, our latest ex-mayor, and a native of the Borough.
We have now reached Burke Road, the eastern boundary of the Borough. Burke Road, named after the ill-fated explorer, separates Kew from the remainder of the old Shire of Boroondara now the Town of Camberwell. Beyond was known in the early days as the Survey; its story is told on another page. The south-eastern portion of Kew was sold in rather large blocks evidently intended for farms. The one bounded by Cotham and Burke Roads was bought by Captain Edward Dumaresq, «57» an army officer who had been retired on account of ill health at an early age, but who, owing to the salubrious climates of Tasmania and Kew-for he spent his time between the two places-lived to see his 104th birthday, doubtless the last of the original Crown purchasers to pass away. It is rather a pity that his name is not commemorated in one of the streets laid out on the estate. but he seemed to refer the Christian names of the members of his family, hence we have John, Alfred, Edward, Rowland, and Thomas Streets.
Rambling along Burke Road admiring the lovely views of the distant Dandenongs, &c., we come to the eastern end of Barker's Road, Kew's southern boundary, separating it from the City of Hawthorn.
When a borough in the early sixties, and for many years after, Hawthorn in the way of population led Kew by very little, but gradually the advantages of railway communication told, and when the railway was extended to Camberwell in 1882, it simply walked away from Kew and doubled its population in no time, but as it could not double its size, the inevitable consequence is that for people to the acre Kew possesses only about two and a half to Hawthorn's ten. Turning along Barker's Road we soon come to the extensive grounds of the Auburn Heights Recreation Club, providing means of enjoyment for lovers of bowls, tennis, and croquet. Nearly opposite on the Hawthorn side was at one time "Everist's" vineyard, mentioned as a reminder to the present inhabitants of the district as one of the uses Boroondara land was early put to. Round about in Barker's Road, Brougham Place, Sackville Street, and Wrixon Street, are some of Kew's finest villas and mansions, while the views of the city and western suburbs from many points are very fine. All the land thereabouts, covering nearly 180 acres, and extending from Burke Road to Glenferrie Road and half way through to Cotham Road, was the original purchase of another of Melbourne's early «58» pioneers, the Rev. Hussey Burgh Macartney, well known for a long series of years as Dean of Melbourne, and who, like his neighbor, Captain Dumaresq, lived to a ripe old age.
On some of this land the native heath used to flourish along with many another wild flower, but all have long since vanished.
At the corner of Wrixon Street lived Judge Wrixon and his two sons. One, William H., became a Councillor of Kew; the other, Henry J., entered Parliament, was knighted for his services to the State in an important customs case, and ended his official life a few months ago as President of the Legislative Council, a man honored by all with whom he came in contact.
Descending the hill we come to Edgevale Road, cut through to Cotham Road in land boom times, and helping to bring under control a creek which has been a worry to Councillors for many years. The intersection of this road and Fitzwilliam Street has become a small business centre during recent years, boasting of a variety of shops. Just here is about the lowest spot in Kew, 75 feet above sea level. Not far beyond on higher ground may be seen the beautiful tower and spire of the Methodist Ladies' College, which, though situated in Kew, is probably for convenience sake advertised as "Hawthorn"; thus Kew is robbed of one of its prominent institutions, and Hawthorn incorrectly glorified.
The opposite side of the Glenferrie Road was at one time the boundary of Mornane's paddock, the greater portion of which now forms the surroundings of Xavier College, the Roman Catholic representative among the six public schools of Victoria. There are many residents still living who vividly remember the corroborees frequently held in this paddock by the former dusky owners of the soil, the remnants of the once powerful Yarra tribe of aboriginals. Unfortunately white man's ways did not suit the picturesque blackfellow, and few genuine aboriginals now remain in Victoria, most of the inhabitants of the different aboriginal stations having a dash of «59» European blood more or less prominent in their veins.
On the rise on the Hawthorn side of the next hill in Barker's Road was once situated the Boroondara Hotel-now a private house- a centre of amusement, &c., in the early days.
As we ascend Glenferrie Road hill let us pause for a moment and look down on our neighbor Hawthorn, not with any reeling of superiority, but just to witness the change effected within the memory of even the comparatively young members or the community, by the advantage of railway communication, where once were orchards and grazing paddocks are now houses packed so closely as to leave little room for an occasional tree to break the monotony of the iron roofs. Is there to be an electric tram in Glenferrie Road to connect Kew with Malvern and St. Kilda is a question which has been exciting the minds of the residents for some years past, but seemingly still in the embryo stage.
Glenferrie Road, by the way, was originally called Barkly Road after Sir Henry Barkly, K.C.B., a popular early governor, and the first vice-regal representative to visit Kew. On that account it seems a pity that it has lost its identity and become only a portion of that long thoroughfare which extends from Cotham Road, Kew, to Dandenong Road, Malvern, distance of just four miles.
The present name is said to be taken from the name of a house built by Sir. Peter Ferry, an old-time Melbourne solicitor, on the Malvern side of Gardiner's Creek, who called his house "Glenferry." This spelling of the word is to be seen in the newspapers of the early sixties.
Near at hand Fitzwilliam Street, in which Mr. Albert Purchas, one of the pioneers of the district, lived for many years.
Glenferrie Road possesses some fine houses, and in Selborne Road close by is "Tarring," the home of Mr. Henry Henty, one of the representatives of the Henty family, and named after the birthplace of the family in Sussex, England. At the corner of «60» Cotham Road we reach one of the highest spots in Kew, and have an extensive outlook in various directions. Opposite is "Thornhurst," the residence of Dr. H. O. Cowen, one of Kew's leading physicians.
The Yarra near Rifle Range.
Much of the land on the northern side of Cotham Road for some distance easterly passed early into the hands of the Ratten family, who utilised it for market gardening &c., but of recent years it has been cut up into building allotments, and in Ridgeway Avenue, Kent Street Barrington Avenue, and Uvadale Avenue, comfortable modern villas are rapidly filling up the vacant spaces.
On the opposite side is a house formerly called "Doona," for many years the home of Hon. Robert Stirling Anderson, M.L.C., member of several ministries in the sixties and seventies, after whom are named Stirling Street and Doona Avenue close by. "Doona" has been re-named "Arden," and is now the home of Mr. Frank Tate, Victoria's energetic Director of Education. A little beyond lived Hon. G. B. Kerferd, who also had an active part in the parliamentary work of the same period, and afterwards became a Judge.
As we traverse Ridgeway Avenue let us admire the fine view in front of us of the Plenty Ranges, before we enter the Boroondara Cemetery and glance around at the beautifully kept flower borders and the many striking memorials erected to the memory of the dead. Among these may be mentioned the splenclid Grecian temple and statuary erected by Dr. J. W. Springthorpe in memory of his wife, reliably the finest work o the kind in Australia, which has been visited by thousands of sightseers from all parts of the States. Not quite so elaborate is the memorial in the form of an Egyptian temple recently erected to the memory of the late David Syme, proprietor of the "Age." There are manv other notable monuments to leading citizens of Melbourne and its suburbs. The views from the cemetery are very fine, and greatly add to its attractions. The cemetery, originally intended for the use of the «61» inhabitants of Boroondara, has of recent years become so popular as a burying ground for residents of other districts, that it is rapidly filling up, and ere long will be closed except to those possessing the right of burial.
At the Cemetery gates is the terminus of the horse tram from Victoria Bridge, distant nearly a mile and three-quarters.
A Lagoon at Willsmere.
Park Hill Road, forming the southern boundary of the cemetery, takes its name from "Park Hill," the residence of Mr. Thomas Judd, who has resided there since December, 1852, and has many reminiscences of the early days. Close by in the fifties resided James Bonwick, the historian and founder of one of the earliest schools of the district. Just beyond the cemetery is the Victoria Reserve, the recreation ground of the Borough, with two cricket grounds. In it is a fine sample of the red-gum trees for which Boroondara was celebrated in the early days, illustrated on another page.
Let us return to Highbury Grove, in which is situated the fine Church, with school and parsonage, of the Wesleyan denomination, a comparatively recent erection, but already proving too small for the needs of the congregation. Further on, at the corner of Gotham Road, is the Presbyterian Church, with a fine spire, a landmark for many miles round. Opposite is the Parish Hall, used as church and school by the Roman Catholics, who have planned a beautiful church at the corner of Glenferrie Road as a future effort. At the other corner of St. John's Parade is the Baptist Church, representing one of the earliest efforts to establish religious services in Kew. This part of the Borough might well be termed "Church Hill," on account of the four denominations having built within stone's throw of one another. Perhaps this may be taken as a sign of that long hoped for time when Christians may be again of one mind, and content to carry out their worship in the simple manner originally intended.
Not far away, in Wellington Street is the recently established Trinity Grammar School, the «62» Church of England public school for the eastern suburbs. It occupies the site of "Roxeth," the former home of two of Kew's municipal workers, Mr. George Lewis, the third Chairman of the municipality, and Mr. Herbert J. Henty, an early Councillor, and Mayor in 1868-9. From Charles Street we can gain entrance to the Xavier College, the fine public school conducted by the Jesuit Fathers, a brief description of which appears on another page.
As we descend the hill in Wellington Street we have a fine outlook towards Melbourne, embracing Government House, Hobson's Bay, &c. We turn into Gellibrand Street, named after the ill-fated member of Batman's party, and enter the Alexandra Gardens, opened by Sir Reginald Talbot, K.C.B., the then governor of the State, in 1908, and named in honor of the ever-popular Queen Alexandra, destined for so short a time to be the consort of the reigning king. In the lower part of the gardens it is hoped that the erection of a Jubilee memorial in the shape of a band stand and shelter will be nearing completion by the time these pages appear in print. From the upper part a beautiful prospect is before us, the only drawback being the limited size of the reserve. However, it has proved a boon to the children and aged folks of the Borough, who may be seen on any fine day enjoying the great variety of flowers so successfully cultivated by the curator, Mr. George Pockett.
Traversing Union Street and passing the Girls' Club rooms we approach Holy Trinity Church, the extensive bluestone building of the Church of England. At High Street we again get a glimpse of the business life of the Borough. To our right is Prospect Hill, once a separate business centre, now almost joined by business premises with the more important part between the Post Office and the Junction. Beside the Church is a fine Parish Hall and Parsonage, making a very valuable contribution to the public buildings of the Borough. Not many yards away in Pakington Street has just been completed new buildings for the infant department of the local State School. The building is one of the «63» most complete yet erected in Victoria, and has cost nearly £4,000. An inspection of the arrangements will show by what strides methods of teaching have advanced in recent years.
Two or three fine residences adorn this portion of Pakington Street, which enjoys delightfu views of the new suburb of Ivanhoe, and of the distant ranges away to the north and east. At the corner of Malmsbury Street are a couple of very old houses, one, "Hillsley," was the Victorian home of Ernest Giles, the explorer of Central and Western Australia, when resting from his journeys.
Let us turn towards Walpole Street, where, at the intersection of Malmsbury Street, is "Molong1o," the home of Mr. H. C. A. Harrison, a name known to young Victorians as the father of Australian football. Mr. Harrison is one of the finest athletes ever produced by Victoria, and though he can relate his adventures when wandering as a school boy over the site of Kew, then covered with thick bush, is quite able to play a game of tennis with an opponent of half his years. Walpole Street, at one time the leading street of Kew, was for a time eclipsed by more recently laid out streets, but owing to recent erections is again claiming consideration.
Close at hand, now occupied by No. 42, was the site of the Church of England School, used also as a Church for several years in the late fifties. Further south we come to the Congregational Church, representing the first Church organised in Kew. Worship was commenced on the site so early as April, 1854. The disused Catholic Chapel or School, erected in 1875, still stands at the corner of Walton Street, in which street is the local station of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, the lot of the members of the detachment being somewhat envious from the infrequency of the calls made upon them.
The Town Hall, the centre of municipal life, now claims attention. Its history has been given on another page. During the boom time it was proposed to erect a building, after the style of those of neighboring districts, and at the instance of Cr. C. R. Staples, a site was actually purchased in «64» Charles Street, but fortunately for Kew, the boom burst before the Borough was saddled with a white elephant in the shape of an unwieldy town hall and offices. Next to the Town Hall is the Public Library, housed in a temporary building, containing nearly 8,000 volumes of excellent literature.
We are now back at the business street again. The National Bank buildings, erected in 1888, form a conspicuous pile at the corner of Walpole and High Streets. The present manager is Mr. Hugh Trumble, of Australian Eleven fame, while his predecessor, Mr. H. C. Davis, was also a noted athlete, having been a champion hurdle racer. Up to the seventies the High Street frontage, from Walpole Street to Peel Street, was entirely vacant, and was the camping ground for an occasional circus or merry-go-round. Then a portion of it was occupied by Macartney's timber yard, which was burnt out in 1876. Opposite is a wooden building opened by the United Methodist Church in September, 1857, and carried on for over twenty years. It was afterwards occupied by the Kew "Mercury" but is now used as a carpenter's shop.
The fine block of public buildings erected in 1888, at a cost of £10,000 comprises the post office, facing the junction of High Street and Cotham Road; the court house, opposite Walpole Street; with the police station adjoining. At the apex of the triangle is the Jubilee Memorial fountain erected by the Borough Council in 1887, commemorating the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It may be interesting to note that the roadway here is just 190 feet above sea level.
We have now arrived at that part of the Borough where the earliest attempts at business building were made. The English, Scottish and Australian Bank, erected in 1884, stands on the site of the first store opened in Kew-that of Mr. J. J. French, opened in August, 1853. Soon after a Mr. Fleming opened a store in Cotham Road, the origin of the business successively carried on, among others, by Messrs. Kellett and Co., Fishley, Howieson, and Bradshaw; the site is now included in the «65» buildings known as "The Block," erected in 1900. The first post office was opened about 1856 in Messrs. Kellett's store. Early in 1858 Mr. Francis Barnard opened a chemist's shop on the site of the present post office, and which remained one of the landmarks of the street until 1880, when it was removed to the northern side of High Street. From 1872 to 1879 he had the management of the post and telegraph office.
Just beyond the handsome building in Cotham Road erected for the Savings Bank in 1908, is one of the oldest houses in Kew, built about 1856, and occupied soon after by Mr. F. Bayne. On the other side of Queen Street, which, however, was not then in existence, was the residence of Dr. T. S. Ralph, who came to the district in December, 1882, replacing Dr. H. T. Fox. Dr. Ralph remained some twenty years, during which he did an immense amount of travelling, for there was no doctor further out than Kew, consequently he had to visit Doncaster and Box Hill several times a week. He was a man far in advance of his time in medical theories, and was really working on the lines of the present investigators of the bacterial origin of disease when he retired from active work. The residence of Dr. Stanley Argyle, an ex-mayor of the Borough, occupies a portion of Dr. Ralph's land, which had been proposed as the best site for the railway station, but refused on account of the expense of making the line to it, though it would have been more central than the present position.
It was not till towards the end of the fifties that many shops appeared in High Street. The usual businesses of a township followed by degrees; a butcher, John Kitchingman, on the site of the Greyhound Hotel a blacksmith, John Blackett, nearly opposite; a baker, Tonge, on the site of Greenhill's grocer's shop. Then there was the Woodman's Arms, soon afterwards turned into a store and butchery kept by a Mr. Bidwell, afterwards turned into a grocery, &c., and known as the "Junction Store," passing through many hands in the «66» course of the fifty years, among them Alfred Serpell, Gilmore and Gardiner, J. J. Downing, G. Brown, Nicholas Bros., Shapley, Betheras, and now Pitt and Co. Early in the sixties Mr. H. Rowlands came from Lower Hawthorn and opened an ironmonger's shop, still carried on by his widow on the same site. In 1856 Mr. Jas. H. Kay opened a painters and plumber's business next to the Council Hotel, while on the other side was Mr. F. Jamieson's bakery. Cr. H. Kellett took over the local news agency in 1866. Mr. J. Witchell, bootmaker, is another of the early tradesmen still conducting a business in Walpole Street. The Council Hotel was opened about 1860, the Clifton in 1869, and the Greyhound in 1874, since which time there has been no addition to the hotels of Kew. The Prospect Hill Hotel had been opened about 1867.
The shop architecture of Kew is unfortunately in many cases not attractive; owners seeing to be loth to remove some of the old landmarks which have borne the burden and heat of the day, consequently newcomers to the district judge of the capabilities of the businesses to supply their needs by the outside appearance of the premises, greatly to the disadvantage of the shop keeper, and take their custom to town or elsewhere. A little enterprise on the part of the owners of business frontages would result in an all round improvement in the business of High Street, but while an old building will bring in as much rent as a modern erection, why pull it down before it is absolutely necessary seems to be the prevailing policy.
There are many still living who remember the first formation of High Street by the Boroondara Road Board. The road was then much steeper than at present, .and soon deep water courses appeared on either side. Early in 1865 the Kew Council made a great improvement in the grade of the road by cutting down the hill at the junction of Cotham Road by three or four feet and filling up a hollow between Brougham and Princess gtreets. The contract was carried out by Mr. R. Forster at a cost of £350. Traces of this work can still be «67» seen in the appearance of some of the older buildings for instance, the extra tall doorways of the Council Hotel, caused by the floor of the building having been lowered to the new street level. There were no gas or water pipes to alter at that time; they came afterwards.
To-day, so far as roadway is concerned, that portion of High Street is in as good order as any street can be, thanks to the use of tarred screenings, first introduced along the Kew tram line in the nineties, and since adopted by most of the municipalities around.
Gray's Federal Hall at the Junction commemorates the enterprise of Mr. H. Gray, who early in the sixties was constable in charge of Kew, afterwards becoming a considerable property owner, then councillor and councillor of the Borough. Turning into Denmark Street, which was named along with Princess Street at the time of the marriage of Queen Alexandra, from the fact of her being Princess of Denmark, another example of the loyalty of Kew, we find that during the last twelve months or so quite a number of modern shops have been erected in the vicinity of the railway station. Among them is a fine building known as the Empire Hall, used for social entertainments, meetings, &c. A neat cabmen's shelter is situated at the entrance to the railway station.
Our rapid survey of the district may be completed by a visit to the Recreation Hall in Wellington Street, a fine hall opened in 1880, and possessing one of the finest dancing floors in or around Melbourne. The greens of the Kew Bowling Club are adjoining, some account of the club appearing on another page. Many other interesting items might have been recorded, and many other beautiful homes and gardens referred to, but space is limited. If any readers are concerned with the scientific reasons for the picturesqueness of Kew, the will find them explained in a popular way in Dr. S. Hall's little book, "Victorian Hill and Dale." Those who are curious in such matters may like to know that our stroll has covered just 18¼ miles,«68» but as the streets and roads of the Borough amount to rather more than fifty miles, it will be seen that not one-half of them have been traversed.