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Stonnington Architectural Heritage Walks

Home > Melbourne > Architecture | Historic Houses | Outdoor | Walks
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published November 2nd 2013
Walk through history and architectural delights
The houses and gardens of East Malvern

There are plenty of ways of getting your daily exercise and one of them is through organised walks (although a chocolate walk might well defeat the purpose).

I don't live in Stonnington but recently attended an architectural walk in the area called the Malvern East Spanish Mission Heritage Walk.

Spanish mission home

The event was lead by Steve Stefanopoulos, who has a Graduate Diploma in Planning and Design (Architectural History and Conservation) and was also a councillor for the City of Stonnington (2004 - 2008).


He also set a wicked pace as a tour leader, although he had the good humour to accept the fact that most of his groups like to dawdle and chat.

Steve sets cracking pace



A lot of the walkers were locals so they had lots of common ground they wanted to chat about. Some brought their dogs for the walk and a few ducked back into their own homes along the way.

Then there were others such as myself who were simply interested in architecture. I love to walk around my own suburb and know what period the different houses are from.

We started at a historic house called Lona (1890) in Lewes Drive which once sat on six acres and had a Roman bath in its basement. It was renamed Coronal around 1909.

Coronal of yesteryear


Coronal on the architectural walk 2013

I always finds dates and names a little uninspiring and prefer them peppered with anecdotes but a few of these came from residents on the tour and you will probably find the same happens on your tour.

Great to learn some of the history behind these closed gates

It was really a good combination because Steve had all the architectural knowledge and it was good to see exactly was meant by a barley twist column (which were common in Spanish mission styled homes) or to see a candle snuff roof, which is a tower-like roof that looks like it is a candle being extinguished by a candle snuffer.

You can just see the candle snuffer through the foliage



We saw a number of houses including Californian style bungalows and Queen Anne, English Colonial, and Spanish Mission homes.

The focus however, on this particular walk, was on the Spanish Mission homes -- many of them along the concrete clad roads which are somewhat unusual in Melbourne.

[ADVERT]Spanish mission houses filtered through from American architects' passion at that time for the legacy of the Spanish missions left by the Spaniards in places such as California and Mexico.

It was a fairly short lived style in Australian but left some extremely attractive houses. Features include whitewashed rough-cast walls, terracotta roofs, barley-sugar columns, arches and parapets with wrought iron.

This is just one of the many walks in Malvern. Others include an emphasis on Queen Anne architecture in the Gascoigne and Waverley Estates, the Malvern Mansions Heritage Walk where you will see where the Governor of Victoria once lived, and the Kooyong Heritage Walk where you will learn about the two Jacobean style mansions, Glenferrie and Thanes, and the many 1920s and 1930s homes.

The walks run at various times during the year and your best point of contact is the Malvern Historical Society.

But they do also have booklets of these various walks so you can also do them yourself. You can also download them here.

The walk we did took one hour on flat ground, although Speedy Steve says it normally takes him about 15 minutes when he doesn't stop to point things out. I believe him!

Note the barley twist columns




Concrete roads which are a bit of an anomaly in Melbourne
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Why? A little history and a good old-fashioned walk
When: Various times throughout the year
Phone: 0418 546 103
Where: Stonnington
Cost: $15 for seniors, $20 for adults
Your Comment
Looks very interesting. I always wonder what is behind those historic fences and kind of life that people lived.
by jasna (score: 1|83) 1964 days ago
A fun read, and lovely photos :)
by Sue Stevenson (score: 2|569) 1957 days ago
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