Architectural Trail

Bayside Architectural Trail

The Bayside Architectural Trail showcases and celebrates the history and architectural style of more than 100 local residences and public buildings.

We have developed eight walking and cycling trails that provide a snapshot of Bayside’s unique heritage and architectural influences. They have been developed to inform, encourage and inspire debate about our built environment.

Each trail incorporates maps and detailed property information including address, building style, era and architectural influences.

The eight trails have been designed for people of all ages and levels of fitness. Each trail provides a suggested route, estimated time and distance, information about accessibility and locations of public services and places of interest. Some trails incorporate detours to buildings which are off the main track.

The Bayside Architectural Trail incorporates trails for the following areas:


The City of Bayside, which covers more than 37 square kilometres, was created in 1994 from the former cities of Brighton and Sandringham, and parts of the former cities of Moorabbin and Mordialloc.

Brighton, the first area to be settled, was a wealthy suburban outpost in the Victorian era.  Mansions were built with towers to catch a glimpse of the Bay.  However, the 1880s building boom was soon followed by the 1890s Depression which halted almost all work in Melbourne. The economic revival of 1900 coincided with Edwardian-style architecture that carpeted Sandringham and Hampton in red-tile roofs.

The 1950s was boom time in Beaumaris - and an experimental hotbed of modern architecture.  Since 1990, many existing homes have been replaced by larger, grander and contemporary-style homes.

The City of Bayside suburbs have distinctive styles, characterised by architecture from different eras. The beautiful buildings that have survived provide an invaluable record of our fascinating architectural history.

Following is a snapshot of the city’s architectural history.

The early days

In 1841 English farmer Henry Dendy bought 5,120 acres for £1 an acre in the former Parish of Moorabbin. He also purchased Waterville, which later became Brighton, through a ‘Special Survey’, hoping to attract wealthy colonists.

In April 1841, Dendy and his agent J B Were advertised a 30-guinea prize for the best subdivision into a village, marine residences and suburban and cultivation allotments. H B Foot won, and by the end of May 1841 land was for sale in the newly subdivided ‘Brighton Estate’, named after the fashionable English seaside resort.

Dendy went bankrupt and left Brighton in 1844. He had laid a great foundation for architecture with the commission of buildings such as the Casa Viejo (Gate House) in New Street, Brighton (c.1844).

The first Government land sales were held in May 1851, shortly after the separation of the Colony of Victoria from New South Wales.

In the Parish of Moorabbin the land directly fronting the beach was reserved for public use. Many purchasers were speculators, including early settlers from England, Scotland and Ireland.

In 1852 land in Hampton, Sandringham, Black Rock and Beaumaris that had been used as a sheep run leased by James Bickford Moysey was divided into 100-acre allotments. Josiah Morris Holloway purchased more than 1,700 acres, including portion 21 which he subdivided into Gipsy Village. This housing estate was symmetrically designed around a central reserve, Queen’s Square (now in Sandringham).

More than 200 of the available blocks were resold by 1853 for £2,490; an 830 percent return on Holloway’s £300 investment.

Holloway also subdivided the ‘Township of Moorabbin’ (313 allotments to the east of Bluff Road in Black Rock) and Two-Acre Village, which was renamed Cheltenham.

In 1852, land purchased by W Mitchell was subdivided into ‘the town of Beaumaris near Brighton’ by estate agent and surveyor Penrose Nevins. Three years later the Castlefield estate in Hampton was also subdivided. Development proceeded at a leisurely pace, with large blocks purchased as ‘marine residences’.

The popularity of Brighton made it an obvious destination for one of the first suburban railway lines. The first train arrived at Brighton Beach Station in 1861, and spurred development in coming decades


The Land Boom and Depression: 1870s to 1900

Brighton underwent most of its expansion during the land boom.

In 1880, there were 870 houses and almost 5,000 residents. Ten years later this had increased to 2,110 houses and nearly 10,000 residents, with property values increasing by 680 per cent.

As wealth and confidence increased in the 1880s, Victorian buildings became grander and more ornate – the ‘Boom’ style.

Thomas Bent, a controversial Victorian figure closely associated with the land boom, contributed to the development of the Brighton area. From his early days as a market gardener, he became the largest local landowner in the 1860s. Bent made a fortune subdividing land and creating the suburb of Bentleigh, which he named after himself.

He was elected Mayor of Brighton nine times and won the Legislative Assembly seat for Brighton in 1871. During the land boom he was Minister for Works and Minister for Railways, authorising works that benefited Brighton and himself, such as the extension of the railway lines from Caulfield to Cheltenham in 1881, and Brighton to Sandringham in 1886.

His career and fortune plummeted with the crash of the 1890s, but he later picked up where he left off, becoming Member for Brighton and Minister for Railways in 1900, and Premier of Victoria in 1904. Liked and disliked in almost equal measure he was knighted in 1908, a year before his death.  A statue of this towering public figure was erected in 1913.

Land sales tapered off, then halted completely when the Boom finally went Bust in 1892 and companies were forced into liquidation.

The Second Land Boom: 1900 to World War II

The railway and Council worked to generate interest in Bayside estates in the early 20th century. At the Hampton Estate, free tickets were offered for ‘a term of years to those building new houses’ and Moorabbin Council sold bathing boxes for a small fee to anyone who built on the estate. Many older and often vacant estates were re-auctioned, with Edwardian and Federation style houses built in areas such as Hampton and Sandringham.

Intensive development occurred close to railway stations. Commercial activity in Martin Street, Brighton followed the opening of the Gardenvale Station in 1906, and was almost fully developed by the inter-war period. The shopping strip in Hampton Street, Hampton, flourished during the Edwardian period because of its location near Retreat Station on the Sandringham railway line. The architecture along Hampton Street still strongly represents this period.

By 1910 tearooms had become very popular and in the 1920s Hampton boomed thanks to claims by the ‘Real Estate and Home Journal’ that it was a place ‘where one has room to breathe and grow healthfully bronzed’. It became home to many Californian Bungalow–style homes.

Inter-war building evolved in Brighton as large estates were subdivided.

Beaumaris: Post-World War II Boom

Beaumaris was expanded rapidly post-war. Dunlop Perdiau Rubber Co. Ltd owned most of the land and had plans to relocate the company there in the 1940s, but instead began selling land in 1951.

Unlike many other Melbourne suburbs that developed earlier, much of Beaumaris and its surrounding landscape survived untouched until the 1950s.

People were attracted to Beaumaris for its natural vegetation, sandy tracks and interesting architecture. In the 1950s, the Institute of Architects reported that Beaumaris had ‘the largest concentration of interesting houses in the metropolitan area’. In the 1950s and 1960s some of Australia’s most respected architects, including Roy Grounds, Robin Boys and Chancellor & Patrick experimented in Beaumaris.

Late 20th Century

Development in the 1970s and 1980s was gradual in Beaumaris and Sandringham. Older, large Brighton estates were subdivided and some Victorian mansions demolished. With the new housing boom since the 1990s, larger and grander residences or apartment developments have emerged, creating a mosaic of periods and styles across the municipality.


Architectural styles

Victorian Period (1851–1900)

Vernacular describes buildings of a very simple or standard form, with little elaboration, such as Early Victorian cottages and outbuildings.

Gothic Revival

Deriving from the Gothic Revival of 19th Century Britain, this style was employed in church design, but could be adapted for houses, schools, banks and other buildings.

Gothic variations include revival of the 12th Century Early English and the more elaborate Perpendicular and Decorated Gothic styles, all featuring pointed arches, leadlight windows, steeply pitched roofs and vertical elements such as towers and spires.

The British used coloured brickwork as a variation of Gothic Revival.Derived from Northern Italian Gothic and Romanesque examples, two colours of brick (bichrome) or many colours (polychrome) were used to create patterned buildings.

Gothic Revival continued into the 20th century as a building style for churches.


Italianate is a combination of architectural elements from the 19th century revival of Renaissance.

Australians often incorporated a lacy cast-iron verandah for this style of home. 
It is characterised by decorative elements such as elaborated window and door surrounds, eave brackets, arched windows, and decorative mouldings. Italianate buildings were often built in brick covered with cement render (‘stucco’) to imitate stone, with a hipped roof in slate or cheaper corrugated iron.

Italianate-style buildings built later in the prosperity of the 1880s were more ornate and
heavily decorated, incorporating balustraded parapets topped with urns, columns or pilasters with elaborate capitals, quoins and cement render mouldings or incised decoration.

Larger houses of this period often included a tower, a hallmark of Brighton mansions.

Renaissance Revival

Renaissance Revival is a term typically used for larger, more formal public buildings. These buildings incorporated Renaissance-derived elements such as projecting bays and columns or pilasters to subdivide and enliven the facade; columns and balustrades; and
an elaborate ‘top’ to the facade, usually incorporating triangular or curved pediments.


Queen Anne

Queen Anne was a relatively rare style that appeared in the 1880s and was popular in the Brighton area. It involved a revival of late 17th Century English domestic architecture elements such as red or brown brick walls, tall gable ends to roof forms, terracotta roof tiles and panels, and timber verandahs.

Queen Anne evolved into the more typical Edwardian style.

French Second Empire
French Second Empire refers to particular details developed in France in the mid 19th Century and found occasionally in Victoria. The style is characterised by a mansard roof, with steeply sloping or even curving sides on towers.

Edwardian Period (1901–1915)

Edwardian/Federation style is characterised by exposed red brick walls; horizontal banding in cement render or ‘roughcast’ (textured render); complex red terracotta tiled

roofs; gable ends, often with half timbering (patterns of timber on the wall) and verandahs with turned timber posts.

A strong diagonal axis, emphasised by turrets and conical towers at the front corner of a building was also popular.



Inter-war Period (1916–1941)

This style evolved from the revival of traditional, ‘vernacular’ English domestic
building forms and an honest use of materials in the late nineteenth century, and later interpretation of these ideals in American homes.

The style is characterised by simplicity of form; unpainted materials such as plain or textured rendered walls; finely crafted and detailed timber elements; and large roofs and dominating gables.

The style overlaps with the later Californian Bungalow.

Californian Bungalow

This style derived from small, unpretentious houses developed in California in the 1910s. Typically, they are dominated by gable-end roofs with rafters exposed at the eaves; verandahs under a small gable roof supported on broad masonry piers finished with
roughcast or river pebbles and timber strapping or shingle in the gables or under or above windows.

Most examples date from the 1920s.

English Revival/Tudor Revival

The English Revival/Tudor Revival style was especially popular during the 1920s and 1930s. These buildings feature half timbering, at least in the gables and possibly the wall surface. Diamond pattern leadlight windows, steep roofs and tall chimneys are common characteristics.

Spanish Mission

Spanish Mission was derived from California, where it was adapted from early Colonial
buildings as well as medieval Spanish structures. The style features such elements as curved gables, ‘cordova’ (simple half cylindrical) roof tiles, textured rendered walls and barley-corn columns.

Mediterranean/Georgian Revival

This style was particularly popular for grand houses and is typified by simple, symmetrical facades, with arched windows or an archedinset loggia, and elaboration confined to the main door.

Moderne/Art Deco

This style represented a radical shift in design, beginning in Melbourne in 1933 following an
international trend towards modern ‘functional’ designs that rejected revived historical styles.
The hallmarks of this style are simple geometric forms, especially curved corners; plain salmon brick or cream rendered walls; large windows in steel frames and flat roofs (or pitched ones hidden by a parapet); and decoration using geometric motifs.

Mid-20th Century Modern (1945–1965)


Immediately following World War II, architect-designed houses featured radical, modern approaches and elements. These included light timber or steel framing; cement sheet and canite; flat or skillion roofs; large areas of glass facing north to catch the sun; and easy connection to the outside decks or gardens.

Architects designed small homes for small budgets, and after building restrictions were lifted in 1952, new Modernist houses mushroomed, especially in Beaumaris.

In the early 1960s a more internalised courtyard style emerged, often with only a blank wall, a front door and a carport facing the street. These simple low, flat-roofed houses were inspired by Japanese planning.

In the same period a few architects were inspired by the later work of Frank Lloyd Wright, with an emphasis on the horizontal, cantilevered roofs or patterned block-work or concrete walls.

Bayside features a number of the most important examples of Modernist architecture in Melbourne.

Late 20th Century Modern (1965–1980)

Environmental Design

Architects reacted to the slick and artificial aspects of Modernist design, turning to
natural materials such as brown brick, exposed timber beams in ‘cathedral’ ceilings, and timber-framed sliding doors leading onto gardens planted with native shrubs and trees.


Similar to Environmental Design, Brutalist design explored bolder forms and materials, such as raw concrete or concrete block, and 45-degree angled elements.


Post-Modern (1980–1992)

The final reaction to Modernism saw a return of explicit historical references, including the revival of early Modernist styles, the use of symmetrical planning and a response to context dominating the architectural discourse.

The approach gradually filtered down to non–architect designed houses, supporting the revival of styles such as Georgian and Tuscan.

Neo Modern/Contemporary (1992–)

Architects have returned to many of the elements of Modernism, such as rectangular forms, flat roofs, cantilevers, plain rendered walls, integrated outdoor living areas and modern materials such as stainless steel. Glass is often used extensively as large windows and entire walls or balustrades. The revival of historic styles has seen the emergence of new Victorian, Edwardian, Georgian, Tuscan, and even Frank Lloyd Wright Revival houses and apartments.


Important architects

Charles Webb (1821–1898)

Webb was born in Suffolk, England. His brother, builder James Webb, had migrated to Australia in 1830 and settled in Brighton in 1839. In 1849 the Webb brothers went into partnership as architects and surveyors, building warehouses and private homes.

In 1855 Charles Webb and Thomas Taylor were commissioned for Melbourne Church of England Grammar School. Charles practised on his own from 1858 to 1888 when his two sons joined him. Webb was a founding member of the Victorian Institute of
Architects in 1856 and president in 1882–83.

While his style was serious and dignified, he could design in almost any style. Webb was influential in shaping the suburban character of Brighton, and was one of the most noted Melbourne architects of the 19th Century.

Important buildings include:

  • Royal Arcade
    331–339 Bourke Street, Melbourne (1869–70)
  • South Melbourne Town Hall
    208–218 Bank Street, South Melbourne (1879–80)
  • Windsor Hotel
    137 Spring Street, Melbourne (1887–88)

Many of his Brighton houses/churches still stand including:

  • Chilton
    1 Wellington Street (1853)
  • Stanton
    3 Wellington Street (1853)
  • Farleigh
    6 Farleigh Grove (1856)
  • Girraween, Wesleyan Uniting Church
    278 New Street (1854)
  • St Andrews School House
    38 Church Street (1850)




Lloyd Tayler (1830–1900)

Born in London, Tayler moved to New South Wales to join his brother in 1851. By 1856 he was working independently in Melbourne. Tayler’s crowning glory came towards the end of his career, when he designed the former Commercial Bank of Australia, 333 Collins Street,
Melbourne (1890). All that remains of this building is the domed chamber; a brilliant example of Tayler’s creative flair and architectural ingenuity.

He also worked on the committee advising the government for the Flinders Street Railway Station design (1900) awarded to Fawcett & Ashworth.

Tayler became a member and President of the Victorian Institute of Architects. He co-founded the St John Ambulance Association in Victoria in June 1883, and was active in forming the Brighton Library.

Important buildings include:

  • Portland House
    8–10 Collins Street (1872)
  • Australian Club
    William Street (1879–1885)
  • St Mary’s Church
    Queensberry Street, North Melbourne (1860)

Some of his Brighton buildings include:

  • South Lodge
    43 Were Street, Brighton (1857)
  • Extension of St Andrew’s Church
    38 Church Street, Brighton (1866)
  • Kamesburgh
    74–104 North Road, Brighton (1874)
  • Manse, John Knox Uniting Church
    67–71 North Road, Brighton (1880–81)


Oakley & Parkes

In 1926, Percy Oakley and Stanley Parkes created an architectural firm reflecting the 1930s Modernist movement in Melbourne. They practised together for more than 20 years.

While working at Oakley & Parkes, K F Knight designed the Brighton Civic Centre, after Percy Oakley had died.

Oakley served as a Brighton City Councillor and Mayor, and President of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Victoria.

Yule House, designed by Oakley & Parkes and located at 309–311 Little Collins Street, is arguably the earliest example of a Moderne style commercial building in Australia. It became one of the most influential buildings of that decade. The horizontal elements are heavily emphasised while details such as lettering are simple and elegant.

Important buildings include:

  • Remodelling of interior of Brighton Town Hall
    30 Wilson Street, Brighton (1933)
  • Kodak House
    252 Collins Street, Melbourne (1934–35)
  • Middle Brighton Baths
    251 The Esplanade, Brighton (1936)
  • Brighton Civic Centre
    15 Boxshall Street, Brighton (1959)


Robin Gerard Penleigh Boyd (1919–71)

Boyd’s daring Modernist architecture and acclaimed writing made him the most well known 20th Century architect in Australia.

At 19, he founded Smudges, the Victorian Architectural Students’ Society monthly newsletter, taking an honest and critical approach to recent buildings.

In 1946, Boyd became director of the Small Homes Service, set up by the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects and The Age to improve accessibility of architecturally designed houses to owner-builders.

Boyd wrote books on architecture, the environment and areas in which he considered architecture to lack sincerity. He published Victorian Modern (1947), Australia’s Home (1952) and The Australian Ugliness (1960), now regarded as classics.

In 1953 Boyd designed Australia’s first project home, The Peninsula House. The same year he partnered with the groundbreaking Modernists Fredrick Romberg and Roy Grounds.  The partnership became known as Gromboyd and they secured many commissions for churches, factories, schools and houses.

About 100 houses were built from Boyd’s designs, including buildings in Avonbury Court, Brighton and Haldane Street, Beaumaris.

In 2005 the National Trust established the Robin Boyd Foundation to ‘continue the work and spirit of Robin Boyd’.

Important buildings include:

  • Richardson House
    10 Blackfriars Close, Toorak, (1953)
  • Former R Haughton James House
    82 Molesworth Street, Kew (1956)
  • Robin Boyd House II
    290 Walsh Street, South Yarra (1957)

In 1959, Grounds accepted a commission to design the National Gallery of Victoria, St Kilda Road, Melbourne (1959–68) as a sole practitioner. This led to Romberg & Boyd being established. They continued to be successful with designs such as:

  • Domain Park Flats
    193 Domain Road, South Yarra (1960)
  • Jimmy Watson’s Wine Bar
    333 Lygon Street, Carlton (1962)
  • Featherston House
    22 The Boulevard, Ivanhoe (1967–69)


Chancellor & Patrick

David Chancellor and Rex Patrick formed an architectural partnership in 1954. Their first office, located in the Austin Building in Bay Street, Frankston grew to a booming practice that employed  more than 30 staff. Chancellor & Patrick  designed dozens of houses, commercial properties and churches on the Mornington Peninsula and in Melbourne’s Bayside area.

Influenced by architectural styles from America’s West Coast and Frank Lloyd Wright, their style became representative of 1950s and 1960s Modernist architecture. Cantilevered flat roofs, or prominent gable roofs with wide eaves and geometric cubic forms, are distinctive attributes of Chancellor & Patrick, along with intricate timber detailing, elevated levels and horizontal layering.

Important buildings include:

  • McCraith House
    Atunga Terrace, Dromana (1956)
  • E S & A Bank
    Elizabeth Street, Melbourne (1960)
  • Freiberg House
    26 Yarravale Road, Kew (1959–60)
  • Muckle Flugga
    2 High Street, Beaumaris (1958)
  • Residence
    27 Mariemont Avenue, Beaumaris (1962)


Page last updated: 10 Sep 2015