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A Past Blast


I recently caught up with old clients of Supa Group from the 1990’s – Brian and Toinette Igoe of Lower Templestowe.

They engaged Supa Group to do a renovation of their 1950’s home and also add a second storey extension to the property, adding a master bedroom, guest bedroom and study. There is also a sauna located upstairs, which was at the time a first for Supa Group.

Home renovations and second storey additions in Lower Templestowe.

They had owned the house since 1976 and decided to renovate it in order to accommodate their then young family.

Lower Templestowe is a hilly suburb, and one of the benefits of this is the view that they achieved from a north facing balcony that looks out towards the Austin Hospital to the West, and Mt Donna Buang to the North East.

Toinette grew up in the area, spending her childhood in Yarra Street, Heidelberg. The family home was located at 16 Yarra Street which is now on the site of Danaher’s Timber and Hardware store. She recalls on the opposite side of the street where the Heidelberg Centrelink office is now located that the blocks ran all the way from Yarra Street, through to Banksia Street. The neighbours were the Nightingale Family which consisted of a clutch of ten children. The block was planted out with various fruit trees including Apples and Quinces.

16 Yarra Street was a lot consisting of 2 roods (1/2 acre) acre lot that had been granted under General Law to M.A. Williams in November 1846. 16 Yarra Street was then sold in November 1883 to Anna Maria Wright, of Nelson Street, Williamstown. The map below shows the original land releases under General Law and shows the Heidelberg Cheese Factory near the Yarra River on the corner of Yarra and Dora Streets.

Map of the original subdivision in Heidelberg – Note Buckland Street has been crossed out and renamed Lower Heidelberg Road.

Danaher’s Mitre 10 on the corner of Lower Heidelberg Road and Yarra Street, Heidelberg. The Brennan’s house was located towards the rear of the timber yard.

On the other side of Lower Heidelberg Road, (then known as Buckland Road) was the Old England Hotel. The hotel was built in 1848 so is one of Heidelberg’s oldest buildings, and it is in great condition.

Article from the Melbourne Leader 14 January 1871. Not sure how the farmer’s wives felt about the superior quality of factory cheese compared to hers.

Toinette’s maiden name was Brennan, there were nine children in her family. Heidelberg was a great place to grow up as it was close by to the Yarra River and Heidelberg was nowhere near as densely populated as it is now.

A title search of 16 Yarra Street shows that Veronica Grace Brennan purchased the property in April 1950 for the princely sum of £1,240. The Brennan family owned the property until January 1963 when it was sold to Thomas and Eileen Danaher of Charteris Street, Ivanhoe East for £2,337.10. Thus started the association with Danaher’s timber and hardware on the corner of Lower Heidelberg Road and Yarra Street, Heidelberg. The title for 16 Yarra Street was amalgamated with several others to form a large consolidated title. In August 2015 the entire site was sold for $5,500,000.

One of the dominating features of the area were the gasworks which were located on the south side of Banksia Street, near the Boulevard. Gas was made from coal burnt in huge furnaces.

Heidelberg Historical Society. This guy must have felt stoked all day long.

The gasworks supplied homes in the immediate area but also extending to Ivanhoe and Fairfield right up until the 1950’s when the natural gas supply was rolled out.

Being close to the Yarra, Toinette recalls swimming at Pebble Island, which was near the Banksia Street Bridge, and another favourite swimming spot was Sandy Bank, at the bottom of Warringal Park near the Heidelberg Football Ground. I hope the water was cleaner then than it is today!

There was a small farm near the river owned by the Brown family – they had draught horses that were used to cart rubbish for the municipality.

On the Bulleen side of the river was an old dairy farm known as Heide, and at that time it was owned by John and Sunday Reed. This property is now owned by Melbourne Water and is home to the Heide Museum of Modern Art.

Original Heide Homestead. The home of John and Sunday Reed. The tree at the rear of the house is a Stone Pine (Pinus Pinea)

The original dairy still standing, just.

Heide II (1964) designed by McGlashen & Everest. A modernist style home, now Gallery.

Brian was born and raised at Boort in Northern Victoria. He moved to Melbourne in 1956 and was employed by the Postmaster General as a telephone linesman. Brian later became self-employed and used his incredible knowledge of telephones and phone systems to run several different communications businesses.

Brian and Toinette Igoe