Yarraville Neighbourhood

Lets focus on Yarraville

Yarraville is one of Melbourne’s very early suburbs, as the name suggests it sits near the confluence of the Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers. It is surrounded by Seddon, Kingsville, Newport and Footscray.

Its location just 6 kilometres from the Melbourne CBD and neighbourhood feel has made it a popular choice for young families to move into the area.

It has strong working class roots, historically there were dozens of bluestone quarries, the Melbourne docks are close by and there were abattoirs and tanneries in the surrounding area, along with implement manufacturing and other heavy industry.

The housing stock is quite old and the area has had a lot of renovations including second storey extensions in order to increase the functionality and space in these older homes.

There is a strong community feel, and this is exemplified in the Yarraville Community Centre in Blackwood Street, Yarraville.

Yarraville Community Centre

The community centre is an old quarryman’s residence constructed of solid brick. The exterior of the property is in good condition with many original features including twin chimneys, which I think compliment the home’s symmetry. This would have been a four roomed house with utility rooms out the back, typically in weatherboard as these were cheaper than masonry.

Side view of Yarraville Community Centre showing decorative brick detail over sash windows and the ubiquitous split system and hot water services.

Ground floor extension to the rear of the property with classrooms. There is play equipment in the rear yard.

This beautiful Pepper Tree in the adjoining park which must be well over 100 years old. Pepper Trees are common around school yards and railway stations for some reason – maybe they are great to climb and incredibly drought tolerant? Beaton Reserve is an extensive park and adds ambience to the surrounding streets.

A review of advertisements placed in “The Independent”, the local newspaper published between 1883 and 1922 give some idea of life in Yarraville in the latter part of the 19th Century:

Yarraville Coursing Club election of office bearers. A coursing club’s sole purpose was to hunt rabbits and hares with Greyhounds. Loads of fun.

Annual Sports Day on March 31 at the Yarraville Cricket Ground. Opportunity for exercise and enjoyment.

Various church notices including the Primitive Methodist church in Paisley St, Footscray – “All are invited – Gospel Free”. No fun here.

Dance Classes by Mr. George Hale Smart at Mrs. Musthers Ladies College in Footscray. Owing to the 1893 depression Mr Smart was offering special reductions.

E.R. Warne and Sons, undertakers. Competition was stiff in the funeral industry.

Railway Hotel, corner of Anderson and Ballarat Streets, Yarraville. Far away from the Primitive Methodists.

WP Smith’s Yarraville Tea Warehouse advertisement. They may say tea but they also sold the devil’s drink – wine and spirits.

WP Smith’s was next door to the Yarraville Coffee Palace – these Coffee Palaces were usually front’s for Temperance Bar’s. Anyone who had taken the pledge would be sure to avoid WP Smith’s in favour of the Yarra Coffee Palace next door.

Yarra Coffee Palace in Stephen Street, Yarraville, the building on the corner was WP Smiths Yarraville Tearooms. You have to admire the ghost signs for big tobacco on the side of the coffee palace.

Supa Group have recently completed a ground floor and second storey extension of a 1950’s timber residence in Yarraville. The extension consisted of a ground floor master bedroom with built in robes and en-suite, a large lounge room off the rear kitchen and a functional laundry.

The second storey extension provided accommodation for a library and study. Horizontal windows look directly out onto a fabulous Jacaranda tree, which will be wonderful at Christmas time.

Existing home before renovation and extension

Completed project – the roof has been replaced and altered to incorporate a front porch and carport area. The second storey extension at the rear of the property is quite subtle and barely visible at this angle.

Completed project looking from the kitchen through the lounge and onto the deck. This room is south facing so there are lots of windows for natural light. The frameless glass allows light to penetrate into the lounge and kitchen below.

Upper floor extension designed to suit the requirements of the owners, including generous shelving, reading area and workstation. The stainless steel handrail gives a clean finish whilst being a visible barrier to the void below.