Architect Robert Hamilton

Melbourne Architect and politician Robert B. Hamilton

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Robert Hamilton was Victoria’s foremost practitioner of the interwar Old English style.

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Avington, Toorak

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7 Landale Road, Toorak
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13 Myamyn Street, Armadale
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8 Macquarie Rd, Toorak
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20 Heyington Place, Toorak

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Burnham Flats
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Haddon Hall flat
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Taunton Flats
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High Clere
Taunton Flats
Taunton Flats

Architect Robert Hamilton was recognised as the foremost practitioner in th Old English style, designing large and impeccably detailed houses and
luxury flats. In fact, Robert Hamilton was the pre-eminent designer of flats, particularly in his trademark Old English style, in Toorak and South Yarra in the 1930s.

  • After studying and working overseas, including a position as assistant to the Government architect in Bombay, India he returned to Ausralia and formed a partnership with Rodney Alsop in 1921 before establishing his own practice in 1925.

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According to Cuffley (2007:114) while Hamilton possessed a deep affection for romantic styles in architecture he had a ‘practical and inventive talent and was capable of working in a range of styles and to any scale’.

  • Nonetheless Hamilton is remembered best for his Old English style flats and commercial buildings constructed in Toorak and South Yarra.
  • Cuffley (2007:115-6) cites a 1934 article in Art in Australia:
    • To those who seek the particular type of English domestic architecture that suggests comfort and romance … Mr Robert Hamilton’s outlook should appeal.
    • Every detail is a matter of consideration, carefully selected and hand-made whenever possible.
  • Cuffley concludes that
    • “whether it was a small holiday bungalow, a country cottage, a Toorak mansion or a block of flats, Robert Bell Hamilton approached each work with equal concern for its integrity and with a great deal of artistry” (Cuffley, 2007:117).

Practice History

Klingender & Hamilton (1922-1925)

  • Robert B. Hamilton (1926-1938)
  • Hamilton & Norris (1920s-1930s?)
  • Robert B. Hamilton & Associates (1938- )

Hamilton’s designs:

20 Heyington Place Toorak
20 Heyington Place Toorak
  1. Avington, 3 Illawarra Crescent, Toorak VIC (1920)
  2. House, at 13 Myamyn Street, Armadale built 1925
  3. House, at 8 Macquarie Rd, Toorak built 1929
  4. Shops in Prahran and Malvern, Tudor revival or Old English style c1929
  5. House, at 20 Heyington Place, Toorak built c1930
  6. House, at 12 Macquarie Rd, Toorak built 1930
  7. House at 14 Linlithgow Road (1932) (unrecognisable)
  8. Maisonettes 687-689 Orrong Road, Toorak (1932)
  9. Burnham Flats, at 14 Grange Road, Toorak built c1933
  10. House, at 52-54 Hopetoun Road, Toorak built 1933
  11. Haddon Hall flats, at 405 Toorak Road, Toorak 1933
  12. Sunleigh Lodge, at 5 Russell St, Toorak built 1933
    Robert Hamilton's own home at Mt Martha
    Robert Hamilton’s own home at Mt Martha
  13. House at 54 Hopetoun Road, Toorak (1933)
  14. Stonehaven Flats, at 692 Orrong Road, Toorak built 1933c
  15. Shop, at 541 Toorak Road, Toorak built 1934
  16. Moore Abbey Marne Street, South Yarra (1934)
  17. Park Manor Flats, at 284 Williams Road, Toorak built c1934
  18. House at 7 Landale Road, Toorak built c1935
  19. Taunton Flats, at 520 Toorak Road, Toorak built c1935
  20. Denby Dale flats, at 420-426 Glenferrie Road, Kooyong built 1937-8 built 1938 and designed by Robert Hamilton, & Associate
  21. House, High Clere, 2 Bays Crescent, (was 447 Esplanade), Mt Martha VIC c1935 by and for Robert Hamilton
  22. House at 9 Henderson Avenue, Malvern (1930s)
  23. Gowrie Court maisonettes, at 716 Orrong Road, Toorak built 1940
  24. House at 32 Evans Court, Malvern

Avington, 3 Illawarra Crescent, Toorak VIC (1920)

  • from
  • Locally significant Heritage (Stonnington HO62) – Cannot find a citation.
  • Contributory, regional significance: A2 grading. Heritage Overlay Number HO62.
$8m Avington is a Robert Hamilton designed English style residence
$8m Avington is a Robert Hamilton designed English style residence

A very intact and detailed Medieval revival house with half timbering, tile hung wall shingles, patterned brickwork, terra cotta shingled roofing, and leaded glass. It appears to be very intact.[3]

Built by architect Robert Hamilton, Victoria’s foremost practitioner of the inter-war Old English/Tudor Revival style during the 1930s, this property sits at the end of a prestigious cul-de-sac and is surrounded by well-established manicured gardens.

  • You’ll find dark timber floors through the reception hall, an impressive sitting room with a decorative open fireplace and a formal dining room and music room with original timber joinery.
  • “It’s a very stately home,” says agent Marcus Chiminello. “There are not many of these homes left so there’s a scarcity value to the period style residences now, particularly in Toorak.”
  • Sale and photos


Telgai House, 4 Struan Street, Toorak (1923-1932)

Talzie or Telgai House at 4 Struan Street, Toorak
Talzie or Telgai House at 4 Struan Street, Toorak

Telgai House at 4 Struan Street, Toorak is of Local (potential State) significance architecturally and historically: –

    • as a superb and externally well-preserved example of the Old English style, from 1923, to 1932,
    • showing strong links to the style’s origins, as in the work of CFA Voysey and Norman Shaw –
    • for its association with the State’s foremost practitioner of the inter-war Old English or Tudor revival style, Robert Hamilton,
    • as a well preserved example of one of Hamilton’s first designs undertaken after becoming a sole practitioner


13 Myamyn Street, Armadale (1926)

The house at 13 Myamyn Street, Armadale is an attic storey English Domestic Revival style building with Shingle style overtones. It was built c1926 to designs by the noted interwar architect Robert Bell Hamilton. The house site was created through a subdivision of the nineteenth century Myamyn mansion estate.

13 Myamyn Street, Armadale
13 Myamyn Street, Armadale


13 Myamyn Street is an attic storey residence with a compact plan form and strongly expressed intersecting gables.

  • The roof is clad in terracotta shingles and punctuated by tall, simply detailed chimneys.
  • Darker terracotta shingles are used for gable infill, which sit on bracketed eaves above attic storey windows.
  • Clinker brick is used for the walls, relieved by thin bricks or tiles framing the attic storey windows.
  • A shallow skillion roof runs across the façade sheltering the entry porch and adjacent windows.
  • The entry porch has timber Old English style posts and brackets. The double-hung timber framed windows with diamond pattern leadlight glazing are also characteristic of the Old English mode.
  • The house is virtually intact in so far as it presents to the street apart from an apparently nonoriginal window frame in the lower west gable end. The original architectural drawings show a different round arched entry porch design, which was presumably not built.


8 Macquarie Road, Toorak VIC 3142 (1929)

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Grand, private, Robert Hamilton 1930’s family residence with return drive beautifully renovated throughout to the highest standards with an excellent floorplan situated on one of Toorak’s finest tree lined streets within short walk of Melbourne’s leading private schools. Land size 1,285m2.

  • This magnificent home includes a stunning panelled entrance foyer, formal lounge, separate dining, study and powder room. Spacious kitchen with bar area and family room overlooking pool, spa, gazebo and beautiful established garden, with additional opening to a north facing terrace including lanai and BBQ.
  • 6 generous bedrooms, master with ensuite bathroom and walk in robes. 2 additional full bathrooms and large balcony providing magnificent views to the Dandenongs.
  • Lower ground area includes a media room, bathroom, sauna, and cellar.


Shop front, 479-478 Toorak Road (1929)

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Heritage Recommendation for 476-478 Toorak Road Shop Front
Heritage Recommendation for 476-478 Toorak Road Shop Front

Wiltondale, 25 Heyington Place, Toorak (c1929)

Wiltondale, 25 Heyington Place, Toorak was built c1929 to designs by architect Robert Bell Hamilton. The property originally formed part of the Beaulieu (later Kilbride) mansion estate, and in recent decades was incorporated into St Catherineʼs School.

Wiltondale, 25 Heyington Place, Toorak
Wiltondale, 25 Heyington Place, Toorak

Wiltondale at 25 Heyington Place is a substantial interwar English Domestic Revival style house.

  • It has a symmetrical façade with a Tudor arched arch porte cochere at the centre, flanked on either side by half-timbered window bays with herringbone pattern clinker brick infill.
  • External walls are otherwise finished in a smooth render.
  • The main transverse gabled roof has terracotta shingle cladding, an ‘eye lid’ vent at the centre and tall clinker brick chimneys at either end.
  • Twin gable ends above the front window bays are plainly adorned apart from narrow slots.
  • The eaves line of the main roof continues unbroken across the front of the gables. Window frames are typically double hung sashes with diamond pattern leadlight glazing characteristic of the English Domestic Revival mode.


12 Macquarie Road, Toorak
12 Macquarie Road, Toorak


12 Macquarie Road, Toorak (1930)

Built 1930 and designed by Robert Hamilton
City of Stonnington History Collection online notes correspondence relating to the construction of a Residence at No 12 Macquarie Road, Toorak for the Misses Todd dating from 1930, although the architect to the works is not noted.

Overlooking a well established northern garden on an allotment in excess of 13,000 sqft, this superb English style four bedroom plus study residence offers an outstanding family environment with a wonderful blend of spacious light-filled formal and informal living areas all with beautiful garden aspects.

20 Heyington Place, Toorak built c1930

20 Heyington Place, Toorak
20 Heyington Place, Toorak


  • Built 1930 and designed by Robert Hamilton

A superb family home in the classic arts and crafts architectural era of the 1930’s in original condition with scope to extend/modernise or a fantastic opportunity to build a new luxury home (STCA) all set on a glorious garden allotment of 2,043m2 (22,000sqft) approx.

Comprising: wide entrance foyer, superbly proportioned drawing room with open fireplace, den or old dining room also with open fireplace, television room with powder room, original laundry and separate water closet, kitchen with separate breakfast room opening onto private established garden with large inground swimming pool or room for north/south tennis court.

  • Upstairs: main bedroom with dressing room and bathroom, 2 further bedrooms, nursery and main bathroom.
  • Other features include double garage, large workshop, hydronic heating and 100,000 litre underground water tank.

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Maisonette’s, 687-689 Orrong Road, Toorak (1932)

The maisonettes at 687-689 Orrong Road, Toorak
The maisonettes at 687-689 Orrong Road, Toorak

Hamilton’s ‘Luxury’ flats fall into two broad sub-types, one being small blocks of two maisonettes or four flats designed to appear as one large house and the other being one or more blocks arranged in the manner of a Tudor or Medieval village.

The maisonettes at 687-689 Orrong Road, Toorak are a double-storey English Domestic Revival style building designed by noted interwar architect Robert Bell Hamilton.
It was built c1932 following the demolition and subdivision of the nineteenth century mansion Montalto.
The building is a double-storey pair of maisonettes with clinker brick walls and a terracotta tiled roof.

  • It has a symmetrically composed façade with twin projecting gabled bays flanking a central verandah (since enclosed).
  • The gable ends are clad in stained vertical boarding and have narrow slit vents
  • The main roof is a steeply pitched transerve gable with an ‘eye lid’ vent at the centre and tall chimneys at either end.
  • The main roof also has stained vertical boarding to the gable ends to match the front gables.
  • Windows are typically double hung sash frames with diamond pattern leadlight glazing characteristic of the English Domestic Revival mode.

Elements that contribute to the significance of the place include (but are not limited to):

  • The original external form, materials and detailing of the building.
  • The generally high level of external intactness.
  • The unpainted state of the face brick and terracotta elements.
  • The domestic garden setting (but not the fabric of the garden itself).


Burnham Flats, 14 Grange Road, Toorak (1933)

Burnham Flats, 14 Grange Road, Toorak
Burnham Flats, 14 Grange Road, Toorak


Burnham Flats, 14 Grange Road, Toorak
Burnham Flats, 14 Grange Road, Toorak

Burnham, as designed by Robert B. Hamilton and constructed in 1932-3, is significant. The significant attributes are the Old English style form, materials and detailing of the flats and garages, front and side brick fences.

  • The high level of external intactness and wide range of decorative and quirky detailing that is typical of Hamilton including uniquely designed screen doors with inset panels, the bracket with name plate and light fittings etc. are integral to the significance of the place.
  • Historically, it is significant as one of the first examples of the Old English Luxury flat type designed by Robert Hamilton to resemble a large single-family home, an approachthat he would use in many of his subsequent developments.

Hamilton was one of the most important and influential designers of Luxury flats in Toorak and South Yarra and this development of four large single-levelflats together with ‘Haddon Hall’ (see below), which is of a similar design, but comprising maisonettes demonstrate the two approaches used by Hamilton over the next decade either in separate buildings or in combination.


52-54 Hopetoun Road, Toorak built 1933

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Haddon Hall 405 Toorak Road, Toorak (1933)

Haddon Hall, as designed by Robert B. Hamilton and constructed in 1931-2, is significant. The significant attributes are the Old English style form, materials and detailing of the flats, front and side brick fences, the garden setback to Toorak Road with semi-circular driveway.
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The high level of external intactness and wide range of decorative and quirky detailing that is typical of Hamilton including uniquely designed screen doors with inset panels, the bracket with name plate and light fittings etc. are integral to the significance of the place.

  • Historically, it is significant as one of the first examples of the Luxury flat type designed by Robert Hamilton and represents his prototype of maisonettes designed to resemble a large single-family home that he would use in his subsequent developments.
  • Hamilton was a pioneer of maisonette developments, which were promoted as a practical alternative to a detached house and was the forerunner of the post-war townhouse.

Architecturally, Haddon Hall is significant as a highly accomplished and externally intact example of inter-war flats designed in the Old English style.

  • Details such as the fine brickwork and fachwerk, massive corbelled chimneys, and entrance gates with silhouette panels and lanterns, as well as its setting with a curved drive and original brick fence all contribute to its significance.
  • Also for its association with Robert Hamilton, Victoria’s foremost practitioner of the inter-war Old English style.
  • Victorian Heritage Register


Stonehaven 692 Orrong Road, Toorak (1933)

  • Luxury flats by Robert Hamilton
  • A fine example of the Old English style
  • A design by Robert Hamilton
Stonehaven 692 Orrong Road, Toorak, Stonnington City
Stonehaven 692 Orrong Road, Toorak, Stonnington City

While ‘Luxury’ flats in Stonnington were designed by a number of architects Robert B. Hamilton appears to have been the pre-eminent designer of luxury flats in Toorak and South Yarra – Sawyer (1982:68) cites a 1938 article in the RVIA Journal where Hamilton pointed out that there was demand in the South Yarra district for flats ‘which provide accommodation for more affluent residents’.

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Throughout the 1930s Hamilton would design at least 11 flat developments in Toorak and South Yarra. Most of them fit within the category of luxury flats. Three of his known flat developments –

  • Park Manor (built c.1935),
  • Stonehaven (c.1933-35) and
  • Denby Dale (c.1938) are currently listed in the HO and four more were assessed by the Residential Flats 2012 study.
  • Victorian Heritage Register
  • A fine example of the Old English style

Shop, at 541 Toorak Road, Toorak built 1934

Noted Toorak architect Robert Hamilton was responsible for the Tudor-inspired stylings of Toorak village (shops).

  • The building at 541 Toorak Road is of regional and possibly state significance as a fine and substantially intact example of the Old English commercial mode of the interwar period, and for its dominant role within the importnat Toorak Village Group of Old English shops.
  • It is of additional significance as a fine example of the commercial work of Robert Bell Hamilton, a prominent commercial and domestic architect in this period and leader in the use of Old English modes in the interwar years.
  • The building at 541 Toorak Road is important for its landmark position within the Toorak Village Group, and, as part of that group, as a contributory element within a stylistic group which is relatively rare within the Greater Metropolitan area.
  • They are quite possibly yhe grandest example of an Old English or Tudor Revival suburban commercial premises in Victoria, and are certainly the best example of the mode in Stonnington.
  • Victorian Heritage Register

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Toorak Village occupies both sides of Toorak Road between Tintern Avenue and Canterbury Road. Its buildings are typically of one or two-storeys, several dating from the late nineteenth century, such as the shop row at nos 464-70, and some from the early twentieth century.

  • These include several refurbished in a Tudor mode during the 1920s and 1930s, such as Robert Hamilton’s redevelopment of several shops on the corner of Grange Road, and possibly 476-478 Toorak Road almost opposite, both at the eastern gateway to the precinct, the Tudor buildings east of Wallace Avenue at nos 451-7 and 475-9, and 527-533A Toorak Road.
  • Other early twentieth century buildings include the Moderne building on the east side of Mathoura Avenue (no 428), and the stripped classical Commonwealth Bank (1934, no 442) and Vintage Cellars (no 481).
  • A number of modern infill buildings have been constructed in the area during the second half of the twentieth century but the scale and, to a lesser degree, the early character of the area, survives intact.


Moore Abbey 50 Marne Street, South Yarra (1934)

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Luxury flats by Robert Hamilton, Moore Abbey – Circa 1934

Situated in the heart of the Kings Domain precinct and within walking distance of the Botanic Garden, Fawkner Park and Domain Road shops, these apartments comprises of 21.5 squares approximately of living in this tightly held Robert Hamilton building.

  • Comprising: Formal entry, guests powder room, North facing sitting room with open fireplace, separate dining room, large master bedroom with walk in robe, 2nd bedroom with built in robe, main bathroom, 3rd bedroom and separate study.

While ‘Luxury’ flats in Stonnington were designed by a number of architects Robert B. Hamilton appears to have been the pre-eminent designer of luxury flats in Toorak and South Yarra – Sawyer (1982:68) cites a 1938 article in the RVIA Journal where Hamilton pointed out that there was demand in the South Yarra district for flats ‘which provide accommodation for more affluent residents’.

Throughout the 1930s Hamilton would design at least 11 flat developments in Toorak and South Yarra. Most of them fit within the category of luxury flats.

Park Manor Flats 284 Williams Road, Toorak built 1934

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On the corner of busy Williams Road and quiet Rathmines Street in the exclusive Melbourne suburb of Toorak stand the wonderful Streamline Moderne brown brick “Park Manor” flat complex.

Park Manor weathervane
Park Manor weathervane


  • The architect obviously had a sense of fun, adding a witch weather vane to the top of the tower roof of the stairwell!
  • As when they were built, these spacious flats are for the well-heeled citizens of Melbourne, and they are exceptionally well maintained.

Park Manor is a double storey inter-war ‘Old English’ style (with Moderne influences) maisonette/flat development.

  • Presumed architect was Robert B. Hamilton as this includes many of his design trademarks including
    • semi-circular fence with seating at the main driveway entrance and
    • the use of a whimsical weathervane (in this case a witch on a broomstick with her cat arching its back, situated on the apex of the copper roof of the projecting front bay).
  • Significant features include the external original materials and detailing of the building (which remains very intact), side and front brick and tile fence and steps and wrought iron balustrades, the circular concrete driveway layout

Park Manor is of potential significance:

  • As a good example of the Luxury type designed by Robert Hamilton
  • As a good example of the Old English/Moderne style


‘Landale’, 7 Landale Road, Toorak built c1935

Robert Hamilton was active in Melbourne until WWII and worked alone and in partnership with other architects such as Marcus Norris to produce a

The Vizards' mansion in Landale Road
The Vizards’ mansion in Landale Road

large number of residences in a variety of styles throughout the inner eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

  • These include a substantial villa in the restrained Georgian mode at 7 Landale Road, Toorak, completed in the early 1930s, and houses built at 8 and 12 Macquarie Road in 1929 and 1930 respectively.
The Vizards’ mansion in Landale Road, Toorak, that they have offloaded for $6.4 million.

2003: Vizards sell a mansion for $6.4m, but he still calls Toorak home

February 8 2003 By Deborah Gough Age Private Property Columnist

Steve Vizard has sold one of his Toorak mansions for more than $6 million.

  • The philanthropist, media player and lawyer sold the Landale Road property to former JP Morgan Fleming executive Ron Dewhurst and his wife Katie, who recently returned to Melbourne from New York.
  • In October Mr Vizard sold his family’s property, Roxby Park, near Geelong, for $5.51 million.

The Toorak deal is confidential, but The Age has learnt that the mansion sold for $6.4 million.

  • The deal was brokered by buyer advocate Christopher Koren, of Morrell and Koren, and the house was sold by agents Kay & Burton.
  • Four agents tried to sell the house for the Vizards from late last year, but the deal was not secured until in January.
  • Mr Dewhurst said he had returned to Australia to give his children, William, 10, and Natasha, 12, a Melbourne education.
  • The Dewhursts’ new Toorak home was built by Sir Macpherson “Mac” Robertson, of Mac.Robertson’s Chocolates fame, who built the Mac.Robertsons bridge to get to his Fitzroy factory.

It has up to eight bedrooms, a tennis court and a lift.

  • Mr Vizard, chairman of the Victorian Major Events Company, bought the property in 2001 for $5.3 million. He bought his other Toorak mansion in Orrong Road for $5.25 million.
  • A spokesman for the Vizards said: “After buying and selling a house every year for 10 years, the Vizards have found their dream home, one of the best homes in Melbourne.

“They are very happy and believe the controller of the stamp duty office must be very happy too – given the Vizards are probably his best customer.”

OCT 22, 2012: Toorak mansion sells for $17m by MARIKA DOBBIN

The Georgian style mansion at 7 Landale Road in Toorak
The Georgian style mansion at 7 Landale Road in Toorak

A TOORAK mansion that has been home to some of the city’s most famous businessmen is believed to have fetched this year’s highest price – almost $17 million.

  • The Age has learnt that funds manager Ron Dewhurst sold his mansion at 7 Landale Road in Toorak last week, in an off-market deal through prestige agency Kay & Burton.
  • The sale, to the chief executive of listed pharmaceuticals supplier Ascent Pharmahealth, Dennis Bastas, was the climax in a series of top-end results that has breathed new life into the slow market.

Mr Dewhurst was raised in the modest bayside suburb of Cheltenham but has become a senior player in US-based fund management group Legg Mason and now lives in New York.

  • He purchased the home in 2003 from former television personality Steve Vizard for $6.4 million.
  • Mr Vizard bought Victor and Loti Smorgon’s Landale Road house for $5.6 million before the Smorgons moved into Hotel Como.[1]

Taunton 520 Toorak Road, Toorak (1936)

Architecturally, Taunton is a highly accomplished and externally intact example of interwar flats designed in the Old English style.

  • Aesthetically, the flats are distinguished by their skillful modulation of roof forms, projecting bays, window types and cladding materials to break up a long building and create the sense of an intimate Medieval village.
  • Details of particular note include the Japanese-influenced lych gate with carved grotesques, and the rare use of terracotta roof shingles and hung tiles. Also for its association with Robert Hamilton, Victoria’s foremost practitioner of the inter-war Old English style.
Taunton 520 Toorak Road, Toorak
Taunton 520 Toorak Road, Toorak

Taunton, designed by Robert B. Hamilton and Associates and constructed in 1936, is significant.

  • The significant attributes are the Old English style form, materials and detailing of the flats, low brick garden walls, garage and front fence and lych gate, and the garden setting.
  • The high level of external intactness and wide range of decorative and quirky detailing that is typical of Hamilton including uniquely designed screen doors with inset panels, the grotesques to the lych gate etc. are integral to the significance of the place.
  • Victorian Heritage Register

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Denby Dale 420-426 Glenferrie Road Kooyong (1938)

Stunning 1930’s apartments, set back from Glenferrie Road, overlooking established gardens in this highly regarded location close to Kooyong shops, train and tram.

Interior of a Denby Dale Apartment, Glenferrie Road, Kooyong
Interior of a Denby Dale Apartment, Glenferrie Road, Kooyong


  • The combination of period personality, huge proportions and a desirable address mean that Denby Dale apartments are appealing from every perspective.
  • Set back from Glenferrie Road, overlooking established gardens, luxuriously large living and dining areas that balance original character with modern comfort are complemented by a light filled lounge and a central kitchen featuring a marble island bench and stainless steel surfaces.
  • Comprising entrance foyer, generous lounge room with open fire place and covered verandah, separate dining room, well appointed kitchen with butler’s pantry, breakfast room, massive main bedroom with built in robes, generous 2nd bedroom, separate study with open fire place or 3rd bedroom option, family bathroom with separate W/C.
  • Other features include hydronic heating, double lock up garage and separate studio/home office.

Dec. 2014: Kooyong became the first unit market to reach a seven-figure median value, though the exclusive neighbourhood only saw a handful of unit sales during the year.

  • RT Edgar, Toorak, director Michael Ebeling sold two at the start of the year, both in the 1930s “Denby Dale” building.
  • The area had a limited number of units available and local downsizers were the main buyers, he said. Empty nesters looking for a city base to complement a lifestyle property were also active.

Apartment of the week: Kooyong

Weathervanes in the forms of roosters, seagulls, horses and swans watch over arrivals at Denby Dale, the Tudor-style apartment block that has sat on the Glenferrie Road hill at Kooyong since 1938.

Denby Dale 420-426 Glenferrie Road Kooyong
Denby Dale 420-426 Glenferrie Road Kooyong


  • Beautiful grounds and detailed brick paving wind around the three separate buildings, with a central manor-house-style block flanked by another two similar two-storey buildings.

Denby Dale is a fine example of early Melbourne apartments offering the well-off something different, but still elegant, in choice areas.

  • Oon the ground level of the main building access via a pergola-covered walkway festooned with ornamental grapevine.
  • No. 7 shares an entrance foyer only with No.8 upstairs, and that foyer, like the others in the development, is secured with a lockable metal door.
  • Inside is a time capsule from 1938 that is extraordinary. Owned for many years by a former curator and manager of the National Trust property Rippon Lea, the apartment has a near-original kitchen that has, amazingly, survived for 75 years. There are flywire-fronted cupboards, servant’s bells and a maid’s room, with a cupboard bathroom next door.

In the grander rooms of the apartment, similar original touches abound, such as beautiful brass-edged light fittings and a huge brick fireplace in the main living room, topped with a timber mantelpiece running the width of the room.

  • Brass knobs feature on all the hallway cupboards and built-in wardrobes, whose doors have arched panels, echoing many of the rooms’ doors.
Denby Dale 420-426 Glenferrie Road Kooyong
Denby Dale 420-426 Glenferrie Road Kooyong


  • From the Journal of the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects: vol. 36 (1938) p.53-63
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THE photographs and plans which are featured on following pages illustrate an unusually interesting group of flats which has been erected recently under the direction of Robert B. Hamilton & Associate, Marcus H. Norris, Architects.
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  • The group has been designed in the Elizabethan style and comprises three blocks of two storeys in height. Each storey contains two flats, providing twelve in all.
  • The central building contains a main entrance hall giving access to a flat on each of the ground and first floors. Each flat includes an entrance hall, lounge, sun room, dining room, kitchen, service pantry, maid’s room, two bedrooms, bathroom, toilet and a small study.
  • The other two blocks contain similar accommodation with the exception of the study. SERVICES Each building has self-contained services including a coke boiler, hot water, gas, electric light, refrigeration, central heating and sewerage. (The cost of providing these services to the tenant is included in the usual rental charge)
  • Should the owner so desire, therefore, any block may be sold as a self-contained unit.
  • Refrigerating cabinets, which are operated from a central unit at the rear of the building, are provided in each service pantry, as also are crockery and wine cupboards.
  • Each kitchen includes a gas stove recess, stainless steel sink, drainer, swivel tap, built-in soap holder, towel rails, cupboards for pots and pans, dresser cupboard, enclosure for brooms, vacuum cleaner and general cleaning utensils, and trades’ delivery cupboard.
  • The kitchen has a dado in ivory tiles to a height of 4 ft. 6 in. and the walls and ceiling are finished in flat oil paint.
  • Each bathroom includes either an ivory or a green coloured bath, ivory tile dadoes, mosaic tile floors, glass and tooth brush holders, a medicine cabinet with mirror door and a toilet table in cream enamel with a mirror and light bracket overhead.
  • The entrance hall has a built-in cloak cupboard, heating unit and telephone, the latter having an extension to the main bedroom. Each bedroom is provided with built-in cupboards having hanging space, sliding trays for underclothes, shelves for hats and shoes and a full length mirror.

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The general finish of the walls is in coloured plaster, which prevents chipping showing a discolouration.

  • The joinery is executed in kiln-dried hardwood and all fire places are of the open brick type with cupboards and bookcases built in on either side.
  • Ceilings on the first floor are of fibrous plaster, the cornices being of the same material; and on the ground floor are of sand finished plaster.
  • All floors are of concrete construction to assist in preventing the carriage of sound from one room to another, special attention having been given to the construction of the first floors, where cork insulation has been installed.
  • All flats are provided with box-room accommodation, either in the basement or in suspended racks over each garage. The garages are equipped with a new type of door which is hinged to the side walls and when opened is attached to the ceiling.

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The general treatment of the exterior is simple in character, the walls being of clinker brick, relieved by timber work at the entrances and wrought iron lamps and weathervanes.

  • The roof is of shingle tile construction with “eyebrow” ventilators in suitable positions.
  • All exposed timber to the eaves, gables, balconies, etc., is sawn Oregon treated with stockholm tar. –
  • The main staircases, six in number, are constructed of concrete which is covered with clinker brick on edge. The balustrades are of wrought iron.
  • Attention has been given to avoiding standardization and monotony in the treatment of each flat and to that effect the design of the internal and external doors, mantelpieces, door knobs and general fittings has been varied, thus giving each unit an individual character.
  • In the installation of the electric lighting, preference has been given to the placing of light and power plugs in suitable positions rather than to the provision of fixed ceiling lights.
  • This allows the individual tenants more elasticity in arranging their lighting requirements to suit their own schemes of furnishing. Bracket lamps have been introduced in the entrance halls and bathrooms.

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The layout of the grounds includes a service court which is located at the rear of each building and which has a separate entrance from Glenferrie Road.

  • A laundry is attached to each building, together with an incinerator for the disposal of general refuse. Accommodation for garbage bins is provided in the form of flower boxes at each tradesmen’s entrance.
  • Particular attention has been given to the layout of the garden, the focal point of the fore-court being a fountain surrounded by a sun terrace which will be screened from the street by a collection of trees and shrubs.

The drives are in concrete construction, finished in coloured cement and sub-divided to give the appearance of individual slabs.

  • Creeping vines and roses have been planted to soften the walls and the pergolas and the garden generally has been carefully planned to become an important part of the whole building scheme.


House, High Clere, 2 Bays Crescent (was 447 Esplanade), Mt Martha VIC (1935)

Architect’s house of happiness beckons

High Clere, 447 Esplanade, Mt Martha VIC
High Clere, 447 Esplanade, Mt Martha VIC


Eye-catching ”High Clere” Mt Martha VIC
Eye-catching ”High Clere” Mt Martha VIC

The property at 47 Two Bays Crescent, Mount Martha, was for private sale (2012) with an asking price of $3.6 million.

Domain EFFIE MANN APR 14, 2012

Eye-catching ”High Clere” sits above the Mount Martha township and laps up the most wonderful views.

  • The northern sweep runs down the hillside to South Beach, its sandy arc lined with colourful boat sheds, then on across Port Phillip Bay to the smudge of the city skyline.
  • The special property was built in 1935 for noted architect Robert Hamilton, who designed the distinctly English building and called it home until his death.

While its heavy thatched roof has since been replaced by iron, the use of exposed timber throughout and the enormous stone fireplace in the lounge still hark to Hamilton’s medieval vision.

High Clere, 2 Bays Cres. Mornington
High Clere, 2 Bays Cres. Mornington


  • The latest owners have enjoyed a bohemian existence under the thick beams for close to a quarter of a century.
  • Children and grandchildren have grown up bouncing on the trampoline and playing hide and seek in the 2600-square-metre garden.
  • Family, friends and friends-of-friends have enjoyed the flow of red wine and jaunty piano song beside the roaring fire, and neighbours have called by for summer swims and parties on the patio.

At the top of the house, there’s a room perfect for putting paint to canvas, and a billiard table provides hours of fun.

  • The four-bedroom property has served as a house of happiness for this family. They replaced the roof in the 1990s and installed the infinity-edge swimming pool and spa in 2001. More recently, the exterior received a new coat of paint but the rest of the house has been pretty much left alone.
  • While it is structurally sound and habitable, there are a few cosmetic projects the new owner may choose to tackle, such as ripping up the carpet, painting the interior and renovating the dated kitchen and bathrooms (there are three).

The property at 47 Two Bays Crescent, Mount Martha, was for private sale (2012) through Warlimont & Nutt (03 5974 1401) with an asking price of $3.6 million.


9 Henderson Avenue Malvern (1930s)

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By Toorak architect Robert Hamilton, this house showcases refined elegance, beautiful proportions and a substantial northwest garden setting.

This classic English style c1930’s solid brick residence offers present day comfort with enormous potential for future improvement that would result in a luxurious family domain close to excellent schools and Menzies Reserve.

  • Behind an evocative entrance, the central foyer leads to a serene study, gracious formal sitting room with gas fireplace, glorious formal dining with window seat and a sun-room opening to the deep leafy garden.
  • The bright capable kitchen and casual living/dining room also open to the garden. All of generous stature, the five bright bedrooms upstairs, including the main with a dressing room, are accompanied by two pristine bathrooms.
  • Sale listing and photographs

Gowrie Court maisonettes, at 716 Orrong Road, Toorak (1940)

Gowrie Court, 716 Orrong Road, Toorak as designed by Robert B. Hamilton and constructed by 1940 is significant.

  • The significant attributes are the Old English style form, materials and detailing of the flats as designed by Hamilton.

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Sophisticated, thoughtful design is exemplified in the finer details of this immaculately presented, spacious English style two-level apartment, just moments from Toorak Village. Featuring high ceilings, arched doorways, intricate cornices, and a classic Venetian glass style feature window, all perfectly combined with modern touches and comforts.

Historically, Gowrie Court is significant as ‘Luxury’ residential flats designed by Robert B. Hamilton who was the leading designer of this type of flat development in Toorak and South Yarra during the inter-war period.

  • The mix of flat types – in this case a maisonette, large family flats and one bachelor flat – is characteristic of Hamilton’s developments of the late 1930s.
  • The inclusion of the ‘bachelor’ flat is of note as a rare example of a ‘Luxury’ flat specifically for single people or couples.

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Gowrie Court flats, 716 Orrong Road, Toorak, is a large, two-storey block of flats and a smaller garage and mews block.

  • The L-shaped block and the garage/mews are situated around a long courtyard, which is open to Orrong Road.
  • There are small garden beds along the flats building with brick edging and paths, but the rest of the courtyard is paved. The front of the property is bounded by a low brick fence and a wide vehicular entry at the centre with tall piers.
  • On either side of the entry are curved benches integrated into the wall. The detailing of the fence is exceptional, with ‘gabled’ coping to the low piers and the back rest of the benches, and a band of narrow clay tiles at the top of the fence and low piers, and six bands in all on the tall gate piers.
  • The piers retain carriage lamps at the top, which may be early. The flats building has a high hipped roof with brown Marseille tiles and exposed rafter ends. Chimneys are massive with corbelling to the top.

There is a variety of two-storey hipped and gabled breakfronts along the elevations to the courtyard, which mark the entries to the different flats. The gables have flush verges, corbelled ends and intricate brickwork vents at the apex.

Modern Flat Developement (full text below)
Modern Flat Developement (full text below)


  • The clinker bricks have some overburnt texture to them, and there are also simple diamond patters created by protruding headers, suggesting diaper work. Entries are varied, and include round-arched brick openings with wrought-iron gates, segmentally arched openings, and a parapeted entrance tower in the inner corner at the rear of the courtyard.
  • The window types and shapes are even more varied, with six-over-six double-hung sashes – both rectangular and segmentally arched, some with two-over-two sidelights, two-storey canted bay windows with board-and-batten cladding to the spandrels, a canted oriel window with a bell-cast roof and conical brick corbelling below, and tiny triangular oriel windows resting on a triangular timber bracket.

The many projecting bays and the multiplicity of door and window types and shapes lends a pleasant picturesque character to the flats and effectively breaks up the building’s bulk.

  • The mews building on the north side of the courtyard is much simpler in massing and details, but shares the same wall and roofing materials.
  • A small mews flat is located above a row of garages. At the west end is a parapeted bay, providing entry to the flat. Windows to the flat are six-over-six double-hung sashes with louvered shutters, lending it a Georgian Revival appearance. All garage doors are modern.
  • Victorian Heritage Register
  • Heritage Citation Report


Modern Flat Development in Melbourne, by Robert Hamilton FRAIA, ARIBA


SINCE the Great War period the development of residential flats in Melbourne has been very considerable. Probably this has been caused by the change in the economic condition of the world, the all important considerations in the planning of housing accommodation nowadays being economical construction and compactness of equipment.


In England and on the Continent the residential flat has been recognised and accepted for many years as being a very important factor in housing the communities of those countries. The increasing use of flats in Europe has been caused by reason of the dense population, the limitation of the city and the suburban areas, and the general desire of the people to reside near the heart of the city. The development in the building of flats overseas has tended in the main to the large tenement type of many storeys served by a central entrance, lift shaft and main stairway, this type having been a product of high land values and restriction of available, space.

Curiously we find that a similar tendency is taking place in Sydney, this having been caused again by the high value of land near the centre of the metropolis. The result is that certain districts, such as Darlinghurst and Pott’s Point, have witnessed the growth of flats containing five storeys. Sydney has developed the sense for living in flats to a much stronger degree than has Melbourne where our people, influenced by facile transportation arrangements and by climatic conditions, prefer either the individual house or the smaller type of flat building. Consequently the multi-storey building is not often seen in Melbourne.

Further, our municipal councils have adopted a policy of viewing flats with disfavour and this is having a marked bearing on the development of our housing accommodation.

Experience both in Australia and overseas has shown that an important factor in providing a satisfactory 45 return on capital investment is that flat buildings should be located adjacent to the city proper and in a desirable residential area having pleasant surroundings and, if possible, interesting vistas. Hence in Melbourne numbers of flats have been erected in South Yàrra, East Melbourne, Toorak, Parkville and to a small extent in Spring Street and the eastern end of Collins Street.

Burnham Flats
Burnham Flats

Because of the restrictive, and to my mind, unwise, nature of the City of Melbourne building regulations the construction of flat buildings in the city proper has been somewhat neglected. I have no doubt that our city fathers will soon realise that in this area our city is lacking in suitable flat accommodation and that the regulations will be brought into line with those which are operating in leading cities abroad.

In South Yarra, particularly in the area which comes within the jurisdiction of the City of Melbourne, many buildings which may be termed the “town-flat” type have been erected in recent years. These have been built close to the street boundary and in several instances consist of three or four storeys. They are quite appropriate to their surroundings and suit the requirements of their occupants in the matters of easy access to the city, comfort, and economy. These buildings are within close range of the shopping area of South Yarra, transport by tram or train, and the Botanical Gardens.

Also in this district are flats which provide accommodation for more affluent residents. One type which was erected recently contains an entrance hall, cloak, lounge and dining rooms, study, kitchen, service pantry, four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Such flats are being let at rentals of from eight to ten guineas weekly and are seldom untenanted.

A class of domestic building which is being erected in large numbers in suburban areas is the “maisonette,” a development of the ubiquitous brick pair. Investors in this type feel that whatever vogues for other classes of flats may come and go in the future, the demand for the “maisonette” or semi-detached house will remain. In South Yarra this class is being leased at rentals of up to seven guineas per week.

In Toorak is found a more spacious layout in regard to general planning and garden surroundings of flat buildings. This is due to the by-laws of the Prahran City Council which limit fiat buildings to two storeys in height except in rare cases. The result is that such buildings present the appearance of large houses and do not have the somewhat objectionable character of the tenement class.

Gowrie Court 716 Orrong Road Toorak VIC 3142
Gowrie Court 716 Orrong Road Toorak VIC 3142

Further, only four or five flats are contained in each building and, therefore, a resident may feel that he retains his individual character and close interest in his home. Each flat has a separate entrance and the occupier retains the psychology of home ownership.

Numerous flats of this description in Toorak contain entrance hall, lounge, dining room, two bedrooms, maid’s room and either one or two bathrooms. For such units situated in congenial surroundings weekly rentals of from four to five guineas are obtainable. In areas which are not so favourably situated flats containing less accommodation are obtaining rentals ranging from £2/10/- to £4 per week. In my opinion the height restriction imposed by the Prahran Council is wise and I feel should remain until and unless the stage is reached when higher buildings become necessary in order to enable the authorities to cope with the problem of housing the increasing population.

One virtue of the restriction which appeals to me particularly is that in designing buildings of this type one is enabled to employ a wide variety of expression, retaining throughout an appropriate domestic note. The English cottage and Elizabethan styles have been used, the Georgian period has been expressed and numbers of modern designs have been put into effect, most of them with marked success.

A feature which has been incorporated in the planning of most of these buildings is the separate entrance to each flat. In some types the entrances are grouped in pairs with an internal stair giving access to one flat on the ground floor and to another on the first floor. The entrances at the rear are provided with either an internal or an external staircase, boiler rooms, fuel storage, etc., being adjacent.

The plan usually employed for the better class of flat groups the service portion of the house in one section completely divided from the living and bedroom accommodation. Access from the kitchen to the entrance hall-and also to the dining room is planned by as short a route as possible.
In planning the general layout of a block of flats on a site in Melbourne one of the main considerations should be the provision of ample sunlight and air to all rooms. The best sites are those having an aspect to the north or to the east so that all rooms may have windows facing in either or both of those directions. The kitchen quarters should have one window facing to the south and another to the east in order to gain the morning sun in winter and ample air in summer.

Stonehaven Flats
Stonehaven Flats

Another important consideration in the preparation of the general plan should be the distance of the building from the street. This should be governed by the area of the proposed building in relation to that of the site. In outer suburban areas the building line is generally twenty or thirty feet back from the street line and as far away from the side boundaries as circumstances permit.

The plan should provide an outlook from each flat to the garden at the side or the front and the outlook should be so composed as not to be prejudiced by any later building erections on the adjoining allotments. This point is exceedingly important but often is overlooked.

Wisely many of our municipalities have provided regulations which require that every flat building shall have ample open space surrounding it. This provision is a very sensible one particularly from the points of view of health and the retention of property values. Although in some instances property owners are at a loss to understand this requirement it should be appreciated that if numbers of adjoining sites were permitted to be overcrowded with flat buildings their rental values would depreciate rapidly.

In Malvern—a fast growing suburb—the by-laws provide that no person is permitted to erect a building containing more than four flats on any one allotment. The minimum frontage of such sites is 70 ft. Thus the municipal council is jealously guarding the interests of property owners in that district by legislating against the erection of large blocks of flats. I have no doubt, however, that the gradual expansion of metropolitan Melbourne and the increase in its population will bring about an amendment of the regulations in the near future which will make it possible to erect a larger type of flat building in the outer suburbs.

Robert Hamilton History

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Robert Bell Hamilton milestones

Robert Bell Hamilton
Robert Bell Hamilton

Robert Bell Hamilton was born, then educated at Scotch College Heritage
Served in the 14th Battalion of the AIF during WW1.
Studied in London to become an associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects, remaining in London where he designed a housing scheme for the Slough City Council
Became assistant to the government architect in Bombay, India.
Melbourne Arts & Crafts architect, FL Klingender (formerly of Alsop & Klingender) formed a partnership with Hamilton, with Hamilton becoming the firm’s designer. Architects, RB Hamilton, H D Annear, P Meldrum, J Barlow, WAM Blackett, P Everett, AG Stephenson, L Irwin and JH Wardrop launched the periodical `Every man His Home’
Hamilton started his own practice, active until WW2 and sometimes in partnership with other architects such as Marcus Norris 1945 Robert Hamilton was elected MLA for Toorak. He was also a councillor for Mornington Shire when he died on 15 May 1948.


Mr. Robert Bell Hamilton, city architect, Liberal member for Toorak in the Legislative Assembly, and a member of Prahran city council and of Mornlngton shire council, died on Saturday in hospital at Mornlngton. He was in his 56th year.

  • Mr. Hamilton, who was born in Melbourne and educated at Scotch College, started practice as an architect soon after the first world war.
  • Elected to. Prahfan council in 1930, and to Mornlngton council in 1940, he was shire president in 1946. In 1945 he won the Toorak seat when he was- one oi six canaiaates, including the retiring Liberal member, Mr. Thonemann.
  • As an M.L.A. he acted as a temporary chairman of committees, and was a member of the Public Works committee.[4]


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    Journal of the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects: vol. 36 (1938)

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