The Mont Albert District - a Pictorial History 1830 to 2013

Mont Albert Rd - the East End

Indigenous Heritage
Geology and Topography
Vegetation and Fauna
Climate and Hydrology
1840s to 1870s
1850s - Parish of Nunawading
1852 - Whitehorse Inn
1861 - Postal Services
1880s - Electricity Supply
1880s to 1920s
1882 - Phantom Railways to Doncaster
1883 - Residential Heritage Precinct
1884 - Broughton Park subdivsion
1884 - Brickworks
1885 - Surrey Hills district - map
1888 - Football Clubs
1889 - Gas Supply and Gasworks
1889 - Doncaster Electric Tramway and Tower
1890 - Mont Albert Railway Station
1892 - Surrey Hills Golf Club
1892 - Water Supply, Reservoirs and Sewerage
1899 - Telephone Services
1905 - The Surrey Dive
1907 - Scouts and Guides
1912 - Mont Albert Village Shopping Precinct
1914 - Mont Albert Progress Association
1916 - Californian Bungalows
1917 - Schools
1917 - Wattle Park
1924 - Early Shortwave Broadcasting from the Surrey Hills district
1924 - Black's Estate
1925 - Bus Services
1929 - Tramways
1930 - Cricket Clubs in Mont Albert
1930s - Balwyn - Beckett Park Bonfires and Wildlife Sanctuary
1948 - Grange Tennis Courts
1957 - Pioneer Park
1961 - Surrey Hills Communications Tower
1981 - Box Hill Miniature Railway
Koonung Creek Parklands
Heritage Notes
Mont Albert Road - Early History
Mont Albert Rd - the East End
Elgar Rd - north and south of Mont Albert Rd
Mont Albert Rd - View St to Elgar Rd
Bushland Reserves
Service Associations
Sporting Clubs
Box Hill Institute of TAFE
Walking Trails
The Author's Websites
References and Acknowledgements

2013 - east end of Mont Albert Rd - looking west

1908 - view of Surrey Hills district

This Chapter looks at the early development of the eastern section of Mont Albert Rd, between the Railway Line and Elgar Rds.
The main reason for examining this area is simply because the author has lived in this strip since 1959, and has discovered many interesting features from interviews with past and present residents!

The opening of Mont Albert Station in 1890 heralded large-scale  building of residential properties centred along the eastern section of Mont Albert Rd and adjacent streets, starting at the railway line.
Across Surrey Hills, several Estates and large property holdings were subdivided to make way for what were advertised as "Beautiful Villa Allotments with Views to the Mountains".
Housing development was supported by the opening of the first stores in the Mont Albert shopping centre, appearing in the mid-1910s - the first shops in Hamilton St were at no. 3 (1900), no.5 (1912), and no. 9 (Nelson's Laundry, 1912). Two other shops had started in 1913 at nos. 17 and 19, next to the station.


Most of the Surrey Hills district had been surveyed by 1880, and streets had been laid out, in preparation for the anticipated large-scale subdivision and residential development when the Railway was opened in 1882.

Streets and individual properties were generally one chain (62 feet) in width. Depths varied, and blocks up to 500 ft depth were not unusual.

The Government regularized residential block sizes in the 1880s, when the concept of the "quarter acre block" was introduced across Melbourne.

Most properties had "night clearance" laneways running along the back. Many of these are now Heritage Places, some built from bluestone.  Some are now "walkways". In the East End, one of the longest surviving laneways runs between Mont Albert Rd and Windsor Crescent, behind View St, next to no. 402.
Inu the Whitehorse district, many streets are named after English Counties, and include Essex, Surrey and  Devon. There are many streets named after British Queens, Kings, Dignitaries, Statesmen, the Clergy. and Prime Ministers, such as Windsor, Charles, Gladstone, St George's, Balmoral, Albert, St John's and St James,
Another group of streets are named after English trees - Elm, Pine. Beech, Oak and Chestnut.
In common with other municipalities across Melbourne, changes to street names were commonplace in the early 1900s, and new streets were built. Many of the original names set out in the early planning schemes were abandoned.
Proposals for changes of names were often submitted by landowners to the Councils for endorsement.
In the area around eastern end of Mont Albert Rd, name changes included:
Churchill Grange - running between Mont Albert Rd and Windsor Crescent - renamed in 1917 to Grange St.

Pine St - running between Mont Albert Rd and Windsor Crescent - this was renamed to View St in 1917, to link up with  the existing View St running between Mont Albert Rd and Serpentine St

Rowland St - this was a new street, running north from Mont Albert Rd to Serpentine St, built in 1922, when the Black's Estate was being subdivided.
Mont Albert Rd Extension - this was built in the 1930s and ended at the western boundary of the Brickworks. Early maps of the 1880s show Mont Albert Rd continuing easterly on land which would become the future brickworks area to Thurston St, then in a curve to Carrington Rd, near the Box Hill station railway yards.
Windsor Crescent. The eastern section of Windsor Crescent, extending from St Georges Avenue to Elgar Rd was originally known as Station Rd, and renamed in 1917.
Laurencia Court. This is a "stub" street off the north side of Mont Albert Rd. It was built in 1968 on the site of a demolished house numbered no. 437. Now, there is no "number 437"!
Streeton Court. This is another "stub" street, off the south side of Mont Albert Rd, built in 1968, on land which was originally no. 420, the site of a demolished house
George St. This was renamed to Gladstone St post-1922
The beautiful trees which now line the eastern end of Mont Albert Rd were planted in 1936. Trees in the streets surrounding Surrey Hills station were planted in the early 1900s, as an initiative of the Surrey Hills Progress Association.

2013 - "Lugano"

1893 - 'Lugano"

1887 - St George's Church

In 1886, the Surrey Hills/Mont Albert locality was mostly bushland, with muddy tracks. Most of the natural forest had been cut down and cleared from the 1850s.
South Side
The first structure on the south side was the Surrey Hills Anglican Church, built in 1886 - in 1908 it became Holy Trinity Surrey Hills, and subsequently St George's Anglican Church.  It was sold in the 1990s and was refurbished and converted into apartment units. 

The first residential houses in the strip were built in the 1890s. Only one survives, known as "Lugano", at 224 Mont Albert Rd. This is a prominent double storey mansion, on a large block, built in 1893, with a tennis court. Other houses in adjacent streets appeared in the same era. 

North Side
In 1910, only three houses existed between Salisbury Avenue and Elgar Rd.
In the 1880s, prior to subdivision, vacant land north of Mont Albert Rd, extending from Elgar Rd in the east to the railway reservation was owned by the Surrey Hills Investment Company.
The last large subdivision of vacant land on the eastern part of Mont Albert Rd was in 1915, when the strip between Rowland St and Elgar Rd, and Rowland St itself, were auctioned
At 12 Stanhope St. off Mont Albert Rd, there is an elegant two-storey property recorded by the National Trust, known originally as "Elourea", then "Lydswood", built in 1892.
Whilst not within the primary study area, it is worth noting that the first structure west of the railway line on the north side of Mont Albert Rd was the Holy Redeemer Church, built in 1902, at no 311, and survives to this day.
The present house numbering scheme on the strip started in 1927.

Prior to then, house numbers started at Union Rd. Numbers on the south side were from 2 to 98, and on the north side from 1 to 99,

House numbers on the western side from Burke Rd to Union Rd, were from no. 1 to no. 299, and located in Camberwell, Canterbury, Balwyn and Surrey Hills.

In 1927, numbers were changed, and followed the sequence 310 to 422 (south side) and 299 to 443 (north side)
It is unknown as to why the numbering ceased at Union Rd, perhaps associated with the establishment of Box Hill as a city in 1926.

c1900 - Holy Redeemer Church

1892 - "Elouera" ("Lydswood")

2013 - "Lydswood"

2013 - 1880s house at 53 Windsor Crescent

Ghost Streets
The MMBW sewerage plan of 1910 shows two "Ghost" streets"" running between Mont Albert Rd and Blenheim Ave. These were laid out and designated John, and William Sts, but were never constructed. John St was planned on land which was located at the site of present-day no 406, opposite what would become Rowland St.  William St was to be on land which became present-day no. 420, and later it became Streeton Court in 1968.
The land bordered by View St, Mont Albert Rd, Elgar Rd and Windsor Crescent was part of the large WIndsor Park Estate.
The land between present-day Mont Albert Rd, View St, Elgar Rd, and Blenheim Ave was owned by a Mr Magine, according to an 1880s map of the district. 
Around 1900, a blacksmith operated from the cnr of Mont Albert Rd and Leopold Crescent. This later became a woodyard, and then Leo Green took it over in the early 1950s when it became a car service workshop and petrol station. 
This survived into the 1980s when the property was sold for new apartments.
State Savings Bank
This began in 1930 opposite the Hamillton St shopping strip. It ceased in the 1990s and the building was refurbished as residential apartments.

Mont Albert Veterinary Surgery
This started in 1924 from 443 Mont Albert Rd, and survives to the present day from the same location.

Black's Dairy
This operated from the early 1900s until 1926, from open paddocks behind what is now 425 Mont Albert Rd on the north side, near Rowland St, and became a property within Black's Estate.
As most transport of the day was horse drawn, chaff, the basic constituent of horse feed, was an important commodity. The Murphy Hay and Corn Store in Burwood Rd, Auburn, drew readily on its country connections for this and other supplies.

Soon it was supplying chaff to many of the dairy cart-horses in the area like Balloch's bakery and, beyond to 'country' areas like Mont Albert and Box Hill where Black's Dairy was one of Murphy's best customers.

It took a whole day to take a load of chaff (about 40 bags) to Box Hill and to come back.
Black's Dairy had a herd of cows in paddocks, and delivered milk across the Surrey Hills district. .

1917 - advert for National Poutry Farm - 106 (412) Mont Albert Rd

National Poultry Farm - 412 Mont Albert Rd (old number 106)
This enterprise started in 1917 and operated under the management of Mr. Hickey, formerly AIF, until closure in 1919. It advertised every week in the Box Hill Reporter.
Dog Sales - 433 Mont Albert Rd
This was a thriving business selling various varieties of dogs and puppies and operated  from 1936 until its closure in 1947.

1941 - advert for fox terriers, 433 Mont Albert Rd

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