Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lee Terrace - Life in the 1890s

This house, Waterloo, is part of a row of Italianate terraces in Avoca Street, South Yarra, which are each named after a battle. Together they form Lee Terrace, named after the architect and dating from 1890.  Waterloo is now for sale.

It has been modernised (bankerised even) by the current residents and now features a Moroccan style bathroom which I rather like, just because it is brave:

and rooms like this with perfect dark floorboards and great lighting:

and even a roof top deck and pool:

But in 1890 life would have moved at a different pace.

The bay side beaches would not have been particularly crowded, but still full of ladies in lace dresses or bathing suits, dipping their toes in the chilly water.  There would have been no syringes on the beach, or loud jet skis, or sun worshippers baking their skin.   Just the gentle lap of the tide and the sound of cockatoos in the background. 

(Rickett's Point by Charles Conder, 1890)

You would have attended the theatre on a regular basis.  Here, at the Theatre Royal, the pantomime 'Cinderella, Gold and Silver and the Little Glass Slipper' had a successful run in January of 1890, with actors specially imported from the UK:  

For the nanny to read to your children at night, you may have bought this little ABC and nursery rhyme book printed on linen:

If you were lucky enough to have servants, they would have shopped at the Fish Market in Flinders Street, brand new in 1890 and demolished in the 1970's:

And if you were very adventurous you may have ventured to Chinatown in Little Bourke Street, and seen something as exotic as this:

(Chinese figures in doorway including two children, c 1900 courtesy Museum of Chinese Australian History)

but best of all, a short stroll from Avoca Street, were the Royal Botanic Gardens, for picnicking, and sitting in a shady glen, and still the same today:

(Images: (1)-(4) Kay & Burton (5) National Gallery of Victoria (6) Theatre in Melbourne 1890 (7)  Brian Di Mambro Rare Books (8) Walking Melbourne (9) Chinese \ Australian Museum (10) Flickr


brismod said...

Look at the magnificance of the fish markets. I wonder why it was pulled down? And Waterloo is gorgeous - even that tuba looks perfectly at home in that space.

Jane said...

Well I don't know about Brisbane but I could do several posts about the many many 19th century buildings pulled down in the name of progress and probably disco in the 1970s. I think they need the space to build a rail bridge or something like that.

jules @ The Diversion Project said...

what a great post - love the history!

that house is gorgeous - those stairs??!! against the white, that is perfection.

Mise said...

It's quite a contrast, and yet that bankerised (what a fine word) house looks to me as though it will settle very nicely into history. If I lived there I'd wear a tiara all day, and especially in the bath, and try to live my live as slowly as the past you depict.

(I was v. amused by your hair up situation - I sometimes get that treatment when I don't wear blue.)

Tina said...

What a fabulous post as always Jane! Gorgeous home. The contrasts between past and present are really quite amazing in many, many ways! Getting back to that house, I love those dark timber floors... Hope you are having a lovely week ~ Tina x

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

Beautiful post, Jane. I find it tragic how Sydney demolished so many of its grand old buildings and beautiful old ladies to build horrid brick apartments. I sometimes think Sydney is the ugliest city in the world with its poor architecture. We lost so much. xx

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