|Also known as|
|Constructed||(1st) 22/4/1867. (2nd) after 1924|
|Style||Inter-War Period : 1915 – 1940|
|Builder||(1st) William Chrystal. (2nd) unknown|
Timelapse Building Images
The cut off house to the left side is 107 Hawke Street.
This image is part of the Hotham History Project Image Collection and it was donated by David Evans via Evan Hughes (grandson of John Jones) in 2022.
image source: Hotham History Project Image Collection
Notice of intent to build.
Street: Hawke [street] below Spencer Street
Owner: Mrs. Meres [Mears]
Builder: William Chrystal
Type: 4 room cottage, [with a private back yard garden]
William Chrystal lived on Victoria Street West Melbourne between Abbotsford and Lothian Street. He was a successful master builder in Melbourne, his other work can be seen below.
|71108||Gillies,-||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William||1860 08 4||441|
|71872||Donald, –||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – Melbourne||1862 03 11||93|
|72123||Mundy, Charles||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William||1862 08 20||316|
|71876||Chrystal, William – 136 Victoria St||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William||1862 11 24||455|
|77478||Scott, –||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – Melbourne||1863 01 21||31|
|72126||Young, James||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – Melbourne||1863 11 12||408|
|74779||Paton, Andrew||Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – Melbourne||1864 06 15||311|
|72131||Gillies, William||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – Melbourne||1864 11 2||542|
|77485||Taylor, James||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – Melbourne||1864 12 6||600|
|71885||Chrystal, William – Melbourne||West Melbourne||VIC||Factories||Chrystal, William –||1865 08 1||1001|
|72246||Grearson, Mrs||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – Melbourne||1866 01 31||1306|
|71689||Rose, James||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – Melbounre||1866 09 19||1662|
|72635||McLellan,-||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – Melbourn e||1866 10 9||1699|
|77279||Meres, Mrs||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – Melbourne||1867 04 22||2010|
|77280||James, G||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – Melbourne||1867 05 30||2081|
|77281||James, John||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – Melbourne||1867 10 22||2274|
|74225||Mc Dowell, John||Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – Melbourne||1868 05 14||2624|
|85974||Yeaman, John||Fitzroy||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – 136 Victoria St West Melbourne||1869 06 18||3298|
|71896||Stooks, George||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – 136 Victoria St||1869 12 7||3607|
|75118||Turner, James & Son||Melbourne||VIC||Shops||Chrystal, William – Mebourne||1870 01 31||3698|
|77293||McLellan, Robert||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – Melbourne||1870 02 10||3725|
|77300||Benbow, William||West Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William – Melbourne||1871 07 5||4469|
|81211||Condell, W Vallance||East Melbourne||VIC||Houses||Chrystal, William||1872 11 19||5138|
|76282||Condell, W V||Melbourne||VIC||Warehouses||Chrystal, William – Melbourne||1873 05 29||5411|
|73225||Turner, James & Son||Melbourne||VIC||Warehouses||Chrystal, William – 136 Victoria St W||1873 12 5||5691|
|13837||Hudson & Wardrop||Yeaman, John||VIC||Funerary; Garden & Street Architecture||Chrystal, William – 136 Victoria St West Melbourne||1927 11 11||3298|
source 1 http://maps.melbourne.vic.gov.au / source 2 https://www.mileslewis.net/australian-architectural
Subsequent Building Alterations
The 1867 Victorian period style double fronted family home with substantially large back yard garden that once existed on this site was demolished around 1924 and replaced by the current 3 storey brick factory on the site today.
1924 Sands & McDougall Dir
Heritage Significance and Listings
|Heritage Listings and Explanatory Notes|
|From||To||Owner||More Info||Data Source|
|to date||Private||source: Hatcher Index|
|Mr. James Hemphill, first Crown land purchaser||source: Hatcher Index|
|abt 40 thousand years earlier||1835||Boon Wurrung and Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri) peoples of the Kulin Nation||https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Victoria||source: Hatcher Index|
|From||To||Resident||More Info||Data Source|
|to date||Private||source Hatcher Index|
|1974||1974||Tarpaulin Hire, DCH Central Engnrnh, Diamond Hardware Agncs, Ritter General Electric P/L||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
|1970||1970||Tarpaulin Hire, Diamond Hardware, Ritter General Electric||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
|1965||1965||Clementson Hardware, Hygienic Baby Carrages, Ritter General Electric||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
|1960||1960||Hygienic Baby Carrages, Hygenic Wheel Co, Craftsman Metal Products, Hy-steel Products||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
|1955||1955||Hygienic Baby Carrages, Hygenic Wheel Co, Lucks Metal Products, Hy-steel Products||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
|1950||1950||Hygienic Baby Carrages, Western Securities, Luck’s Metal Products, Gairn Confr manufacturing||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
|1945||1945||Hygienic Baby Carrages, Western Securities, Luck’s Metal Products||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
|1940||1940||Hygienic Baby Carrages, Western Securities, E. R. Hawksworth nedlework manufacturers||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
|1935||1935||Hygienic Baby Carrages||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
|1930||1930||Hygienic Baby Carrages||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
|1928||1928||T. Evans Paint Manufacturer, Hygiene Baby Carrages||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
|1924||1927||Widdis Diamond Dry Cells Co. P/L||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
|1903||1923||Miss. Sarah Mears||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
|1890||1902||Mrs. Jane Dyer, nee Mears, nee Reed||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
|1881||1889||James Mears||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
|1869||1880||Robert Mears||source: Sands & McDougall directory, transcribed by Stephen Hatcher|
Wireless Weekly Nov 13, 1931 Page 44
THE DIAMOND DRY CELL FACTORY
WHILE on a recent holiday in Melbourne we had the pleasure of inspecting the factories of the Widdis Diamond Dry Cells Pty., Ltd Company. In all, there are four separate factories. The first is reserved for the purpose of crushing the carbon, manganese, and other raw products which are used in the construction of the batteries. The second factory is reserved for the construction of zinc containers and the assembly of certain types of cells. The third factory is really one of the most active and is mainly concerned in turning out what we call “A” cells.
At this factory we had the pleasure of seeing the whole process of the manufacture of a high-amperage cell. First the zinc is cut to size, then wrapped into a tube then soldered down the seam and the bottom fitted, all by automatic machinery. The mechanical soldering device which runs the soldering iron down the seam, feeds in the solder and flux, and then completes the soldering, is one of the most ingenious devices we have ever seen. The fourth factory is the general factory for radio batteries, and here again we were treated to watching some remarkable machinery in operation.
One machine automatically caps the carbon rod, wraps the cloth around the composition. and ties it up with string. A little farther along this assembly line we find a machine for putting the “milk” into the cells. There are one hundred cells on a single tray, and whilst the carrier pauses for a second, they each receive exactly the right amount of electrolyte.
Farther along the same assembly line there another soldering machine, which puts a lead on to the side of each cell, as it passes along the line, without stopping. The wire is then cut to the right length and folded over so that it will be in the correct position when the cells are assembled in the “B” battery case.
We could go on for hours describing the vast amount of machinery and ingenious work that it does. In one corner of this huge factory there are the machine shops, where the machinery is built and repaired.
On account of the acids in the atmosphere of the factory, the machines are constantly being eaten away, and seven fully qualified mechanical engineers are constantly engaged in the work of building new equipment to replace that in use.
In this machine shop we enjoyed watching an automatic lathe turning out small work at. a terrific rate. Altogether, in the machine shop there must be something like half a dozen lathes and several drills, grinders, etc.
The remarkable growth of the Diamond factory was most impressive to us. as we can readily recollect going over the original Diamond factory about nine or ten years ago.
That the present factory grew from such a small beginning gives us great confidence in the future of Australian industry and Australian products.
image source: Wireless Weekly Nov 13, 1931 Page 44, Trove – National Library of Australia
DIAMOND DRY CELLS.
Great Industry Born of the War.
Early in 1915, Mr. Charles A. Widdis, a well-known Victorian business man, decided that he would endeavour to fill the pressing needs for local production of primary cells and batteries. He rented a small factory in Windsor, just outside Melbourne, where, in cooperation with a few loyal and willing workers, he set out to capture the dry battery trade as it affected Australia; and there amid humble surroundings and at a period of the war when the outlook seemed blackest for the British Empire, the Diamond Dry Cell was brought into being.
A Melbourne firm of motor accessory merchants, alive to the possibilities of a locally-made cell, approached one of the Government departments and was successful in securing a small trial order, which in turn was passed on to Mr. Widdis.
This was the first business obtained by the firm, and although the results of the various stringent tests made by the officers of the Postmaster-General’s Department, and the subsequent ‘proof of the pudding’ were absolutely satisfactory, the public still walked warily, being hard to convince that Australia could manufacture dry cells efficiently. Diamond products, however, made good and further small orders, first of 500, and after in slightly greater numbers, were received from the Government departments, until the general excellence of the Diamond products under all conditions gave the consumers’ confidence. The people at the factory then realised that they had won for their goods a reputation equal to the best enjoyed by foreign competitors.
When the Widdis Diamond Dry Cell Pty. Ltd., was floated those responsible were strong in the knowledge that what they had done in the past would stand to them in the future, and that the Diamond Dry Cells had justified in full the time, energy and money expended on them.
The factory, which until now rented, was purchased by Mr. C. A. Widdis, and in 1919 acquired by the company. Such has been the subsequent progress that the accommodation is now far too limited, and plans and specifications have been prepared for the erection of a large factory on land already purchased within the area of the City of Melbourne.
The company was registered in March 1920.
In 1926 they built a factory in Hawke Street, West Melbourne. The building was later known as the Mighty Apollo Building when used as Gym from 1952 till 1992.
In 1931 they expanded the Melbourne factory and established a factory in Sydney.
During 1935 they developed a process, designated P-5 in which each individual cell in a battery was insulated from its neighbours. This was achieved by sliding a spiral wound cardboard tube over the zinc outer casing and insulating the bottom of the cell with a washer. This, the company claimed prevented element leakage and consequently no premature decay in battery life.
Batteries incorporating this feature had the P5 label displayed on each end.
By the early 1950’s the company became a subsidiary of Eveready (Australia) Pty. Ltd.
 The Age (VIC) Mar 17, 1920, Page 11.
 The Argus (VIC), Apr 12, 1922, page 3.
 Radio Trade Annual, 1933, page 20.
 The Bulletin Aug 7, 1935, page 32.
 The West Australian (WA) May 22, 1951, Page 11.
This image of Sarah Ann Bowser Mears is part of the Hotham History Project Image Collection and it was donated by David Evans via Evan Hughes (grandson of John Jones) in 2022.
Photograph of Miss Sarah Ann Bowser Meers [Mears] (1857-1933) of 109 Hawke Street, West Melbourne circa 1900s.
Sarah Ann Bowser Mears was the daughter of John and Jane Mears nee Reed, born Melbourne in 1857, a granddaughter of Robert Reed and Sarah Ann Bowser of Lincolnshire, she later retired to Elsternwick and passed away in 1933.
Sister of Harriett Rodgerson, nee Mears of East Malvern, Ruth Smith, nee Mears (1865-1933) of Rushworth, and Charles Edward Mears (1870-1954) of Glenhuntley.
Source: The Argus, 13/12/1933 page 1, Family Notices
image source: Hotham History Project Image Collection
Context and Streetscape
This property sits within the municipality of the City of Melbourne. We respectfully acknowledge it is on the traditional land of the Kulin Nation.
This information must be verified with the relevant planning or heritage authority.
Hawke Street and the surrounding streetscapes in part, were indirectly influenced by news about the discovery of Gold by Dunlop and Regan in Victoria at Poverty Point, Ballarat in 1851. News of that find led to a great influx of migrants arriving in old Melbourne, seeking fortune and a better life, but housing in old Melbourne was in short supply. The sheer volume of arrivals led to pressure on authorities to expand the size of the colonial settlement, described by Albert Mattingley in his recollections of The Early History of North Melbourne, in 1916.
In 1852, government surveyor Charles Laing’s ‘Plan of the City of Melbourne and its Extension Northwards’ helped alleviate dramatically the pressure for more housing.
Vacant building allotments were pegged, surveyed, and allocated for sale towards the north, on La-Trobe, Adderley, Jeffcott, Spencer, Batman, King, Dudley, Rosslyn, Stanley, Roden and Hawke Street. Blocks of land were auctioned, with Hawke Street land first offered for sale in May, 1853.
By October 1853, W.M. Tennent wrote in the Argus newspaper:
“Hawke Street is most desirably situated, is in a most healthy and elevated position and commands extensive views of the shipping in the bay and of all surrounding districts”
The race to be the first to have an influence on Hawke streetscape was won in July 1853 by Scotsman, Colin Campbell, who created two stone and brick rendered dwellings and a timber workshop at 19, 21 and 23 Hawke. He was quickly followed a week later by Thomas Stevens who built four wooden cottages on the corner of Hawke and King Streets. Steven’s wooden dwellings were later replaced in 1920 by S. J. Marshall’s architect- designed pharmaceutical laboratory while Campbell’s buildings were demolished in 1972 when the three-storey red brick Miami hotel was created in their place.
In the 1890s, the Hawke residential streetscape began to slowly change with the introduction of industry. The largest of the early industrial buildings that had moved out of Melbourne’s CBD, made its new home on the corner of Hawke and Adderley Streets. It was designed by architects Oakden, Addison & Kemp and built in 1889 by John Dunton for Brisco & Co. who were cast iron merchants of Elizabeth Street Melbourne.
At the most southern end, an 1868 resident and engineer, Gideon James, and his wife Catherine, once lived at 207 Hawke while Gideon operated the Avon Tool Works business located next door at 199 Hawke until 1909. Their double- fronted Victorian home and garden and nearby workshop both were demolished in the 1920s and replaced by a two-storey red brick industrial building that has since been converted into 12 townhouses.
The southern end of the Hawke streetscape in the late 1860s was also home to a handful of important greengrocer and butcher shops. Among their owners were names such as James Ibbetson, William Wood, and Mrs. Mary Ann Smith.
In 1881, the streetscape continued to change with the arrival of Miss. J. Hutchinson’s mantle & underclothing factory at 96 Hawke, and Francis Gillman, who lived and operated a boot factory at 62 Hawke. The streetscape continued evolving when both Victorian period homes and workshops were demolished and replaced Number 96 is now a park and number 62 is a modern red and cream brick construction built in the 1980s.
Following World War Two, the Hawke streetscape received a rush of extra industrial buildings, from the Spencer Street corner southwards. These factories made all manner of items from electric batteries to spark plugs and baby carriages, marketed nationwide.
In 1895, the street contained 89 Victorian era dwellings. Seven Federation dwellings followed soon after. As of 2022, Hawke Street has lost 43 heritage dwellings, removed from its streetscape forever.
Without stronger heritage protection laws, by the year 2150, the number of heritage dwellings in this streetscape potentially could face total obliteration.
The remaining historic dwellings on Hawke Street are important to the area because they are socially and historically significant buildings that retain private back yard gardens and they relate directly to the early development of West Melbourne.
The Hawke streetscape today contains a collection of outstanding Victorian and Federation dwellings, which are a particularly well-preserved group from important architectural periods in time. These dwellings are interspersed by some industrial buildings, with two early hotels predominantly on the southern side south of the Hawke and Spencer Street intersection.
The North and West Melbourne Precinct is of historical, social, and aesthetic/architectural significance to the local residents and to the City of Melbourne. It is of historical significance, as a predominantly Victorian-era precinct associated with the nineteenth century growth of Melbourne to its north and west.
The residents living in the heritage dwellings along the streetscape are impacted by a push to increase residential density through conversions of the two to three storey red brick industrial buildings into six to eight story blocks of flats, blocks that offer little or no onsite car parking or onsite garden space.
It is imperative existing heritage regulations within the wider built environment be strengthened and laws be strictly followed. All development that occurs in future on Hawke Street ought to be architecturally respectful of the existing style, low scale heights and the hand-crafted materials utilised in keeping with the historic style.
Some might say the residents of Hawke Street and the surrounding streets of greater Melbourne owe a debt of gratitude to the wise Victorian settlers who created the beautiful terrace homes found along these streetscapes of today.
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