18 Wood Street

18 Wood Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051
photo: June 2020

Also known as
Previous Address
Constructed 1978
Style Late twentieth century 1960 – 2000
Builder Rob Snashall

Timelapse Building Images


A glimpse of No 18 in 1975 showing the new back fence.

Rob Oke


The newly completed No 18 taken at the December 1978 street party

Rob Oke


Detail from circa 1965 photo showing vacant 18 Wood Street

Circa1965 photo showing vacant land

Land Details

The Hotham Hill land that became 18 Wood Street was part of the Compiled Town Record Plan section 85a allotment 4. It was purchased at auction on 28 December 1865 by Mr C Hill. The block had a  20ft (6.1m) frontage to Wood Street and a depth of 110ft (33.5m) to the now named Donovans Lane.

On 3 November 1919 the rear 24ft 6in was cut from the title. At this time a two story horse stables covered the rear of 18 and 20 Wood Street. The owner of both 18 and 20 then sold 18 Wood Street without the section covered by the stables.

Building Details

No Entries Found

Subsequent Building Alterations

No Entries Found

Architectural Features

    No Entries Found

Heritage Significance and Listings

Heritage Listings and Explanatory Notes

As a 1970`s building it does not have any heritage listings


From To Owner More Info Data Source
2 July 1868 25 May 1898 William Donovan Title
25 May 1898 17 February 1917 Estate of William Donovan Title
17 February 1917 3 November 1919 Charles Donovan Title
3 November 1919 2 February 1921 Ann and Patrick Fogarty Title
2 February 1921 27 August 1964 Mary Cronin Title
27 August 1964 30 April 1868 Marion Shortis Title
30 April 1968 28 April 1976 Housing Commission Title
28 April 1976 3 October 1984 Rob Snashall Title


From To Resident More Info Data Source
1868 1885 William and Susan Donovan and children Title,Sands and McDougall directory Wills
1890 Joseph Elis Sands and McDougall directory
1895 1900 Miss Mary Nicholson Sands and McDougall directory
1905 Charles Morgan Sands and McDougall directory
1910 Angus Dudley Sands and McDougall directory
1915 William Bateman Sands and McDougall directory
1925 1964 Denis and Mary Cronin Sands and McDougall directory

Social History

William Donovan purchased what was to become 18 Wood Street – the title was dated 2nd July 1868. He built a two room wooden house and moved in with his wife Susan. They were the second residents in the street. The Murphys at about No 2 were the first, paying rates in 1866.

Donovan started life in Wood Street as a labourer and soon became a carter with a single horse and dray. This business expanded and Donovan also became a property owner and developer He was a significant North Melbourne resident and his story can be found in the People section of Melbourne Streets.
In 1871 Donovan purchased the next door block (to become No 16) and stabled his horses in the area covering the back of both No’s 16 and 18.
The Donovan’s time at No 18, while one of growing prosperity, was a tragic one. Their four children died, three from typhoid fever in 1876. Then Susan died in 1884. By this time the No 18 house had been expanded to five rooms and Donovan had built the grand Erin House next door – a free standing double brick two story Victorian residence.
Donovan married Annie Hamilton in 1885 and they moved into Erin House. In 1885 Donovan also built thefour house, two story, Erin Terrace at 8 to 14 Wood Street.

The Residents section lists a number of tenants in period 1885 to 1921. The Cronin’s then purchased No 18 and lived there until 1964.

William Donovan still owned No 18 when he died in 1898 and he left it to one of his sons, Charles Donovan, but it was held in trust until he turned 25. He became the owner in 1917 and he sold in 1921. As detailed in the Land section, Charles had the rear part of the block covered by the two story horse stables cut from the No 18 title. Note that for many years the sewerage collectors had had access to the rear of No 18 via a 3 ft strip from Donovan’s Lane through No 16 next to the stables on the house side.

In 1921 Denis and Mary Cronin purchased No 18 and Mary was listed on the title as the owner. They had been married in 1915 and moved in with their four young children, Marion, John , Helen and Bernadette.

Denis is listed as having been a watchman. Marion married in 1942, Helen in 1943 and Bernadette in 1950. John served in the WW2 and lived with his parents until he died in 1951.

Denis died aged 92 in 1963. In May 1964 Mary was in the Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital when the Housing Commission made a Section 56 declaration stating the house was not fit for habitation and must with be demolished or repaired. Mary aged 89 died six weeks later.

One of Mary’s daughters, Marion Shortis became the owner in August 1964. The house was demolished and the Housing Commission order withdrawn in April 1965.

In 1968 the Housing Commission purchased the block from Marion. At the time the entire block on the south side of Wood Street had been compulsorily acquired by the Housing Commission, cleared and new apartments were being built. The reasons for the purchase are unknown. It is hard to believe they were thinking of demolishing the important Victorian streetscape on the north side.

In 1976 the Housing Commission sold the block through a public tender process. Rob and Liz Snashall became the new owners with Rob listed as the proprietor. Rob, a civil engineer designed and built the house which was completed in 1978. The family moved in and lived there until 1984. As noted in the general Wood Street story, it was Rob who in the early 1980s took the initiative and convinced the City of Melbourne to put garden beds in the street.

The next owner lived at NO 18 for most of the time until he sold in 1992. The new owners are still there.

The Age 14/11/1951

Context and Streetscape




Other Information


Copyright status: This work is in copyright.
Conditions of use: Use of this work allowed provided the creators name and Hotham History Project Inc are acknowledged.

If you or someone you know has any more to add either by old photos or stories of this area, please contact us today. Email info@hothamhistory.org.au