2 Wood Street

2 Wood Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051
Rob Oke

Also known as
Previous Address

Timelapse Building Images


detail from aerial photo

Land Details

  1. Title 1899
  2. MMBW Melbourne Map 1897

On 28 December 1865 Hugh Peck bought at action a Wood Street town allotment that extended to Canning Street. He subdivided this into five blocks, two which were to become No 2, two which were to become Nos 4 and 6 and one a huge block at the back stretching to Canning Street. These were progressively sold off.

In 1880 Bernard amalgamated the two No 2 titles and the No 4 title into one title and sold to a building investment society. They later separated this title into the No’s 2 and 4 titles we have today

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


From To Owner More Info Data Source
28 December 1865 20 July 1866 Hugh Peck Title
20 July 1866 2 April 1875 Ann Murphy Title
2 April 1875 13 January Brendan Murphy Title
13 January 1880 9 October 1899 The Victorian Permanent Property,Building and Investment Society Title
9 October 1899 21 January 1901 William Howie Title
26 September 1923 8 May 1926 Grace Bridget Gilfedder (formerly Donovan) Title
21 January 1901 26 September 1923 Annie Donovan Title
8 May 1926 15 June 1965 William James Donovan Title
15 June 1965 7 July 1972 Sofia Bucchari Title
7 July 1972 26 August 1976 Jack and Avvonne Segal Title
26 August 1976 6 October 1977 Allyson Gaye Segal Title
6 October 1977 26 October 1983 Jack and Gwendoline Millott Title
26 October 1983 26 February 1985 Ray and Penny Bassett Title
26 Febuary 1985 28 March 2001 Jenny Lee Ng Title
28 March 2001 current Current owners Title


From To Resident More Info Data Source
1866 1870 Ann Murphy, Brendan Murphy Rates book
1875,1880 John and Ann Summers Sands and McDougall directory
1885 Patrick McCormick Sands and McDougall directory
1890,1895, 1900 James Cole Sands and McDoug all directory. Newspaper item
1900 William Howie Sands and McDougall directory
1905 Wiliam Higgins Sands and McDougall directory
1910 Patrick Wittenberg Sands and McDougall directory
1915,1920 James Horrocks Sands and McDougall directory
1925 Elizabeth Rexter Sands and McDougall directory
1930,1935 Edward Griffin Sands and McDougall directory
1940,1945,1950 Archibald Potter Sands and McDougall directory
1955 K Siliprandi Sands and McDougall directory
1960 R Palala Sands and McDougall directory
1965 R Altoniore Sands and McDougall directory
1970 1985 Vacant Sands and McDougall directory
1986 2001 unknown
2001 current Current owners

Social History

Hugh Peck, a land developer created two separate titles for what was to become No 2 Wood Street. The block with the Wood Street frontage and a depth of about 50 ft was the first in Wood Street to be sold. It was bought on 20 July 1866 by Ann Murphy.

Ann was born in County Cavan Irelandin in 1811 to Thomas and Catherine Brady. She married Bernard Murphy in about 1840 and they had four daughters and two sons. Bernard died in Ireland and Ann in February 1865  left for Australia with two daughters and two sons arriving in Melbourne  on 30 May 1865.The two oldest daughters stayed behind, but not long after also came to Melbourne.

Ann had a two room wooden cottage built on No 2. Some children lived with her including her son Bernard, described as a labourer. He married Grace O’Brien in 1873 and they moved to a single fronted brick cottage in Abbotsford Street near  O’Shannasy Street. One of Ann’s daughters, also Ann, married John Summers in Melbourne in 1869. Ann senior moved in with Bernard. Ann and John then rented No 2 from her at 11 shillings per week.

The mid 1870s were a tragic time for the Murphy and Summers families. Ann Murphy’s eldest daughter Rosannah had come later to Melbourne and died in 1874 at an address “off Wood Street”. About this time Ann senior’s son Thomas also died.

Then Ann senior died  in February 1975. She signed her will with her mark and was described as a “markswoman who could not write”. Her estate was almost entirely No 2 which was valued at 170 pounds. To her three living daughters she left a few pounds and the remainder to Bernard.

Ann and John had seven children, but five of them died under two years. Then Ann Summers died in 1881. Similar tragic deaths occurred about this time in Nos 18 and 20 Wood Street.

Ann Murphy’s daughter Catherine married in 1876 and had three children. Ann’s remaining daughter Mary was a domestic servant. She never married, had a child who died aged one in 1881 and died of tuberculosis in 1888.

Bernard , described as a labourer, used his inheritance to lease and become the licencee of the New Constitution Hotel in Lothian Street. He took it on in 1878. In 1880 he amalgamated the three titles associated with No’s 2 and 4 and on sold them to a building investment society.

He left the hotel in 1894 and lived in Haines Street before moving to Richmond. He and Grace had seven children.

The No 2 house as seen in the MMBW Drainage 1890 map had been enlarged to four rooms and a shed was built on the extra land, probably by the building investment society .

A Patrick McCormick rented No 2 in the mid 1880s.

James and Matilda Cole rented No 2 in the late 1880s and 1990s. James was a bottle merchant with his bottle yard in the block opposite the house with the entry at 64 Haines Street.

James features twice in Trove digital newspapers while at No 2. In October 1990 The Herald reported that he had found and handed into Russell Street police barracks a pair of new unpainted buggy shafts. And in July 1897 he was reported to have applied for “ An improved tin opener” patent. Matilda died in 1901 soon after she and James had moved around the corner to 157 Abbotsford Street. James married twice more.

In 1901 No 2 was purchased by Annie Donovan from William Howie who two years early had purchased it from building investment society. The Donovan story is written up in the “People” section. William Donovan died suddenly in 1898. At the time he was a wholesale and retail butcher in the Donovan Building on the corner of Wood Street across the lane from No 2 and living at No 16 Wood Street. In 1866 he was the second resident of Wood Street at what was to become No 18.

As explained in the “ People” entry, Annie did not do well in William’s will but could stay at No 16 for three years. It is not known whether she moved briefly into No 2 or if it was always an investment. On her death in 1923 the house was bequeathed to her daughter Grace and three years later it was sold to her brother William James Donovan. William had done well out of his father’s will and had become a sharebroker.

It was still William’s property when he died in 1965. The house had been allowed to deteriorate and in September 1964 the Housing Commission placed on the property a Section 56 “unfit for habitation” order on it requiring repair or demolition. It was demolished. The now  vacant block had a number of owners from 1965 to 1985. One owner’s plans for a new house were objected to by neighbours, particularly because of the building footprint and facade. There was a VCAT hearing and in the end building did not proceed.

The current two story house was built about 1986.

Ancestry tree Bernard Murphy circa 1865

Context and Streetscape




Other Information


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