461 Victoria Street

461 Victoria Street
West Melbourne VIC 3003
Rob Oke May 2021

Also known as Maison du Soleil Source: Painted on building facade
Previous Address 140 Victoria Street Source: S&M
Constructed Circa 1860
Style Victorian, Mid: 1860-1875
Builder Possibly William Crystal

Timelapse Building Images


Showing the unusual Edwardian two story extension to No 461 and it’s pair.

Rob Oke

Land Details

List of Images

1. Extract of map of Crown allotments sold around 1858

2.  Extract of 1921 title

3. Extract of Kearney’s 1866 Melbourne Map

4. Extract of Kearney’s 1855 Melbourne Map


The land on either side of Victoria Street west of Abbotsford Street was sold at a Government Lands Sale, probably in 1858. Allotment 2 in Section Y was 66 feet from Abbotsford Street on the south side. This land was purchased by William Crystal and he sold the western half to William Watson in 1860 – it had a 33 feet frontage and a 112 feet depth to a lane. Watson had two cottages built which became 140 and 142 Victoria Steet in about 1870 and 461 and 463 in about 1880. The Torrens title for 461  attached was created in 1921 and shows a 16 ft 7 in frontage. This title was based on historical papers which can be accessed at PROV.

Building Details

  • Originally a three room solid brick cottage. One of a pair with No 463 and adjoining another brick pair built by William Crystal in 1862: No’s 457 and 459. By 1864 a workshop opening on to the back lane had been added.

Rates, Cox’s 1864 map

Subsequent Building Alterations

A two story addition built behind the front rooms of the cottage pair is said by the heritage staff at the City of Melbourne to be a rare example of an Edwardian extension to an early Victorian building. The Edwardian period was 1901 to the outbrake of WW1. – to be added to)

Architectural Features

  • Hotham HistoryProject

Heritage Significance and Listings

Heritage Listings and Explanatory Notes

461 Victoria Street was built circa 1860 and is a representative sample of the early Victorian  architectural  style. Because of this researcher Graeme Butler rates the building`s significance as “D”. It is also in a significant streetscape of seven circa 1860s houses, two built with bluestone. Butler rates the streetscape as Level 2. See extract from West Melbourne Historical Index 2016.

Recent photos of architectural features of 461`s cottage pair can be seen in the 463 Victoria Street listing.


From To Owner More Info Data Source
1830`s A clan of the Kulin nation
Circa 1858 2 May 1859 William Crystal and Charles Munday Deed of Sale 19 April 1859
May 1859 October 1896 William Watson Will of William Watson
October 1896 August 1911 Isobelle Watson ( W Watson’s estate) Will W Watson
August 1911 July 1913 Estate of William Watson Property title 1921
July 1913 April 1921 Margaret McNair (widow) Title
April 1921 17/09/1935 Caroline Williams (widow) Title
17/09/1935 18/02/1954. Robert Williams (motor engineer) Title
18/02/54 13/03/1963 Pietra Gouda Title
13/03/63 01/04/1974 Ludovic (labourer) and Arcangela Soccio Title
01/04/74 15/09/1980 A (plumber) & L Arceri and R (estate agent) & L Nardella Title
15/09/1980 25/08/2005 R & L Nardella Title
25/08/2005 15/06/2016 Laura Nardella (widow) Title
15/06/2016 Private Title


From To Resident More Info Data Source
Circa 1860 1864 William and Mary Ann Watson and two children Various
1864 1868 William Watson and children Various
1868 1896 William Watson, Isobelle Watson and two children Various
1896 1911 Isabella Watson S & M
1912 1921 John T O’Donnell S & M
1922 1923 Charles Ludwick S & M
1925 1926 Mrs C Williams S & M
1926 1931 Mrs W Harrington S & M
1932 1934 William Nagel S & M
1935 1936 Mrs Georgia Hogan S & M
1937 1937 William Nagel S & M
1938 1956 Ernest J Crouch S & M
1956 1962 Pietra Guida S & M
1963 1968 Ludovic Soccio S & M
1969 1974 G Mollica S & M

Social History

In 1851, only 26 years after European settlement of Melbourne the massive Benevolent Asylum was built on  the 10 acre block bounded by Abbotsford, Elm, Curzon and Miller Streets. The Aboriginal owners had been dispossessed and the rolling green countryside was being used for grazing. The Asylum straddled Victoria Street. The western section of Victoria Street fell away steeply to Batman Swamp also known as the Blue Lake. In 1854 the North Melbourne Pottery was established near the foot of Victoria Street on the margins of the swamp. The attraction for the pottery was the blue clay base of the swamp.

In circa 1858 the land on both sides of Victoria Street between Abbotsford Street and the swamp was sold by the government. The land that became 461 Victoria Street was part of Crown Allotment 2 Section Y West Melbourne. It is on the south side just 33 ft from Abbotsford Street. This allotment was purchased by William Crystal.

Crystal was born in Cavan, Scotland about 1828 and immigrated to Melbourne between 1851 and 1855. In 1855 he married Mary Anne Marshall from the north of England and they had seven children between 1856 and 1868.

Crystal was listed on the sale document as a carpenter but he soon became a very successful builder. In 1862 he built cottages on the eastern half of his allotment which became numbers 457 and 459 and he then resided in 457.

The Miles Lewis Architectural Index lists him as the builder for about 30 houses and factories between 1860 and 1873.

Crystal subdivided his allotment into two blocks and in May 1859 he and a Charles Munday, sold the western  block to William Watson also listed as a carpenter. This block was to become 461 and 463 Victoria Street.

Watson was born in Scotland in 1828 and immigrated to Melbourne in 1854. On the ship`s manifest he is listed as a “spinner”. In 1858 he married Ann Smith from Stirling in Scotland. They had two children William and Margaret born in 1859 and 1861. Sadly Ann died in 1864.

Between 1860 and 1862 Watson had the two cottages which are now 461 and463 built on his block and took up residence in 461. They may have been built by William Crystal.  Both Crystal and Watson were listed as neighbors in the 1962 Sands and McDougall Directory. The cottages faced north with a view to the left down the steep hill to the swamp and lake. At some stage the Watson`s house, perhaps because of the northly aspect,was named Maison du Soleil. In the first numbering scheme it was 140 before becoming 461 in about 1880

In 1868 Watson married a widow Isabella Fairley (nee Sanders). She was the daughter of a Midlothian,Scotland boot maker and she had married Thomas Fairley, a mason, also from Midlothian. They sailed to Melbourne in 1852 on the “Birmingham”. they had two children who died in infancy, probably in Scotland. Thomas died in Australia in 1854.

William and Isobella Watson were still living at 461 when William died in 1896. In his will he directed that Isobella have the enjoyment of his estate, but on her death it was to be divided between William`s two children, William Jr and Margaret. The will and probate are online at PROV. In addition to the 461 and 463 properties valued at 620 pounds, his estate included three cottages in Kensington and a house in Stanley Street West Melbourne.

Isabella continued to live in the461 house until she died in 1911. In her will, also available online at PROV, she left houses at 15and 117 Abottsford Street to the children of William Junior – William and Isabella Mary.

John T O`Donnell then rented the house from 1912 until 1921.

‘In July 1913 Margaret McNair, Isabella’s step daughter,  became the owner of both461 and 463 in accordance with her father’s will. Margaret sold 463 in March 1920 to Charles McCarthy for 450 pounds

In April 1921 she then sold  461 to Caroline Williams who was described as widow. She owned the house until 1935 and lived in it during 1924 and 1925.  The next owner to live in the house was Pietra Guida 1954/63. L and A Soccio were also owners while living in 461 in 1963/74.

Context and Streetscape




Other Information

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