521 Victoria Street

521 Victoria Street
West Melbourne VIC 3003

Also known as Elslie House Source: source: the Age 1900
Previous Address known today as 513-521, the consolidated site once hosted a row of five Victorian terrace dwellings before the current building Source: source: 1895 MMBW map
Constructed (1st) 14/9/1883, (2nd) after 1965
Style Late twentieth century: 1960 – 2000
Builder (1st) Mr. J. McNaughton, 102 Lonsdale Street East. (2nd) unknown.

Timelapse Building Images


original image source: http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/375042

source: State Library of Victoria

Land Details

  1. current map
  2. 1895 MMBW map
  3. Compiled Crown Record Plan showing Mr. Samuel Cohen and Mr. B [Alexander] Marks were the first crown land purchasers of this site.
  4. 1858 Crown Land Sales report

Building Details

Notice of intent to build.

Street: Victoria Street, corner Victoria & Munster Terrace.

Number: 491

Date 14/9/1883

Owner: Boyd [Mr. Alexander]

Builder: Mr. J. McNaughton, 102 Lonsdale Street East

Fee: £ 1.15.0

Type: Two storey house, [with its own private back yard garden]

Other significant building works created by John McNaughton can be found below.

Owner Suburb Building Type Builder Build Date Reg #
McNaughton, John – Lonsdale St Lonsdale St. Melbourne Houses McNaughton, John 1853 04 25 640
McNaughton, John – Lonsdale St Little Bourke St. Melbourne Factories McNaughton, John 1853 06 1 889
McNaughton, John – Lonsdale St Lonsdale St. Melbourne Houses McNaughton, John 1856 08 29 607
McNaughton, John – Lonsdale St west Little Bourke St. Melbourne Houses McNaughton, John 1858 05 10 389
McNaughton, John – Lonsdale St west Lonsdale St. Melbourne Houses McNaughton, John 1859 12 9 796
McNaughton, John – Melbourne Lonsdale near Rose Alley, Melbourne Houses McNaughton, John 1867 02 6 1873
McNaughton, John Lonsdale St. Melbourne Houses McNaughton, John 1868 02 21 2459
McNaughton, John Franklin St. West Melbourne Houses McNaughton, John 1871 10 27 4611
McNaughton, John Lonsdale St. Melbourne Houses McNaughton, John – 148 Lonsdale St west 1877 04 4 7145
Matear, Charles Rathdowne St. Carlton Houses McNaughton, J W – 102 Lonsdale St East 1881 11 11 8989
Guest, John Spencer St. West Melbourne Houses McNaughton, J W – 102 Lonsdale St E 1882 05 25 9218
Johnson, J Ireland St. West Melbourne Houses McNaughton, John – 102 Lonsdale St East 1883 05 8 287
Boyd, – 521 Victoria St. [West] Melbourne Houses McNaughton, J – 102 Lonsdale St East 1883 09 14 491
Vanselaw, L Ireland St. West Melbourne Houses McNaughton, J – 102 Lonsdale St East 1884 08 6 1011
Watson, T Ireland St. West Melbourne Houses McNaughton, J – 102 Lonsdale St east 1884 08 6 1012
McNaughton, J Drummond St. Carlton Houses McNaughton, J – 102 Lonsdale St 1885 05 9 1501
Millar, John Russell St. Melbourne Factories; Shops McNaughton & McMurtrie – 209 Lonsdale St 1891 01 7 4794
Dinwoodie, Mrs – Trustees Collins St. Melbourne Office Buildings McNaughton & McMurtrie – 209 Lonsdale St 1895 08 7 6433
Lilley, Alick Queen St. Melbourne Shops McNaughton & McMurtrie – 209 Lonsdale St 1896 03 3 6594

source: Burchett Index

Subsequent Building Alterations

In 2016 Melbourne City Council received a development application for a seven-storey block containing 26 flats, seeking a reduction in the prescribed number of onsite car parking. None of the proposed flats have their own private back yard garden space to relax and unwind in after a hard day’s work.

Prior to the land in the late 1960s being consolidated as a large factory site we see today, the first dwellings on 513 to 521 Victoria Street hosted five well-built Victorian-era residential family dwellings that all had their own private back yard gardens.


image source: commercialrealestate.com.au

What would Alexander and Sarah Jane Boyd or their descendants think, or any of the other families who once lived in this house after the Boyd’s, of the 1960s demolition of this once highly treasured family home.

If society in Melbourne continues to allow the wholesale destruction of our early Victoria-era architectural heritage dwellings, only to be replaced by mid- and high-rise blocks of poorly designed and low quality, dense flats, withing the existing inner suburban areas, Melbourne’s once proud and highly sought-after low rise historic amenity will be lost forever.

The face of Melbourne will become no different to every other dense and overpopulated, cheap quality built, city around the world.

Current legislation for the protection of Melbourne’s inner city heritage dwellings is clearly not strong enough. Our valuable heritage can’t protect itself; it is up to everyone in the local community who has a voice and wish to be heard, to do everything possible to ensure heritage homes are not obliterated from our local inner Melbourne streetscapes forever.

Australia is a land rich country, there are more than enough vacant lots of land scattered all around the outskirts of Melbourne with very low density, where additional housing can and ought to be built.

Take action now and let those who have been elected to govern that we need stronger inner Melbourne heritage dwelling protection, no more densification, no more loss of private back yard garden spaces and no more reduction in existing residential car parking spaces and no new buildings that tower over existing single and double storey dwellings and into our private back yards.

Architectural Features

    No Entries Found

Heritage Significance and Listings

Heritage Listings and Explanatory Notes

The highly sought after Victorian era heritage dwellings with their own private back yard gardens that existed on this site were demolished sometime after 1965 and replaced by the current industrial building.


From To Owner More Info Data Source
to date Private source: Hatcher Index
1896 1900 Hugh Boyd source: Hatcher Index
1883 1894 Alexander Boyd source: Hatcher Index
1858 1883 Mr. Samuel Cohen & Mr. B. [Alexander] Marks 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
1970 C.W. Norris Co. P/L source: Hatcher Index
1955 1965 Herbert (driver) and Gladys Alice Ginivan source: Hatcher Index
1945 1950 Hector Duncan McDonald and Catherine Jane McDonald source: Hatcher Index
1937 1940 Michael (railway worker) and Margaret Canty source: Hatcher Index
1935 1935 Mrs. Amy Smith source: Hatcher Index
1930 1930 Charles (labourer) and Honor Gallagher source: Hatcher Index
1925 1925 Patrick Dillon (cook) source: Hatcher Index
1920 1920 Mrs. Ada (home duties) and Decima Davies (machinist) source: Hatcher Index
1914 1915 Mrs. Agnes Farrell (home duties) source: Hatcher Index
1905 1913 John (engin-driver) and Elizabeth Farrell source: Hatcher Index
1894 1900 Hugh Boyd (engineer) source: Hatcher Index
1883 1896 Mrs. Sarah Jane Boyd and family source: Hatcher Index
1883 1894 Alexander, Sarah Jane Boyd and family source: Hatcher Index
1883 1883 Alexander Boyd (vacant land) source: Hatcher Index

Social History

Elslie House, 521 Victoria Street, ancestral home of the Boyd Family for 17 years.

Hugh Boyd was born in Melbourne in 1874, the son of Railway Guard, Alexander McKeller Boyd and his wife Sarah Jane, nee Burrows. He was named after his paternal grandfather from Scotland.

His father Alexander arrived in the colony in September 1870 on a ship named the Colonial Empire. It departed England via Plymouth. His age at that time was listed as 23 years and his occupation was recorded as a Railway Guard.

One year later in July 1871, sixteen-year-old Sarah Jane Burrows had emigrated from England via the ship named Western Empire leaving from Plymouth. It landed three months later in Melbourne in September.

Alexander met and married Sarah Jane in Melbourne in 1873. Their four children: Hugh, born 1874, Allen, born in 1875, Elsie in 1882 and Alice in 1883.

Hugh’s maternal grandfather George Burrows was an Engine driver for the railway.

The Boyd family moved into their new family home around 1883/84, it was known as ‘Elslie House’, 521 Victoria Street, West Melbourne. They had previously lived at 97 Roden Street, West Melbourne. Their Roden Street family home was demolished and replaced by a factory which has since been replaced by six storey block of ninety two flats after 2007.

At the time of his father, Alexander’s death in 1894, Hugh, was twenty-two years of age and had become an Engineer. He lived at the same address along with his mother and three siblings. Hugh was listed as Alexander’s sole executor in his father’s last will.

In 1901, the twenty-seven-year-old Hugh Boyd met and later married eighteen-year-old Alice Beatrice Grey. She was the youngest daughter of Robert and Catherine Grey, of Albert Park.

The following year, Hugh’s sister Elsie Boyd married George Alexander Robinson in 1902.

Photo: Hugh Boyd and Alice Beatrice Grey.

source: researched by Stephen Hatcher in 2021.

The Age 1900.
BOYD — In loving remembrance of our dear father, Alexander McKellar Boyd, who died 24th December 1894, at “Elslie House, Victoria-street, West Melbourne; also, our dear mother, who died on 5th January, 1896.
Gone, but not forgotten. -Inserted by their loving children, Hugh, Allan, Elsie and Alice Boyd.

source: The Age 1900

Context and Streetscape


This property resides within the municipality of the City of Melbourne. We respectfully acknowledge it is on the traditional land of the Kulin Nation.
source: https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/history-city-of-melbourne.pdf
historical map source: https://www.slv.vic.gov.au/search-discover/explore-collections-format/maps/maps-melbourne-city-suburbs

This information must be verified with the relevant planning or heritage authority.


This section of Victoria Street was once predominantly filled with one and two story Victorian single and double story terrace dwellings that had their own private back yard gardens. On the northern corner of Victoria and Stawell just over the road from the 521 Victoria Street was the Bayview Hotel. There was also a hotel six doors east on the corner of Victoria and Dryburgh called the Hunt Club Hotel. Towards the west were flour mills that employed many hundreds of people from the local community. After the first and second world wars came the onslaught of factories that moved from the CBD into the residential suburbs like North and West Melbourne. In 1929, architect Sydney Smith, Ogg and Serpell designed the local Mulcahy’s hotel on the corner of Victoria and Munster Terrace. The Pub closed and was converted into twenty one flats in 2010.

Other Information


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