56 Abbotsford Street

56 Abbotsford Street
West Melbourne VIC 3003
photographer: Stephen Hatcher, 2020

Also known as Ramage’s row house
Previous Address
Constructed (1st) 5/7/1864 (2nd) 2012
Builder (1st) William Ramage, Melbourne (2nd) unknown

Timelapse Building Images


Four level block consisting of 3 flats and 3 offices replaced the single story factory in 2012.

This site is a classic example of what all too frequently happens under the Planning Scheme of the Melbourne City Council. Small single fronted and even double fronted blocks that were intended for the provision of mixed working class and middle class housing in the mid to late Victorian period have been randomly consolidated into larger parcels onto which this form of over-development has occurred.

The overdevelopment of this site imposes a scale of development which is completely out of character with the existing surrounding period architectural style of Victorian single and double storey homes.

The Planning Scheme encourages Mixed Use developments. This in itself is not inconsistent with the Victorian settlement patterns but in its modern interpretation does encourage out of scale densities. However, this may apply as much to residential-only developments. The resulting building form lacks a positive balance and harmony with its surrounding neighbours.

Many potential residents who aspire to live in inner Melbourne would prefer to live in a discrete residential home with its own open space; an opportunity provided by sites such as the original 56 to 62 Abbotsford Street, especially with an imaginative and clever renovation/extension.

The major determinant of this intensification policy is the increase in land values. The developers need greater density to justify their profits. This direction is reinforced by decisions of the undemocratically elected City of Melbourne where residential votes are completely outweighed by the votes of companies and non-residential property owners. This gerrymander is supported by the State Government which is responsible for setting up the Council and the State also endorses greater densification.

It is clear that the current rules encourage greater density. Multi-story developments are facilitated. They are constructed boundary to boundary and provide minimal open space, apart from limited balconies. The tragedy of the situation is that the Melbourne Planning Scheme encourages further height increases when future developments are proposed to raise even further the residential density of the local area, using the height of these rogue buildings as a precedent for higher development.

If you are a concerned resident, get more involved and raise your voice in support when ever possible, help to strengthen local historical heritage laws, otherwise single and double storey cottages maybe doomed in the longer term, despite whatever protection may be given by the existing less than robust Heritage controls.


Single story factory replaced 4 single story Victorian terrace homes in 1961.

Land Details

1895 MMBW Map.

Building Details

A four level block consisting of 3 flats and 3 offices replaced the single story factory in 2012.

City of Melbourne

Three room house and additions. (with rear open garden space)

Notice of Intent to Build.

5th July 1864, Registration number 331.
Fee paid: £2.0.0
Builder: Mr. W Ramage, Melbourne.
Owner: Mr David Lander.

Burchett Index

Subsequent Building Alterations

William Ramage’s historic 1864 house was sadly demolished around 1957 and has since been replaced with flats that has no front or back garden space.

This is the 1895 MMBW map. The valued front and back yard open garden space marked green at 56 to 62 Abbotsford street which these 4 Victorian era terrace homes once had has all since been lost and are now totally built over by the redevelopment.


Architectural Features

    No Entries Found

Heritage Significance and Listings

Heritage Listings and Explanatory Notes

The group of modern flats recently erected on 56-58 Abbotsford street site which replaced the previous 4 homes that had unique social and historical value and constructed here in the Victorian period, the new build has zero historical or social heritage significance nor does it have any front or back open garden space unlike other existing Victorian terraces that the surrounding area have.


From To Owner More Info Data Source
1975 to date Private Hatcher Index
1974 1974 Hemax Nominees P/L Hatcher Index
1968 1973 Mario & Helena Schwartz Hatcher Index
1962 1967 Alfred Salamon & Mano Schwartz Hatcher Index
1944 1961 Iris Barker Stafford Hatcher Index
1943 1943 Amy Joan Dooley Hatcher Index
1934 1942 William Henry Dooley Hatcher Index
1925 1933 Amy Edith Dooley Hatcher Index
1924 1924 Jasmes & Mary McKendrick Hatcher Index
1908 1923 Mrs Hannah Hughes Hatcher Index
1901 1907 Jane Lauder or Lander Hatcher Index
1864 1900 David & Jane Lauder or Lander Hatcher Index
1863 J Downie (crown land purchaser) 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 Hatcher Index


From To Resident More Info Data Source
1975 to date Private Hatcher Index
1974 1974 Hemax Nominees P/L Hatcher Index
1963 1973 Butternick/Vogue P/L Hatcher Index
1962 1962 vacant land Hatcher Index
1959 1961 Albert Edward Stearne Hatcher Index
1950 1958 Betty Stearne Hatcher Index
1943 1949 Mrs Doreen Pearl Long Hatcher Index
1933 1942 Andrew & Mary Wilson Hatcher Index
1931 1932 Samuel Burnside Hatcher Index
1929 1930 Mrs Emily Frances Williams Hatcher Index
1927 1928 George Neil Hatcher Index
1919 1925 Walter T Fielder Hatcher Index
1917 1917 George H Powell Hatcher Index
1916 1916 Sydney Wilson Hatcher Index
1915 1915 Michael Donohue Hatcher Index
1910 1914 Patrick Green Hatcher Index
1906 1909 Patrick & Ellen Anne Green Hatcher Index
1902 1905 George West Hatcher Index
1899 1901 William Muir Hatcher Index
1898 1898 James Lindsay Hatcher Index
1893 1897 James & Frances O’Brien https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/8716611?searchTerm=%2256%20Abbotsford%20street%22&searchLimits=dateFrom=1850-01-01|||dateTo=1960-12-31|||l-advstate=Victoria Hatcher Index
1886 1892 Henry W Esby or Easby Hatcher Index
1885 1885 Henry Rainer Hatcher Index
1884 1884 James Chambers Hatcher Index
1883 1883 Henry Thompson Hatcher Index
1880 1882 John Ingram Hatcher Index
1879 1879 James Waters Hatcher Index
1873 1878 John Milne Hatcher Index
1871 1872 Jonathan Cox Hatcher Index
1868 1870 James Cunningham Hatcher Index
1867 1867 Lauder Hatcher Index
1866 1866 Henry Hart Hatcher Index

Social History

Mary & Andrew Wilson lived at 56 Abbotsford street from 1933 to 1942.

The Age

Anne & Patrick Green lived at 56 Abbotsford street from 1906 to 1914

The Herald

James & Frances O’Brien lived at 56 Abbotsford street from 1893 to 1897

The Argus

James Cunningham lived at 56 Abbotsford street West Melbourne in 1868.

Sands & McDougall directory

Context and Streetscape

The current 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 streetscape contains a collection of historic Victorian buildings and later buildings. The Victorian homes are socially and historically significant buildings for the early development of North & West Melbourne in their own right.

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