Uneasy, very uneasy is how we feel. We should be overjoyed at the discovery of 2 houses side by side, a tangible and sensational progression of Australian Modernism has appeared in our midst. We could wonder at the front home’s history, as its architectural elements suggest a notable progressive talent and it’s present furnishings and unmolested condition draw a sentimental sigh with every glance.We might nod approvingly at the timber craftsmanship and casual light filled homeliness of the back house or wonder what the pool and surrounding gardens may hold. But all we can do is feel dread to the pit of our stomachs, knowing full well that these delightful and potentially renewed homes are marked and more likely than not, come spring, they’ll not be with us. Take it in, this is our built heritage, something being lost a little every day.
** Update, We have discovered the heritage overlay report for house number 1 and as suspected was a groundbreaking post-war project carried out by architect William Woodburn and his wife in 1948-9 to be their the family home. It remained in the family until 1983. It’s conception and use of new and unusual materials for the era, including mudbrick, drew praise from Robin Boyd and makes this a significant property for the City of Banyule. Does this mean the agent’s blithe suggestions of demolition and redevelopment would face hurdles? Is this something the selling parties want swept under the rug? Or sadly, like so many local heritage reports, does this add up to nothing in the face of any forthright and friends-in-town-hall developer?**