Estella/Rathgael/The Willows

The Willows, originally Estella, built 1890, architect #WilliamWolf, for Leon Cohen, a ‘well known bookmaker’ (who started out with his own clothing business age 21 in 1857). It had a ballroom, billiard room, conservatory, coach house and tennis court. They put it up for sale in 1895 ‘at a reduced price’, but still had it in 1899 when it was put up for lease, and they auctioned the ‘high art’ furniture. Later it was named Alton, then Rathgael, then in the 70s, by which time it had the block next door, the back half was demolished for townhouses (not a tower thank goodness), and it became a restaurant named after the trees in the front, only one left now. Hardly changed except lost the verandah (and the statue…). A totally unique design, and definitely W Wolf I think since he advertised tenders many times, and not WS Law as speculated on the #victorianheritagedatabase. Possibly inspired by triumphal arches, or the side wings of Parliament House under construction at the time (thanks @chrismbr for the mashup). Does not need the pencil pines in front. The Willows closed abruptly in 2018, and just recently reopened as a Chinese restaurant Jishan Gardens. Looks nice. They also do yoga.

Just had a look at Rathgael/The Willows, yes there’s a head now but…not quite right ! Perhaps just took the head off some other statue. And still no arms. Sometimes better left not done than done badly.

Repost this day 2018:

Poor handless & headless #statue (ending up a bit like the #wingedvictoryofsamothrace) and a Grecian scene on the #TheWillows on #StKildaRoad. Talk about channeling the classics, 1890, by either #WilliamGeorgeWolf or #WSLaw. Originally called Estella, then Rathgael. Was done over in the late 70s, townhouses behind, front section retained as a restaurant, then a reception centre for ages, but suddenly closed, leaving many brides out of pocket.

2021 update : it’s recently reopened as Jishan Gardens, a very nice looking Chinese restaurant.

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