Lost St Kilda Road

The fabulous Pasadena Mansions, built c1918, ‘on the corner of St Kilda Road and Commercial Road’- but as far as I can work it out, actually located along the block next to Fawkner Park. Think it later got an extension on the corner, possibly called Coronado. In the 50s it got converted horribly into offices, then finally dem after 1976, the date of the aerial photo. I think it was replaced by the slightly interesting steppy flats there now, while the corner was replaced by a slightly brutalist office block. Something called Arundel Flats was there too somewhere, which look like Edwardian terraces, noted as ‘part of the development’.

Most St Kilda Road mansions were demolished from the 1930s to the early 70s, before there was such a thing as #heritagelisting – so the loss of Koonwarra in 1984 is all the sadder. There was a fight over it, and I think then Planning Minister Evan Walker had the final say, because I recall him saying that was one decision he regretted. Perhaps it wasn’t considered important enough, because it’s 1913 instead of an 1880s Victorian mansion, and in a somewhat retro style for that date, with Queen Anne details, and not by a well known architect – it was designed by #ArthurFisher, who did a number of interesting houses and terraces in Park Street South Yarra, with #ArtNouveau details as seen here, especially inside. Plus a delightful very tall conical tower, and great fence. Later it was used by Roy Grounds as his office. Replaced by one of the least interesting pomo office blocks on the road. At least somewhat documented; early photo JH Harvey, SLV, looks like 1920s, interior photos by JT Collins 1981, SLV, demolition photos from the National Trust.

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