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Roses at the Cottage

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The house around the corner

I've always admired an 1886 Victorian timber two-storey house at nearby 18 Berry Street which runs between Church and Waltham Streets just one street back from Bridge Road! Apart from the fact that when I open my shutters each morning I see the rear of the property I like it's position facing directly down the rather charmingly named Eucalyptus Street (not a eucalyptus in sight!). 
The tree-less Eucalyptus Street looking towards Bridge Road - ugly ... on the right
Berry Street almost entirely comprises an eclectic mix of tiny Victorian timber cottages except for the usual modern new-build which ruins what could have been a significant heritage street. Richmond excells in ignoring its potential!  But even so I consider it a good example of a step-back-in-time-street.
Cheek by jowl tiny terraces
But it's not the main reason that 18 Berry Street is so famous. It was the setting for the 1986 Melbourne cult film Dogs in Space which starred the late Michael Hutchence, Saskia Post and Chris Haywood. Hutchence played Sam, the drug-addled frontman of the fictitious band - Dogs in Space. Interestingly the writer-director Chris Lowenstein once lived in the house with band member of The Ears, Sam Sejavka and the semi-biographical film is based on an account of hard-partying punks of 1978! I'm glad that things have changed a little as Richmond has 'gentrified'. The 4 bedroom property last sold at auction in 2012 for over $1.1 million. Not bad for a house with no carparking - even in the narrow street!
Heritage Registered 18 Berry Street house sitting proudly looking down Eucalyptus Street
The cult fame of Dogs in Space has ensured 18 Berry Street is a noted entry in the Victorian Heritage Register for its 'social significance' and also as one of very few surviving metropolitan two-storey timber terrace houses. It's considered an unusual example of a timber building when boom time terraces were mostly brick constructions. It was originally built for the former railway carriage engineer and subsequent goldfields pioneer Henry Frencham (1816-1897; he died the house) He claimed to have been the discoverer of the Bendigo gold field. 

Boomtime brick magnificence in Waltham Street looking down to narrow Berry Street
Interestingly the well-known Australian actor Noah Taylor spoke his first screen words in the film - his only line - "David Bowie". It must have been delivered with much panache as he has gone from strength to strength in the acting world. 

If you're a Dogs in Space fan or even recall just seeing the movie then you'll find the house is still readily recognised.

1 comment:

  1. Chère RR, I love Dogs in Space...for the music, Saskia Post and its Melbourne scenes. Thank you for the detail on the house...your posts are often little treasure parcels x