It’s overshadowed by Melbourne’s modern day buildings. Still, this historic house stands silently on the corner of Melbourne’s La Trobe and King Street doing its best to stay. It’s almost 200 years old. Propped up by scaffolding on one side, it is scarred by graffiti tags on the wall facing La Trobe Street.

I took the photos during the permitted walks outside of the home in August during Melbourne’s Stage 4 Lockdown. Despite its neglected state, this tiny building is one of the remaining glimpses into Melbourne’s frontier beginnings. When it was built around 1850/1851, it must have been quite the house.

The back end facing towards La Trobe Street, Melbourne CBD. That might be an oak tree in the backyard. Image Credit: Vienna Richards

Some interesting things in Melbourne’s archives.

1800s Map of West Melbourne showing Spencer, La Trobe, King Sreets and Flagstaff Gardens. The green mark

Melbourne CBD Map 1855
1855 Map of Melbourne’s CBD, West end with 330 King St marked in green.

Kings Street, West Melbourne looking south, Flagstaff Gardens in front [Victoria[Charles Nettleton]National Library of Australia Photo: circa 1867.

Much has already been written about the most recent owners. But there’s very little information that I could find about the man who built the house, James Heffernan.

Charles Nettleton, 1826-1902, photographer

Mr Heffernan’s name and occupation, a plasterer, is found in the Port Philip archival records of 1847. It’s interesting to see this list. Check out the occupations listed e.g. sawyer, farrier, stud-groom.


Another mention of James Heffernan appears in a 1861 passenger list on board the ship Latona departing from Otago, New Zealand, to Melbourne. All the passengers are listed as diggers. They would have been returning from the Otago Gold Rush.

And that is all I have time for, right now.


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