The three houses 105 – 109 Rowe Street were likely built by Joseph Hollow, a builder. He purchased the land for these houses and his house at 103 Rowe Street in 1885 from A Windsor, who most likely had purchased it from Mark Moss, who in 1875 owned the entire block bounded by Rushall Crescent, Falconer, Michael and Rowe streets (Fitzroy – Melbourne’s First Suburb, p.27). You can see more about this background on Rowe Street.
Joseph Hollow set about working straight away on the three single storey free standing houses located at 105-109. These three houses were initially identical. In looking at the the three, it is likely that each has lost some of its original features. Each has polychrome brickwork, though 107 has been painted. 105 and 109 also still retain their original verandah and ironwork, and the original barley twist sash window. They all would have had an ironwork front fence originally, but these have all been replaced. Only 105 has its original path but the veranda flooring appears to have been concreted over.
The three houses took less than a year to complete and in October 1885, J Hollow has The three houses where completed by October 1885, J Hollow has them advertised as “Three new brick villas, six rooms, bath, copper, asphalt yard; 1 pound”. It is likely this was a little expensive as they are reduced to 20s per week in November and 18s in December (The Age, 22 Oct, 7 Nov, 19 Dec 1885). And they appear on the rate books at 20 Nov 1885 as brick houses of 8 rooms and none yet have tenants at this time.
Joseph owned his house at 103 and the three from 105-109 (Rate Books 1885). He also later acquires 95-97 Rowe Street.
By the following year he had tenants – Joseph remains the owner until after his death in 1903
Edward A Brown (Book Keeper) – resident 1886 – 1887
Thomas H Bond (Plumber) – resident 1887 – 1888
Peter Baird (Contractor) – resident May 1888 – 1890
Peter Baird was a builder and moved around this area a bit. In 18 Nov 1886 and 25 Jul 1887 he was living at 4 Woodhead Street, Fitzroy North and at this time was working on a set of three two storey houses in East Melbourne (Powlett Street, East side, near Wellington Parade) in 1886 and then on houses at Station St and McPherson St, Carlton in 1887 (Burchett Index). On 12 May 1888 he was living here in Rowe Street and had registered site that he was building in Station Street to the design of Waugh and Waddington (Burchett Index).
Peter Baird moves out in 1890, but has not gone too far, now recorded at 125 Rowe Street. One might speculate as to whether this location was close and convenient for him to build 125 Rowe Street (given he is listed as the owner and occupant of this property at this time (Rate Books 1890).
Robert Lee (Draper) – resident 1890 – 1892
Robert Lee was initially living a few doors down at 83 Rowe Street in 1889.
William B Freeman (Draper) – resident 1892 – 1894
I think the William also lived elsewhere on Rowe Street prior to moving here.
Francis P Michell (Operator) – resident 1894 – 1905
By 1910, Arthur J Michell was living here (potentially a relative of Francis?). He is living here until at least 1915.
John Jno. Alford – 1930
Potentially Jno. Alford was the donator of The Alford Cottage, erected by Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Alford. (The Cyclopedia of Victoria, 1903-1905, Vol 1, p. 344).
Albert E Jacka – 1935