11 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy (Arbirlot)

Prior to 1911, the house is numbered as 17 Brunswick street, and is renumbered sometime between 1910 and 1915 (Sands & Macdougall, 1910 & 1915).

The House

“A particularly large and sophisticated three-storey terrace of the arcaded stuccoed type, with four bays of arcading on piers at each level of the façade, and in excellent condition but for the loss of two parapet urns and damage to the central pediment. “ (National Trust Database)

11 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy – Photo from CBRE

In 1888, Samuel Gillott owns the houses and land at 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15 Brunswick Street. 7 is a 7 room brick house, and 9 is a 13 room brick house. 11,13, and 15 are wooden structures of 5-11 rooms. A boot factory is located at 17 Brunswick St (Rate books 1888). By 1890, Doctor Walter MacGibbon is located at 7 Brunswick Street renting from Gillott. By this stage the wooden houses have been removed and there is now land between 9 (in which Gillott lives) and the boot factory at #17. (Rate Books 1890). Note, these are the numbers prior to the street being renumbered in 1910-1915.

Walter Macgibbon (Doctor) – Resident – 1893-1900

Walter Macgibbon was a doctor who practised at ‘Arbirlot’ on 17 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. “A son of the late Mr. John Macgibbon a very old colonist, who was first postmaster appointed at North Melbourne. He was born in Paisley, Scotland in the year 1852, and eighteen months later came to Victoria with his parents, who settled in North Melbourne, his education being carried on at the late Mr. John Marshall’s school, the Scots Grammar School and afterwards at the late Mr. Percy Walker’s Common School, where he subsequently passed his pupil teacher’s course and filled the post of assistant-master at the King Street School, at the same time pursuing his studies for the Arts Degree which he obtained in 1880. He then passed the first four years of the medical course at the Melbourne University, and from thence went to Edinburgh, where he obtained the diplomas L.R.C.P and L.R.C.S., L.F.P.S.G.. Later on he proceeded to Brussels where he took the degrees M.D. and Ch.D., “with distinction”, in 1885. Returning to Melbourne in 1886, on account of the illness of his father, Dr Macgibbon commenced practice in Collins Street remaining there for eight months and then established himself at his present address in Brunswick Street where he has been engaged in the active practice of his profession ever since. The doctor was honary physician to the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum for four years. He takes great interest in angling and shooting and is a performing member of the Fitzroy Rifle Club, of which he is also vice-president. (The Cyclopedia of Victoria, 1903-1905, Vol 1, p. 459-460)

Walter MacGibbon – Photo from the Cyclopedia of Victoria, 1903-1905, Vol 1, p.

In 1886 Dr Walter MacGibbon married Elizabeth Corsar Sturrock.

From 1893-1900 the Rate Books (93-96, 98-00) show Doctor Walter MacGibbon and Alex Sturrock as living at 17 Brunswick Street. The house is owned by Alex Sturrock (assumedly Elizabeth’s father), and is recorded as a brick house of 13 rooms. Walter and Elizabeth continue living in the house until Walter’s death in 1908.

Arbirlot at the time of Walter’s death was part of 49 Parish of Jika Jika County of Bourke having a frontage of 30 feet to Brunswick Street Fitzroy, by a depth of 132 Ft and being the land comprised in Certificate of Title Volume 2331 Folio 466116 upon which is erected a brick home known as Arbirlot, containing 14 rooms together with outbuildings. This property is rated by the Fitzroy Council at an annual value 160 pounds and is now let at 150 per annum the landlord paying all rates taxes or other outgoings in respect thereof. Walter purchased the property (assumedly from Alex Sturrock’s estate), about 2 years prior to his death for 2,300 pounds. He also owned land Crown Portion 49 Parish of Jika Jika County of Bourke having a frontage of 39 Ft. 11 ins. to Brunswick Street Fitzroy by a depth of 131 Ft. 6 ins. This has been sold to Dr. McInerney of Brunswick Street, Fitzroy for 625 pounds. He also owned property in Surrey Hills and land. (Will and Probate record – Ancestry.com.au).

National Trust Photo – circa 1970s

East Melbourne Conservation Study collection 1979 – sourced from Flickr – Graeme Butler

Alcaston Gallery

Established in 1989, the gallery features a national and international exhibition schedule and represents contemporary artists from Australia and the Asia Pacific Region. The Gallery operated at 11 Brunswick Street until 2019, when the property was sold to a developer for $5.1m.

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