433 Napier Street, Fitzroy

August 2014 image from Realestate.com

In the late 1830s the land of Fitzroy was subdivided into sections along with other areas north of the city. Within Fitzroy there were 12 sections, the most undesirable, being section 85 which consisted of majority swamp lands. I am not sure who purchased section 85 of Jika Jika parish, but, at some point between the late 1830’s and 1970’s the land becomes the property of J.M. Smith Esq. a solicitor from England who was fast making his fortunes in Melbourne. Over the period from 1840-1880 the large sections of Fitzroy were broken down and subdivided for the purpose of building houses (refer Fitzroy – Melbourne’s First Suburb, p.10-11, The First Suburb by Miles Lewis). The last of these sections was section 85. In 1876, a plan for the subdivision of the block bordered by Cecil St (N), Young St (W), Westgarth St (S) and Napier St (E) was created. You can see from the map below that there was a strange design applied to the sites. In particular, on Napier St, site 12, 14, 16 and 18 were double blocks.

This site was the double block ’14’. The purchaser was likely the builder and built both 433 and 435 together.

Section of the 1876 Plan of Subdivision of part of section 85 Parish of Jika Jika Fitzroy, 1876 – State Library

Vacant 1890

Peter McCusky (Storekeeper) – resident Dec 1894 (Ratebooks, 1894)

Sands & MacDougall 1895, have McCusky still living at this address, but it appears that he likely had moved to Kerr Street. Both 433 and 435 were owned at this time by Henry Alger.

A J McConvill – resident 1900

The above photo was taken in April 1901. The photo is taken from Gore street, looking west along Westgarth Street. There were no houses between Gore and Napier Street north of Westgarth Street. The two houses in the middle-right of this picture are 433-435 Napier Street. It is the oldest photo I have located of these houses. (Junior Cricket: Fitzroy La Mascotte v. South Yarra. Scene of the exciting play on Saturday at Smith Street Reserve, Fitzroy, The Australasian, 27 April 1901, p.26)

V Cohen – resident 1905

Henry Rose – resident 1910

A. W. C. Le Gassick – resident 1915

Henry McMullen (Assistant Undertaker) and Eliza McMullen (Home Duties) – resident -1920-1925

In 1925 Violet Eliza McMullen (Sales) is also living at 433 Napier Street (Electoral Roll, 1925).

Vacant in 1930

Mrs Rose Muir – resident 1935-1940

Mrs C Dorman – resident 1945

Mrs G K Coupar – resident 1950-1955

P Resnelis – resident 1960

No resident recorded in 1965 or 1970

E A Ghasperidis – 1975

Number 433 is on the right- Committee for Urban Action (between 1970-1974) – Identifier CUAFY62/6-7 – State Library

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