476-484 Napier Street, Fitzroy (Elizabeth Terrace)

Built in 1889 by William Reynolds and Joseph James Oliver with their construction completed around the middle of the year. It is unknown who the architect for the buildings was.

484 Napier Street – first house on the left

Prior to the building of Elizabeth terrace, the site was occupied by St Luke’s Church which was bordered by Napier St, Heidelberg Road (Queen’s Parade), Smith Street and Reilly Street/drain(Alexandra Parade).

This site was allocated to St Luke’s when in July 1869 the Government revoked the temporary reservation of land located on the west corner of Reilly St and Heidelberg Road (at this stage Brunswick Street finished at Reilly St). This prompted a flood of letters from church authorities and by August 1869 another reservation had been granted. Time was not wasted this time and the memorial stone was laid on 3 Dec 1870. (St. Luke’s Church of England, North Fitzroy, St. Mark’s Church of England, Fitzroy, by Deborah McColl, 1967, p.94).

A timber schoolroom was constructed in 1870 (Argus, 1 Oct 1870, p.3 Tenders called) on the land and the first service was held in this wooden building on 23 October 1870 by Mr. A Weir, a lay reader. However it was soon realised that the location was not ideal being located on the Southern boundary of the parish, the Fitzroy swamp and drain to the south, the gasworks to the east and town storage yard to the west. The land was sold and present site on the corner of Watkins St and St Georges Road, Fitzroy North was purchased (D C McColl, St Luke’s Church of England, N. Fitzroy, St. Marks Church of England, E Fitzroy, B Arch, University of Melbourne 1967, p.94). The stone was relaid in the new site.

Fitzroy North Township Plan (Parish of Jika Jika) showing the first lots sold on the north side and the park as a public reserve and the land originally for the Church of England (Source: GJM Heritage)
The West End of Queens Parade in 1896 (MMBM Base Map No 29, 1896) – clearly shows the five terrace houses. 484 is the furthest to the North and the structure north of it is the old timber yard.

Despite being sold in 1877, it doesn’t appear that the land was built on until 1889 when Reynolds and Oliver build Elizabeth Terrace. It is unclear when Reynolds and Oliver purchase the land.

Following its establishment, in 1889, the Age on 20 August 1889, ran the advert “FITZROY – to Let, new two-story Houses, Elizabeth-terrace, Napier-st, near Heidelberg rd”. Heidelberg Road later become Queen’s Parade.

William Reynolds and Emily Reynolds move into the newly built end terrace (484) which was likely desirable due to the area for stables fronting Heidelberg Road; and Joseph James Oliver moved into 480 (middle terrace). These two builders owned the entire terrace with William owning 484, Joseph owning 482 and 480 and the two of them co-owning 478 and 476. Reynolds and Oliver lived next to each other both here and at 50 and 54 Queen’s Parade for the rest of their lives. They were building partners and family, Emily Reynolds was Joseph’s younger sister.

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