Numbers 72-74 Glass Terrace were built by J E Moore in 1853 and the rest were built by David Ross in 1856. (Source: Miles Lewis, Gertrude St Walk, April 2013).
These are thought to be some of the oldest surviving terrace houses in Fitzroy, though they were not as highlighted above by Miles Lewis built as one consecutive terrace. The numbers 72-74 were “almost certainly the pair of bluestone walled houses at numbers 72-74.” The South Fitzroy Conservation Study continues noting that “Now although Gill’s former assistant David Ross was later credited as the architect of the terrace he was not at this stage in sole practice, and no contemporary evidence has been found that either he or his firm of Dowden and Ross designed the two houses” at the centre.” But it is clear that in 1856 he completed the terrace. (South Fitzroy Conservation Study 1979, p.14). This is not agreed everywhere though, as Museums Victoria credits the architect of the later part of the building of the remaining terrace to Charles Webb (Museums Victoria).
“It would appear to be not only the oldest such terrace surviving in Melbourne but also the seminal member of a group of very distinguished terraces in the immediate neighbourhood.” (South Fitzroy Conservation Study 1979, p.14).
The land for the terrace was purchased by Irish-born pastoralist Hugh Glass for 7,430 pounds in 1853 when he was 38 years old. “At this time Glass was one of Victoria’s wealthiest and most influential men. This wealth came from his activities as speculator, squatter and merchant”… however by the late 1860s his empire had collapsed and he died aged 55 in 1871. (Gertrude Street, Jill Robertson, Fitzroy History Society, p.6)
“At first the terrace was occupied by gentlemen and professionals. The houses’ stature declined later to become boarding rooms as Fitzroy fortunes changed in the 1890s depression. The terrace was almost demolished in the 1960s when it had become extremely run down.” (Gertrude Street, Jill Robertson, Fitzroy History Society, p.6)