78 Rowe Street, Fitzroy North (Strome)

“This elaborate two storey polychrome house was constructed in 1895 for Florence Symms. It is a decorative two storey polychrome terrace surmounted by an elaborate parapet which consists of a name plate “Strome”, above which there is a panel of relief work capped by a dentillated cornice and small pediment carrying acroteria. Above this there is a balustrade which has lost its corner urns, which is broken in the middle by a baroque decorative motif capped with a scroll-like pediment. The cast iron balustrade is of a late design using sunflower motifs and diagonal bands. This design appeared in William Stephens Excelsior Foundry Catalogue, Melbourne 1901, E.G. Robertson describes this design: “In each panel is a sunflower in an urn, the diagonal probably represents waves, while top right the life-giving sun shines down” (E.G. and J Robertson Cast Iron Decoration. A World Survey Thames and Hudson 1977, p.53, p.395). This cast iron panel design also appears on ‘Marmion’ and ‘Rothsay’ in Morrah Street, Parkville.

The interior has some intact wood graining and crude modelled plaster work. Like Moss Vale (225 McKean Street), this building provides an excellent example of a two storey polychrome terrace house. The parapet to this building is more ornate introducing a piedmontal motif which breaks into the parapet. 225 McKean Street provides a more harmonious, balanced, restrained composition; this building provides ornate cast iron work and an elaborate parapet, resulting in a more flamboyant design. The exterior of this building is substantially intact and is in good condition. It provides a dominant streetscape element to this predominantly single section of Rowe Street.

Google Images – April 2021

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