80 Webb Street, Fitzroy

The following information has been sourced from the Fitzroy History Society February 2022 Newsletter, written by Meg Lee – note I have amended this slightly so that it works better as stand alone information and corrected a few errors in that text:

Changes to house numbering systems in 1865 makes it tricky to fully identify house histories but from 1865 until 1887 the house was 50 Webb St. In 1880 it became No 80.

Google image – July 2019

Thomas Bready and family (1852-1877)

Thomas Bready, an Irish man bought this land and built a 4 roomed blue stone house here. He was an industrious builder in the area previously building the Collingwood Hotel for the proprietor James Swords on corner of Gore and Webb Street (Hotel now known as Union Club) plus the house at 90 George Street (Deakin’s birth place) with the listed owner as Jeremiah Crowley.

Hodgkinson’s map shows existing houses in 1853. 80 Webb Street is the one where the arrow points between Little Gore and Gore Sts.

The original roof was stringy bark shingles and covered with iron. The veranda is believed not to be original. Typically for the period the house had plain and plastered ceilings and walls with good sized windows looking ‘perfectly English’. These cottages did not have hallways, and front and back doors typically open directly into rooms. Floors at front of house being timber while at rear, brick or stone. Some bricks were used around a single fireplace. (Fitzroy, Melbourne’s First Suburb, p16).

With the discovery of gold, the Bready family tested their luck at mining. This house was rented out during this time. Perhaps the gold mining was not successful, because Bready turned to supply of illegal alcohol and over time his health deteriorated and his behaviour became erratic until he passed away on 5 September 1855 at Myers Flat.

Thomas’ wife inherited the property, but 20 years later his son (also Thomas) contested the will in 1874, which took 3 years to resolve. Following this the property was sold in 1877, with half sold to William James Parlett for £470 and the remainder sold to
Joshua Greenwood.

There was no articulated water or sewage until 1897 when the Melbourne Sewer works connected their homes to the system.

Samuel Davis

The next owner was Samuel Davis who lived at 112 Gore Street. He owned the property until 1927 when the property passed to his wife Amelia for a year until she passed away in 1928.

Photo of 80 Webb Street, circa 1970-1974, Urban Action Project – State Library Victoria

Other history

Auction catalogue – Unknown date – likely 1978

In 1978, the ceiling collapsed. The owners turned this negative into a positive and installed a central skylight.

The house had been rendered with ‘upgraded’ window frames and was sold in April 1978 for $25,000 and following the renovation sold again in September 1978 for $42,400. In February 1987 the house was worth $100,000.

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