“Olivette”, 54 Queen’s Parade, North Fitzroy

Olivette was a double fronted brick villa, containing six rooms, stables and a coach house – it was a substantial property with large gardens. Nothing remains of 54 Queen’s Parade. It appears that over the period 1950s-1960s the K.G. Luke Pty Ltd factory expanded over this area. Most of the K.G. Luke factory was constructed in the late 1930s and early 1940s (Yarra Heritage) and additional buildings were constructed in the 1960s (which I believe would be consistent with the removal of 50 and 54 Queen’s Parade, now sadly, an unused car park (50) and the Dune House small warehouse / shop (54)).

Joseph James Oliver, Bricklayer, Builder, Contractor (?-1912)

On 11 December 1900, Joseph Oliver lived in 54 Queen’s Parade, North Fitzroy. Joseph built 50 Queen’s Parade and 54 Queen’s Parade with his brother in law William Reynolds who lived in 50 Queen’s Parade. The house is recorded as “Oliver, Joseph, Contractor, 50 Queen’s Parade – 6R stable & Coach House” in the rate books. It is likely the houses were built in 1898-1900.

Reynolds and Oliver built many houses in the area and spent much of their career, buying blocks of land, building terrace houses . Prior to moving to 50 Queen’s Parade, William and Joseph lived, owned and rented 476 – 484 Napier Street (Elizabeth Terrace), which he built with Oliver & Peters.

Joseph passed away in 1912 at the residence. He was husband to Mary Elizabeth and father of Elizabeth Oliver (Bessie) and Joseph James Oliver (James). He was 53 years old.

Mary Elizabeth remained at the property until her death on 22 December 1925. She left real estate of 1,566 pounds and personal property of 566 pounds to her children.

Six years later the property was sold under instructions from F.A. Hassett on 28 January 1931 and was described as a “Substantially built BRICK VILLA, Containing Drawing-room, Dining-room, Breakfast-room, Two Bedrooms, Maid’s Room, Kitchen, Vestibule, Pantry, Laundry, Bathroom, Brick Garage, 3-stall Stables, Lofts, &c. The House is in Perfect Order, and is Situate in a Splendid Position: LAND 96ft x 215ft/286ft. The Property will be Offered as a Whole, and if Not Sold as Such the House will be Offered with 51ft. of Land, and a Building Allotment with a frontage of 43ft. will be Offered Separately.”

In 1954 “No. of Company 26625. COMPANIES ACT 1938 – Notice of Intention to register a Charge – Pursuant to section 79 (1) (b) (i) – KELVERNE PROPRIETARY LIMITED – To the Registrar-General. – I, Peter Anthony Barker, of 114 Elizabeth street, Melbourne, solicitor, hereby give notice that on the 15th day of March, 1954, Kelverne Proprietary Limited authorised a charge over its undertakings and all its property, present and future, including its uncalled capital to James William Kennedy (senior), of 54 Queens parade, North Fitzroy, in the State of Victoria, in consideration for the said company having received or receiving from the said James William Kennedy, senior, the following consideration, viz.: – Three thousand pounds (3,000) and that I will on or after the second day of April, 1954, APPLY to the Registrar-General to REGISTER such CHARGE. And I hereby direct that notice of any caveat which may be entered against such registration may be posted addressed as follows: Peter A Barker, solicitor, 114 Elizabeth street, Melbourne. Dated this 17th day of March 1954. PETER A. BARKER. Solicitor for the said James William Kennedy, senior. Lodged at the office of the Registrar-General this 17th day of March, 1954. J QUINLIVAN Deputy Registrar-General.”

Site plan of the 1965 extensions to the complex (PROV, 12 March 1965).

During the 1950s-1960s the houses were surrounded more fully by the K.G. Luke Pty Ltd factory (built in the late 1930s / early 1940s). The diagram above, shows the new 2nd storey going on the front of factory with extended workshop behind this. The houses remain in this diagram but the land behind the houses and beside the houses has mostly been sold off.

The area is now an unused car park. Nothing but a few blue stone blocks which held the metal fence remain. The site has been hotly disputed since 2016 with the proposal that a 16 storey set of apartments be built across this site and the former K. G. Luke site. This has sparked a lot of local backlash and it appears approval for a 10 storey apartment has been provided, but there is still a lot of community unrest about the development and work has not commenced.

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