From the late 19th century and in conjunction with Australia’s Federation, a unique style of architecture emerged. Considerably ‘looser’ than the traditional Victorian homes, it featured high-pitched roofs with gabled ends and terracotta-tiled roofs that often included gargoyles for embellishment. Art Nouveau, which made its debut in Belgium thanks to architect Victor Horta, also inspired architects designing Federation homes at the turn of the century.

1. Talana

Location: 1 Harcourt Street, Hawthorn East

Prominently located on the corner of Auburn Road and Harcourt Street, it’s impossible to miss this stately pile. Designed by the eminent architect John Beswicke in 1900 in the Queen Anne Federation-style, this five-bedroom home, with a self-contained summerhouse, is more akin to a country estate. Featuring a gothic-style portico, bay windows and vast rooms with highly ornate ceilings and stained-glass windows, Talana, as it’s referred to, is a ‘gateway’ to some of Melbourne’s most lavish Federation-style homes.

2. Federation reworked by Multiplicity

Location: 36 Chrystobel Cresent, Hawthorn

Designed in the early 20th century, this home, with its generous bay windows either side, has been reworked by Multiplicity. The award-winning renovation transformed a period gem into a fine contemporary family home. Interior designer Sioux Clark, co-director of Multiplicity, took her colour palette from the home’s many fine stained-glass windows. Her rich hues, including chartreuse and deep magentas, combine with an extensive use of blackbutt for the new kitchen and family room, together with cleverly designed built-in furniture.

3. Architect John Beswicke

Location: 29 Harcourt Street, Hawthorn East

The family home for the Beswicke family until 1980, this grand Federation home is surrounded by a virtually intact garden. Designed by architect John Beswicke in 1887, this lavish home includes highly ornate turrets and chimneys. The five-bedroom house also comes with a tennis court, a swimming pool and even a wine cellar beneath it. The home’s grand timber staircase is impressive, as are many of the original outbuildings such as the stables, garden shed and the plant nursery.

4. The Grace Park Estate

Location: 26 Linda Crescent, Hawthorn

Designed in 1906, this five-bedroom home on a site of approximately 1,350 square metres, is framed by manicured gardens. Bay windows, turrets and gargoyles, and a pitched terracotta-tiled roof would surely impress visitors entering the deep protected porch with its front door and arched windows. Ornate timber fretwork abounds, including in the main bedroom that frames the delightful stained-glass windows.

5. Shenton

Location: 41 Kinkora Road, Hawthorn

Built in 1890 for John Shenton Gordon, a coal and grain merchant, Shenton, an impressive two-storey brick Federation home, it was sold shortly after completion to George Swinburne, a founder of what is now Swinburne University. Featuring striking gabled ends, an impressive pitched slate roof and lead-light glass windows, Shenton remains a truly grand home more than a century later.

Text by Stephen Crafti
Multiplicity images courtesy of Emma Cross

Federation reworked by Multiplicity, images courtesy of Emma Cross

Federation reworked by Multiplicity, images courtesy of Emma Cross


Federation reworked by Multiplicity, images courtesy of Emma Cross

Lifestyle & Design

Be the first in the know

Receive the latest Kay & Burton property news delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe now No thanks!