Queens Parade heritage walk

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Prior to 1850, Queens Parade was a track that linked Melbourne to Heidelberg in the east and forked northwards to link to Northcote and the Plenty River district.

The road was surveyed and reserved in 1853. It was known as the Heidelberg Road, and the northern fork as the Plenty Road until renamed in the early 1900s. Queens Parade formed part of the boundary between Clifton Hill and North Fitzroy. The Scotch Thistle, later Terminus Hotel, 492 Queens Parade was built by 1854 on the old town reserve to service travellers at the Merri Creek crossing.

Bluestone houses

Some early bluestone terrace houses (1857) remain at 438 Queens Parade, on the corner of Rushall Crescent.

Normanby Hotel

When the East Collingwood Council formed in 1855, Smith, Wellington and Hoddle Streets were extended north to the Queens Parade reserve to make the area more accessible. Lots on Queen’s Parade sold from 1865 to 1869 but it remained largely undeveloped until after 1875 with Daintons Family Hotel (now the Normanby Hotel) and the commencement of building work on the St. John’s Roman Catholic Church complex in 1876.

Clifton Hill railway

Cable tram service commenced in 1887 with terminus and tram sheds adjacent to the Terminus Hotel at the Merri Creek (see 492 Queens Parade). In 1888, the Royal Park to Clifton Hill railway opened and in 1889, the cable tram route was extended to Northcote with people having to dismount and change trams at the Merri Creek terminus.

On the south side of Queens Parade, Clifton Hill was rapidly filling out in the boom years but building proceeded at a slower pace on the North Fitzroy side. However North Fitzroy’s Queen’s Parade frontage contained a greater supply of subdivided land for sale and developed extensively with shops during the late 1880s and 1890s.

Early 1890s

By the early 1890s, the Clifton Hill side of Queen’s Parade included the Normanby Hotel (139 Queens Parade), the 1889 Melbourne Saving Bank (99 Queens Parade) and the 1884 Clifton Hill Hotel (89 Queens Parade). The Fitzroy North side, leading to the Northcote tram terminus had the 1886 National Bank of Australasia (270 Queens Parade), the 1889 former London Chartered Bank (370 Queens Parade) and the 1854 Scotch Thistle Hotel (492 Queens Parade, renamed the Terminus Hotel).

United Kingdom Hotel

The spectacular United Kingdom Hotel (199 Queens Parade, was established in 1880, and rebuilt 1938), situated at the intersection of the Heidelberg and Plenty Roads, was uniquely positioned to attract trade from all directions.

MMBW detail plans

The Great Depression of the 1890s halted the spread of commercial development in Queens Parade until Federation when substantial commercial buildings began to replace earlier development on both sides. The MMBW Detail Plans from around 1900 show this commercial strip development and that street verandahs lined both sides of the street, with street trees also shown. Many of these verandahs survive.

Landscaping

Landscaped sections of Queen’s Parade evolved in the 19th century and after WW1, with grassed median strips planted with planes and elms at the west end. Towards the east end, a triangular garden had been created at the junction of the former Plenty Road and Heidelberg Road: a significant Holm oak (Quercus ilex) is planted in this reserve.

Houses built after WW1

On the opposite side of Queens Parade, detached houses in garden settings were built by the 1920s while, further towards Northcote, a group of significant Edwardian houses was established near the tram terminus.

As you walk along Queens Parade, you will notice a large variety of land uses along its length, including industrial, residential, commercial, and infrastructure uses.