Kew darling, our wealthy neighbour on the other side of the river


(Thanks to David Quigley of Newport, who only bought a camera last year, for the beautiful photo of Willsmere.)

Across the river is Kew, though for the purposes of this blog I have appropriated its parklands into greater Abbotsford. The Age has a suburb profile in it today with some interesting bits. The Age’s Domain’s suburb snapshots are slightly interesting: Kew is a suburb of 21,500 folks, while Abbotsford‘s population is only 4,025. Kew’s average house price is over $800,000, while Abbotsford’s average is about $440,000. But back to the profile in The Age today. We learn or are reminded that:

  • Xavier College Junior School, the imposing white building at the top of the Studley Park Road hill was first the home of a Catholic Businessman, T.M. Burke (hence “Burke Hall”) who gave it to Archbishop Daniel Mannix who gave it in turn to Xavier, with the Burkes later throwing in a chapel.
  • Nearby Raheen, on Studley Park Road, meaning “little fort” in Gaelic, was Archbishop Daniel Mannix’s home, and is now Dick Pratt’s pad. “The Kew mansion was bequeathed to the church by none other than the controversial entrepeneur, John Wren. Mannix was known for his walks from Raheen into St Patrick’s in the city; his funeral procession followed the same route.”
  • Booroondarra General Cemetry on High St “was once a popular place for a weekend outing, with people coming from all over Melbourne to see the memorials. A horse-drawn tram from Victoria Street brought some, while others would walk from Hawthorn or Richmond. According to historical notes, the greatest attraction was the glass-domed statue of the Springthorpe Memorial, with the David Syme Memorial being a close second. Plein-air artist Louis Buvelot, credited with leading the way for the founders of the Heidelberg School, is also buried here, as is John Wren.”
  • There were 10 sales over $1.5 million between March 2005 and March 2006, two over $2 million, and for one, 29 Redmond St, someone paid $3.25 million.
  • Kew Cottages formerly housed the Kew Lunatic Asylum and is still used as a home for the mentally ill, and that Wills St picnic area “has a wonderful lookout area” with “views of the golf course below and the city beyond” extending in the opposite direction through to the Dandenongs.

Here is a photo from Ne Koi’s Flickr pages of the Boorondarra General Cemetry.

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