After a Saturday night awash with nostalgia at Twilight Sounds at Sills Bend, I frocked up on Sunday for the annual Heidelberg Historical Society bus tour. You’re likely to find me down at our museum one Sunday a month with my secretary’s hat on.
So onto the bus we hopped and off we headed to Ravenswood in East Ivanhoe. The house was commenced in 1891, at the commencement of the depression and was one of the last boom-style mansions built before everything went pear-shaped.
It is a house built for display. It would have been prominent as visitors headed towards Ivanhoe from the city and can still be seen easily from the railway line should you happen to look to the east and up the hill as you’re rattling along. The exterior of the house was built with this prospect in mind, as it is at its most ornate on the south-west side, but rather plain on the other sides (perhaps hoping for future extensions?). The house itself, is not extensive- it has four main rooms and a hallway on the ground floor, with bedrooms upstairs, and utility rooms at the back. A very large ballroom was added in 1895, so obviously the depression did not affect the owner, the financier Robert Kennedy, too much.
We weren’t able to take photographs inside the house, but the emphasis on display carried through internally as well. Because the house had been used as a number of years as a nursing home, most of the original features were lost, but they were able to establish that paintwork was used ‘creatively’ throughout- lots of marbled paint, fake timberwood and trompe-l’oeil. It had been beautifully renovated- the paintwork was truly beautiful, the carpets thick- and the gardens carefully tended.
Then onto the bus again and up to the Ivanhoe RSL which is located in a home originally known as Clarivue (sometimes spelled Clairvue).
The house was commenced in 1913 and was designed for a timber merchant. As you might expect, this one has real timber throughout, compared with the timber in Ravenswood.
It’s being used as the RSL, so it lacks the loving attention that Ravenswood has been lavished with in recent years. Nonetheless, the windows and woodwork are largely intact.
Ah…. but money, money, money. The Ivanhoe RSL does not have pokie machines- what a Faustian pact that is. You can see other RSLs gleaming away with their rendered paintwork, downlights and chrome fittings, purchased with tears and recriminations. Ironically, this house is probably better preserved because it lacks the money to tart it up for short-term gain.
And so onto the bus, back to the Old England Hotel (fondly known as the OE) for afternoon tea and our bus tour was over for another year. And with my Secretary’s hat on, thanks to Miles Real Estate and the Old England Hotel, the Ivanhoe RSL and the owners of Ravenswood as well!