Robert Hoddle was the surveyor who designed the layout of the streets in the Australian city of Melbourne in 1837. It is known as the Hoddle Grid. (He also did the first blocks of the towns of Williamstown and Geelong west of Melbourne). The old area of the outer Melbourne suburb of Berwick (called Olde Berwick) also has an area called the "Hoddle Grid". I've not been able to ascertain if Robert Hoddle himself had anything to do with the layout of this area.
Old houses are being demolished all too rapidly with new developments coming up. In 2017, Casey Council moved to protect the character of this area bounded by Princes Highway, Brisbane Street and Cardinia Street. New developments are restricted to two storey and nine metre height limits. Old trees have to be protected and there is a mandatory garden requirement. This is a move I highly approve of.
I have always had an interest in an old ramshackle house in Berwick's Hoddle Grid – 15 Rutland Street (previously heritage listed). It has been for sale for some time and the house has become barely visible from the street because of overgrown vegetation. My aim is to document it in sketches, (especially it's overgrown garden) before it is demolished. I have been lucky to gain permission to enter the garden to sketch.
Here's the front entrance and the driveway leading to the deck.
Here's the little gate under the deck leading to the even more overgrown back yard.
Sketching at 15 Rutland St has been a spooky experience as it's so overgrown, hidden from the road and the house in disrepair. Irritating insects have been constant companions.
The previous owners must have been keen gardeners as the garden is full of interesting plants (among them many unusual geraniums). The main art challenge has been sketching large clumps of overgrown vegetation. I found the best way to achieve this was to alternate pen (for details) and watercolour (for large areas).
Hopefully this house will be the first of many properties in this neighbourhood that I will be able to document before they are lost.
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