Heritage home left exposed over winter

Hidden behind banners claiming “contemporary thinking, heritage charm”, this venerable cottage has had no roof amid weeks of rain.

BY fire, flood, and wrecking ball, Cowle Street’s historic strip of cottages has been all but obliterated. 

Now the oldest cottage on the street, number 54, has just endured a rainy winter without a roof after the new owners pried off the old tin and wooden shingles that had kept the inside dry since 1884. 

54 Cowle Street is one of the five oldest homes in Vincent according to the council’s heritage listing, the home of early colonist Joseph Gallop who arrived in 1829 and set up a market garden farming nearby Lake Henderson. He built the rear of the house in 1884 and a later owner extended the front in 1904. Gallop’s great, great grandnephew Geoff became premier.

The whole street was once an authentic strip of heritage houses, but in the span of just eight years most have been demolished, burnt down, or just left to rot. 

In 2014 developer Giorgi Group knocked down three houses dating to 1890 to make way for the Dorrien Garden units.

Burned

Match Property bought a few of the remaining Cowle houses in early 2015, including the Gallop house at 54. 

Later that year two of the other houses burned down, a semi-detached pair at 68-70. After the fire it was removed from the heritage list and demolished.

Match’s planned development never got off the ground and number 54 languished, spending years as the target of vandals as it changed hands a couple of times.

54 and nearby lots were most recently bought in August 2020 by Palazzo Homes, who are now preparing to start a development named “Cowle Collective” with the slogan “contemporary thinking, heritage charm”.

The planning approval conditions required them to retain number 54 as they built around it, but works appeared to stall over winter as the building was left in the rain without its venerable iron and wooden shingled roof. 

The property was supposed to be retained to the satisfaction of Vincent council. 

The council did issue an emergency building order to the previous owner in February 2020 when a small patch of the roof was missing, ordering its replacement, but this year the entire missing roof has not been rectified. 

We’ve put questions to Palazzo Homes asking why the house has been left uncovered but haven’t heard back. 

by DAVID BELL

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