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Valentines Mansion, Malvern House

Architect: Thomas Watts 1891

South | S12

Building Description

Built in the land boom of the 1890s for prominent politician, Sir John Mark Davies, the heritage-listed Malvern House (also known as Valentines) is a rare example of a surviving large-scale Italianate mansion in Melbourne. Designed by English-born architect Thomas Watts, Malvern House is a significant local landmark.

The two-storey Italianate style mansion was built as a 40-room private residence for the Davies family. The highly detailed building is impressive in scale, with craftspeople said to be brought from Italy to install the elaborate plaster mouldings, the ornate grand staircase, wood carvings and intricate parquetry floor in the central ballroom. Due to the 1893 banking crisis, Sir Davies was forced to sell the estate and the family lived in the servant's wing of the partially completed mansion. By 1911 the large grounds were subdivided and the mansion converted into flats, known as ‘Valentines Mansions'. In 1924, Malvern Grammar School commenced classes in the building. The school existed as Malvern Grammar, and then Malvern Memorial Grammar, until 1960 when the school was incorporated into Caulfield Grammar School and Valentines was re-named Malvern House. Today, this much-loved mansion has been kept alive following extensive renovations.

What's On

Journey back to 1890 for a guided tour of ‘Valentines', a two-storey Italianate mansion built for the politician, Hon. John M Davies. View the mansion and grounds and learn of its use as a family home then school of Malvern Grammar School from 1924 and Caulfield Grammar School from 1960.

Need to Know

  • Open: Saturday 27 July 10am–1pm

  • Tour Type: Open Entry, Guided

  • Tour Details: Tours at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm running 40 minutes in groups of 12

  • Access: Limited mobility, 12 years and above

  • Notes: Toilets available

  • Building Type: Cultural

  • Architecture Era: Victorian (1851-1901)

  • Transport: Tram stop 52: Burke Rd/Wattletree Rd on route 5

  • Photo Credit: L. Collins

Location

5 Willoby Avenue, Glen Iris 3146, Glen Iris VIC

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