Hyperlocal news about Melbourne's first suburb: Fitzroy 3065

Fitzroy history – 11 Gertrude St


This 1958 photo shows 11 Gertrude St, when it was occupied by P. Chong, a herbalist. The building of E.J.H. MacFarlane, optician (now the home of Mattt bags) next door at 13 is partially visible on the right. The front door has had a coat of paint but otherwise it looks fundamentally unchanged. It appears to be a private residence.

Courtesy of John L. O’Brien Collection, the University of Melbourne image archive collection (UMAIC) / ID: UMA/​I/6637 / photographer: John L. O’Brien / copyright: used under the fair dealings provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 / c1958


  1. I used to live in that house, in the front room on the bottom floor.

    The bedroom was double-deep and had a sink with those paddle-taps in the back bit. There was an archway between the two section of the room.

    It was an amazing house, but pretty scuzzy (back then 2000ish at least).

  2. It was great to find this site. I am a 3 rd generation born and bred in Gore St Fitzroy. Now I reside in Byron Bay… I felt homesick when I checked out the site and also fascinated by the history photography. My Grandfather documented alot of Melbourne through photography.. I will dig deep and see if I can find some treasures.

  3. I lived in 11 Gertrude Street in 1968–1971. I was about eight when I arrived here with my mother from Hong Kong.

    My father and his business partner (who owned the property) started a bean sprouts business in the double garage built in the back. The layout of the rooms were as Ben said, two rooms with an archway. Looking back, it would probably have been the front sitting room and dining room. Both had fireplaces and I remembered they had decorative metal firescreens. Both rooms were used for storage so I never really saw much of the room’s details. Except that I remembered it contained several large Victorian wardrobes with very decorative tops which casted scary shadows.

    Entering the front door, the two rooms were on the left. Both rooms had doors leading into them from the hallway. The end of the hall was the living room at the time. As you come in from the hall, straight ahead on the right wall, the room had an ornate fireplace with a mirror above the mantel, painted white. At the time, it had a gas heater installed in place of the open fireplace. Immediately to the left of the hall doorway is an understairs cupboard.

    The other side of the room, straight ahead from the hallway, were two large sash windows, with a doorway in the between. At that time, the house had been renovated to add a lean to room just outside the back door. Adding a small informal dining room.

    From the window on the right of the door, you can see straight into a galley kitchen. This galley kitchen is the first room in a series of small rooms, the next was a room with a copper boiler, then a bathroom with toilet. Then the garage which was the full width of the property.

    The stairs, lead up to a landing, two steps up to the right was the front of the house. This area had a sort of short hall space, with a doorway to a room on the right. At the end of this short hall was the front room with windows to the street, which you can see in the photo. This room was a good size and also had a fireplace.

    Going left at the landing, there were two steps which lead straight ahead to a small wash room, it had a pedestal basin. On the left is a doorway leading to the master bedroom. This room was odd shaped with a small area which was over the stairs. This room had a fireplace but it was covered over. On the side of the fireplace was a built in wardrobe. There was one large sash window overlooking the yard.

    The yard had a looming plain red brick wall to the left of it when I lived there. This was the factory that was built on the site of the Granite Terraces. Big terraces that were as tall and probably as grand as the Royal Terrace, they were completed at the same time in the mid 1800s. I believe they were pulled down in the 60s. A crying shame. They would be worth a fortune now.

  4. I Was Born At 106 Cecil st in 1942. Was pleased to find these photoes . It Is unfortunate that I have no photoes to share, it was great to see these photoes. Cheers Betty Owen

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